Animals, Asia, Culture, Farm, Food, Health, Missions, Travel

Ride or Die

 I’m still trying to catch up on my posts from Vietnam.We moved around a lot from place to place while we were there, which provided lots of travel time to write. However, what I lacked was the time to actually post what I was writing. If you know me very well, though, my delay should not come as a surprise.

                                                              

I ate a cricket this morning. And it was surprisingly refreshing. Not because it tasted great or anything. But, because I wasn’t going to do it, then I decided that I could handle it. So, I did. Pushing the limits you set for yourself can be a good thing.

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My carefully selected snack

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 I also rode an elephant. It wasn’t a first or anything. But, I was in the hotel room in the middle of the afternoon and I got a phone call. I answered, of course, and the voice on the other end said: “do you want to go ride an elephant?” No hello, no this is so-and-so, just elephant ride? And what’s your natural response for a phone call like that? Sure.

                                                              

So, we went on elephant excursion number three. This one was pretty typical: elephant, basket, little boy sitting on his head while we trek around. But, the seating arrangement was different. It was a wide metal basket with a narrow bench and no harness or strap of any kind. I’ve only been in bamboo baskets, which create for a little more traction. But with the metal bench and my denim shorts, I was sliding all over the place. Combine this with the fact that we were climbing down a steep embankment and the “driver” kept hitting the elephant on the head with a metal rod: I was sure I was going to topple out of the basket any minute.

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Treacherous looking basket

 But, I survived. Upon dismounting from the basket, the animal wranglers were offering other various rides. I had never seen anyone ride an ostrich, but they had them saddled up and ready to go, so I thought I’d give it a shot. It kinda made the elephant ride feel safe.
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Taking in the view

 The “saddle” has handles on the front and the back, and you are encouraged to hold onto both. Because those things take off like they’re trying to buck you off. Me and my ostrich were pretty in sync though for the most part and it was calm. We settled into a little routine. In fact, in most of the pictures, we even had the same facial expressions.

                                                              

Until the boy with the metal rod came around again and started hitting him. Then he took off and I nearly fell off again.

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Trotting along

I’m thinking some animals just weren’t meant to ride. But, then again, there’s a first time for everything.
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Asia, Culture, Food, Health, Medicine, Missions, Religion, Travel

Be Nice.

The people here are really nice. The thing I fear the most is getting hit by a vehicle. Nothing is off limits. Walking down the sidewalk, I have people honk at me. No, not people from the street. It’s the people on motorbikes who got tired of waiting in traffic and decided to take a “shortcut”, which means nearly running me over on the sidewalk. I really did almost get hit though. By a van. While I was crossing the road. It was a very near miss. I didn’t see my whole life flash before my eyes, but I saw the highlight reel.

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One lesson it does you well to learn early in life: be nice to people. Because for the most part, they will be nice back. And also because being nice to people sometimes has benefits. Call it sucking up, call it teacher’s pet, or climbing the ladder, for better or for worse, it works. A smile and a kind word can do wonders.
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In the security line at the airport, they took out my tweezers and my fingernail clippers from my bag. I thought they were going to take them. But a smile and a nice exchange and he gave them right back to me. See, it works.

At the visa line, smiling gets you through more easily. In Laos, I was the last one because the 4 workers at passport control were teaching me Lao phrases to use, after I spoke the little I already knew to them. How nice!

But, sometimes people are just nice to you for no reason. As we were loading on the boat to go across the Mekong to visit a village, some health officials from the Public Health Office came with us and happened to be on our boat. One of the ladies seemed really concerned with me. She would look at me, smile, pat my leg. She took pictures of me and kept saying daughter. Then, when we were unloading on the other side of the river, she grabbed onto my arm. And we walked up the river bank together.

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I figured she just needed someone to hold onto because it was a steep climb. But, as we were walking, she said Mama Lao, Mama Lao and pointed to herself. So, she had decided I was her daughter for the day and she was my Mama Lao. Which was fine by me.

