Sunday, December 30, 2012

i was a tiny bit intimidated

by all those words. But oh my goodness, your Christmas tale! It just warmed my heart. Seriously magical with the tree quest, and the food and the conversations and friends. And looking through your photos and seeing you all calm and flourishing and saying things like, "I love the afternoon light in my classroom" and "sweet cherub so-and-so made me a card." I mean, I confess - who is this mysterious M?! Bruckner, are you equally confused by this optimistic, albeit love-shunning creature before us? Not love-shunning. But oh so pragmatic, you, in these matters. I'm not sure what to make of it. But I will support AA and Danica in the delay of you love-falling-in so they can bear witness.

Also, I love that you finally checked off your yearlong goal of playing MarioKart in a foreign country.

I did find something to read. I know you were on pins and needles in my bookless state. Not that I'm actually reading it, but I will, I will. It's another Ken Follett, Downton-esque actually, although speaking of Downton, I really don't even want to discuss the horrible spoilers I've inadvertently run across for season 3, which as we know airs soon Stateside. I mean the first one was bad, but the second was practically unforgivable. So maybe I won't even watch, I'll just read my book instead, and try to figure out this new crochet pattern - okay, I'll watch. Probably it's best I endured the retina-burning, soul-killing spoilers, so I can mentally prepare myself for the moments. Instead of, say, learning a beloved character on a teen Australian ballet program is going to die FIVE MINUTES BEFORE IT HAPPENS. I'm still stinging over that one. Sammy! Sob.

Stepping out of the fog that was Christmas/Flu Week, I do feel slightly regretful that I wasn't fully ensconced in holiday magic as it happened - I mean I was able to enjoy it mostly, but stupid fevers, lack of appetite and energy and coughing and hacking - curses on all of that. Now we're headed into New Year's and although I'm not feeling quite as antisocial today as I was yesterday, I'm still resistant to getting back into the swing, like there is unfinished business yet, although I can't say quite what it is. Maybe it's just about reading the book and continuing to blaze through the completely delightful Hart of Dixie on Netflix.

Anyway, it's Sushi Sunday, so I gotta go for now -
love to you

Thursday, December 27, 2012

#29 (recappin'2)

All that to say this was a lead up to CHRISTMAS. Oh Advent. IN the midst of the blur and nonstop conversation there was the waiting and the longing and the music mix and my hatred of itunes11 and no itunes dj. But the advent mix came out well despite and captured it all perfectly as a backdrop to and from the hills and valleys of the island. The christmas mix however lacked the range it needed to truly take you through 12 days though i do still listen to it. It is only day 4 after all. And there was the crick in the middle of my back which won't go away. It actually hurts. Like something horrible happened to it. I hope it gets better. I went to the chiro wednesday.

At a certain point in the last 2 weeks I lost track of time. It became unhinged and erratic and completely then, off the tracks. I grasped it somewhat by marking down the days- which gave me some idea of the location- the rapidity at which i was descending. I read the advent emails and the christmastide meditation. I wore my necklace. I lost the symbol of the trinity somewhere at school- the lapis beads bouncing on the floor into unknown corners... And this recap helping to rein it in though i regret that i am not really writing but recounting- and the details lacking in flavor and focus since i'm still in motion as I type...

Sg said we could celebrate Christmas with our classes on monday. True to her she wanted us to have fun but not too much fun, not do work but do work, celebrate but not celebrate too much. I took that to mean that english had to be in there somewhere but where? and if not? then... ok. And if I forgot to give them homework then... I was the only one who really embraced it. I hung up snowflakes. I made trees and ornaments. Ji hoon- one of my favorite kids said, teacher you're the only one- music, decorations, party? I shrugged. Secretly delighted. I taught them to make snowflakes. I promised myself not to be withholding to the kids who didn't really "deserve" my kindness or my love. I gave it to them anyway. I gave them chocolate and the best stickers. Because it was Christmas eve. Whether they knew it or not. One class really got into it and belted out SantaClaus is coming to Town. We played limbo. We did word searches. There was failure and mostly success and I felt good about how it all came together and that was all prelude to,

operation CHRISTMAS.

One day a while back I thought, in a rather epiphanal way, wouldn't it be fun to find a tree in the forest and decorate it? I mentioned it to others feeling it out and found it caught fire with a few people enough to rally with me into the unknown. And like all great ideas it also met with opposition. One girl actually used the phrase, oh i thought you were going to leave a whole bunch of trash in the forest. I stared at her and thought, holy that's judgmental. She did acknowledge and I was like, oh god, lighten up. Though i probably, if not encouraged by some of my friends- as i said- to use biodegradable materials, wouldve used if not plastic, glass...but ok. Fine. Paper. Popcorn. String. Finish. Another couple people were like, isn't that illegal? Seriously people? I GUESS. Which as we planned and gathered and made- i felt a bit rebel, a bit visionary. As it went on i thought- withorwithout i will do this. I will soldier on. I actually told the people in the car with me... This is survival of the fittest people. Be strong or get out. I wont be detered by icy roads, bad weather, people whining about car rentals and then not coming, or people like my former flatmate completely going MIA. Or my former coworker kris canceling on me. Naysaying. Or the nervousness of Emily's mother driving into the mess (though ok, i was concerned and tempered my bullishness for her i will say- because she's emily's mom and it was their families first christmas together in 4 years- while for one brief morning moment of what the hell are you saying?! what!oh ok. let's go then.I wouldn't be stopped. They all shook their heads and were like, have you ever heard of someone doing something like this? Am i really that original? I GUESS.)

