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.