Saturday, December 18, 2010

Praises and Requests

Please join us in prayer for the following.

-Christmas break has started! Woo Hoo!

-Co-worker Shannon Hugo came over last night for dinner and brought a copy of White Christmas to watch. We had a lot of fun and Max and E seemed to like it too.

-Shannon and many other teachers are leaving Korea for the break. Tad and Teal are heading for Switzerland to ski, please ask the Lord for travel mercies for all of them.

-Jo Anna is coming from China to visit for Christmas! She is due to arrive on Thursday the 23rd.

-Max has been very two years old lately and is driving us a bit crazy. Please ask that she learn to obey and that we are good parents.

-Elisha is very close to walking. It's great!

-Yesterday, I developed some severe lower-back pain and had to be checked out at the hospital. I am not seriously injured, but the pain is bad and my back is weak. Please pray that it heals quickly and I do not injure it further.

We love you all. Thank you for your prayers.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Korean Jeopardy

For $100: these are the current weather conditions in Korea.

Answer: What is- insanely cold?

For $200: Elisha's current favorite past-time.

Answer: What is- pull everything out of cabinets and shelves as fast as possible, as often as possible.

For $300: this person can take several unassisted steps and stand unsupported for longish periods of time.

Answer; Who is- Elisha?

For$400: Corrie did this the other day, blaming it on her bleeding heart.

Answer: What is- rescued a freezing kitten from a field on the way to Home Plus.

For $500: Corrie then did this with the kitten the following day.

Answer: What is- put it in a box and left it outside a pet store down the road.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Quotable Max Quotes, take 2

Conversation with Max early this morning....

Max: my belly hurt.

Me (Corrie!): your belly hurts? Do you want to sit on the potty?

Max: no. Go see doctor.

Me: your belly hurts so you want to go see the doctor?

Max: yes. Ride school bus, go see doctor.

Ahhhhhh I get it....

Then, it got better.

Max: E-sha's belly hurt. Go see doctor.

Me: E's belly hurts? No, I think he's okay.

Max: my belly hurt. Ride school bus. Go see doctor.

Me: your belly still hurts? Let's go sit on the potty.

Max: no. Ride school bus, see doctor. Eat ice cream.

Yes, folks, she wants to go see the doctor just so she can ride on the "school bus" and eat ice cream. A floor or two below the doctor's office is the pharmacy, and across from the pharmacy is a Baskin Robbins.

Enough said.

Some current prayer requests

I was trying to put prayer requests at the end of each blog post. You see how long that lasted.

Please pray:
- for my mom's side of the family. Her father passed away early Monday morning after a brief hospital stay. He had not been doing well for a long time, so we were all prepared, but still.

- for continued good health for us. Ryan's Christmas break officially starts on Friday, and we all know about the Kolbe family's propensity towards illness during breaks.

- for a great visit with Ryan's sister, Jo Anna, who is coming to spend a week with us over Christmas. We are really excited about her visit! And hoping we don't get sick... see above.

- for wisdom and patience raising the kids.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy Belated Thanksgiving

I know Thanksgiving is a time for remembering and being thankful. To be perfectly honest, which I can and will be since this is, after all, our blog, I always found it kind of hokey to be all gushy about being particularly thankful around Thanksgiving. I'm not saying it's wrong, I just had a hard time with the whole "let's list lots of things we're thankful for, since it is Thanksgiving today." I'm more all about being spontaneously thankful.

I feel like a Thanksgiving scrooge, though, when everyone is sitting around talking about all the things they're thankful for, and I'm "ummming" and "uhhhing." Yes, I have tons and tons of things to be thankful for, but put some pressure on me and I can't think of any of them. Add to that the stress of wondering what other people are going to think of the things I list off, and I just shut down. "Gee, I forgot to list family. Will they think I'm not thankful for my family? What about my health? Ooooh Mr. So and So just mentioned being thankful for XYZ. How am I going to top that?? Will people think that what I list is stupid?" You get the idea.

So, to those of you out there who HAVE spent a Thanksgiving with me, please know that I, Corrie, am not, in fact a Thanksgiving scrooge. I just hate being put on the spot.

However, without further ado, here are some things I am thankful for RIGHT NOW:
-my husband
-my kids; or, to be more precise, the fact that my kids are currently sleeping, and it is quiet and peaceful and I can blog
-my friends Pam and Renee
-that our water bill is a flat 30,000KRW a month, no matter how much we use
-my comfy comfy bed

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

And so what we have learned...

... applies to our lives today, and God has a lot to say, in His Book!

Brownie points to whomever can tell me what that is from.

