Sunday, October 25, 2009


I'm sitting on the floor in the middle of a classroom in the middle of a school in the middle of Korea. Seoul, Korea to be exact. I'm at my first MUN (Model United Nations) conference. Do you know how hard it's been to teach a class that's completely experiential when you have no experience? Do you know how hard it is to teach a class to students who know much more about the subject matter than you do? It's difficult, my friends. Very difficult. So, it's nice to see all my planning and preparation come together at last, to finally 'get a clue'. Maybe I'll actually know what I'm talking about in class now.

The best part about this trip is watching the students. When you teach kids, you only know them in the frame of reference you teach them in. So, if I have a student in my History class, I only know them based on their performance in my class. If I have them in MUN class, I only know them based on their participation in class. That's what I love about coaching and having students over to my house and going on trips with them; it gives me another frame of reference. I find out that the quiet student is actually pretty outgoing but not in History class because they're not with their friends or they're not confident about the subject matter. Or maybe a student who's struggling in my class is a genius in Math or Science or maybe they're an excellent soccer player or actor. That's what this conference is about...peeling back another layer to my students' personalities. I'm watching them speak out, give opinions, take leadership, engage in super intelligent discussions, work with others at a level that is very unusual even with your best students. And it's all for the sake of creating a better world. That's what MUN is about- making our world a better place. My students spend hours every week thinking about other people, working on ways to solve their problems and collaborating with others to make it happen. It's incredible, really.

Some other not-as-awesome things to mention...

  • I got to eat at Buger King last night
  • I had a REAL Diet Coke today, totally different than Chinese Diet Coke
  • The air is so fresh and unpolluted here
  • The toilet in my hotel room has a beday, I have no idea how to spell it, but you know, that thing that squirts up water in the toilet
  • Most people speak English which is semi-refreshing and a little disconcerting all at the same time. Why disconcerting, you ask? The thing is, when one gets used to not being understood, one might say things inappropriate for public conversation, things that should be said under one's breath or in a whisper to one's friend. It's a bad habit one might get into and have a hard time readjusting when around many people who understand one's language.
  • I'm hoping to meet up wht a friend from college this week. She works here in Seoul.
  • We are having our conference at this ginormous building. It's a conferernce building that has it's own underground mall. And when I say "mall", I really mean underground-magicplace-so-big-and-fantastic-that-it's-just-an-expectation-that-you'll-get-lost-but-who-really-cares-because-you're-surrounded-by-so-many-awesome-food-joints-that-you-could-eat-there-forever-and-still-not-get-to-every-knook-and-cranny mall. What an ingenius idea to combine a meeting place with food and shopping. I mean, who goes to meetings? Now there's a place that gives conference-goers something to do during the conference.

I'm off to my next meeting, and yes, I'm actually going to the meetings. It's all about the kids this week.


I was sitting on the floor writing this post. Apparently, I chose the only spot that was covered in some sort of tile glue. White glue. Glue that decided to stick to my pants. My black pants. Awesome.

Monday, October 5, 2009

30 and Counting

Today is my 30th birthday. Thirty. Three-zero. Good thing I look like a twelve year old. Literally. Last summer I had a salesman come to my door and ask if my parents were home. After, telling him several times that it was my house, he said, "Oh, you just look so young. Like, 12 years old young." I wanted to scratch his eyes out. Instead, I politely slammed the door in his face.

Anyway, I've been looking back over the past three decades and I thought I would list thirty things/facts about myself that you may or may not know about me. If you don't care to bored out of your mind, stop reading now. If you want to get to know me better in a slightly disturbing way, keep reading!