When we got to the top of the riverbank, she let go of my arm and took my hand instead. So, we held hands as she led us to the village. The rest of the group was straggling behind us, so it was one white girl plus a bunch of Lao ladies leading the pack. She told me about her daughter who is the same age as me and taught me some new Lao phrases as we went along.

 

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Once we got to the village, she introduced me to the tribal chief, then let me go to look around while she directed everyone else. I wandered around the school we were at, taking pictures of the kids and talking to them. A little while later, my Mama Lao came over to me with a cold water and said drink.
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Now, I have to do an aside: cold drinks are hard to come by here. Even in restaurants, it’s likely you’ll get something lukewarm, maybe cool if you’re lucky. But cold, not too often. So, to have a cold drink out in a village (in 100 degree weather, mind you) is a major luxury.

So, I thought it was strange and special that they had cold drinks for our group. A few minutes later, one of our other ladies came over and said: where’d you get a cold drink?! I looked around and realized I was the only one with a cold drink. Everyone else had regular bottles of water. Except for one person. I spotted her across the way: Mama Lao, with her bottle also condensating in the heat.
Looks like I scored rank. And the benefits are pretty nice.

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Asia, Beauty, Celebration, Culture, Food, Funny, Travel

I Am Woman

It’s International Women’s Day.

I hope everyone knows that by now. I had no idea that such a holiday existed until I was ambushed at breakfast. Out of nowhere, a Vietnamese man came up to me, handed me a flower, wished me a happy …. day. Directly behind him was a woman who was snapping pictures of us with a big camera. As usual, I had just rolled out of bed, thrown on whatever clothes were closest to me, and was looking less than picture perfect. I was also halfway into my bowl of pho when they surprised me, so it was a funny scene. After laughing at the absurdity of it all, I asked them what the cause for such a show was to which they more slowly informed me that it was International Women’s Day. And, that my picture of receiving the flower would be on their Facebook page. I’d love to know what the caption on that reads.

I thought it was just our hotel making a big deal out of this day, but apparently, it really is a big deal. Even CNN says so. The restaurant we had dinner in had a special free dessert for every female customer.

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Grass jelly with dried longans.

Needless to say, Jake wasn’t sad he missed out on this one. I ate it and the longans were good. I tasted the jelly and it really did taste like grass. Imagine black grass jello and that would be about accurate. So, I skipped most of the jelly part.

At this dinner, we also had an appetizer that Jake thoughtfully described as “a gummy bear fish ball”. I should also probably inform you that we selected this restaurant ourselves, so there is no one to blame.

Since this is a day to celebrate, I decided to go all out and get a manicure and pedicure combo. I’m not used to getting both treatments at the same time, but since it cost about $10 for everything, I thought I should splurge. (I also feel that I should take this moment to explain that I had been wearing a sun hat prior to this and threw my hair up and that it, in fact, does not always look like such a mess. It only looks like this 36% of the time. And it is also in the 90 degree range here, so multiple excuses. Also, it’s Woman’s Day {the actual day, not the magazine that goes by the same name. Don’t get confused during my tangent}, so I probably shouldn’t even be explaining because we’re liberated and I don’t need to explain my choices, right? Is that what Woman’s Day is about? I’m literally just finding out about all of this, but if it excuses a bad hair day, all the better.)

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I didn’t plan it out very well though and got thirsty mid way through. But, both of my hands were occupied and what’s a girl to do? I must keep myself well hydrated. So, I made Jake open my water and give me a drink. Which he took a picture of. Which made me laugh. Which made me choke. But, I couldn’t appropriately cough because I had two people holding onto my hands and feet. Surprisingly with all of this jostling around and me pretending to be Cleopatra, my nails still turned out really well.

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So, here’s to all the women of the world. The young and the old. Every culture, every creed.

Whether you’re the woman selling me mangoes in the park.

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Or if you’re selling intestines at the market. And eating noodles at the same time.