Yesterday was not such a hot day. And I'm not talking about the snow on the ground. Max is still getting over something, E is still getting over something, and I'm fighting off a sore throat and losing my voice. Do you have any idea how irritating and frustrating it is to have to not only repeat EVERYTHING you say 3 or 4 times to a 2 year old who just says "Huh?" but to do it with a sore throat?? It was not a good day.

Before bed last night (read: before I passed out, only to spend 3/4 of the night either coughing or taking care of a child who was coughing), I was working on my Bible Study, "The Power of a Woman's Words" (written by a lady who lives in Matthews, NC. Go figure. Longer story short, I was drawn to verse 12 in Colossians 3. Yeah, I've read it before. Heck, I've even memorized it. But it was still new and fresh. And no, I'm not old. (Inside joke.) Anyway, in the tNIV it reads : "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience." Ouch. Compassion, I'm fairly good with. But it goes downhill from there. To the "punchline," if you will. Patience. Why does God save the zingers for last? (So it seems, anyway.) I wasn't patient. Yes, lots of things happen to try my patience. Some DO need to be dealt with. Some just need to be... being patient with.

Case in point: while I was in the middle of writing the above paragraph, Max stood on her sippy cup, causing the lid to pop off and orange juice to go all over the floor. No, it was not an accident. Really? Seriously? I have to stop writing my post on patience to mop up orange juice from the floor?

This isn't the first time Paul talks about patience. He does it earlier (at least in the Bible) in the book of Galatians, 5:22-24. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires."

The thing about the last part is that it isn't a one time and you're done thing. It's moment by moment, decision by decision, thought by thought, and word by word thing. It's HARD. I fail. A lot. Way more than I succeed. Thankfully, I know that not only do I not have to do it own my own, but Christ stands in the gap for me. I'm saved by grace, not works.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I got bean pasted.

We knew this day was coming. We had heard horror stories from other people about when it happened to them. Somehow, we had managed to escape for just over 4 months unscathed. Then, it happened. Elisha, Max, and I walked down to the market today (the one that is big and bustling on days that end in 4 and 9. I'm not even kidding.) for something to do. We walked around and looked at things, seeing what was what. We walked by a great bakery. Max decided that nothing would do but that we go back and check it out. I'm good with that- I like bakeries as much as the next guy. Maybe a bit more. So we go in, look around, Max touches a few things (disobeying me, obviously, and making it so I had to buy those touched things), and we make a few selections. This bakery, though small, had dozens of yummy looking things to offer- French bread, rolls, regular bread, sugary looking things, puff pastry looking things, some covered in honey, etc. One things that caught my eye and called to my tastebuds was what appeared to be a nice round bread, kind of like a pita (pronounced PEA-tah), but more doughy. It looked soooo yummy. I decided that that needed to be on our tray of things we were purchasing.

The nice lady bagged up our few things, we paid, bundled back up (did I mention it snowed last night?), and headed outside. Max started gnawing on a cookie, and I pulled out the nice, round, yummy looking bread. Took a biiiig bite (at least as big as is befitting a lady) and.... AGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH they filled the middle with a semi-sweet RED BEAN PASTE. The HORROR. The LET-DOWN. The UNMITIGATED GALL!!! (That last one is from something but I don't remember what now...) Talk about sad. Talk about another lousy event in already lousy day.

Needless to say, I didn't eat anymore.

Now, Koreans love their red bean paste. Apparently. They put in places where an otherwise unsuspecting person wouldn't expect it. Like in the middle of doughnuts. Trickery. They even have ICE CREAM that is red bean flavored. We assume so, anyway, as the packet has red beans all over it. We have not purchased one. So, like I said, we were counting ourselves lucky to have escaped thus far. Well, I guess technically Ryan still has. He tasted it when he got home from school, but he knew it was coming.

They also have a thing for pressed fish paste. I haven't tasted that. I reeeeeaaaallllllyyyyy hope I never do.

Quotable Max Quotes

... and other things of interest.

The other she was trying out the potty, again, and had a toy cell phone with her. She starts talking on it and says "Hi. I on potty. I have pink toes. Bye." She pretended to call Ryan the other morning "Hi Daddy. I love you."

Victoria has a large vocabulary and can communicate her thoughts and feelings quite well. She and "E-sha" play together more and more which is great! They even have conversations using Elisha's current vocab.