I have no idea why it became this Have To Do. But it did. And it was magical and everyone had a goodtime. I felt a little bit like calamity might meet us at any moment but it didn't. We met. We got mcd's and i realized of course i cant have the sausage mcmuffin. What was i thinking!?. We left Meaghan behind. We traveled up the harrowing almost but not quite icy road. We encountered snow fluffed trees in a brilliant tableau of row after row of Narnian wintery bliss. We parked. We braved squat toilets. We walked on despite protests of "how much further"- "it's getting slippery". "I'm cold"... Just a little further. About a mile I made them walk apparently into the forest... We haven't found the trees yet. And then we did. And we went for it. And people met us on the road wearing santa hats and took pictures with us, we chimed merry christmas perfectly in between a verse in the hymn we sang- and when it came to carol the first time most everyone had the leaflet from church that had all the verses thinking- yes this would be perfect. And it was- we sang, Silent Night, Away in a Manger, We Three Kings, Hark the Harold, and Joy to the World... all the way from the trees to the snowmen and back to the car. We took pictures. We laughed. And it was brilliant. People exclaimed- this is so much fun!

We turned back on the brink of too cold and too tired. And made it to have smoked and bbq duck. The owner accidentally gave us soju in a water bottle. We laughed uproariously. He didn't believe us. He tried it. He grumbled. The other table laughed. Anywhere but us it would've been taken and consumed in 2 minutes flat if it werent for 2 drivers (though i had a few sips) and a bunch of non-drinkers. We eventually got the water.

Then we took emily's family up the hill to see the only train on jeju. It doesn't go anywhere. I walked the painful stone path. We talked about spiritual journies. About how in all of narnias books the most devastating was that susan didn't believe. We talked about saving lives and paths taken... we talked about the nutmeg forest - since emily says she and Craig and D went back there and realized the sign didn't say you had to take your shoes off... they missed the point. They missed it entirely caught up in a technicality. A technicality made to reduce what we did to idiocy or foolishness. It's like when my friend said 5 years after the fact- we didn't really save that girls life-- and i'm thinking you're an idiot- Of course we did. Believe people. Believe. It's more than meets the eye. It's not the point. Is it? It's like saying the magical day in the snow was nothing special- that emily's first christmas as a christian didn't mean anything. That it's just paper, and frozen water molecules... and sound echoing out into a void.

It's NOT. And after, we sjt, yeasl and ejiro went on to get dessert and coffee. We continued to talk death, and life and struggle. And then sjt, yeasl and me watched the grinch who stole christmas, uploaded photos and did our makeup. We met Kris for jazzy renditions of hymns and carols at a place called Seba. And then I drove them back home and I went to bed not knowing what hit me. Or where I was. Up early to return the car. Go to the chiro. Go to work. and go go go. And here we are at friday again. I'm EXHAUSTED.

But something, somewhere has transpired. I've put my finger on a few things. And I've had the most Christmasy Christmas ever. And this weekend there will be more hiking and more eating and coffee. And this, day 29.

12months and some change Adventured,
xo, m.

#28 (recap)

What do you think about what bruckner is saying? I mean, what he does mistake is love and the heart. Sure sure maybe a careless mistake- but I don't want my heart trampled on. My love I gave. Love can be trampled. But my heart? No. Even in that there is something ventured- to love, and to love without return. Even in chosing not to, is not inaction. It's not cowardice. It's wisdom. I don't know. He's no one i'm headover with. Remember the volleyball player? Sigh.

Anyway so the SLEEPOVER,
(sidenote the owner isn't here but some new girl. and the drinks aren't done and she's on the phone with someone. i'm concerned for the actual delivery of the coffee into our hands. It's been like 8minutes and the two people before me haven't gotten their coffee either.)

Apparently there was lots of conflict over where to go and who to go with and then there was no room at the inn and then suddenly our chief- the one in charge for the activity as ive encouraged people to elect different leaders per outing- said decisively that we would all be heading over to my house. But some people hadn't read the entire thread, there were side threads, and I myself being consiliatory encouraged them to go to a pension near me if they didn't want to say. So needless to say 3 people brought no bedding whatsoever and the one thinking about everything got yelled at (sjt) by C, and she's the one who brought expensive bulgogi while the others ordered pizza which delayed them even further. Of course and the beauty about the roaming church as ive come to call them is that they all let go of their issues for the most part though i sensed the undercurrent, (ive gotten my coffee, thankfully), and we were able to do a smattering of singing, meditating, and facial masks- the boys were good sports. I gave C a manicure. We gave R,H, and C mud facials. And I got them all to bed too late and the wind was howling and who got sleep? Not me. Not everyone really- and we were all too polite to wake each other up on 4 hours of sleep or whatever it was we got. It took me 2 days to recover.

Though sara takes the cake for ridiculousness having left us a note that she was going out in 30degree weather. She came back 2 hours later saying, i wanted to see how many coffee places i could find until you woke up (in a smalltown by the way)- i literally said, that's ridiculous. We were all up. And I would've stopped you but I didn't know you were actually going to leave the house. As Harris and I were texting, and giggling, and poor Yeasl thought i was meditating so it was all quiet time until 9am when the loudspeaker across the street went off telling us to vote and then near to 10 we finally got breakfast started. It was a good bounty anyway. And a few of us after went on a hike, where we made a snowman who couldn't stand up- the snow was too light and fluffy and a couple men walked by and said, you should tell him to wake up. It was hilarious at the time. Then mandatory footbath and coffee. (Also some awesome buddhist monks just sat down next to me. Love.) Then back to my house where we watched Miracle on 34th street and ate more food.

Then it was back to work for two days. Total blur. Then saturday. Where it was weird trying to meet up with kris and vivian and where we got no hiking in whatever but an hour- irritating. They have this way of just not saying what they're doing if it doesn't include you which makes you feel they're deliberately trying to exclude you. I actually got pretty upset and was like why don't you go without me until kris called me and was like, no come on get on the bus. And i was like UGH. Anyway, then a spending spree at innisfree. Toner. Cream. Lotion. Oil. This will be my new post korea beauty regimine- to recover? destress? ;) luxuriate... meeting with yeasl and meaghan for pizza. and then coffee and prayer. I'm EXHAUSTED.

And while C is a constant and annoying source of conversation so is my former flatmate and the fact that she got 2nd degree burns on her foot - as i've been pleased with myself to say that while the island is trying to kill her the people are trying their best to put her back together again), and who's leaving the island and when and what are we going to do next before we all go and what vacations people are going to take and whatever else.

Then SUNDAY. . . there was church and lunch, and coffee and then a POTLUCK. Good LORD.

