Moving to Korea Pt. 1: How did this happen?

Before I left to go teach English in South Korea, I had every intention of updating my blog regularly to help friends and family and anyone else who is curious see a little glimpse of my new life here. Well… I’ve been here for two months and as you can see, I’ve not lived up to that. I knew that my life here would be quite busy right away, but I didn’t anticipate how busy… not that I’m complaining. Busy is good. I’ve also been trying to keep close friends and family updated as much as possible, which includes writing many long messages on a somewhat regular basis which then makes it harder for me to sit down and write a blog post.

Anyway… I’m going to attempt to post a few different posts within the next week or so, partly because I need to force myself to sit down and think and process it all and partly because I know there are some who would like to read about it. I’ll start with how this all began, in case anyone is interested… So here goes – here is part 1:

So…a few years ago I made a crazy decision. With an interest in traveling, a desire to fully experience other cultures, a love of language and desire to help those who want to learn my mother tongue and the realization that I am still quite young and untethered, being able to pursue any path… I decided to go back to school and earn the proper credentials to teach English abroad. I specifically had my eye on South Korea to be my starting point and then maybe Taiwan, The Philippines, Vietnam, and possibly other Southeast Asian countries. There were many times during the process of going back to school that I thought maybe I wouldn’t end up here. Maybe none of this would go as planned and I’d be doing something else entirely.

One big thing happened that caused me to think maybe it wasn’t something I wanted to do anyway, but once that thing was no longer in my life, I realized that in my heart, I still desired to take this path (could go into more detail about this, but it would take a long time and frankly it would be unkind to share too much). It was surprising to me, a bit strange even, how confident I then became that this was exactly what I wanted to do. I still had doubts that it would all work out, but I was not afraid of taking the leap, which given my history with anxiety, is frankly quite astounding. In general, I hesitate to say that God placed a desire in my heart for something as I don’t want to put words in His mouth and there have been things I’ve strongly desired in the past that were not to be. But I know that God has me on this path for a reason, as nothing is outside of His control. I know that at least part of it will be in struggle and hardship and probably even disillusionment, though I like to think I have come prepared and knowledgeable about the potential downsides of my decision.

This was the first time I got my passport…it started to feel a little more real at that point…

After I finished my Bachelor’s and started going through my TESOL program, everything began happening so fast. My life was very busy and hardly ever slowed down, which increased my perception of how fast everything was happening. A little before I finished the program, I applied for a teaching position in Korea which would be starting only a few months later. That’s when it all started to feel real. This was really happening. I was really going to leave everything familiar behind and move to the other side of the globe for a minimum of one year. There were times when I was really excited, and times when I felt as though I was being ripped in half, but still the feeling at my core that this was what I wanted to do, this was the right direction for me, did not waver. It’s such a strange sensation to feel the heartache of not wanting to leave your friends, family, and home country behind, while also feeling like it is something that you strongly desire and must do. I am no stranger to feeling two or more opposing emotions or sentiments at once, but this was something new to me entirely.


The month before I was to leave, I made as many plans as possible with my close friends and family and tried to soak in their love and companionship and general amazingness as much as possible, knowing that I’d regret it if I didn’t. I also ate a lot of food and visited a lot of places that I knew I’d be missing. I filled up my schedule to the brim while also trying to get all the details and preparations in order, continue working as a caregiver, and trying to maintain my sanity and emotional stability. I think when I originally had planned to make this big move, part of me was doing it as a means to escape some things that I didn’t want to deal with anymore, but by the time I was actually leaving, I realized I no longer had anything I truly wanted to escape from. This is definitely a healthy and good thing, but it made leaving much more heart-wrenching. My life tends to be filled with bittersweet situations and this was certainly one of the more intense ones. I was so excited and eager to start this new adventure, but I was heartbroken, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to just go meet up with my close friends at a cafe or head over to my dad’s house for dinner. I was leaving knowing that I would miss so much back home, but that I would be experiencing a great deal of new and interesting things abroad.


My last month in America was a whirlwind. I had a lot of really good times with friends and family and I had so much preparing to do every day. I don’t think I have ever been more social and productive in my life! I should also mention that at this point, a lot of things were still up in the air. I didn’t know for sure that I would be going in February (and this was January) or if I’d be a late intake in March or April, and I also knew that there was a slight chance of it not working out at all. I found out about half way through January that I would be going in early February and about a week later I found out I’d be in the province of Gyeongbuk (or North Gyeongsangbuk-do), but wouldn’t be told the exact city until I after I arrived in Korea and completed the orientation. I also wouldn’t be told how many schools I’d be teaching at or what age group I’d be teaching. I truly believe that the only reason this didn’t completely freak me out was that God had prepared me for uncertainty and had given me a peace that was beyond my ability.