The weather here changed almost overnight, it seemed. It was quite sudden, actually. One day we ran the A/C for naptime, the next day we didn't need it at all. Haven't used it since, and that was back in September! It has been dipping down into the 40's lately, so I had to dig out some of our winter paraphernalia. In fact, it even snowed last night! It's definitely harder to get out the door with having to bundle not only one's self up, but two little ones as well. Esp. when one or both of those two little ones don't see the need to do so, or have the desire to stop playing long enough to do so. That definitely makes going anywhere a challenge, and, to be honest, it's quite frustrating. Like I tell Ryan often, we have a great day, except when it is time to try and get out the door. Other than that, things go well! It's often a fight to get everything on both of them, keep it on both of them long enough to get out the door and into the stroller, AND remember to grab my jacket and the backpack. It took us half an hour just this morning. Sigh. A traveling circus sideshow, that's us. We are quite the entertainment for the Korean grandmas and grandpas.

Elisha crawls very well now, and pulls up on everything. He can walk around while holding onto our hands or furniture and walls. He's quite fast, and loooooves playing in the toilet, pushing the buttons on the washing machine while it's running, or pestering his sister during her nap. (Although yes, they do normally nap at the same time. Sometimes he goes down later than she does, though.)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Posts schmosts

Pie in the sky hopes and dreams. Big plans. Call 'em what you want. We're behind. Woefully. Sadly. Depressingly. Okay, not so much depressingly. But you get the idea. Take, for example, the curtains for the kids' room. I finished them this morning, so I thought... until I realized that I had made two left curtains and no right. (I did white edging on one side and the bottom to cheaply extend them.) And I KNEW that I had to pay attention and make sure to do one left and one right. Reminded myself of it several times. But it when it came down to it and I was all done, had I remembered? Had I paid enough attention? Of course not. Sigh. So I thought I was done. I was all excited. But no.

This happens a fair amount to us. Take, for example Ryan's Thanksgiving break. Actually, let's back up a bit. Remember Chusok? The Korean Thanksgiving when Ryan had a whole week off, then we all got sick. Yeah, that week. We wondering if that would happen this week, if we would all get sick. Even made jokes about it. Suffice to say, we need to start praying NOW that we will all stay healthy for Christmas break.

Ryan and I have thus far escaped fairly unscathed. I'm fighting off the end of a cough and sore throat, Ryan had a sore throat for a few days. Elisha is almost all better, but Victoria is still snotting up a storm, hacking up a lung, and generally being miserable and ornery.

So, instead of going up to Seoul a couple of times, as Ryan has yet to really visit it, we stayed home and visited the doctor a couple of times. And the pharmacy. And the Baskin Robbins across the hall from that. Very exciting, let me tell you. But, our house is squeaky clean, we've been spending tons of time together, and meals have been mostly home-cooked. So the vacation wasn't a total bust.

And I was going to add pictures, but the memory card got taken out of my computer, so you'll have to wait until next time.

Edited to add: I was just looking through my list of posts which also includes unpublished drafts, and in our defense, there were several that we forgot to go back and hit publish on. Sorry.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Chillin' at the O Club

Well, not really, but our friends the Carters did take us to dinner there. I tell you, Officer's Clubs have changed a lot since M*A*S*H. I expected a pre-fab, corrugated steel building with a bar, a piano, and a pinball machine. Instead we ate in a hotel-type ballroom that was full of tables and we got to make our own pizza. It was great. Thanks, Carters!

The Sortores made it in yesterday afternoon. I was very jealous to hear that they were able to sleep all night last night and not wake up at 3:00 AM like me, Corrie, and the kids did. Corrie has been showing them around and helping them learn about life in Korea. Ross and Renee served two years at a school in Taiwan so they have more experience with Asian culture than we did. Please pray that they settle in comfortably here and praise God that ICS found a secondary music teacher.

I spoke in Chapel a week ago today. Things went well and I believe that God gave me good words for our students. I talked about zombies. I gave the students ten tips for surviving zombie attacks and I told them a little of the history of the zombie movie sub-genre. I explained to them about how our world is filled with zombies (people who do things that make them think that they are alive, but they are not) and that there are also survivors (people who have recognized that they have to be rescued). I was able to use this fun premise to impress upon them the importance of a savior and why people cannot save themselves through good deeds. It was quite a positive experience.

Hope you all are well. Thanks for reading and praying!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Good Stuff

Howdy all. Our last post was not the most positive thing, so I wanted to take some time to tell you about some good things that have been going on here in Songtan.

Renee Sortore, a good friend of Corrie's who roomed with her down in Suriname (in the time before Ryan), and her husband Ross and their daughter Sadie will be here soon! When we got to Korea we learned from Tad that the school was not able to hire a music teacher for this year. We put him in contact with the Sortores (Ross is a music teacher) and everybody prayed really hard. Tad offered Ross the job and he took it, but then got caught up in bureaucracy as he and his family jumped through all of the hoops they needed to in order to get Korean visas. Well, the Sortores got everything they needed and they got tickets and will be here in a couple weeks. Corrie is very excited to see Renee, and ICS will greatly benefit from Ross's expertise.

