Saturday, November 27, 2010

thanksgiving + first snow

Today we awoke to a thin blanket of snow. Our first thought: we couldn't wait to take Joey out in it! He was born in March and has never seen much cold or snow so this winter is going to be quite the introduction for him. We threw ourselves together and I grabbed the camera and started snapping.

 Ben put Joey's new sweater on getting him ready to go outside and check out this winter phenomena. He was quite excited when he realized how excited we were.

My mom made him the little blue sweater seen in all these pics. I found a pattern and she made in in a flash and it turned out great. He likes it very much too!

first sight of the white stuff

 His first steps into the snow were with great excitement. He had no idea what was going on but he had to just get right into it and check it all out. This was just out side the entrance to our apt. building.

I love it! I even have snow in my beard!

hiking up the steps to the school yard behind our apt.

Ben + Joey playing

sniffing around

all our footprints in the snow

found a stick buried in the snow, what fun!

I made a snow ball and he have fun licking it.

We weren't out for very long before little Mr. Joey was shivering and freezing cold. His beard and paws got wet and icey and he was not a fan of that part in the least. He started whimpering and whining and that was the end of that. It was so fun to see how much he enjoyed it though. He and Ben ran and ran and played and he just had such a good time being his curious little self. 

We're now back inside and I decided with snow comes turning on our electric heater. I'm wearing way to much clothing indoors to not have heat on. Ben and Joey are snuggled up in a blanket on the bed watching a movie. I'm about to join them.... 

We enjoyed getting to see our family on Thanksgiving via Skype. If I was ever thankful for something useful over the past year it was definitely Skype. Being able to talk and SEE your faces means soo much to us. 

I made plans for a decent Turkey Day meal after which I had forgotten that I would be teaching and would have no time to cook. Our back up plan consisted of ordering fried chicken, thawing out and baking some rolls I made a few weeks ago, making a box of stuffing I'd been saving for a few months, and finally a pumpkin pie with an oatmeal brown sugar crumble topping that wasn't really pumpkin but rather squash. 

All in all it wasn't too bad but I definitely missed seeing family and having a relaxing day. We rushed home from school and I rushed to make everything so we could eat it and Skype everyone. We had our dinner at about 11:00pm on Nov 25th. 

The "pumpkin pie" made from squash was an absolute success, if I do say so myself. I though I bought chunks of pumpkin as they were sitting next to the pumpkins in the store and when I got home and roasted them in the oven I realized it was squash. I decided to go thru with winging it. I smashed it up and added some milk, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spices. I added an egg and baked it and it turned out just as I'd hope, it set like a thick custard and I didn't even mind that it was a bit stringy it added a nice texture and was very VERY tastey. I cut myself a piece thinking if its good I'll probably just eat the whole thing. Ben doesn't particularly like pumpkin pie but when he got a taste of my creation he couldn't resist. We ate almost all of it. I was just so proud I was able to figure something out to quell my craving for pumpkin pie. Earlier in the fall I made an acorn squash puree with spices to add to coffee to make a pumpkin spice latte and oooo that was good. So if you're ever in a pinch squash is a miracle veggie! who knew!

our Thanksgiving dinner: fried chicken (with corn and hot sauce) + stuffing
 squash pumpkin pie with oatmeal + brown sugar crumble

me enjoying my squash pumpkin pie creation!

the star of the show Korean fried chicken

the last of fall, the beginning of winter

one of Joey's favorite toys even in the snow
guess who was checking out this lonely leaf in the snow

Hope you all had a blessed, happy, and relaxing Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

just " joy" joey

Hi everyone! Its getting to be that busy time of year and its the same here as it is anywhere around the holidays. This year is of course a bit different for several reasons but instead of packing our stuff to go home we are settling in even more with another year on the brink. Next Friday, November 26 with be exactly one year for us here in Korea. It's amazing how fast its gone but there were definitely times when it crawled.

As of next week I'll be filling in for Chelsie (the other American teacher at the school). She is going on a month long vacay and it conveniently worked out that I could fill in and also get her paycheck for a month. It really helps us out and also gives me a break from home life. So just know that I haven't quite blogging completely if I don't post for the next month or so. We leave for Thailand Dec. 17 ( Happy Birthday Mom!) and return Dec 27th. Than I'll be back at home dying to get my blog on and share our once in a lifetime trip to Thailand.

For now just wanted to share some cute fun pics of Joey. He's just such a funny little guy and the camera always seems to be within reach so capture some of his antics. And what can I say I like to show him off seeing as how he's our little baby. Most Koreans know him as "Joy" at least thats how they pronounce Joey. They are either terrified of him or want to pet him quite vigorously. We've been cautious on both accounts for his safety and mental wellbeing. Koreans over all don't do well with pets or animals in general so socializing him has been an extra hard challenge here. Lucky Joey is quite smart and very curious so we've had fun exposing him to new things and doing it the right way (thank-you Cesar!).

one of the latest cozy nap spots

nothing like snuggling up with Ben's boxers

havin' a snooze in Ben's lap
am I cute enough for a pic now momma?

Another favorite past-time is wrestling with Ben, this time Been was wearing a white tiger winter hat and Joey just loved attacking him in it. He growled and growled and so did Ben it was quite the match up.