The day I found out I’d be placed in Gyeongbuk

Before I knew it, I was all packed and ready to go and my dad and stepmom were dropping me off at the airport. After a tearful goodbye, I made my way into the very confusing and daunting place that is LAX with my giant suitcases that were almost too heavy for me to manage (packing for a year living in a place where you may not find clothes and shoes that fit you is a difficult task). I checked my bags, wandered through the airport, got myself some coffee and a snack and texted with my friends and family. It didn’t feel real to me. I couldn’t believe any of it was happening.

Stopped crying momentarily to take this photo with my dad at the airport ❤ (also featured: my giant suitcases and my wonderful airplane attire)

My flight was 13 hours long. Thankfully most of it was during night time, and I had a whole row to myself so I was able to get some sleep. I was in somewhat of a daze on the plane. I didn’t feel nervous or worried, I felt a little bit excited but mostly just calm. I still had no doubts about whether I was doing the right thing, and I wasn’t afraid of making such a big change in my life.

My Looooooong Flight

My plane landed in Taipei around 5am local time and I sleepily walked to the gate of my connecting flight to Busan. There were only 3 other people there when I first arrived and I slowly watched more and more people trickle in. My ears were filled with the Korean language and it was the first time I really started to feel like a foreigner, but I wasn’t uncomfortable. I tried to listen to what people were saying and see how much I could understand as I had been studying Korean for a few years before that, but had gotten quite rusty and was no where near fluent.
The flight from Taipei to Busan was only 2 hours, so it felt like nothing compared to the flight I had just been on.

At the Busan airport, I met my recruiter and a few other English teachers who had just arrived. I instantly felt comfortable with them and was excited to meet more teachers in the coming days.

This post is getting quite long, so I think I will end it here for now. I’ll be back with part 2 when I get the chance to sit down and write it. Thanks for reading~ ^_^


So…My Brother Got Married…

This post is a little late… I was going to post about my brother getting married like… maybe a day or two after the wedding… the wedding was January 31st so….

I’ve been trying to figure out just what I wanted to say and I’ve been having a bit of trouble. It’s weird but it’s not. It’s different but it’s comfortable. And then there are all these other things… well… See I already spent a considerable amount of time writing about how I feel about my brother and his bride, etc. because I had the privilege of giving a toast at the wedding. Let me tell you, getting up in front of all those people and crying like a baby while trying to read what I’d written was not easy. People later told me that it was good that I cried. I cried because I meant it. I cried because I felt it. I cried because I love my brother.

Anyway, I pretty much said everything I wanted to say in my toast, so that’s what the rest of this post is going to be. My toast.

It’s really difficult for me to say with words just what my brother means to me. God has blessed me tremendously by giving Daniel to me as a brother. He has been with me through the most difficult times of my life as well as some of the most fun times. While we certainly don’t get along 100% of the time, we have a uniquely close relationship that I treasure immensely. From the little things like our dumb, repetitive jokes or silly noises and dances, to the more meaningful things like telling me the truth when I need to hear it, even when he knows I might not receive it well, or hugging me when I’m crying even if he doesn’t know why, I will always treasure our bond and the kind of friend that he is to me.

Watching the Lord pull Daniel up from darkness and into the light of salvation has been one of the most awe-inspiring experiences of my life. I remember praying for him for so long and feeling so hopeless, but the Lord saved him when I least expected it, and I had the privilege of watching it unfold first-hand. Then, to watch him grow and mature so quickly afterward was such a great testimony of God’s power and faithfulness. When I really think about it and look back to who he once was and who God has changed him into, I am often brought to tears. It is truly amazing and I am so thankful for God’s work in his life.

I am also thankful for how Daniel has taught me and cared for me over the years. Even in my more difficult and unyielding times, he has stuck with me continued to speak truth to me. Because of this, I am confident that Daniel will make a good husband – he is faithful and he never gives up, no matter how difficult things get.

My friendship with Bekah has been an interesting one. It took quite a bit of time for us to get close and I believe we are still working on that. I think she will agree that the Lord has placed us in each other’s lives to teach us a lot about understanding others and about loving those who are very different from ourselves. I mean honestly, what better way to learn about those things than to be placed in such close proximity to our polar opposites? I have learned a lot from Bekah and greatly appreciate the times when she has shared hard truths with me as well as the times when we can just hang out and enjoy each other’s company. I know that we still have a lot to learn about each other and I look forward to times of bonding in the future.

My brother is a very unique person and I never imagined he would find someone who has so much in common with him – but here she is. God orchestrated this so well, as He always does. Daniel and Bekah are certainly well-matched.