Mason Stanley, ICS's seventh and eighth grade teacher gave a great chapel talk at school today. He has worked as a youth pastor before and has a powerful testimony. He talked some about his life and presented some scripture from Hosea. He ended by sharing the gospel and I know that God worked through him to touch several of the students. I am speaking about II Corinthians 4 next week. Please pray for me and for our students.

Corrie has been churning our some major sewing projects lately. Teal Romsa generously gave us her sewing machine and took Corrie to a fabric store. Corrie has made curtains, repaired the school's PE parachute, and made birthday presents for her friend Pam's daughter, Laura. She has been very industrious.

Elisha is almost a year old! We are having a breakfast-for-dinner party for him on Saturday. He is very in to climbing right now. Tonight after dinner he pulled himself onto a dining room chair and then up onto our table. Max has really started talking in the last couple of weeks. She can use simple sentences and her vocabulary grows by leaps and bounds every day. She is so smart!

We hope that you are all doing well. Thank you so much for you love, prayers and support. God bless!

Sunday, October 3, 2010


It has been a rough couple of weeks for the Kolbes in Korea. Two weeks ago today, Max got sick with some sort of stomach virus that made her throw up a lot and stole her energy. Fortunately, I had the week of Sept. 20th off of school due to a Korean holiday called Chusok. We had made some fun plans for things to do as a family during my vacation, but they did not work out. Elisha and I did lots of things together while Corrie took care of Victoria, who eventually got better.

Just as Max recovered and got her energy back, I came down with what she had and Corrie contracted a cold. For a day or so, it seemed that Elisha would be spared, but then he also caught the stomach bug. The weekend of the 24th was not a good time for us, but we put out a call for help and, thankfully, some of our friends from school and Church helped us by cleaning the house, bringing food, and watching the kids (or at least Max who had more energy than the rest of us put together). I missed school on Monday and Tuesday. Going back Wednesday was hard, but I survived and since Thursday, things have been a lot better.

Yesterday, we went to Seoul Grand Park. A big park that has an amusement park and a zoo. We went to the zoo and had a wonderful time. Corrie and the kids had been there before on their own so they had a lot of fun showing me the animals. We saw gorillas, chimps, and monkeys, meerkats and prairie dogs, giraffes and pygmy hippos, but I think my favorite were the rhinos. They are so big and powerful looking. Going to the zoo was one of the things that we had planned to do during my Chusok break, but you read what happened to those plans. It was very nice to do something like that together as a family.

Victoria and Elisha both are talking up a storm. Max is using simple, but complete sentences and E is baby-babbling, but both of them are very cute. Elisha will be one in seventeen days! That's crazy!

Thank you all for your prayers and support. I don't know how we'd make it without our powerful God and loving Church-family and the care from all of our friends back home.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Korean anti-weight loss plan

Step 1- find ways around as many of the hills as possible. Elevators are allowed.

Step 2- find as many Dunkin Donuts as possible. Try different donuts out, frequently, so as to find new favorites. The donuts here are different than in the States, so you have to start all over from there. (Continue to avoid the ones containing Kimchi, soybeans, tofu, sweet potato, and whole wheat.)

Step 3- find as many Starbucks as possible. Discover that they do, indeed, have the Venti size. It's just not advertised on the board.

Step 4- become addicted to Korean Coca-Cola.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Where are you?

Or: Why don't you blog more?
Or: Why don't you e-mail more?
Or: Why don't you call more?
Or: Why isn't your house completely put together and clean yet?
Or: What in the world do you do all day?

Well, we walk somewhere every day. At least once a day. Usually more.

We color. On everything and everything.

I try to get some sewing in- making curtains for our room, the living room, and the nursery.

Then there's cooking.

Or eating out. Meat is really really really expensive here, and it is cheaper for us to eat out and eat meat then.

We go on train rides. And hang out at the train station and wait for the trains to ride on.

Little people fall and bonk their noggins.

Little people figure out how to play in the toilet and decide that it is loads of good fun that is funny.

And all that is just the tip of the iceberg.

....Gee, what do I do all day?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Important Announcement!

Ryan here to share something very important with all of you.

Korea has Mexican food and it is delicious!

After taxi-ing to church this morning (it was raining pretty hard), Corrie, the kids, and I along with several of my fellow teachers walked to Casa Burrito a nice little Mexican resturant not far from the main entrance to Osan Air Force Base. There were only six or seen tables and one worker that I saw. He took our orders and our money, cooked our food, and brought it to us. It tasted really good. I enjoyed my beef Mexican Pizza, but next time I am getting Corrie's nachos, they looked delectable.