We got driven out to the middle of nowhere where the wordoflifebiblecollege people are- they're the ones who run the foreign service at church... we ate too much food, and i just sort of laid there and didn't have much to say since we were all on the floor in a bigroom- it was heated, and it was snowing outside... and then it was OVER. and we got driven back. and then i had to work the next day.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


It was a merry Christmas, truly. Good food and cheer and quintessential adorable/excited children. But #whine, I am on Day 5 of the flu and it's getting super-old. Mainly it's a hacking, tired achy fever thing, but it's also managed to kill my appetite. And quite possibly my will to live. The world feels very skewed and sad and wrong at the moment and I know it will pass but. I'm frozen in the land of Not Quite Right. Screaming snarky children who require too much effort. Rom-com movies that exude hopelessness in their subtext. A very long to-do list that seems insurmountable when it's all I can do to keep up with the dishes and laundry. Because they alone are exhausting. cough hack.

Anyway what are you up to over there - traversing snowy woods or somesuch? I've seen glimpses of brightly adorned paper trees...tellmemore. And I swear I'll be more loquacious on the flip side. xo

Thursday, December 20, 2012

every night i dream:

~that I have the flu. Usually the achy muscles, coughing, fevery kind.
~that someone leads us back to Bailey, miraculously after a month. Some friends "accidentally" took her home after a party, or someone else spotted her in the woods, caring for a three-legged puppy. Yeah, those are both really weird. But it's a recurrent theme.

And some mornings I still move to feed her first, and curse at my habitualness for doing so. Or the other day I saw a chocolate lab in the street and drove straight, instead of turning right, to get a closer look, knowing that it was going to be Socks, the one who wanders, but having to check anyway. (It was Socks.)

It's exhausting, this stuff.

Anyway, I love your exchanges with Bruckner. He never comments on my posts but then again I don't have a history of witnessing him drunk at work parties drunk-people-watching whilst philosophizing. I love, too, how you are some kind of INFJ magnet. Rare we are and yet you have quite a few of us in your pocket. What is Cath, btw? Have we ever discussed. And are you ladies BOTH really truly coming to visit? When can I expect you?? I require an itinerary soon!

Today I feel like we're at the top of the downslope. The children's last day of school, K.Lo with an early dismissal. Reindeer cookies and raspberry bars to be baked over the next 24 for a cookie exchange tomorrow eve with bookclub. Last night was the kids' church pageant and they, too, triumphed! I mean, there's nothing to be done about K.Lo's surly scowl throughout, but total points for participation. N.Lo's enthusiasm and over-enunciation balances it all out.

Also, I secretly wish for some snow. Love to you in your dwindling days on the island!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

dear Bruckner,

I'm listening to SujanStevens "that was the worst christmas ever"- I get lulled into the dolcet sound and i suddenly tune in the minute he says "our father yells, throwing our gifts into the wood stove. wood stove." and then I laugh. Then i feel bad for laughing. That's what's happening right now. But anyway, the page party. No it wasn't you. It was in burbank at the girl with the long black hair's house, you me and anthony and a couple others were sitting outside while - i really have no idea who it was- maybe a new page, maybe a friend of a friend- we were discussing relationships indepth as anthony had a long term girlfriend and you have your roommate. So.

Onward to the word "resistence". You are correct sir. This is where my blend of sensible meets romantic comes to a terminal point with those who would finally wish my romantic side to fall headlong off the cliff. Every time. You have no idea what you're asking. I know you want to see it. I first noticed this itching trend in my circles when someone back in high school was like, I really want to see you drunk one day- in that wistful, i wonder what she might really be like if she were to let loose.. but even when one too many has been had i am responsible and constrained. It's disappointing all around really. I myself want to be kate winslet's character in that jane austen novel. But it's all rendered rather imprudent and impractical. Says my strong other half Elinore. And even Danica was like, M, you can't fall in love in korea, I want to see what your like when you're in love. I have no idea why i garner such curiousity in these contexts, but it does flatter my narcissism so by no means stop.

If you must know bruckner, his name is craig, and her name is sarah and the quiet one is yeasl. And i love all three of them. And we are all in a matter of weeks being blown to the wind. What you're asking is for me to doom myself to a pining and unrequiet that won't ever be fulfilled. One, he lives in South Africa and wants to do long term mission work in Japan. Two I really, despite our compatibility, don't see a future in the two of us, even if he weren't obsessed with Korean women. He's a better match for sarah, AND he doesn't like me. We have a mutual affection for eachother that I know and a sympathy and understanding but I don't see it going further. And I smile at him knowing it's not quite right, and that he has to go meet God and his destiny and his lithe asian mate. I can't help that i remain objective. One of the recommended jobs is that of a judge for my personality type. So. we just have to deal with it.

There's no getting over it unless he's the RIGHT ONE. Because I dont want to wake up everyday with butterflies in my stomach at the thought of seeing him or day dreaming copiously about ways in which I could find myself alone with him. Sometimes such things are worth guarding. We always say when not in it, to go ahead and indulge and dip in, and why not, let yourself go, because this is life and to LOVE and to- but there are sacred things that shouldn't be trampled or very lightly given and my heart is totally one of them yes? There is no regret in any one of the people that i've liked and not pursued. That i can promise you- so far. They weren't for me. In matters of love, unlike lattes I am good at walking away, usually.

Speaking of, I have a date with a mug and a bus to catch to get there.
But let us continue this, you and me.

ps. the sleepover went well. i think? sacrifices all around were made. more on that in the next letter. and i think only a little of my soju went missing.
sleep said: "What kind of time frame are we looking at," and "This is just the best I can do."

Monday, December 17, 2012


I'm with morgan freeman if it was really him- stop watching/reading the news. I've not been for a while and it's pretty amazing. But the kids and their make mom cry scenario. Woh boy. What to say. Never. Don't you ever. Yes. It could however be turned into wes anderson genius or a poetic note in a book too. but yah. And the only reason i found out about the whole tragedy was because of FB. I woke up to a flood of voices talking about it and i was like what the hell is happening here!? And then oh, and mmm. Sad. But I didn't read any further. I don't know if i need to.