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It takes guts to be you. (Sorry, I never could resist a pun.)

Celebrate today.

Because you are a female. And that is something to be celebrated.

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America, Asia, Missions, Religion, Travel

Giving Up

Jake says that my life is just one continual series of blonde moments. I think he might be on to something…

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Like this subway selfie I took right after I put on the public lip gloss tester in It Takes Two

Seriously though, I do (almost) everything with a reason and intention. I’ve just been noticing that my reasoning is different than everyone else’s.

On Wednesday night, we’ve been teaching about the Fruits of the Spirit and this past Wednesday, we were going to cover Patience. I was assigned the task of coming up with an activity that the kids could do that went with the lesson. So, I found a game that involves a team stacking cups with a rubber band tied with strings.

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I failed to realize that it would require more patience to tie the strings on to the rubber band than to play the game. I also failed to realize how much time it would take to tie the strings on. So, I was running late to church, as usual. In my rush to get on my way, I thought, I will put these rubber bands with the strings on my wrist so I won’t lose them! See, I was thinking ahead and realizing that it would be very likely that I would lose them between the house and church. So, I put them on my wrist and this is what they ended up looking like.

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Rubber band catastrophe

So much for thinking ahead.

I give up.

I’ve kinda wanted to give up on a few things lately actually.

If you’ll remember: I started this blog really because of a nutrition project I felt led to be involved in. If you’ll also remember: I felt a call to missions a long time ago. And, I committed to that then. I told the Lord I would do that. I would do what He wanted. And, in saying that, what I really said was, I won’t do what I want. Because automatically, when you say yes to God, you say no to self.

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First time in Laos

Lately, though, I’ve felt a pull to give that up. I decided I wanted to stay where I was, focus on work, and in essence, focus on me. Did I actually tell myself that I wanted to give up on what God was doing in my life? No.

What I did say was that I wanted to choose where God was going to use me and how I was going to be used. I still wanted to be used, I just wanted it to be on my own terms. Which is never a good idea. But, I convinced myself that it would all work out just fine.

I mean, surely this commitment to missions that I’d made had an expiration date, right? That’s the way to live your late teens and early twenties. But, eventually, you need to “settle down”. Isn’t that what society tells us?

Plus, God can use me at home, right? I hear people say that to me all the time. And, I believe that 100%. I told myself that He could use me more effectively at home than He could with me tracking myself around the globe. I reasoned it all out and it sounded really good to me. Just like the rubber bands on the wrist thing.

I think I ended up with some tangles in my plan though.Without fully realizing it, my new commitment to serve where I wanted and focus on me meant saying yes to myself and no to God.

The problem was: I decided I was done. The nutrition program was tentatively going to require traveling to Asia twice within a few months. So, I established in my mind that I couldn’t do that. Once, maybe. But, not twice. That was too much. That wasn’t what I signed up for. Those weren’t the terms of my contract when God called me to do mission work.

Then, I heard a word from God. Literally, one word.

Follow.

When Jesus called His disciples from their boats on the Sea of Galilee, He didn’t tell them how long they’d be gone. He didn’t tell them what they were signing up for. He said: Follow Me.

He didn’t continue that phrase with a timeline. He didn’t say: you can go back to fishing after a few years with me. And, it wasn’t a question. Jesus didn’t say: do you want to follow me? Do you want to try it out and see how you feel about it? He didn’t give them an itinerary or a list of terms and conditions.

It was a command.

Follow Me.

And, it’s still our command today. Without question. Without concern.

Follow.

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America, Asia, Celebration, Food, Travel

Statistic Stories

So, I checked and out of the 31 days in January, I was gone 22 of those days. My life is becoming a little bit ridiculous.

                                            

Apparently, at the beginning of every year, my blog site sends out an informational email to show you how you’ve done for the year. I’m still very much a novice, but the statistics are kinda cool, so I’ll share them with you.