Church was good today too. Corrie and I really feel like we are fitting-in at Mission Baptist Church. There are many families there with young children. Their MoPs program will be starting up again in September and Corrie also learned of a womens Bible study group that meets on Saturday mornings that she is hoping to attend. I have made a connection to a man at the church who teaches high school social studies at the Dept. of Defense school on the Air Force base. Today I brought my flash drive and he hooked me up with all of the PowerPoint presentations he has worked up for his World and U.S. History classes. I cannot wait to check them out. God is really blessing us.

My first full week of school is now done. Monday was quite stressful. It felt like I had forgotten how to teach. But after some prayer and some time, I feel like I am getting back into it without problems. I can already tell that I have great students who will do some great work this year. I am also getting excellent support from my fellow staff members and the school administration. I will be posting pictures of my room and students this week, so please stay tuned.

Thank you all for reading and praying for us. You are wonderful and I hope that you have wonderful days!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Some pictures just for YOU

E-maaaaaarrrrrttttt. Or, as Max says, "E-mart, peez?"

Across the road we walk down to get to E-mart.

Now, don't you feel special??

Running in the Rain

to the tune of "Singing in the Rain."
(My apologies to those of you who like that movie, and for the fact that I am not a songwriter.)

I'm ruuuun-ning in the rain
While pushing
A double strol-ler
A la-dy shares her umbrel-la
So I stay a little dry
But we both getalittlewet

And, that's as much of the Singing in the Rain song that I remember.
But it's all true.
We were quite the sight, I'm sure.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bumps, bruises, owies, and boxes.

But not necessarily in that order. Almost. It just read better that way.

The kids and I have been getting lots of the first three things lately, but I'm not sure why! Okay, maybe it's Satan attacking us because of school starting today. That would make sense. I know one of my tag lines is "Never a dull moment!" (Although I think Fred may have wished that wasn't true, huh, Fred?)

I may or may not have said this before, but we ARE safe, at least as safe as you CAN be outside of a... room where you couldn't get hurt at all. A padded room? A room lined with bubble wrap? I don't know.

But back to the point of this post. (Or one of the points, anyway.) Max routinely falls off the couch. I think her grandparents in IL have seen her do it twice while chatting on Skype. Elisha has mastered the art of pulling himself up on things. But then forgets, or doesn't realize, that he has to continue to hold on, otherwise he just sort of topples over. (Wow, I haven't gotten to use "topples" in a long time!) Then, yesterday on the train, a lady lost her balance and fell over onto me, and I was unable to catch her due to wearing Elisha on my back, holding Max on one arm, and holding on to a post with the other hand. She did quite the impressive flip, all things considered. But her head connected soundly with my leg, so I'VE got quite the impressive bruise. (Elisha was also, at that moment, biting my back. Yeah. It was not a fun time. He liked to bite and pinch me, and my arms bear the bruises to prove THAT.)

Then, today, we were fixin' to get off the elevator at the train station here, and Max decided she needed to help it open by guiding the doors. And got her little finger pinched. (Like, her actual little finger, not just "a" little finger.) Some blood, lots of tears, songs, promises of "meow" bandaids upon arrival home, and she lived. She also required a phone call to Daddy to help her feel better.

And THEN, while we were playing in the bedroom, Elisha rolled off our bed. That's not a new occurrence, but what was new was that he smacked his face soundly on the floor and left a big ol' bruise on his cheek. Poor kid.

On a GOOD note, our shipment arrived today! The very first thing I did was unpack my KitchenAid mixer and make pizza. Also utilizing my baking stones and new pizza cutter that were in the shipment. Yay! Now to unpack stuff and find homes for everything....

Well, that was sad

What was? The post I just saw that got saved as a draft and never published back in July. Bummer, dude.

In other news, Ryan had a great first day!! He enjoyed getting to know his students, and came home very excited about the rest of the year. He's working on figuring out how to remember all their names, but he has some ideas. He did a "Questions for Mr. Kolbe" thing that I think was a great idea! He had the students write down two questions for Mr. Kolbe as a teacher, and then one for Mr. Kolbe as a person. He brought some of the questions home to finishing answering this evening, and they were fun to hear. One was "Will you be giving lots of demerits?" I had to laugh at that one. His answer: "Are you going to be EARNING lots of demerits this year?" Another was "How tall are you, and how did you get that tall?" Answer: "About 2 meters, and I blame my parents. If you don't know what I'm talking about, ask your biology teacher." It was only a half day today so Ryan did not get to spend enough time with his students, but that is what the rest of the year is for and he feels very confident that the Lord has given him some great kids to take care of.

