Wednesday, September 29, 2010

neighborly kindness

Leah was out in the yard kicking the soccer ball around and she saw our Korean neighbor. Leah greeted her in Korean, and the woman came and gave her these dried squid. Just handed a stack of them to her, not in a bag or anything. She brought them in to me. Let's just say that it is a good thing that I am not pregnant, because the scent of this kind offering would have cleaned out my stomach quick. We were all rushing, hurrying to get them in a Ziploc bag asap. I called my friend Jihyung and asked her what Koreans do with these. She said it is like beef jerky to them. AHHHHHH!! I asked her if she likes it and eats it. She replied yes. So, I passed on this kindness to her. I'll have to ask her if her husband (who grew up in the states) likes it too, and if he makes her brush her teeth before he kisses her after she eats it. What if she brought that to bed to nibble on as a snack? That could be the grounds for divorce for me. ha ha. I have started noticing the unusual smells of things that I eat, and how they would seem to me if I had never smelled it before. Like beef jerky, eggs, broccoli, turkey lunch meat etc. If I grew up here would i think..... mmmmmm cozy snack while watching pride and prejudice, when I smelled dried squid? It's a thought.

I know that when I smell dried squid someday 20 years down the road of life, I will have a sweet reminder of my time in Korean and the kindness of a neighbor, who reached out to someone who is different. Let's all try to do the same. Are you afraid to reach out to someone who is different than you? I challenge you to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to a neighbor, someone at work, at church, or that you see every week at one of your kids activities, that is different than you. Perhaps in their age, culture, beliefs, or personality. Show some kindness. Start with a smile, than asked their name, reach out. It makes the world a better place, and you will be happier too. I promise.

Anyway, I plan on returning the favor. Dave suggested a slab of bacon. ha. I think I will make a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies. Jihyung agrees with me.

As promised, some words from Sister Hinkley's book

"Each of us can ask ourselves each morning."What can I do
to make life happier for someone today?'

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Korean culture 101-Chuseok

Today was Chusok, the biggest Korean holiday. It is like Thanksgiving and Christmas all rolled up in one. It is celebrated at the time of harvest. It is when families return to where they grew up to meet with family and give thanks to their ancestors for all they have done for them and for watching over them.

My good friend Jihyun (more on this incredibly wonderful lady later) is Korean and I made her tell me all about it. She excitedly told me that it is her favorite time of the year (obviously she speaks english. ha ha. I am not fluent yet, but I have Rosetta Stone checked out from the library, and you know, miracles do happen. smile). She couldn't wait to go home and be with her family and do their traditional things, and eat her favorite dishes they would make. I made her keep talking about it so I could bask in her warm fuzzy feelings. Then I went home and cried because it made me homesick. From then on though I was excited about the holiday and felt that same excitement in the air.

So I invited some people over to share Chusok with our family. We walked to the woods across the street. There are trails all over and on the trails there are grave sites.

It was so cool that I actually captured a family gathering at the graves of their beloved ancestors (up above).
It was the first brisk fall day here and it was so heavenly. I can't get over it. It was the first time I opened up the doors and let the cool air in.
There would be clearings like these a long the way. So beautiful. It is the Korean tradition to place a mound above the grave to symbolize a mother's belly. They believe that they will live again, and so when they rise it will be as the come out of the mother's womb again. Cool huh?
Lizzie with one of her new friends Kayla. Friendship is a beautiful thing.
Ava found a stone that she was very, I mean very excited about, as only one can be at this age.
The trek back.
Lizzie and Abby.
sorry michelle, I couldn't resist.
at the end there, the wind really picked up. (ha ha)

Since I am a day ahead of you, why don't you have your own little Chusok celebration today. Eat yummy food, love being with your family, and give thanks for all that your ancestors have done for you. Or better yet, do some genealogy, or go to the temple and do temple work for your ancestors. If you don't know what that is go here.

I loved this quote by Sister Hinkley.

"It was while I was still very young that I made up my mind I would stay true and faithful to the gospel so that the suffering of my pioneer ancestors would not have been in vain. I know that the day will come when I will see them. How can I face them if I have not built on the foundation they have laid?"

I have made up my mind too.

Every post I am going to do a quote or excerpt from Sister Hinkley's book "Small and Simple Things". It is one of my favorite books and if I could be reading it non stop, or have it playing in my mind non stop, I think I would be nearly perfect. It is that uplifting and inspiring to me. I only brought a few of my most inspiring and uplifting books (besides the scriptures) with me. This is one of them. After reading it tonight, I bow my head in shame for the mistakes I have made today, and vow to live better tomorrow. Man I love this lady.

P.S. Don't forget to enjoy that harvest moon tonight either. It is gorgeous!

Monday, September 20, 2010

so inspired.

I love love my new apron that I got at emart. It even looked so cute with my orange sandals that I was wearing. It inspired me to make to cook this citrus and onion roasted pork. Because who can really cook without feeling cute. ha ha.

This recipe was a definite keeper in my book. Even though i had to squeeze by hand 4 oranges and 7 limes because I didn't bring my juicer. Just the smell of those two fruits is worth it. So uplifting. Do I really need to type out the recipe? You really need to just go and buy this issues. It's the Sept. 2010, so it's current. Believe me you will want to make every recipe in it. All 54 off them. I am really excited to make all the muffin tin recipes, now that I have my Demarle cookware here. Man I love that stuff. If you don't know what that is. Again google. It is Heavenly to cook with.