                                            

                                

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 Almost 500 pictures is crazy! Blonde Beijinger is kind of a strange post to be the most popular one. I wouldn’t have guessed that. Here are a few of my faves (in no particular order) :

                                                                        

                                

It is really hard for me to choose my favorites because I lived all of the stories, so they each seem special to me in their own ways. Luckily, they provided me with a statistic on the posts that got the most views in 2015. And, it looks like I chose some of the popular ones in my list too. Enough is Enough and Checkmate can be found here if you want to check those out again!

                                                                                        

                                

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They also included my posting patterns, which isn’t super interesting to me. But, here they are anyway.

                                            

                                

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And finally, where does everyone come from?

                                                                                       

                                

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While I’m sure all of this is really interesting to everyone, I also created some statistics of my own because I feel like mine may give you a better idea of my life.                                                                                                            
Since I began this blog, I have

                                

– travelled to 12 countries (South Korea [x2], Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, China, Canada, Italy, Jordan [x2], Israel, France, Hong Kong, and Germany)

                                

– endured 174 hours of being stuck in an airplane (just calculated it, that is over a week straight of flying. As in 7 whole days, plus some. And that doesn’t even account for the amount of hours spent in airports. Mind boggling.) Here is my favorite post from an airport: Moving On

                                

– Eaten 353 enchiladas. See Cinco Celebrations for reference.

                                       

– Grown 3432 pounds of produce in the garden. Peas, Please!

                                            

– Embroidered 782 hats, in case you want to know what a Day In The Life Of Me is like.
                                                                                         

                             

Most of these are approximations, but probably close enough to true to be legitimate estimations. Which essentially tells you my life can be split into four categories: travel, work, Mexican food and gardening. Which actually really is accurate.

                                            

So, here’s to 2016 and all the stories yet to come!

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Asia, Culture, Europe, Food, Travel

Club Class

In the airport, there’s this magical little world no one ever tells you about. It’s hidden away behind glass doors, outside of the hustle and bustle and screaming babies. I lovingly refer to it as “the club”. In the club, it’s quiet and there’s free food and drinks. It’s a wonderful little oasis.

The Korean Club

We have all these amenities, not really because we’re anyone special, mostly because Jake does his travel research.

Each airline has a club, and I’m not sure technically exactly how it works, but we show up at the door and give them our passports and tickets and they escort us in.

 

The Tokyo Club

I keep hearing a waitress in heels walking towards me and am fairly certain she’s coming to tell me to put my shoes back on and to keep my feet off the furniture. I’m really probably not high maintenance enough for this travel life. In fact, there’s no probably about it. I’m not high maintenance enough for this. Seeing as how I’m currently drinking my ice tea from a beer mug, I’m pretty certain that seals the deal. (The mug was the biggest cup they had though, in my defense)


We also have access to “the lounge” at our hotels, which is another magical oasis where there are free food and drinks and where I’m known as Miss Scott, even when I walk in with bed head and Nike shorts on for breakfast. Who am I and how did I end up here?

 

Part of the breakfast lounge in Seoul

 

The lounge in Germany, where they have approximately 37 different types of beer

Short little side note: when we arrived at our hotel, the concierge asked Jake how old I was because they serve alcohol in the lounge, so you have to be atleast 18 to go in. When he informed her I was 24 (his older sister), she laughed nervously and said, oh, I thought she was still in high school. Seriously though, this age thing is getting a little ridiculous! Right?

 

Afternoon tea at the lounge in Seoul

This is all pretty fancy for me. But I am considering buying a fur coat, just to try to fit in a little more. Although, I realized I’m currently wearing socks with holes in them, so maybe I’ll skip the fur coat for now and just treat myself to new socks instead. I’ll take this fancy lifestyle upgrade one step at a time. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself.

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Asia, Culture, Food, Funny, Travel

Curly Fry Chronicle

This picture pretty much describes us 100% accurately.