Max, E, and I had a good morning on a fun outing with some new friends. Last Saturday when we went to Home Plus, I saw a white couple who were hanging out in the food court while their two kids played in the play area. I introduced myself and Ryan and I ended up having a really great conversation. The couple's names were Pam and Charles and they have an almost three year old, L, and a four year old, T. Charles is in the Air Force and they are newley arrived at the Osan base here in town. Anyway, Pam and I and Pam's friend Tressa and all of our kids (six in total, three boys and three girls) all met at the Songtan train station at 9:45 and rode the train to Pyongtaek. We went to the mall and had a really good time talking while the kids romped in the play area. Elisha loved the the bouncy castle, btw. It turns out that Pam and Tressa's experiences in moving to Korea have not been too different from ours despite their being in the military and living on base. I am really glad that I introduced myself to Pam on Saturday. Also, I got Starbucks at the mall and it was delicious! Korea does need to learn about the "Venti" though. The biggest I could get was a "Grande". I wonder if I could talk the workers into giving me a refill? (Of course, I can't remember now which size is bigger. Oh well.)

Hope that you are all have good days. Thanks for reading the blog and praying for us!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

School starts tomorrow!

For Ryan, and anyone else involved at ICS-PYK, that is. (International Christian School of Pyongtaek.) Ryan should, technically, be the one writing this, but it's late, he's busy, and we need to be getting to bed. So I figured I could update you almost as well as he could.

Last week all the teachers and staff at school were involved in doing Orientation meetings, and they were able to watch some (all? I don't know, actually) of the Harry K. Wong series "First Days of School." I watched those in college, as well as reading the book, and let me just tell you, he is AMAZING. Very inspirational, very educational, and very very helpful. He really inspired Ryan to do his best this year, esp. starting out now in a new place, with everything being completely new and different. AND having not taught for the past year.

It may go without saying, but I'll say it anyway. Ryan is very nervous, mostly due to the aforementioned newness of everything. He's been working really hard at planning procedures for his classes, lesson planning, objectives planning, and working with other teachers.

So please pray!
- Pray that Ryan would have a great first day, and first week.
- Pray that ALL the teachers would have a great first day, and first week. Many are new to the school this year, and several of those are fresh out of college.
- Pray that Ryan would have the dedication to start well and continue well. That he would implement and follow through with effective procedures.

Thank you so much!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What to do, what to do

Yes, I know my post the other day was about being busy. And I am. We are. There is no boredom in this household. Ahem. Apartment. However, I am trying to brainstorm for ideas of things to do with the babies that don't involve large amounts of time outdoors during the hottest part(s) of the days, and money. Be it a little or a lot.

We ride the train a fair amount. (Yes, it is officially a train. I was told the other day that a subway goes underground for some or all of it's route, a train does not. Ergo, this thing we have locally is a train.) Max LOOOOOVES the train. She also loooooves school buses, but as far as actually being on one of those two, she prefers the train. Hands down.

We walk a couple of blocks... make that a lot of blocks... to the Songtan Bus Terminal and watch the SCHOOL BUSES come and go. They're not actually school buses, but I dare YOU to try and argue with a 2 year old.

We go around back of our apartment and look at puppies. (Including the baby puppy.)

We walk to parks, which are decent. Nothing like the Angel Towne one that we so thoroughly enjoyed in IL, but hey. What are you going to do?

We play with water on the back porch. Fun times!

On another note, Ryan starts full-time meetings at school this week. He's looking forward to getting into the swing of things. We visited another English speaking church yesterday, and really enjoyed it. I was very happy with the nursery that Max is in. Didn't get a chance to take Elisha into his, but we will. Max had a good time, too.

Please pray:
- for good health. Both Ryan and I have been sick at least once since we've gotten here. Thankfully both happened over weekends.
- that Victoria and Elisha would take good naps.
- that Ryan's meetings would go well.
- that Ryan and his co-workers would mesh well and have a shared focus.

Praise the Lord that:
- we got an A/C for our bedroom! The school found an extra one laying around, and asked if we wanted it. Um, yes!!
- we are learning our way around easily.
- we have good co-workers, and many are quickly becoming good friends.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Weight loss, Korean style

Really? Korea has their own weight loss plan? Well, I'm sure it's not patented, and people don't believe me when I tell them about it. But that's just because they're doing all the activities.

