Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving.....Korea Style

Joe and I didn't actually celebrate Thanksgiving on, Thursday. We had to work until 7 and I knew that it would take too long to throw a make-shift Thanksgiving dinner together before bed time. Originally I had planned on making some potato/corn chowder on Thursday, then put something nice together on Saturday, when I would have more time.

Thanksgiving started out lovely. Joe woke up and ran to a local flower shop. I had been admiring the Christmas Cactus they had for sale for a few weeks now. He must have put it in his memory bank because when I got out of the shower Thursday morning, Joe was no where to be found. About 15 minuted later he walks into the apartment with a beautiful Christmas Cactus!
 Great surprise to start my day!

Isn't she a beaut?

Then the work day started. For whatever reason it was a hell of a day at work. Don't know if it was because it has been term test week or if the end of the week was getting to us or if the reality of it being Thanksgiving hit us or what but we were DONE by the end of the work day. We took Eddie for his evening walk and made our way to our favorite cheep pizza joint, Pizza School. Two, $5 pizzas, to-go was our Thanksgiving day feast. Well and a few adult beverages. As weird as it sounds it was the perfect meal. Easy, no cooking or clean-up.

Friday, Joe and I got to go on a field trip with out Kindergartners....more on that later, I promise.

Saturday morning I got my hair cut! More on that later too... pinkie swear.

Then Saturday evening we celebrated Thanksgiving.

I had a few Korean friends ask me why we didn't celebrate with the other foreigners (there were a ton of events around Seoul for foreigners to get together for a Thanksgiving buffet/dinner) or why we didn't celebrate on Thursday like we were "supposed to". It was easy for me to respond. It is not the food, nor the day that is important to us. It's the idea. Spending quality time with the people that you love, taking a moment to count your blessings. Being away from family and friends is tough during the holidays and it is important to both of us that we take the time and celebrate. More importantly it is important that we take the time to spend quality time together. Undivided, focused time on each other.  Someday Joe and I will look back on how simple our lives where when it was just the two of us and be thankful that we had the quiet, quality time and the simplicity.

Now back to our little celebration....
It is no secret that I do the cooking at our house. It was never discussed but I was under the impression that I would throw dinner together.

This was my meal plan:
  • Chicken Cordon Bleu
  •  Bacon wrapped green beans
  •  Mashed potatoes
  •  Orange Jello salad-(thank you M and D for sending all of the fixings!)
  •  Gravy 
  • Rolls
  • Wine......some days it is a food group :)
I began by turning on some Christmas music and getting everything organized in our pocket sized kitchen. I was planning out what dish to start when so that everything would be done at about the same time. After I began to cook, I was pleasantly surprised when Joe joined me in the kitchen.

He helped me get everything for the chicken prepped and ready, then he made the potatoes and Jello salad. I loved sharing the cooking responsibilities, and it's always fun to have company in the kitchen.

He wanted to make sure all of the marshmallows were evenly spaced on top of the Jello...

Cookin up a storm1
Yes, I am wearing a Christmas sweater...

ohh....chicken is done!

Dinner turned out delicious!

To follow tradition we both shared what we were most thankful for.
We were both equally thankful for each other and Eddie. Our jobs, that we love. The opportunity to spend more time abroad. Duck football. Skype. Our supportive family and friends!

Happy Thanksgiving from 37° N, 127°E.

You've Got Mail

We are lucky enough to receive a package from Joe's parents about once a month.
They do a great job surprising us with the food/snacks we love and miss from home. Even better they always remember to add a little something special for each of us. They even add a little treat for Eddie!

This month our package came a few days before Thanksgiving. It has been a long month, we have been busy with school, the weather has changed and it is getting chilly and to top it off we have both been a bit homesick. So it was perfect when our co-workers, Krystal and Leah, came into my classroom after lunch to deliver our package from home.

I was naughty (surprise, surprise) and ripped right into the package without Joe. I had good intentions, I was going to take something from the package and surprise him with it. :) Within a few minutes of rummaging through the box I found a cute pair of U of O, Duck earrings. I put them on and skipped over to Joe's classroom. As I leaned into his room I played with my ear, acting like Vanna White. He immediately knew what I was up to and nearly knocked me over running out of his room and into

It is shocking to me what Mom and Dad Randall can cram into that little box!

It is hard to tell from this picture so here is a quick run down...
  • ESPN Magazine
  • Make-shift Thanksgiving dinner fixings
    • stuffing
    • gravy x 3-4
    • instant potatoes x 3-4
    • green beans
    • black olives
    • the fixings for Joe's favorite Jello salad
      • orange Jello
      • marshmallows
      •  mandarin oranges
  • pumpkin bread
  • Cheetos
  • dog treats
    • bones
    • chicken jerky
    • a weird plastic toy that Eddie LOVES!
  • Booze!
  • Sun-Chips
  • Mike and Ike's
  • earrings
  • a cute blue dress
  • Advocare Spark (best energy boost before a workout or mid-day pick-me-up)
  • Reese's Peanut Butter Christmas Trees (yummy straight from the freezer!)
  • Starbucks Via (the BEST)
See a TON of stuff for that little box.

