Summer HIGHLIGHTS (May/June)

Yes yes yes, I know I am way overdue on posting! I do apologize.  At first, it was just my mom bugging me to keep up the blog but I guess now the extended family has started to complain. 😉  However, in my absence I’ve realized that blogging isn’t really for me anyway.  It’s just a way to keep friends and family in the loop, especially since we live on the other side of the world.  So, that being said don’t expect too much.  I suppose my best excuse for 5 months of silence is that I love summer time and spending it outside in the sunshine.  So, blogging has been a conflict of interest.  However, now that the weather is cooling off and I am 5 months behind, I thought I should pick it back up.  I gave the blog a little makeover and I am starting a summer recap series.

Our summer began with Ethan heading back to the US for his sister Melyse’s wedding. It was a whirlwind but he got in some good family time and had a few friend reunions.  
SONY DSCHe met up with my best friend Kristin, her husband Chris and they’re cute daughter Nora for a little disc golf.

SONY DSC SONY DSCRehearsal dinner in the Lagerquist’s backyard.

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While Ethan was in the US, I got to spend the weekend at beautiful Seoraksan National Park with our friends from college. It was great to have God’s beauty and friends to take my mind off Ethan being gone.  Sadly, our 2nd day was spent in panchos and our views were nonexistent.  However, Ethan and I made it back there in September (more on that in another post).  
IMG_20130518_145518 IMG_20130518_141410IMG_20130518_162034IMG_20130519_094313 IMG_20130519_090641When Ethan came back, he actually brought back my mom and brother for 2 weeks!  We showed them all around town and Seoul trying to give them a good taste of our life in Korea.

IMG_5145 SONY DSC IMG_5074 IMG_4994SONY DSCFor the last of their trip, we went up to Seoul and got to spend 4 days touring around.  We had an awesome time having them here!  Although, now it seems as if it was a dream.  It was like having two different worlds collide, but it was so good to be able to introduce them to our friends, church, students, and what our day to day life is like.  We can’t wait/hope for whoever our next visitors are!

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The day after they left, was our 2 year anniversary (6/11/13).  We celebrated by embracing the Korean fad of “coupling” (dressing the same as your significant other), going a Norabong (private singing room) and singing love songs, and setting up our own engagement photo shoot.  
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SONY DSCSONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCSONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCSONY DSCWe spent the remainder of our June trying to soak up as much sun that we could at the beach or on a bike ride and enjoyed our summer nights with a hike or strolling around our city’s “lake park.”

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Check back soon for July, our trip to Boracay, Philippines, August, and a better look at Seoraksan National Park!

We’re past the 6 month mark!

Well, on February 17th we hit 6 months of being in Korea and March 1st was 6 months of teaching.  It has been a whirlwind!  We have learned to live out daily life in a foreign culture.  However, there are somedays (cold winter days when we hardly leave the house) that we forget we are across the world from our family and all that we’ve known.  With the wonders of technology, we are so blessed to be able to stay in contact with friends and family pretty easily.

We have had our ups and downs throughout these last 6 months.  We’ve known since we got here that in February we would have to make the decision to commit to a second year or finish up in September 2013.  Our thoughts and feelings have changed multiple times since we’ve been here.  The holidays coincided with the end of the semester and with that came pangs of homesickness and burn out students.  We were feeling slightly negative but a great vacation and time spent in prayer realigned our attitudes.

I’ve also mentioned before that finding a church and friends were a struggle for us at first.  Coming over here we didn’t know exactly what the Lord had in store and we can’t pretend that we fully understand it now.  It has been a process, however, He has blessed us with a renewed vision, purpose and patience as he uses us to fulfill His will in our lives here.

So, all of that to say this… We have committed to stay a second year, until September 2014!  It was a difficult decision but we felt that we have been given such a gift to travel, save money , and soak up a different culture.  A year is truly a short time to engage in a new lifestyle.  In addition, we honestly don’t know where or what we will be doing after this season.  However, we know that it’s ok to be unsure.  The Lord gives us what we need to know for the time being.  The future isn’t guaranteed and we  all need to learn to live life in the present and not waste time waiting around for the next thing.  This is a lesson I’ve had to learn and relearn many times.

Well, spring is peeking around the corner and we are so excited!  The winter has been a somewhat depressing season.  Our house has been very cold.  When I say cold I mean, we see our breath throughout the house except for the room with the kerosene heater, take a shower and use the toilet in a frigid bathroom and spend around $300 dollars a month to keep our pipes from freezing and heat basically one room.  So, you can imagine how ready we are for the spring!  There are some great perks to living in a house (space).  However, we talked with our boss and should be moving to more practical housing sometime this summer.  We are so hopeful for our future here.  This next year and a half will hold multiple visits from family and friends.  Ethan will go home for his sister, Melyse’s, wedding in May and my mom and brother will be flying back with him for 2 weeks. Also, we decided that since we are staying for 2 years we  will both come home for Christmas!

Wish I had more pictures to share but the cold has put a damper on our adventures. Here are a few pics we’ve taken the last few months.

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A chilly hike on a nearby mountain with a friend, Megan. SONY DSC SONY DSCA trip to the coast with some sweet ladies from church. Oh that reminds me, Ethan is in need of more guy friends!

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We took a trip down to Geoje Island for a 3 day weekend the beginning of March to see two couples we went to college with (Derik and Amanda, who we vacationed with over Christmas, and Jared and Amber, who just got here in January). Once again, Amanda worked some photography magic.  We spent an evening on the beach playing around with sparkler picture art and releasing sky lanterns. In addition to that, we had some awesome quality girl’s and guy’s time.  It has been really tempting to move down there but we feel confident our place is here in Seosan for now.

There’s a little update on us and our next year and a half!  We feel so humbled and blessed to have your support and prayers throughout this journey!