1) Walk up and down lots of hills.
2) Push a stroller containing a child up and down said hills.
3) Wear a baby while pushing a stroller containing a child up and down, you guessed it!, hills.
4) Figure out how to get around the hills, but to keep up the weight loss, put both kids into a double stroller that weighs at least as much as one of them does. Push that, containing both kids, around the city.
5) Throw some groceries into the bottom of the double stroller. Push around the city.
6) Don't try to hard to figure out all the available junk food. Make your own. (In your spare time. Roll on floor laughing because what the heck is spare time, anyways???)
7) Walk to the store to buy flour/butter/eggs/whatever to make the aforementioned junk food. Carry home in a box.
8) Do at least two of 1-7 every day. Sweat profusely during each activity.

This plan IS guaranteed to work. However, as with all weight-loss plans, talk with your doctor first to make sure it is right for you.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Busy busy busy

We spent this morning getting a tour of Songtan, learning the bus system, and visiting "E-Mart." The tour was hosted by Eric and Laurie, returning teachers. Some things they showed us weren't new to us, but some were. And it was fun to spend time with the other new teachers. I don't get to see them often, so it was a lot of fun.

We visited the market again, saw how various roads connected (nothing is straight here, and there are smaller roads and alleys EVERYWHERE), and were shown different landmarks and places of note (is that redundant?).

I kind of wish they had gone into more detail about some things, like how to find the various churches from our locations around town, as well as telling us how many and which churches were in English or offered English services.

They told us which buses go where, although do you think I remember them all? Ha ha, nope. Just that the 1-1 goes from a stop at the top of the hill by us all the way out to Home Plus and E-Mart. And back again, but using a circuitous route. Eric and Laurie decided that they could show whomever wanted to go how to use the bus to get to E-mart, so we went along. Ryan and I hadn't been there yet, only seen it from the train on the way down to Pyongtaek, and have heard lots about it.

The bus ride was... um.... interesting. I don't know if the buses had just gotten new brakes, or what, but they sure do stop fast! To be perfectly honest, it wasn't a very enjoyable trip. What with the sudden, fast starting and stopping, we were jerked around and the kids were unhappy that we were having a hard time keeping our balance, even in seats! Max kept wanting to get down and walk around on her own, and got very upset that we couldn't and wouldn't let her, due to the unsafe nature of the whole thing. Suffice to say, we much enjoy the train/subway. (I honestly don't know what the difference is between the two.)

E-Mart was a lot of fun, but neither Ryan nor I got much time to walk around and explore. It is, like Home Plus, a lot like Wal Mart, or some such store. Not as big as Home Plus, though. It did, however, have a food court that contained a McDonald's, a Korean fast food place, and more Chinese/Japanese place.

This afternoon, after Max decided that less than an hour was sufficient for a nap, we headed back to the train station/mall in Pyongtaek. We've visited several times and enjoy it very much. (Overall, at least. I took the kids there by myself on Saturday, and it was mainly disastrous.) However, it has great A/C, as does the train/subway (seriously, can someone please tell me the difference??), and fun things to see, do, and eat. Max was sad that she couldn't play in the big play area, but it was jam-packed with kids, and we knew that she wouldn't enjoy herself at all. But try convincing a 2-year old of that. Ha! (Oh, yeah, the other reason we went down there, besides the lousy nap, was because it is freakin' hot here right now. Like, standing still, in the shade, sweat dripping down your body, HOT.)


Please join us in praising God that:
- the kids are adjusted.
- Ryan is enjoying his new fellow teachers.
- even though Ryan was sick at the end of last week and through the weekend, he is better now.
- we haven't had any problems finding our way around learning how to do things on our own.
- two of the new female teachers love little kids and babies so much, that they offered to do one free night (or whenever) of baby-sitting a month so Ryan and I can go on a date.

Please pray with us that:
- this August would be the mildest August Korea has ever seen. (August is infamous for being the hottest month of the year, and so far it's living up to it's name.)
- that if God chooses to say "no" to the above request, that we would have extra grace and patience to get through the next couple of weeks. Tempers shorten considerably with the rise in temperature, as does crankiness and crabbiness in toddlers.
- that Ryan would have no problems setting up his classroom, learning his new curriculum, and starting to lesson plan.
- that I would not feel too isolated and/or ignored, simply because I'm not working at the school.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Days 1- 10, a summary

I was just working on setting my schedule for the house, and baking, and such, and put "blog" down for 2 days a week. Which reminded me that, "Hey!" I should blog. Now, I can't promise that there will be 2 blog posts up every week. There may be more, there may be less. You just never know!

But let me back up. To last week.