Daniel, If mom were here today, she would be so happy to see the man that you are becoming and she would be crying her eyes out and talking about how her baby has grown up so fast. I know that she would be so happy for you and she would be eager to welcome Bekah into our family as her daughter.

May the Lord give the two of you strength and continue to equip you with faithfulness and diligence and every other tool that you will need in order to create a marriage that glorifies Him and paints an accurate picture of Christ and His church.

I love you both.

Let’s raise our glasses to Daniel and Bekah!


Beautiful Wedding <3
Beautiful Wedding ❤
My brother and Me
My brother and Me
My New Sister-in-law and Me
My New Sister-in-law and Me
After my Toast... couldn't keep it together :P
After my Toast… couldn’t keep it together 😛

All That’s Left Standing

About a month ago, my brother and I drove up to visit some family. They live in a city near San Francisco. It is always nice to get away and visit loved ones whom are not often seen, but going away like that is always bittersweet. It is great to be around other people and to be in a different environment, not having to worry about the normal stresses that always seem to pop up at home, but being away also makes me realize how much I actually like being home. Perhaps it is selfish, but I like having my own room, a bathroom with everything just as I have decided to place it, a kitchen in which I can find anything I need without having to open every cupboard door. I like being able to drive without directions, knowing where I want to go and how to get there. I like being able to see my close friends by driving only a few minutes. It causes me to realize that, even though the place that I live is not the most exciting place, I like it here and I miss it when I’m away. But perhaps I allow myself to be too comfortable. [Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and I really enjoyed visiting… as I said… bittersweet].

Well anyway, that was not what this post was going to be about… that was sort of a rabbit trail. What I really wanted to talk about is this: driving around in San Francisco (or riding around, since I wasn’t driving) and seeing the older architecture, passing by a graveyard with its bright white tombstones and walking in a park, seeing benches with little plaques on them, dedicated to various people… these things get my mind going. I begin to imagine. I like seeing those old houses, not only because they are aesthetically pleasing, but also because of all the possibilities of places for my mind to explore. I imagine what this place looked like when it was new, what the city was like, who lived there, who has replaced them over the years and who lives there now. There are so many stories represented by just one building that I will probably never know. It is like this with graveyards and memorials as well. All those names. They represent someone that was most likely loved and missed when they died. They represent lives lived by mostly ordinary people that are only memories until those remembering are no longer living. They represent stories [and I love stories].At one point during our little vacation, we walked through a little concert park within Golden Gate Park. As I briefly mentioned earlier, there were rows and rows of green, wooden benches, most of them with little bronze plaques on the place where spectators would rest their backs. These fascinated me because most of these plaques had the names of people to whom the benches were detected. Many of which had been deceased at the time of the dedication as indicated by the words “In Memory.” Memory. That’s all that these are. Memories. These names are representative of loved ones lost whom the living feel the the utmost necessity to keep alive somehow through memory. This feeling is all too familiar to me, having been trying to keep the memory of my mother alive for a little over three years now. But I think, because of my own experience, this idea fascinates me quite a bit. I can’t help but ask the question, hopefully without sounding insensitive: Is it truly important to remember the dead, or do we only make it thus to make ourselves feel comforted? I understand remembering important people in history for reasons that are obvious, but what about ordinary people? Who, besides me, really stops and looks at old buildings or tombstones or plaques and tries to imagine who these objects represent? And of those, who really knows who these people actually are? Who remembers them now, when those holding them in memory are no longer living? Does it really matter on this earth? It seems that these buildings and names etched in stone and metal are all that are left standing to really memorialize these people. And it all feels so important, but is it really?

Now, I hope that I have not stepped on any toes. I mean no disrespect to those who have passed away and those who miss them. Believe me, I feel that the remembrance of my mother is extremely important… but it is important only to those who knew her or those who are close to me now and care about the things that I care about. So, here I am talking more about whether it is important for others to remember these people. When my mom passed away, I wanted the whole world to stop and remember who she was and to pay their respects to her. But, obviously, that is illogical and unnecessary. This is what I am talking about. All those people forgotten. It could seem like a sad and horrible thing, but I would venture to say that it is not. And, for some reason, I find that fascinating.

[Feel free to discuss this with me in person or in comments or however you communicate with me. I’ve sort of kept these thoughts stewing in my own mind for a while and would be interested to see how others would contribute to or change my thoughts.]