Jake loves us, he really does

 

Jake and Jordan are so bad for each other. We stopped by a McDonald’s for a bathroom break on our way to dinner. Side note: bathrooms are really hard to find in Asia, but McDs usually always has one. Anyway, Jake felt obliged to buy a drink in exchange for the use of their bathroom so I went to sit down while he and Jordan stood in line. They came back with not only two drinks but a bag of curly fries. When we’re on our way to dinner.

Why?

Because they both agreed with each other that they had to try them because we don’t have them in the US. Logical reasoning, right?

Second side note: I did try the curly fries and they were really good. McDonalds, just why don’t we have these in America?!
This post is mostly for Jake and Jordan, so the rest of you can just read along. Last year, when we were in Korea, I did a really good job (if I do say so myself) of covering Korean foods and most of what there is to know about it. But, Jake got a new camera for Christmas and sold me on the purchase by claiming the new camera would be “great for the blog!” He never needs an excuse to buy gadgets, but he usually always has one.
So, almost every dish we had here got a professional looking cover photo. Which I now feel obliged to show everyone. Because it really is top notch photography.
Jordan had never tried Korean food before coming on this trip, so this can serve as a guide for her to tell people what she had. (You’re welcome, Jordan!) I feel like I should also tell you that she had never used chopsticks either. And at most restaurants, they dug out a couple of random forks for her and I because they got tired of seeing us struggle.
Andong Jjimdak: this is my absolute favorite Korean dish. Andong is a province in Korea and is known for “country food”. Jjim means stewed and dak translates to chicken in Korean, so it is chicken that has been simmered in a delicious soy based sauce with carrots and potatoes and served with glass sweet potato noodles. It is so good! And this picture makes me want some right now.

Bulgogi: a Korean classic, bul means fire, gogi means meat. So it’s a grilled meat dish. We usually have this one with beef. It’s thinly sliced and marinated in a sauce made of garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, and mashed apple or pear (to add sweetness) The first time I had this, one of my friends cooked it for me at home. And after adding the raw beef to the marinade, stuck her finger in it to taste it to make sure it was right. Why she waited til she had the raw beef in to taste the marinade, I’ll never know. But, that’s what I remember most about this dish.

 

We cooked it at our table

 

Kimbap: this is a Korean snack food that is similar to sushi. Kim means seaweed and bap is rice. We had this at the same market I wrote about last year. The one where I had the pig intestines stuffed with the blood noodles? If this isn’t ringing a bell, you can go back to the beginning and read about it. Anyway, these particular kimbap are called mayak (which loosely translates to drug) because they are small and addictive. They have Korean radish, carrot, and scrambled eggs in them and they’re coated with sesame oil.

 

They’re the little rolls over by the staring lady

Bimbibap: another rice dish (did you notice bap in the name?), this one is a standard. Bimbi means mixed. It’s served in a stone pot that is roughly 396 degrees (it’s seriously hot, don’t touch). And when it’s served, you mix it around really quick to cook the egg that’s been cracked on top. It’s kinda bland because they serve the sauces on the side so you can make it how you like.

Ssambap: notice “bap” again. More rice! Ssam means wrapped. These are essentially lettuce wraps you make at your table. You order your meat, which you grill at the table (AKA Korean BBQ) and then are brought a basket of “leaves” and all the sides. You put rice, meat, sauce, and garlic in the leaf and enjoy! And this dish is even better because it always comes with a show, which consists of a lady coming to your table with a slab of meat and kitchen scissors and cutting your meat for you while babbling in Korean. A true two for one deal.

Ttopokki: pronounced “top-okie”, this is honestly not one of my faves. It’s chewy rice cakes simmered in a spicy sauce. I don’t like the texture and I don’t like the spice, so this one isn’t really for me. But, I’ll eat it when I have to.