Joey and I snuggling before bedtime and when I leaned down to kiss his head his tongue came out and Ben caught it! Love that little pink tongue!            

I took him into the store with me one day like this and he just loved it cozy as a bug in a rug.

sweet sleepy snuggly puppy and his Christmas tree blanket

the newest place to nap and hang out... laundry basket

To the right is Joey's Aunt Jen-Jen she is a teacher at another school. She will be caring for Joey when we are in Thailand. As you can tell they get along just fine.

Hi upside down, still cute!

no words needed : p 

Ben decided to try putting his hood up, he wasn't very amused but we had a nice laugh.

That's all for now from this side of the planet.

Good Night & Good Morning!

Monday, November 22, 2010

day in and day out

The past few days we've been watching a show entitled "An Idiot Abroad". The title pretty much defines it. The entire premis of the show is that Ricky Gervais (the mastermind behind the project) is sending out Karl Pilkington (the idiot) to see the seven wonders of the world. Needless to say if  you enjoy British humor and have done a bit of travel here and there you'll truly enjoy it.

As we've watch the show we've laughed our heads off in understanding of the strange smells and vistas of foreign countries, tasting unknown foods, and the constant attention you attract as an outsider.

WHEN we have hot water we run for the showers and to the sink to wash dishes. The only down side (if there is one to having hot water) is the water is soooo stinking hot it burns your skin off, literally. Its the kind of shower were the water temp fluctuates enough to make you jump in and out of the stream every 5 minutes. Personally, I much rather deal with the burning hot shower than the ice cold shower of the antarctic. Ben of course loves the opposite, the ice showers of the antarctic, figures. At least one of us is usually happy.

Everyday we seem to discover more and more eye-roll inducing things around the house. As a result of the hot showers and the useless itty bitty fan that only works part-time our entire apartment fills with steam (tonite even the mirror at the front door was fogged) now causing us to have turn on the hood vent above the stove and fully open a window to get some actual ventilation going. All this is to avoid further growth of mold under a very thin yet semi-protective layer of wallpaper. It's just enough to make you wonder whats really underneath but never peel it back to find out. With our one year mark approaching this week its these many things that make us wonder why are we still here?!?!?

Alas, there are many reasons we are staying but the everyday life in a small Korean city is not one I'd choose for the long haul, but it's sure been a trip.

Just thought I'd share these few random thoughts for the day. Tomorrow we head to immigration to sign our lives away for Korea 2.0


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

a fall weekend

We had a nice weekend and remembered to grab the camera to capture some of it. As the temperatures have begun to fall and the sun is beginning to set earlier the leaves have begun to change. Just like Michigan spring and fall are two of the most beautiful in Korea. The changing leaves sets the mountains ablaze. The trees on our street  are in their glory and already started to fall and knowing that the color season goes fast we thought it would be a nice weekend for a hike. We also decided to take Joey and see how it all would go. We weren't sure he could handle it or if we'd have to carry him most the way.

We walked up to Urimji, past the second-Urimji, and found the start of the trail. We decided on a shorter hike as we got started later than expected and knew we didn't want to be hiking back in the dark.

The view through the trees as we were making our way to the top. This is the 2nd Urimji reservoir lake.
helpful steps

Ben + Joey = dirty sweaty hiking buddies forever

Joey was loving his life as he was racing up the mountain, we could hardly keep up with him. He slept like a log for a very long time afterwards.
                                                                love how the warm late afternoon sun is warming the trees 

the building is part of Semyung University

Ben just after summiting 

we did the 1 km up/down hike

its tricky getting pics of all of us looking in the same direction ahem...
finally an OK one


Ben found us hiking sticks to help us on the way down and I couldn't resist posing (cheesily I might add) for a cute pic with my new hiking buddy

After a long day we came home took showers after which Joey promptly passed out from exhaustion... mission completed! Ben and I went out for dinner at a place we were introduced to a few weeks ago that serves dak galbi; a spicy dish with chicken, cabbage, rice cake, and sometimes sweet potato.

Its all cooked in large cast iron pan right in front of you. Its perfect for a cold night cause it literally warms you from the inside out. Towards the end of the meal as you've finished most of the large chunks of stuff you order rice (or noodles) and they add it in the mix than smash it down to soak up the rest of the sauce, mix in the with the burned bits, and get really crispy and amazingly delicious. Its our favorite part of the entire meal but sadly we hardly save enough room for it. 

It was actually a very Korean day for us, and we enjoyed it, which was even more odd. The longer we're here the more we are learn that people can learn to adjust to anything. I mean honestly, who in a million years would ever have expected US to move to SOUTH KOREA and eat kimchee and all sorts of spicy red pepper drunken foods. Ben the boy who didn't eat vegetable now eats all of the above and a lot more. It's amazing how you can learn to change, adapt, and thrive even when life throws you curve balls.

Thats all for now. I am working on some more blogs aside from the usual week/weekend update, but the layouts have been driving me nuts lately so I get frustrated than give up. As you can tell this blog is laid out differently, I'm experimenting. So if the blogs are hideous my apologies and well what can I do I'm not computer programmer just a mere mortal with a laptop.