Change of topic!

Your handbells! The racist christmas lights! and Bruckner. and Love. (and currently snow/rain blowing horizontally at my window. Yah i want to go outside in that. And tomorrow is a day off. Just in time for it to get really cold and really windy. Que violins.)

Early on in bruckner's and my friendship we had many a discourse about love. I don't know if he remembers but in between shows, guarding doors, that one party where someone got ridiculously drunk, and horrible sitcom pilots- bruckner would ask me questions about love. We talked relationship and marriage. We would hold vigil over the long night hours, and I suppose it validated my existence on the lot if for one moment life was not about the scarcity of muffins, page hours or clawing our way to the top. And endeared me forever to this agitated gemini who never blogs.

Bruckner does speak the truth- I am in love. I have been feeling embraced by God. He adores me. I was taken up into His heart and much of my anxiety was laid to rest. The love of the island and of my friends swept over me one day a couplemonths ago as the rays of the setting sun entwined our shadows. I love sjt. And another named C. Who is a boy. Granted. But it's a love that sees him objectively. I see why I like him, our compatibility. Why it would never work. Why sjt has a crush on him. It makes me say, damn. Where is my man!? Where is he? A blessing and a curse of my personality. Immediate assessment and judgment. And now unfulfilled longing. It is very adventish however. Love but it has no where to go so it leeches into places and makes small inroads but...

So then on Sunday we all convened at church, fought to find a place in which to eat together, fought to find a place to go together- however I was set on the oreum Darangshi and thus the group was divided. Sjt had to give up her magic show. We made C come with us and Yeasl too and Sara. Harris, Jenna and Emily and Sean bowed out and thus the course was set. I played my advent mix. We found our way to this ridiculously steep hill in the middle of nowhere. Climbed it. Talked nonstop about faith, sex and politics. Stretched and couldn't help but make crass implications to sara about plowing fields with the korean farmer she wants to marry. Ate the last of the Christmas cookies and began to discuss what was next. Which led us to hearing about a horrible story about the other girl from the nutmeg forest (D) saved someones life but the group neglected to mention the man with the punctured lung back in september. What!? Seriously!? And a coffee shop in the middle of a village which was unbearably cool that no one ever invited me too but had just closed so we couldn't go there. And how unspeakably age-ist i've become on the island. And then sara left to go learn korean because you know...

And the remaining 4 went to dinner.Where i was promised beef. But served only pork and so couldn't eat any of it. I was remarkably calm about it. C was surprised. And was further mystified at how snarky I actually am since I'd really not been holding back all day. I guess I've been surpressing it in group outings? I don't know. Feeling aggressive more so then normal lately- lack of exercise. Which is why i refused to just go somewhere to sit down. But then he and I don't really hang out. And now that D has left we see a lot more of him. Sjt and me. So then we're at a coffee shop- and all the while we've been talking about people types. And C takes the test and he's an ENTP. I retake the test just to see. He asks (because he's obsessed with finding a wife) who his ideal partners are. This is where it gets slightly mortifying for Sjt and me. I click on the heart icon and who comes up? But me and sjt. The ever rare INTJ and INFJ. 

He said who are they? I said, well you're looking at them. NO! He says!? What!? Never. He literally shakes his head, horrified. He thinks we're too loud and argumentative and extroverted. It was horrible and funny all at once. Good thing I really a. am not heart hurting over him and b. i have a thickish? skin. (though you know now i have a grudge) Later he and i are alone and he's like- i really just like Y- the other friend who was with us who is quiet and subdued and dutiful, and has NO interest in marriage right now. I just rolled my eyes and was like i dont mean to defend my and sjt's personalities BUT we're not what you think we are. You have no idea, esp in relationships our authority isn't necessarily a bad thing. And we know the word submit and arent afraid of it. I just sighed and was like oh oh oh. Meanwhile sjt is dying inside and i'm like oh isnt that just like life. well! and on the way back from the coffee shop i'm saying 'Look sjt; walking before us our ideal man'.. i had no idea!'... even though both of us can SEE IT. and we KNOW it. She gets the joke, and he is walking blithly along with his head in the other direction bcs we're too loud and vocal and bossy. Its too much for words really, even though we both are like C- we want families, we want children, but we're not what that looks like to him. Que shaking head. Nevermind.


And thus ends this tale, not of woe but of little pay off. On a lonely road in winter with wind and snow flurries. With no one to hug but ourselves. And a love that has little expression, but should at all costs not be kept to ourselves. And so to school I go.

Tonight is a church sleepover. so obviously i should have more stories after this.

xo, M.


in between

Other than attending racist light shows - which, by the way, features over a million lights, according to wiki - there have been other things. Too many things. I'm really kind of exhausted at this juncture, though currently one could blame it on hormones. Here's a laundry-type list.

*Wiki also notes the light show is inspired by Jesus, who I feel would totally not approve of the subtext happening there. Just saying.

*Like everyone else in the nation, Friday's events make want to puke and I can't stop dwelling on their awfulness. Being in the company of an actual sweet first-grader makes it all the worse.

*Absolutely terrible, surreal timing, while I was reading/crying over the news Friday afternoon. N.Lo whispers loudly to K.Lo, "Want to make Mommy sad?" (You know, as a joke.) And then they proceed to lay still on the bedroom floor and say they are dead. Like seriously, that happened. Never before and God help me if ever again. (And they were told: never. Don't ever.)

*I fear the flu. Which would be awesome icing on the crap-cake that has been November and December, at least when it comes to health and head lice. There's germ-badness going around both church and the schools. Stay away, I beseech you!

*Yesterday afternoon was Lessons & Carols and after a horrifyingly bad start at practice, I was mega-nervous. And we're normally in the balcony, hidden away from staring eyes, but this mess was up front, facing everyone. And my part was a little different from everyone else's, no way to blend... anyway, I didn't choke and for that I am wicked grateful.

