Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The beginning of the end

We are less than two weeks away from leaving our first home, first real job (for me at least) and many other "firsts" we have experienced living abroad and being newly-weds. Along with this comes the first time to move out of an apartment, and boy does stuff accumulate over the period of one year....especially in a foreign country! Neither of us are pack rats, but we tend to hang on to things more over here. You just never know when you might need that special thing that special person gave you on that special day, or you might not be able to locate that thing ever again. Needless to say, we are doing some much needed winter cleaning. We have already shipped home (yes, via a large boat) 3 boxes of "stuff" and believe you me, there is still more! We are doing a bit of traveling before heading back stateside, and we prefer to carry light luggage (with plenty of room for more goodies!). Therefore our trips to the local post office will continue, as well as the relationship we have developed with the employees there.
Here's a bit more information about the places we'll go (Oh, the Places You'll Go....I miss Dr. Seuss):
Our first stop is Malaysia. Unfortunately, we are not spending much time here at all. It's really just an over night layover, but with plenty of time to try some delicious Malay food, see the beautiful Twin Towers lit up at night, and catch up with an old high school exchange student. The next morning we are on a plane to Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia. We'll spend a few nights there and travel to Siem Reap to see Angkor War (the largest religious site in the world).
From there, we fly to Bangkok, Thailand where we will meet up with some special guests. The Mueller's and Kenney's are spending the holidays in South East Asia! Mark, Neysa, Meaghan and Jerry and us will enjoy some time in Thailand's capital, then head north to Chiang Mai. We have lots of exciting plans for this city, but we'll save that for a post-trip post. Here's one spoiler though--I signed the women up for a traditional Thai cooking class, so by the time we're back in Texas, we *should* know how to make some delicious dishes!
After almost two weeks of traveling, we'll part ways (the Mueller's are continuing on to Vietnam) and hop a plane to Dallas and be home for the holidays.

There are so, so many things we are excited about in our near future. Until then, we must focus on packing boxes and suitcases (I must say, I'm glad I married an Eagle Scout, they tend to be very handy about these things).

Oh, and we are very safe here in Busan. As you can see by the map, we are as far away as possible to the recent shelling and military action from North Korea.

Please continue to pray for this nation and the people and leadership in both the North and the South.

We love you all!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fall in Busan

It's Fall here, and it's wonderful! The trees are gorgeous and the weather is perfect! We went hiking this past weekend and got some great shots...
...of foliage that is!
Can you find Loren snapping shots with the locals?

Well it's that time already...we are packing up to head back stateside. Our one year teaching contract is quickly coming to an end. While there are a ton of things we are excited about getting back home to (e.g. family, our dog, hunting, Mexican food...in no specific order) we will also miss the life here (easy and affordable transportation, working together in the same environment, our church family and so much more!).

Here's a few things as of lately:

Busan Fireworks Festival
Over 2 million people come to this annual event and crowd the beaches of Gwangalli. We were fortunate to have great "seats" to the show at the top of our friend's apartment building.
We also walked in a 5K along Haeundae beach for diabetes with one of our co-teachers. Here's Loren with his two new friends.
Our English academy threw a Halloween party for our elementary age students. If you want a good laugh, try explaining this "tradition" to Koreans. As you can see in the picture, some kiddos got the idea and even dressed-up for the event!
One of my favorite and sweet students :) He's showing off his well-deserved stickers.
We finally caught a Lotte Giants baseball game! Unfortunately, this was their last game of the season. The bit of absurdity you may notice is the equivalent of a "rally-cap" during the seventh inning. These "hats" also double as a trash bag (it wasn't only us, everyone in the stadium had them on their heads!). Smart and resourceful idea, Busan!
The delightful dish you see in the photo below is the Korean dessert "Pot Bing Su". It is a combination of sweet red beans, shaved ice, fruit, cereal and ice cream. Don't judge just yet...while this concoction might sound appalling and disgusting, it's actually quite delicious!
We'll leave you with this cool photo of the city lights from the top of our apartment building.
Love you and miss you all...we'll be seeing everyone soon!