Day 1: we arrived in Korea! Yay! We made it safely, all our stuff made it safely, and we lived to tell the tale. We flew Korean Air and I HIGHLY recommend them. Everyone was amazing, from the check-in at O'Hare all the way through us going through customs and immigration in Seoul. Everyone was very helpful, very efficient, and very nice. I can't speak highly enough of them.
The maintenance man from our school, Mr. Song, picked us up at the airport, as our director and his wife were very busy. We got home without major mishaps, having survived what must be the world's hottest parking garage, and a few other minor things.
After we got to our apartment, we unloaded our stuff, got some toys out for the babies, and started figuring things out. Poor Max kept walking around the apartment saying "apple juice, peeze." Pause. "Apple juice, peeze." I finally walked across the hall to our new neighbors, who are also going to be at the school, and she walked me and Max down to the nearest supermarket and we bought some apple juice.

Day 2: Tad and Teal, our director and his wife, came and picked us to go change money, get some lunch and do a bit of shopping. We picked up a fan, as our apartment has no A/C, and was rather warm. It did come with a few fans, but another one was much appreciated.

Day 3: honestly? I don't remember what we did on Friday. I know it involved moving furniture, I think I may have visited the AFB down the road to pick up some baby stuff, but beyond that, I'm lost.

Day 4: Saturday, we drove into Seoul to visit Costco and pick up things that either can't be found locally, or can, but are insanely expensive.

I.E., cheese, apple juice, peanut butter.
That's approx. $6 for the "normal" size peanut butter.

Day 5: Sunday, we attended a relatively local English speaking church. There are several English speaking churches in our area, so we're going to visit various ones until we can find a good fit. The director is thinking that we'll be a better fit at a church called Mission Baptist, as they have many families with young children. We shall see!
Later that day, after the kids' naps, we walked up (yes, up) to the train station and rode the trail down to Pyongtaek to visit a mall that is attached to the train station, and take Tad up on his rain-check for Starbucks. (Long story.) We had a great time, and it was nice to learn how to use the train, and see some sights.

We are actually in a town called Songtan, which I suppose you could call a suburb of Pyongtaek. Just to clear up any confusion you might have had upon reading the above paragraph.

Days 6-8: consisted mainly of walks, parks, cleaning, re-arranging, laundry, more cleaning, more walks, etc.

Day 9: Teal took me to what is referred to as the "5 day market" in that it occurs every 5 days. It is pretty much a farmer's market... yep, that describes it well. She showed me what there was available, who she usually goes to, and what some things were. There were several "unusual" sights for me, but I don't think you really want to hear about them. Ahem. Suffice to say that what you may have heard about Korean food choices is true.

Day 10: Today, Friday. (I think. I can't keep track of the days, seriously.) Ryan is sick- probably the flu, Elisha is teething up a storm, and I do mean a storm. We feel badly for him, but are doing everything we can. Other than that, things were fairly calm and "normal" for us today. Cooking, cleaning, childcare, etc.

Some highlights thus far have been: finding parks to play at. One of them has a fountain that you can play in when they feel like turning it on. It's been on the last two days, and Max has thoroughly enjoyed. I am enjoying learning my way around town, esp. when it means finding ways to get where I need/want to go while avoiding hills. This place is full of them!

So, to boil it all down, here are some praises followed by, you guessed it! Prayer requests.

- we're all here and in one piece, relatively speaking
- we have a dryer! (And a washer, but the dryer is a nice perk.)
- the kids are adjusting VERY well, and Ryan and I seem to be as well.
- our neighbors are nice, and their 10-year old daughter enjoys playing with Max
- our oven has a pilot light!

- for Ryan to get better quickly! The teachers are supposed to visit the Health Department on Monday for some sort of check-up.
- for Elisha to get through this teething as quickly and painlessly as possible. It really takes a toll on all of us when he just screams for hours on end.
- that Max and I would remain as healthy as possible.

Thank you so much!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Well, hi!

Thanks for stopping by! We're glad you're here. This is a brand new blog created by Ryan and Corrie to *try* help keep you up to date on the goings-on of our family. Like, where in the world are we??? What are we doing? Have the kids done anything super cute lately? How is work going for Ryan? What else do we have going on in our lives? Things we need prayer for, as well as praise item. You get the idea.

Right this second, we are still in Crystal Lake, IL. (Ryan is eating breakfast, and the kids are playing in the family room. I, Corrie, am obviously on the computer.) In one week and 6 days, on July 20th, we will board a plane headed to Seoul, South Korea. Thankfully, this is a non-stop flight, so we only have to schlep our stuff and our kids on and off once. It is, however, a 14 hour flight. You can't have everything, apparently.

It has really been miraculous that we are able to go to Korea. The government told ICS: Pyongtaek that the process for keeping the school functioning would take 2-3 years, but God worked it out in less than a year. We know that Korea is where He wants us and we are so thankful that He made a place for us in His plans there.

Thanks for checking out our blog, we will keep it updated so that you can learn how God is working in Pyongtaek, Korea.