*Technical difficulties have been vexing me again. I mean aside from the game of Unsubscribe Whack-a-Mole I've been playing with various newsletters and ads that has heated up again in the holiday season. Apparently when you unsubscribe during the year, it's one thing, but then you're likely on another, separate holiday mailing list. Bite me, spammers! And then my computer is slow again, and I still think the blogger app sucks with its inability to upload more than two pictures at a time and the effort it then takes to create a post with 27 pictures. But whatever.

*I have a lot of things to bake this week and events to attend and whatnot. So once again, not getting the flu would be AWESOME. thanks in advance.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

wish you were here

"That was so fun! Cool! Amazing!" said the kids.
"It was everything I hate about religion!" thought J.Lo.
"It was completely...racist," muttered Penelope.

And in fact it was all of those things. We went to "see some Christmas lights" Saturday night, caravan-ing with a group from church, to be followed by hot chocolate and soup at a friend's house. I didn't really know what to expect, imagined that maybe this one street in particular put up a lot of lights, in the manner of our old neighborhood. But after a winding, NASCAR-esque drive out to the Middle of Nowhere, Rural North Carolina, we arrived at what was unmistakably THE Christmas lights.

You pay a nominal fee to park and walk through the place. It really is a scene. Magical in many ways. Like who is inspired to create this lit-up world of lights and fountains and soap snow and display houses of Christmas kitsch. It's completely tacky but endearing in that way that all Christmas lights are, taken to an epic level.

Tacky, yes, but did it delight all the children? of course. Inflatable cartoon figures, bathing plastic Santas, random vampiric wisemen lurking in corners. Why not. And of course miniature trains are always awesome.

And of course it had its own particular flavor. Very, as almost anon so aptly noted via text, Redneck Christian.

Erm. Some might even say Scary Christian.

Not that they weren't direct in their signage. They say what they mean, they mean what they say.

And clearly a lot of effort and care goes into the storage and display of these items; a lot of this stuff has been around for a long time. Within the kitsch there were cool glimpses of history. 

Except when it wasn't cool, at all. There was a bunch of, um, artifacts mixed in that I can't even post. One is under the "Godweiser" display above, but the others were worse. Slave figurines, blackface art and the like. I mean, off the charts appalling, to the point where I laughed, but in that speechless, jaw on the floor way. Like wow, I know this existed and still exists. but wow. How - why - would you ever put it up for display? Here we are in 2012. The kids pass over this stuff for the most part, attracted to the shiny and flashy and friendly over the - what do you even call it? - propaganda? Everything that made me feel vaguely like this: 

Disgruntled. Extremely perturbed. 

Well anyway. Some Christmas in the future I imagine there will be questions about these matters and at that point mommy will give them an earful. Like there is a time and a place to talk about whether "murdering babies" is okay, but emblazoning the message atop a toy train is probably not one of them. Among other important matters of discretion. 

For now, it was what it was. Magical for the children. On the edge of insanity for the adults. I think these alien-eyed reindeer some it up best. 

And if you'd like to sponsor a tree to keep this show going, here's how!

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Well what's happening babe?

Thanks to your and s' efforts I have a wee bit of music though i'm surprised you two don't have more. Is that greedy of me? I feel I had more but then wonder wait, why don't they have more? They must. I've got to make room on DB. But i was able to cobble together a delightful Advent mix. A couple weeks late but it'll do. Today there are blue skies and I will with or without the team go to an oreum. Because- blue skies! People!

Otherwise the usual over here. Back still sore for no reason. Tea. Breakfast. Church. There was a bowling tourney yesterday. (I got a free pink t-shirt) just because I was visiting a friend (granted the shirt does say "super monkey frog power"... but it is from a VB team last season) and then I ended up donating to the orphans so check and check! And quoting curb your enthusiasm about being an anonymous donor but telling everyone about it. Though being in a small room full of drunk foreigners. Yikes. Bowling. So loud! Oh and I saw former flatmate- she burned her foot... well someone else did by tipping over some scalding hot water onto it. Yes, lets shake our collective heads. The island is trying to kill her. And then a car almost backed up into us on the way into innisfree. I got some red glitter festive nailpolish though.

Oh and today marks my 48wks on the island. AKA 12 MONTHS. Yes, yes it does. Encreab.

Next up yoghurt. Tree planting going on outside which does thrill me. Though they over trim them. And just in time for uh? winter? Well... Anyway. And yes, ok. Let's go SUNDAY. We are the SIX week cusp from today. Can you buh-lieve?

Thursday, December 13, 2012


It's raining.
Drinking Darjheeling tea.
Listening to Amelie. The accordian lulling me down the causeways of Montemart.
Potatos cooking.
Work awaiting.
The sea gulls appearing after months of none.
Wondering about the weekend.

Yesterday was the perfect weather day. Today no. Tomorrow no. Will try not to regret it too much.

So the orphans- really i haven't helped them yet. I need to actually transfer the money still. But yah, orphans on jeju. I don't know. It has to happen but it doesn't seem like it should. The one thing I do like is that our school has 4 spaces for orphans so they can learn english. That's pretty cool. I don't know if some union makes our hagwon do it but it's still good. They blame everything on the union. Oh the hagwon "union" decided we don't get the day off... The other day the k teachers threw a fit and now we have election day off- It makes me think we should collectively have gotten upset way more? Or that their resistence is really low post firing of the other M. I mean they try try try to get away with everything though so if you don't call them on it they tip toe on over the line. That's the thing. But hurrah! we've got the day. Then my new flatmate- i said this already right? Blew up about the fact we eat in the hallway lunchroom too and how we only have 20 minutes and now we get to eat in the teachers room our desks after all of us complained about. Maybe now they want to appear accomodating? I can't say. Wait wait i was talking about orphans. Stop it. Right now.

And the radio thing- my bad. I really didn't have a handle on it. Didn't think about the fact until too late that my friends in the US could listen to it and that it was in fact a national radio station being broadcast to all english speaking/listening peeps in korea and could be accessed by the world. Whoops. Jeju does that to you. Sorry. So I got a gift of 60 to appear on the program and because there are only so many foreigners on the island it's pretty easy to get involved. And do things for the station. My friend sjt was subbing as the dj for a week because the actual dj was on vacation for his honeymoon and he happens to be from CA originally and goes to our church. So there you have it. That explains everything right? If only Bruckner were here to penetrate into the depths of what i avoid saying or am failing to do on the island. Which by the way- love. No not yet. But anyway the time went fast and I of course was charming and I'm sure they're like, that M girl - let's get her back!