  1. I don't like the different foods on my plate to touch if they're of differing flavors. In other words, I don't mind most salty things to touch like corn and mashed potatoes but I don't want salty and sweet things to touch like olives and sweet potato pie...can you tell I'm already dreaming of Thanksgiving dinner?
  2. I've know my Father for over 25 years. I was just thinking about that today. That's a really long time. Am I really where I should be in a 25 year relationship?
  3. Two things I look at on a man are his hands and his forehead. I know, strange. But if a guy has nice hands and/or a good forehead, rrrrrrrrrr!
  4. I'm debating cutting my hair.
  5. Out of most of the places I've lived, I've lived there twice. Colorado, twice. Indiana, twice. Florida, twice.
  6. I love the color red. And teal.
  7. I'm like a tornado in my sleep. Many times I wake up in the middle of the night completely bound by my clothes that are twisted all the way around because I roll around so much. Sometimes, I actually have to get up out of bed to readjust before I can go back to sleep. OCD?
  8. I am surrounded by about 4 tubes of carmex (lipbalm) as I type this. Can you say "addiction"?
  9. I never thought I'd say this but...I miss south Florida. As in the actual place. Of course I miss the people, but I'm talking the actual area. That, my friends, is proof that He really does work miracles.
  10. On the other hand, I haven't been homesick much. I love China. I miss the freedom of having a car but besides that, it's all good.
  11. 21 is my favorite numer. My second favorite is 12.
  12. I've watched the entire 10 seasons of "Friends" since I've been here. It's kept me sane and helped me procrastinate all at the same time. Yes, I've also managed to keep a pretty busy social life.
  13. We did karaoke for my birthday this weekend, it's fantastic. Nothing like karaoke in the states. We had a private room, chose all our own songs, had a couple of mics. People danced, there were group songs. It was amazing.
  14. I love Diet Coke.
  15. Red (any variation) is the only color I will paint my toenails.
  16. I love eating with chopsticks. In fact, even when I go back to the States to visit, I think I'll have to eat everything with chopsticks. It just makes eating so much more fun.
  17. I miss being in college sometimes. And the friends I had there.
  18. I have about 50 words in my Chinese repertoire.
  19. I hate the smell of vanilla candles.
  20. I have clock in my room but the ticking is so loud that I took the batteries out. It's still up on my wall but just for decoration. I know, it makes no sense.
  21. One time when I was on a traveling group for my college, while in the van on a very long drive to our next stop, one of the other team members and I spent hours coming up with names of border towns. You know, like Texoma or Mexicali...Colsas (Colorado-Kansas)...literally hours.
  22. I did some serious exploring today and found this magical place that reminded me a lot of home. Except for all the staring, at me of course.
  23. I can't wait for fall to come, if it ever comes. I need red and orange leaves in my life.
  24. I had a dream about a friend from high school last night. Where in the world did that come from?
  25. I rarely ever iron. I'm all about the spray bottle pat down.
  26. Can you tell I'm getting desperate? It's past my bedtime and this is taking so long.
  27. I helped lead worship at fellowship on Sunday. I'm so excited to get involved. It's been too long.
  28. Have I ever mentioned that you have to have your passport to go to fellowship?
  29. I have no idea how I was able to function so long without a laptop. Seriously, how was I able to live before l.w.l. (life with laptop)?
  30. I am living one of my dreams by the age of 30, living and working in China. Not many people can say that. He has been so faithful to me.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Picturesque China

Some things about my life in China- photo style

For the most part, China has done a great job at fixing all of it's "off" signage but every once in a while you get a treat like this one...

or this one...

Some of my closest friends here. We were celebrating Justin's birthday. Not a lot of single guys so on many occasions, he's the only guy.

Yes, I've climbed all those stairs and many, many more. On my way to see some temples and such.

I run into random characters like this super smiley kiwi all the time...

Apparently, I'm crazy allergic to mosquitoes. Anaphalactic shock, here I come.

This is a certificate for restaraunts to show their level of goodness...not a great place to eat. Of course, all I had to do was look at the light switch on the wall with all it's hand grime to know what kind of place it was...

A view from Laoshan, my hiking trip. Looks like a European town, doesn't it? I love all the beautiful scenery here.