 We cut right into the pumpkin bread and made a cup of Via! It was a wonderful reminder of home!
We shared with our co-workers, everyone loved it!

Thank you a million times M and D! We love you, miss you and are very very thankful for the love you send over every month! xoxo Steph and Joe

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Counting My Blessings...

I teach Kindergarten reading to two different classes. We read two stories a month and have a spelling test every other Friday.

This two week unit started off like any other, until I remembered that this Friday (November 25) Joe and I would be going on a field trip with the Kindergartners. We wouldn't be at school to take the spelling test so I needed to adjust our homework schedule and spelling test date. I typed up a quick note to send home to the mothers and a new homework schedule packet. I explained that I had made a mistake about this weeks schedule and that the spelling test date would be changed.

Here is my note home:

Hi Mom and Dad,
I am so sorry but I made a mistake with this weeks homework schedule! I forgot that we will have a field trip on Friday, November 25. I have made a few changed to next weeks homework schedule. I have also changed the spelling test to Wednesday, November 23. Thank you, Ms. Stephanie

Yesterday I asked my Jupiter class (three students; Sean, Daniel and Jenith) if they had shown their mothers my note, and what their mothers had to say.

Daniel: "she say it is fine"

Jenith: "Mom just move head up and down."

Sean: "Mom said it is ok that Ms. Stephanie make a mistake because Ms. Stephanie is pretty."

...well I wonder what Sean's mother would have said if she thought I was ugly... :)


*Sean's mother is 35 and his father is 51. Sean often tells stories about shopping in fancy department stores, cleaning ladies, how beautiful his mother is and how he will have a new father someday when his father dies (because of how old he is). If you ask him what his mother does for a living he will respond with; "mom does shopping, drinking coffee with her friends and does exercise".

Monday, November 21, 2011

Eddie's Arrival Anniversary!

Joe and I got Eddie while we were in S. Korea in November of 2009, the weekend before Thanksgiving..... He was just a little guy. He had been left on a mountain and a young couple with a new baby found him. They took him home thinking that they would keep him. They named him "Eddie" after the Jack Russel Terrier on Frasier. They quickly decided that Eddie was way too much work and posted an add for him on Craig's List.

Joe and I had been contemplating getting a dog but had never had a serious conversation about it..... When I showed Joe the add for Eddie we both decided that we HAD to have him! We took the three hour subway ride to pick him up, paid around $80 to get him checked out by a vet then took him home!
Our first family photo, the day we got Eddie. 
November 2009

 He was such a cute little puppy!

Valentines Day 2011
I like Eddie furry. Before his summer hair cut.....
After his hair cut....He doesn't even look like the same dog!

In Korea it is completely normal to take dogs into the grocery store. When Eddie was little I would put him in my purse. Oh how things have changed!

Eddie fit so nicely in my purse.

18 lbs! What a stud!

Way too big for a purse now.

Eddie has always loved cuddles with Joe.

November 2009

Must have been a tough day. November 2011

We are very thankful for our little Korean souvenir!

Family photo October 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Halloween at BIS

Here are a few pictures from Halloween.

Halloween isn' a huge holiday over here. The private schools will have a play day/dress up day but the kids don't go trick or treating out in their neighborhoods or anything.
The kindergarteners were divided into two groups and got to carve a pumpkin. They went around to the classrooms and "trick or treated", then they got to play a game in the gym. Here are some pictures.

Group picture!
We did a little singing and dancing to get into the Halloween spirit.
Please note that Mr. Joe the MC did not have to dance or sing.
Each class has to memorize a book and give a "presentation" every month. Ms. Karen picks the best class and the teacher and students get a prize. My class "won" no big deal. They got erasers and I got Chapstick.

Matthew, Henry, Jun, Erin-Jo, Alex, Dorothy, Andy = Mercury Class

Mario aka Matthew

Angela, Sarah, Sam and Erin-Na = Earth Class


More singing and dancing!

Look at the HUGE pumpkin! :)

Alex digging in!

Please note that "Mario" aka Matthew is ON the table trying to get his hand(s) in that pumpkin!

The final product!

 All of these shenanigans took place between 10am-2pm. We were exhausted! We had a really good time though and I think the kids did too!

For the elementary kids we canceled the last class and had a little party. They got to play in the gym then eat snacks they bought from the 7/11 downstairs. Surprisingly they had a great time.

I took a few pictures, enjoy! 

First grade
Ben (black hat), Will (blue hat), me, Greg, Brad


Halloween 2011 = Success!