Also- not allergic to dust and mold and blah... They tested me for that. I think it's dairy. I read some article the other day about how wheat, milk and soy were all bound up together and often confuse the body- one for the other. So that is maybe my next target besides roving airborne allergens. I don't know.

What else?

I was getting a little dark about everything last night. It was just a bad last class of the day. You just don't want to see your kids make bad choices. And there's that line where you're like ok they're being adolescent and aren't we all and then you're like wait, your moral ambivilance is going to lead to X, may God prevent it. And then i got dark about finances. Which why!? This is the longest I've ever been employed and I may only have spent $1,000 over my estimated savings for the year. !? I'm doing really well! There has been overspending but let's not eat shame over it. God's going to see me through here. He's working with me. It's ok. And i'm still a size 16 down from a 22/24 so progress has been made on all inconceivable fronts.

I feel a gratitude list coming on and since I decided to catch the later bus I have about 10minutes in which to do so:

mandarins: for free, all over the island from farmers who have an excess. yes please. thank you.
classes: most of them don't suck and it's awesome to see how the younger kids are really doing so well. and junior high is just junior high. there's nothing to be done about it.
time: thank you Jesus that as I hand it over to you it whips by and only a few times lately have i felt completely tyrannized by it. work has mostly been going quickly and pleasantly.
x-rayed: no, nothing there. move along.
job: what, i have one!
food/shelter/clothing: coffee, a place overlooking the ocean, and friends who give me clothes. wicked awesome.
friends: who love me
the jejuchurchcrew: really really amazing they've turned out to be. small but so lovely.
the weekends: fabulous mostly on all counts.

Penelope, my prayer today for us: may our hearts be lifted heavenward and feel the adoration of Him who loves us. Who walks with us. Who is gentle and affirming and does not withhold. He is a Lord who gives and does not take. Our blessings abound in Him. And though we're stuck in the tension of the inbetween places, let us wait with hope and anticipation in who is to come and has come. Though we double over with the nits, and hurl over horrible students, may we see some light on which to believe against the dark.

Lighting the advent candle.
xo, m.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012


You're on the radio in Korea? and helping orphans or something? WHAT IS HAPPENING.

I'm just here, living the Grim(m) version of my life. Rediscovering my love of cheesy holiday movies, as inspired by an EW article called, "Why Tacky Holiday Movies Rule." The number one reason was, "They're clearly produced by the insane." Indeed! And disappearing into the reality shows you speak of, such as ProRun and TopChef. And Survivor of course, on which Blair from the Facts of Life is twisting and turning her way into the top four. The chefs are cooking badly, and please explain to me several of the recent looks on ProRun that are burning out my eyes. I don't get it.

Bender has gotten sweeter without her pal around, curiously. Like she more actively seeks cuddly attention and is more playful and loyally present than she has been in recent years. Aw.

What else...

I'm still picking nits, but shall triumph.

The Amish/rumspringa book hasn't disappointed so far.

I trimmed my hair yesterday and ended up with an erratic, misbehaving curl on the side.

I'm behind on every single of my errands and chores. Okay maybe not all of them, just recycling, and vacuuming and bathroom cleaning. Ugh.

I sent out like 10 random Christmas cards and then gave up? Weird.

I've had a postcard in my "to-do" pile for a solid month now. Have you gotten it yet? Oh right. Have to write/send first.

And lastly a thought about artistry and dysfunction, I feel like it's an ebb and flow? Because strife sometimes silences us but then if we don't have it, we feel like we have nothing to say. Or when we do say things, we're saying the wrong things, ignoring, losing or otherwise leaving out the gritty, sticking details. Like the most traumatizing moment of nitpicking that occurred last month, when I dropped a louse in my lap and momentarily freaked out, and then forced myself to move on and forget it, and then minutes later, there it was climbing and clawing its blind way up K.Lo's back to her head, driven by pure instinct. THAT'S wild.

Good luck in your allergy quest. You and K.Lo are so in the same world, getting all sick as a fallout/side effect of allergens. But allergic to WHAT. Dust? It's a mystery, may you one day soon solve it.
love to you


we're on the same day. 

Monday, December 10, 2012


I can say our averages are improving overall, though not as well as that very pithy and upbeat August. We're still a little lax, forgetful and traumatized into silence. Remember when our trauma made us louder and more talkative? How I went on passionate and vitriolic rants? And you became heavily critical delighted and sarcastic with reality programming? I think as i was talking at biblestudy last night we have a hard time finding the artist outside of the dysfunction. So now we just zone out and clench our jaws. Or watch prorun and try to forget our troubles. How old age am i becoming. Oh dear. Oh my.

I did so you know, finally make it to the hospital and of course i probably had bronchitis but don't anymore and by the way the pulmonary specialist asks, are you allergic to something. YES! but i don't know WHAT! So aggravating. Meanwhile i will state that i had to navigate 3 departments in the span of an hour and at this point i will gladly thank them for handling me like the foreigner i am being whisked and escorted and cutting in front of ticket laden #'d koreans in each place as i had to pay for everything before i even saw someone. It was madness. When really a gen. practicioner was nec. to check my lungs and my ears and whatever. and i didn't get that. And the specialist just said you should get an allergy test but not here- get a skin test- and here are some cough medication prescription if you want. NO. I want to go into it more bcs from here to there and just waiting and being the only foreigner as the world of the sick whirled around me I was just like why am i doing this? to my? self? But it's good i guess. ? I dont know.

i want to tell you about work, and election day, and korean teachers and being conspicuous and the fight at biblestudy, and the interview at the radiostation tonight but it's exhausting me. so i'll send this and date it like it's  monday. even though all this is happening wednesday right now and i was talking about tuesday. it doesn't matter. but here i am. and you? tell me of your world... i'll try to say more tonight. or um tomorrow. either way.
xo, m.