Samgyetang: this was a new one for me and I really enjoyed it. Sam means ginseng, gye means chicken and tang translates to soup. So, ginseng chicken soup. It’s served with a whole small chicken, which you tear apart with chopsticks and dip into a small saucer filled with a salt and pepper mixture. (Jake tried to put the salt and pepper in his soup, which is apparently a no-no. Don’t deviate from the custom.) The chicken is stuffed with sticky rice, so it takes a little eating before you locate your rice. It comes with a little whole ginseng in the soup, which is prized for its major health benefits and can be super expensive.


Also praised for its “medicinal properties”, a round of ginseng liquor on the side. We were told that old Koreans have a little every day as medicine. And I know why, because that’s exactly what it tastes like.

Bingsoo: a Korean meal with friends is never complete until you’ve left the restaurant and located a dessert cafe. And bingsoo is, by far, our favorite. It consists of milk ice flakes that are the consistency of powdery snow, with various toppings, depending on how you order it. It’s served in a big bowl and meant to be shared, so you must have it with friends.
Injeolmi bingsoo is Jake’s favorite. It is topped with a roasted soybean powder, sliced almonds, and little chewy rice cakes. Then, doused with a good helping of sweetened condensed milk.

Strawberry shortcake bingsoo was Jordan’s favorite. It was my first time to try this variety and it didn’t disappoint. It consists of a layer of shortcake on the bottom, a layer of strawberries, a layer of whipped cream, a layer of the milk ice flakes and a scoop of vanilla ice cream buried in the middle. Sounds awful, right?

There were a few dishes we couldn’t convince Jordan to try though.
This one is a pork leg that you pick up and eat like a turkey leg at the state fair. Except you pick it up by the hoof, from this steaming bucket, so maybe next time.

And as tempting as this lady is making octopus look, we decided to skip out on that one too. Seeing as how the cut the legs off the octopus and serve them to you still moving, with the suction cups sticking to your tongue as you fight to swallow it, I thought I could miss that experience for now.

Check please!

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Asia, Beauty, Culture, Fashion, Food, Travel

It Takes Two

I never wear lip color. But, Jake and Jordan were busy buying gold face lotion (yes, it actually has gold flecks in it and is apparently some of the best face lotion on the market in the world right now, as told by the girl selling it) so I used all the store testers to give myself a new look. Jake was less than impressed that I used the store tester lip gloss wand, but it looked pretty clean to me.

Pucker up

In other news, I’ve won Jordan over to the dark side. I was literally having a meltdown. I think I’m borderline hypoglycemic because sometimes it feels like my blood sugar just drops off the map. I was having a moment and all I wanted was street corn. As in cobs of corn that they cook and sell on a street. God heard my request fast because as soon as I said it, we walked right up to a stand.

 

Street corn stand

It’s maybe a little odd to some people, but I love it. And now Jordan does too. You get two street corns for two dollars. They only sell them in sets. You can’t buy one corn for one dollar. You have to buy two. I don’t really know why, except for the fact that everything here is made for couples. Even the street corns. I think it’s a conspiracy, ya’ll.

 

Subway hat shopping and corn eating, no shame in my game

Did I also mention that Jake, Jordan, and I are all currently single and all have no prospects of changing that anytime soon? So, we don’t exactly fit into the couple culture here. And, yes, it is very much a culture. You’re not somebody unless you have a somebody. And they go to extreme measures to let you know they go together.

 

Singles in Seoul

 

Couple clothing. It’s a phenomenon.

They literally buy matching things as a couple then wear them at the same time to let you know they’re taken. Here are a few examples:

Winter coats: to me, this could almost be construed as seasonal, so it wouldn’t be my first choice of couple clothing. I feel like it says, we’re together for the winter, but once spring hits, I’m out! However, the cost amount of a coat may indicate a more serious status in the couple clothing world. Also, it is an essential, so maybe if your guy wants matching coats, you should go for it.

Shoes: this one is the most popular (and the most difficult to get a picture of). We saw a ton of matching shoes. This is also a little more costly purchase, however, I think it indicates a medium amount of commitment. My thoughts are that it says: we’re officially established as a couple and we’re semi-serious, but we’re probably never getting married.


