Wednesday, July 3, 2013

So long, Farewell

This will be my last blog post, a farewell to China and my blog.  

The last 3 weeks of my life in China were jam packed with lunches, dinners, and coffee dates to say good bye to everyone.  Lesley and I were on the go constantly. It's still feels surreal that it is over! 
My team this year!  Blessed to have known them and spent a year or 2 in China together!

Last hip hop class with this guy.  I had to say goodbye to dance as well.  Sad day. :(

Geoffery and Dale 
I tutored Geoffery for the past 2 years.  He met me on the street one day and asked me to tutor him.  I'm so glad he was brave enough to talk to me.  He is a great student!  Dale was my student last year.  His English has improved drastically!  So proud of him.  

Saying goodbye at school was really hard!  I will truly miss my students and co-workers at No. 1 high school.  
This is my favorite head teacher!  She speaks no English, but is so sweet.

My student named Obama!  I will miss having students with the most random English names.

Dawn and Pureman 
They are dating.  Shhh!  I'm the only teacher that knows. ;)

This is Superman!

This is Shine.  We became very close during the year.  She started to cry when I told her goodbye.   She is such a sweet girl and very funny!

This is Little Man (that's what Les and I call him).  He gave us our Chinese names!  We've been friends for the past 2 years, even though we can't communicate. 

Tingting is an English teacher.  She was a first year teacher this year and did a great job!  

Some of my boys!  
Oscar, Bad Boy, Jackson Z, and Happy

Sugar and Cookie, both as sweet as their names!

Last girl's group!  It was amazing to see how the Lord has multiplied this group and provided a good community for these girls.  So blessed to see a small part of HIS plan for Huangshi.

Dinner with Dianna and Helen's family!  They have been so good to us these past 2 years.  Constantly treating us to dinner and always taking care of us. I really appreciate all they did for us!

Last massage!  Oh how I will miss cheap massages!  This was an area I was spoiled in. An hour massage is around $10.

On our last night, Dawn cooked us our favorite Chinese foods and we watched Korean TV together.  How blessed I am to have known this girl.  She has given selflessly to me and the other foreigners in Huangshi!  

Dawn food is the best!

The morning we left we had to take a picture with Bieber. Bieber has been in our apartment since week 2 of our first year in China.  FYI:  The poster was a gift from a student.  

Dianna's family came to send us off!  We didn't know they were coming.  It was a wonderful surprise.

Dawn and her sister Maggie also came to say goodbye!

Paul and Erin were there too!

After a long journey, Lesley and I made it home.  We wore our qi pao dresses to greet our families at the airport!
Photo: Look who's home! :)

As sad as it was to tell all of my Chinese friends and students goodbye, I know I was suppose to come home.  I am so grateful that God brought me to China and allowed me to be part of so many people's lives. This season of my life had many up and downs, but I wouldn't change it for anything.  I grew so much during my time here and feel truly blessed.  

I will now be living in Baton Rouge and begin my American teaching career.  I will be teaching 4th grade at St. Luke's Episcopal (my former elementary school) this upcoming school year. I am excited to begin this new chapter of my life! Please continue to pray for me as I transition back into American life.  Also, continue to pray for all of my friends and students in Huangshi.  

That's all folks!  

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

South Korea Part 2

Day 3 in South Korea consisted of a lovely morning at Starbucks, a markets tour, and the North Seoul Tower!

This Starbucks was in Insadong and very close to our hotel.  Lesley and I miss getting to hang out at coffee shops, so we were super excited to just spend a quiet morning reading the Word and sipping some coffee!

Next to Starbucks was a restaurant that was on one of the Kdramas I just finished watching!  The orange sign had pictures from that scene of the show.  

We fell for this tourist trap, but they were very entertaining!  They make traditional Korean desserts out of honey. We bought one box.  It's similar to taffy.

Some antiques in the Insadong shopping area.

We ate at this restaurant for lunch that serves gimbap, the Korean version of sushi!

Gimbap is seaweed filled with rice, egg, veggies, and meat.  It was pretty good!

Throwing up the Korean peace signs!

I'm still posing China style!

Later that afternoon, we took a double-decker bus tour of all of the markets around Seoul. 

Gwangjang Traditional Market
This market was mainly made up of food and snacks.

Do you see me?

Many stalls had Western treats!  It was very tempting.

Korean version of pancakes.

Various fermented veggies

This vendor was sweet and had a great smile!

The circle box with the cotton on it is the kind of powder my grandmother used to wear!  Crazy! (This picture is for you mom)

Dokkaebi Market was similar to a flea market.
I asked one of the vendors to take this picture.  It was quite a task.

Antique store

Traditional Medicine Market

Dried frogs...eek!

Bundle of dried centipedes anyone?

For dinner we had one of my favorite Korean dishes, omurice!  It is basically an omelet filled with rice and covered with a sweet tomato sauce.  Delicious!

We ended the night at the North Seoul Tower.  We got to see a great view of the city and realize how big Seoul actually is!  It's the world's second largest metropolitan area, behind Tokyo. 

Day 4 started off with a hike up a trail near the Blue House, where the president of South Korea lives. Online it was rated a 2 out of 5 star trail for difficulty.  That was a lie!  As you can see below, I was not in hiking gear by any means.  It was an extremely steep hike made up of only stairs.  My legs were killing me for 4 days after the hike!

I couldn't take many pictures along the trail because it wasn't allowed.  There were security guards along the entire trail, since it is located near the Blue House.

We made it to the top!

I would like to thank Lesley for the next 2 pictures. Haha Classic Asia!

One of the guard towers along the trail.  There were soldiers in each tower with guns looking out over the area.  Kind of freaky!

Korean tour group decked out in appropriate hiking attire.

I made it to the top of the rock in my sandals!  Rock star! (haha get it!)

At the bottom of the trail.  We were exhausted.

Next on the agenda for the day was taking a stroll along the Cheonggyecheon, a man made river in the middle of the city. It is a really neat area of the city.

We took a break to rest our aching feet.

Snack time! This is called dukbokki.  It is a rice cake covered in a red sauce.  I have to say this was my least favorite food of the trip, but apparently many people love it.  It is everywhere in Korea.  

After refueling, we went down to the Han River and hung out for a few hours and took a ferry tour of the city.

On the last day of our trip, we of course had to go to Gangnam District.  We couldn't have come all the way to Seoul and not seen the famous district the song is about.  We decided Gangnam was our best shot at seeing a Korean celebrity because this is the district most of their entertainment companies are located.  Unfortunately,  our dream of seeing a Kdrama/ Kpop star didn't come true, but we did get pictures with the guys in the picture below.
One of our favorite Korean bands is 2PM.  Again, don't judge me!  

My favorite band member!  

SM Entertainment building

We are 100% certain there was a celebrity in the black van.  According to our knowledge of Kpop stars, which is completely based off of Korean TV shows, these are the types of vans the celebs ride in.  We even saw the guy pass a dress to someone in the van.  The more I type, the more I realize how lame I sound, but I don't care! 

In front of JYP Entertainment, who represents 2PM, 2AM, Miss A, and The Wonder Girls.

See that Dunkin' Donuts right across the street from JYP...we might or might not have sat there and waited for celebs for 30 minutes.  

After roaming around Gangnam for awhile, we had to find a sign with Gangnam actually written on it.  This is all we could find!

We asked someone to take our picture and they didn't even get the word Gangnam in the picture!  Oh well!

Gangnam style store!

PSY stuff was everywhere!

Sorry this post is lacking some enthusiasm.  I'm kind of over the whole blog thing.  I guess it's okay since I will be leaving China in 3 weeks.  Only a few more blog posts to go!