Sunday, December 9, 2012


Yesterday I found myself in a sketch bowling alley where all our lanes kept breaking down and there was a dalmation family of dogs that were running around and making things a little being in like someones awesome but completely ghetto backyard. And i reoriented myself to the fact that I can bowl but that i constantly forget and it's not until the 2nd round that i finally remember the stride or the focus or i dont know what. But amidst being groped by the dogs and slobbered on, and the balls not returning and pins falling over without anything to touch them a good time was had. I'm gonna miss this church crowd o' mine. They are full of antics and intelligence.

Meanwhile I still haven't been to the doctor and my student loans are finally unavoidable? Sort of. Mostly anyway. Panic. Maybe that's where all the latent physical stress is coming from. On positive notes my friend emily gave me new clothes to wear. And I'm still planning on seeing you come march but you absolutely must take me to hanging rock state park and pilot mountain. I probably won't buy my ticket until mid feb when I get the money from the jobs and all, but I think so!

And I hope i can blog my adventures. With so much time to myself for the first few weeks i'd imagine so. And cath and I after the 1st couple days will be completely off radar as we are going into the jungle for um 2 days- ok so not that far- but far and then into the delta. So if we find wi-fi for sure. Once we get back definitely. I'll have my comp with me so i can preblog if need be and upload later.

Currently it sounds like youre in some sort of grimm's fairytale. The dog is spirited away, the mouse is running amock in the house and then there's the bugs bugs. I love the image of your handbell wearing self watching from the haze of wine the passage of a mouse across the manger scene. LIke it's all finally too much. And it's Christmas. It's a little surreal and mad and grimy and real but you can't deny the magical parts.

Ok I'm going to go- i have to catch the bus. and go to my coffee place.
xo, m.


Saturday, December 8, 2012


Are the volcanoes symbolic or literal, I wonder. Either way, amazing to show up as two completely separate premonitions!

Last night a mouse was sneaking around in the corner and traversed the nativity and everything. You know how I feel about mice, but luckily I had a liquor buzz, so I watched it with detached amazement. And that's funny, right? about it running through the scene with all the other barn animals and baby Jesus and then behind the bookcase. Snarf.

Today our hag-neighbor expressed her condolences for Bailey. And then specifically called J.Lo back (apart from the children) to share her theory that an alleged pack of wild dogs in the distance "tore her up." Really. Dead or alive, I'm not sure which way she meant, but um, what a terrible thing to say to a pet owner?! Just me? And that is why she is a hag.

I found a book about (I think) Amish Rumspringa, where the teen girl goes to Chicago during that time to be a nanny and it sounds wicked awesome. But dare I have high hopes.

This weekend, moderately chill. There was library time, and the hanging of outdoor Christmas lights. Tomorrow there will be church I suppose, although if there were any week to skip it... I'm just saying. Burnout is nigh. If J.Lo manages to find this new Christmas album I'm desiring I'll totally send that to you. xoxox

Friday, December 7, 2012

#21 (the two prayers)

from LAcat (like 2 months later): What about you? Oh, I felt confirmation about Vietnam. Very fruitful image, with one ominous looking smoking volcano. Maybe be mindful and covered in prayer while you are there? When I pray for you I am overwhelmed with lovely feelings of God's pleasure and pride in you.

from LF (awesome girl that has been growing into listening prayer):

- (Asking about Vietnam now) volcanos; erupting fire
- My whisper is with you
- Those who hope in the Lord fly high on the wings of eagles; they will not grow weary, they will not be faint.
- This is you. Rest in Me. Receive from Me. I will nourish you. I will fortify you.
- Be still and know. I Am.
- (song melody) Give thanks to the Lord for He is good - His love endures forever! Sing PRAISE! SING praise! Sing PRAISE! SING praise! Forever God is faithful. Forever God is strong. Forever God is with us, forever...
- waves crashing on the sand
- serenity, you sitting on a beach.
- jagged rocks, a bird in flight
- I am your trail guide. Tune in to Me. I will show you. I am near.
- Aboard (seeing a ship), about, above (seeing all sides of a ship, idea of surrounding), across after against
- huzzah for prepositions! and alliterations - my songs to you.
- a big, GREAT smile
- LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. <3, <3, <3.
- Alllllll you need is LOVE ! (doot do doooh - Beatles melody)
- A big brass band playing this song for you!
- There is no height nor depth to My endless love for love goes on and on for you.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

yeah so, so yeah

Those stupid lice. Yes, if we were less "civilized," what if? I guess we would just live with them, although I did read today that nit combs have been found in the tombs of ancient Egypt. So clearly they've been viewed as a nuisance across time. But then some cultures take it in stride? Or maybe don't see it as a problem unless it causes itching or rash or whatever. But here I am in this culture, which labels it horrifying, and I personally think they're horrifying, and they either keep coming back or never left and I just need to know at what point do I call the doctor. A giant pain in the ass, this is.

Otherwise... I'm learning a bells piece that is harder than the first one I learned, and it makes me nervous because there's only one more practice, but I suppose we'll persevere. And it's a joint piece with the choir and some brass, so maybe it will make more sense when we all come together in said practice. (But I still love bells, true story.) I'm meh again on all my books, which is my least favorite state of being. I miss Bailey, but I think my head is finally convincing my heart to stop looking for her at the door. Because I've done that constantly, for a week now. She really is gone. And it kills me, but I think about the arc of her life and how beautiful that was to vanish that way. How in character that was, to spare us the sight. (But I hope it was a peaceful leaving...? the thought of anything but makes me sad.)

Her absence has sucked some of the life out of Christmas, but I did start and almost finish decorating at least. There's some things I'm like - bah - forget you this year, and other things I'd like to find but they're lost or I got rid of them and don't remember. But there's plenty of festiveness in sight and last night the elf came back and tp'd the Christmas tree and I suppose all is well. And there are all these activities going on in accordance with the end-of-year mania, like going to N.Lo's school today to see the kids sing songs and make these ridiculous donut wreaths with icing and M&M adornments that had 10,000 grams of sugar probably. But super-cute, the whole thing really. And Bingo for Books at K.Lo's school tonight, which is possibly my favorite fundraiser to date. Totally beats the one where you're supposed to buy votes to elect your kid queen of the school, or something. I still don't get it.