(Notice one of the few things that I brought Natalie.. your gift to me. My picture of Jesus is there too, behind the girls. love and miss you my dear neighbor).
Here is where the recipe is found. The most inspiring little magazine of wonderfulness. When we first got here and we had nothing, we went to the post office and here was a ray of sunshine in my day. My first issue had been forwarded to me. I didn't have any other recipes with me, so every meal I picked out of this issue. It has been so fun, and I never ran out of new things. There are still so many I haven't done yet. That is why this magazine is so amazing. They don't mess around. There are so many recipes in it. I definitely recommend it.

Also, as a side note, have you heard of e-meals. Google it. It's a website that for $5 a month you get menus and shopping list, you can even choose which grocery store you shop etc. for the month. It couldn't be easier and you have your month planned. They are simple easy meals, and really inexpensive. Also, they have different meal plans to choose from like vegetarian, or low fat. Check it!
Of course, a lot of loving was going on in the kitchen at the same time.

Ammon just cut his two front teeth at the same time, and before his bottom teeth. so cute.
so scrumptious.
he belongs in the kitchen where all good things to nibble on are.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Leah's 10th Birthday!

and her cake was extra special (just like her).

Leah and Lizzie have been obsessed with looking at cakes. With both of them having a birthday this month, that is all they have wanted to do every day. We have all of these bakeries by our house and they all make the most amazing cakes. They are works of art really, and they are so inexpensive. In the end this one was chosen from the baskin robbins located in emart (the korean super walmart). Is it not so dang cute? They packaged it up in the cutest little cooler box with hanging pouches of dry ice inside to keep it cold. The surprise inside the cake was that in the strawberry ice-cream there were pop rocks. Leah was in heaven.

Monday, September 13, 2010

yeah, a parade!

This past saturday, right outside the main gate was a Korean and American Friendship festival. The festivities started out with a parade.
Here are both flags represented. You know what I love, that I forgot about not living on base? Every evening at 5:30 p.m. All over base is heard the korean national anthem and then our national anthem. The whole base comes to a halt. All cars stop. All pedestrians stop and turn toward the nearest flag at attention or with their hand over their heart like the kids and I. It is quiet, and yes I will even say reverent. A time to stop from the busy rush, at the end of the work day and remember why we are here. To remember what a great nation we have and that it is worth preserving and defending. I am so proud to be an american and to be involved in it's support through the military. It is awesome. In the parade these young men holding the flags were standing at attention for quite some time and the korean flag was over the soldiers face being pushed against it with the wind. I just couldn't stand it and felt so bad for him and bugged dave until he ran into the street and moved it for him. Of course the young man couldn't move or acknowledge what he did, but i just know he was so grateful.
the korean military band.

oh, look who is in the parade. The new varsity cheerleaders for the Osan American High School.

Yep, Rachel made varsity cheer. The whole experience was so quick and crazy. A girl at school convinced her to try out. She had two days to practice and learn the cheers and dance. They tried out Thursday, and found out that night. They got their uniforms on Friday and learned a few cheers for the game the next night. The were in this parade on Sat., practiced and learned a few more cheers, then cheered at the game that night. I thought they did pretty darn good for so little time to prepare. This whole Korea thing has been such a fast transition. Even the football coach didn't get here until the same time we did ( a hint for how the game went. ouch) Jacob only got about a week of practice before being on the starting varsity line up. They want him to do all these different positions and he was pretty stressed. He couldn't do offense because there was no way he could learn the plays that fast. But how fun to not have to worry about the whole politics that are high school sports and the whole attitude of "you can't play because you missed one practice during the summer" etc. etc. It's been fun. Just like I knew it would be. You just can have so many experiences that you wouldn't normally get. It has been that way for all the kids. There is so much to do, and they make it so easy.

Speaking of being involved in so many new things. Here comes the ROTC group from the high school.
With "Gomer Pyle"(spelling?) their latest recruit. This has been really cool for Jacob too. It's an amazing program and really great for the kids. Jacob has to wear his uniform to school tomorrow. Is it washed? uh- oh.

Dave and I loved these guys. I know Dave just wanted to be dressed up and out there with them. I just love the look of these guys.

These are the veterans of foreign wars harley club. There are so many older military retired american men here with their Korean wives.
This little guy was watching the parade too. There are always people selling puppies and kittens but we are told to not touch them and never buy them, because they aren't healthy. The vets on base won't even see them. Sad because they are so dang cute. It took every ounce of Rebecca's strength to not hold them.
Anyone for a hamburger from Han?
Or would you rather just have some fish?
I love the colors and all the fresh vegetables. yum.
Didn't love this so much. Not quite sure the story. This was entertainment. hmm. I should have taken more pictures of all the vendors and all the shops right outside the main gate. Prada or coach purse anyone? You just need to crawl through a hole in the back of a store. ha ha.
The cheerleaders in the back row are the JV cheerleaders. The cool thing about being a varsity cheerleader is you get to travel with the team to the away games. Next week they go to Okinawa! How fun is that. I am jealous. I think we will all try to hop on the flight. We'll see.
Isn't she cute? and she is makin her mama proud with that kick. smile.
Jacob is number 88!
Jacob's best tackle of the night, I think. It was a long pass and Jacob got to him before he could score. Coach taught him afterward how he could stop him from making the catch. So much to learn. It was cool to hear his name announced over the loudspeaker and we all cheered for him.
But all the cheering and high kicks in the world couldn't make this a good game. Look at that score. Brutal. But in their defense, again they had only been practicing for a couple of weeks as a team, and this was their first game, and they are playing an experienced international high school from Japan who were mostly seniors. Today's practice was watching the whole game and learning from their mistakes. Poor guys. This friday they go four hours down to DAigu (the 25th is okinawa). Everyone went home very tired that night. I didn't mention it was also family day at the youth center with tons of free activities for the kids and food. What is so fun is that everywhere you go you see everyone you know. It is such a small community, and everyone is always involved with everything. I love it!