Hats and scarves: totally seasonal, not a costly purchase, not too much thought put into it, you’re definitely not marriage potential. But, you’re cute, so keep doing you.

That pretty much covers the main bases on attire. The options vary some in the summer: matching t-shirts, matching shorts, etc.But, I’m not really concerned about finding someone to share fashion with. What I’m really concerned with is finding someone to share delicious street corns with. Jake is no good because he hates corn, unless it comes in the form of a tortilla. But, me and Jordan make a perfect match.

My true Seoul-mate.

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Asia, Culture, Travel

Coffee Break Beginnings

I’m back where it all began. Well, where this all began. This being my blog. Which I haven’t been keeping up with very well lately (sorry, mom!).
Actually, Korea is where a lot of things began for me. I almost had a Korean roommate in college but she got moved to the international dorm before she moved in with us. But, that spurred a friendship between us, which spurred me leading a Conversation English group, which spurred friendships with a lot of other Koreans, which spurred our first solo travel, which was to Seoul.

 

Heesu (to my left), my Korean (almost) roommate

So, it’s kinda where it all began in a literal sense.

Traveling solo (or duo in our case, since me and Jake almost always travel together) to a new place where you don’t know the language is pretty exhilarating. I should also mention that Jake was 18 and I was 20 when we first came to Korea by ourselves. We were babies! But, we (he) figured out the subway system and how to get ahold of our friends and meet and order and all the other things you have to know to get around. And, once we got the hang of things, the world became quite a bit smaller and traveling got a lot easier.

 

First time to Seoul

So, this is our fourth time to Seoul.

We’d been planning this trip for awhile, since we could conveniently travel during the holiday season. I was trying to see all my friends on winter break before we left, which just happened to include morning coffee breaks with Jordan. Her family lives a few miles away and we’ve been friends since high school. So, morning coffee while she was home became a must.

 

Morning coffee break selfie

Somehow, one of our morning coffee breaks turned into us booking plane tickets, which turned into jet lagging our way to Seoul (with a short sushi break in Tokyo)


And, jet lag means coffee breaks are a must for us on both sides of the world.

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America, Asia, Culture, Travel

Oh Say, Can You See? 

For Halloween, I thought I’d be an annoying American tourist until I realized that I already am.

We went to see a big Buddha up on a mountain. I’m sure it has a better name than that, but I don’t know what it is. So, that’s what I’m calling it.

Anyway, I didn’t know what to expect when we got there but it was actually a really neat little area, complete with a bunch of shops and places to take pictures.


I was so impressed with it, that I exclaimed loudly, this is way better than the Wall of China! Then, I realized that we are technically in China and that Wall is the pinnacle symbol of their national pride. Oops. Probably should’ve kept that observation to myself.

Me in a sea of Chinese tourists

 

To get up to this mountain with the Buddha, we had to ride a cable car. And Jake was feeling extra special since it’s his birthday, so he booked us the “crystal cabin”. Sounds fancy, right? I’ll break it down for you. He booked us a glass box to ride up a mountain in. It was precarious to say the least.

Not a fan of heights? Don’t go anywhere with him. It was like zip lining in a box. For thirty minutes.

 

Waterfall under my feet

On our way up, we shared the cabin with two couples from Venezuela. But on our way back, we got one all to ourselves. So, we Skyped with our parents so they could enjoy the view too.

 

Family photo

 

Then, after that, we took some goofy pictures and waved at the others going up in their boxes.

 

This was funny at the time, trust me

 

Then, I was so overcome with national pride for our own country that I decided to sing our national anthem. And a medley of other patriotic songs. Which was really funny to both of us. Until we were coming back in to the cable car station and realized that our windows were open and everyone waiting in line to get on a cable car was able to hear my rousing rendition of “You’re A Grand Old Flag.”

Annoying American tourist? Yep, nailed it.

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