Have you decided if you're stopping over in Virginia upon your stateside return? I mean no pressure, but I CAN'T WAIT. To find the mountain. To take you on the one-minute tour of town. The riverwalk. Handbells. It'll be epic!

And of course I want those amazing volcanic emails. Duh. Oh my goodness, I kind of can't wait to witness your adventures with Cathy from afar! Will you be able to blog them?


Location: Yoger
Day: Thursday
Time: 11isham
Countdown: 52 days /30 something work days (curmudgeon gave me another way to calculate. love)

Yours: That happened to me too. They were virulent. I recall they thought the standard stuff would do but we needed the doctor strength finally. Ugh. It's so unpleasant. It does remind you/one/ of how "civilized" we are and what would happen if we didn't like to be civilized so much. I guess shows like revolution won't address the lice and other diseases issues? Like bedbugs at wayfaring places and all the dirty peasants having lice... i don't know what else? Though I'm sure that leather jacket which seems to be trending right now (similar to what that girls wearing in Once)... could be made by some awesome leathersmith for shite loads of money. It would be their chance to really laud the art of the craft guilds. But i'm sure that's not their focus. And how in a preindustrial age art can again begin to flourish anew. And no one would be talking about the death of theatre perpetually. (which has been going on since the 60's at least).

And the dream about the dog- really truly. They were laughing as dogs can and all playing together outside the house on the street. Get inside I said!

Sidenote- weather. Something more or less pleasant depending. It's rain/snowing right now. It's nice. I like the smell of snow on the air. I didn't bring my umbrella though, but it could be worse- it could be windstorming also. And it's not. So smal blessings I suppose. Last night Vivian [3rd flatmate] again asked the driver to give us a ride, and he gave us one right to our door. It rocked. Makes me love vivian in all her artsy awesome korean speaking ways and not going along with the crazy. Shes a bit subversive but not on purpose. I can't tell if she'd be the one likely to get killed because she's so blaise or inspiring and then kiiiik. Also new FT, james. Looking pale and english. Which he is. He apparently came from a harder more crazy hagwon so this one should be cake. But V coming in reminds me, like how easy would it have been in all those times for the bus to extend us that kindness late at night? And how sg never did. Never has bothered. I didn't think it was an option. and it probably isn't since sg would find some way to make it not ok. It saves me a dollar. Also since i'm completely out of dollars that would help.

The budget thing blown out of the water- not that it's all bad. I really did need that massuese to work out that shoulder knot that was threatening to pull my neck down along with it. But she in a stupid assumption charged me for both my and my friend sara's massage and i handed over the bank/cash card not thinking of why my other card wasn't working. And then there was the hair- the watercolor I had to have- right then. Like I'd been waiting for it the entire time. And the hair is such a subtle mystery that i can't fully appreciate or even see! It's really for other people to be surprised by. Which makes me love it and annoyed with it at the same time. And it's a bit melancholy and lovely. Also as i plan my trip- locking in things delightfully which i love and filling up the schedule bit by bit (and having to put everything on the card since i wont be able to paymyselfback unit feb- brings me to halong bay which i think i'm suppose to go to but seriously boats- make-me-nauseous- and it's all about a cruise and a night stay blah something on the boat. Oh and then everytime i'm like lets go here and there- i have to remind myself- travel makes you SICK. it really does. I like how i have to argue at myself like i'm arguing with a travel agent. I must be. It's ridiculous. I'm making cath bring me dramamine for our mekong delta tour- two nights on a boat!- ugh! the things i do for friends. I mean its necessary to really "see" the area... and she insists the movement wont be anything- but i got nauseous leaning on a windsurfing board in the middle of a bay with NO wind!

Oh and msytery speaking of- I've had two people pray about going to vietnam and they both get Volcano imagery... amidst confirmation of should be going but then there's that eruption... so be careful... and i'm like whhhhhhat. 2 people! i mention it here so if at any point on my trip something dramatic happens- you'll be able to just point to this and say- well it was foretold. Also let me go out on a limb and i think it's suppose to happen sometime in the middle of the country- around the time i'm at the farmstay by these caves or on the way to hoi an before tet. Like the tail of the dragon leaving and the year of the snake being ushered in. So. Just so we're all on the same page with having aweseome and foreboding at the same time. Do you want the actual emails in a follow up post so we can refer to later?

Allright- i guess i should go. I even said, no to planning, and yes to blogging. Go me!

And you, tell me of your world across the continents and seas.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

because that's what we need right now

Lice again.
I cannot even.
That is all.

(But also, I loved your doggy dream.)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Hello my love.
I hope the browndog i saw in the dream with Bodo and Zeppelin is Bailey. I'm pretty sure it is.

Meanwhile I keep "meaning" to blog. But i chose to fritter away precious time staring into space and planning my vietnam trip and now ive got to get to work- so till tonight or next time. Yes?

xo, m.

Monday, December 3, 2012

the best of bailey

So cool, Bailey Brown. 

A furry fixture in our children's lives.
Always there, loving them.

And they loved her back.

Bailey could hang like no other.

She was smart, friendly,earnest, attentive, doting, tolerant, kind.

She was a super-star when it came to doggy tricks and behaving well,
save for stealing an occasional muffin off the coffee table.

She was protective, though if a thief were to come, let's be honest -
she'd probably help him carry things out.

She loved fireworks. To the point I feared she'd run straight into one -
a streak of maniac in an otherwise chill demeanor.

She could win any staring contest, paws down.
(This drove me nuts, particularly when paired with an oh-so-subtle whimper.)

She only wandered in the last year or so of her life,
short trips that grew longer,
until the day she decided it was time to go, to leave us,
to not return.

Bailey was beautiful, through and through.

She loved to camp. 

She liked to bask.

She and Bender were pals. 

A most peaceful spirit.
Gentle soul.

We miss you, Bailey. Rest in peace.