Why, Hello Again

I don’t really have a plan for this post. I just feel like I hardly ever post new blogs anymore. I used to put them up at least once a week, but now, I think I’ve either run out of things to say, or I’ve lost confidence in my ability to write. I think it’s mostly the second one. I probably am not so sure of my writing anymore because I spend less time reading than I used to. I don’t have as much free time to do so, and when I do have free time I spend it doing other things. More often than not “other things” includes, wasting a lot of time on YouTube. I used to spend my free time either reading a book, writing, spending time with friends or watching television, but now I spend a considerable amount of my time watching new videos from my favorite YouTube channels. Pathetic. Waste. Of. Time. Don’t get me wrong, there are many brilliant and entertaining things on YouTube, but I just don’t think it is very good for someone, such as myself, to spend such a large amount of time on it. But alas, I’ve become addicted. I sign in to YouTube at least three times a day to check if any of the people I am subscribed to have posted a new video. I currently am subscribed to about 52 different channels and I now join in a collaboration channel with some of my friends (no, I will not give you a link to it because, frankly, I am embraced of my lack of speaking skill, or any ability to be interesting…it’s a wonder anybody reads these blogs). There is, however, an upside to my compulsive YouTube-video-watching, I am learning about people (not just specific people, but people in general). It is interesting to see other people’s points of view and how different they are. It is interesting to see what people outside of America think about certain issues. It’s a bit refreshing to look at things from different perspectives.
          But anyway, I guess now I’ll tell you how school is going. That seems to be one of the first things that people ask me about whenever I talk to them. How’s school? Well, it’s going good. This semester is definitely better than last semester. I find all of the subjects that I’m taking to be very interesting and I am learning a lot. It’s also nice that this semester I actually have friends in my classes; It does really make a difference to have friends there. My only complaint about school right now is the reading. Oh the reading! So very much reading! Now, most people are aware that I love to read, but I love to read novels, not textbooks. It is so hard for me to just sit down and read a textbook. Many times I find myself sitting down to read my textbook then a novel catches my eye. “Andrea…” it seems to whisper, “why waste your time with that boring textbook when you could be reading something entertaining.” Seriously. More often than not, I give in the the novel’s tempting whispers and end up not being prepared for class. Go figure. Maybe I should lock up my novels until the end of the semester. Oh, but then I’d lose my sanity!

                     [That second paragraph seems to somewhat contradict the first one….oh well. You can figure it out.]

         There was another thing I wanted to talk about: spring break. Yes, spring break is coming up next month. That wonderful week where I normally just relax and pretend that it’s summer. This time, I’m going to be going up to northern California to visit with some family. I will be riding on a plane by myself! Well…there will be other passengers of course, but by myself in the sense that nobody I know is traveling with me. I’m not afraid of flying (I’ve flown before) so I’m actually rather excited. Then I will get to stay with my aunt and uncle and visit with my cousins. It’s been so long since I’ve actually gone up there, They are normally the ones to travel down here. So, that’s exciting 🙂

Well, I’m pretty sure that’s all I have to say for now. I just thought I’d type out another blog. I forgot how much I enjoyed it. Plus it’s nice to communicate in some way, as my mouth is really numb at the moment (I just got back from the dentist) and I can’t really talk without sounding like I have some sort of speech impediment. I’m so hungry but I can’t eat! AAAAHHHHH!!! Okay, I’m done now. 

Until next time. 🙂


So I don’t even really have time to post a blog right now, but I really want to, so I will try to be quick. 

First I will give you some context as I know that some people reading my blogs don’t know much about my family or what has been going on with me this year. 
My brother Daniel is in the marines and is currently stationed in Japan. We are really close so it is hard for me to have to go so long without seeing him. As you probably know if you have read my past blogs, talked to me lately, or seen my myspace page, our mother passed away this year in May. It was the most bittersweet thing for my brother to come home while my mother was dying in the hospital. It was the worse possible reason for him to be visiting, but I had missed him so much that it was so nice to see him again (what an understatement that is). I think that I have a special relationship with my brother because we have gone through so much hardship over the years. I think that losing our mother, whom we both loved more than words can express, also aided us in growing closer to each other. It was extremely devastating to leave him at the airport when he had to go back to Japan. I wish I could talk to him face to face every day.

So there you go…thats your context. Now on to what I was planning on writing about. So lately we haven’t been able to communicate with Daniel as much because he moved rooms and no longer has a phone that he could use. He also has limited internet use. We can’t call him and he doesn’t have much opportunity to call us. (At least lately he has been able to email us a bit). A few weeks ago he sent us an email and it literally brought me to tears. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I miss him. 
In a few weeks he will be going on a big ship and going from port to port. So we will not be able to be in contact with him at all. I’m not sure how long he will be doing that, but I know it will be much longer than I want it to be. I’m thinking it will be a few months, but possibly a year. I don’t remember exactly what he told me about that, but even so, the military changes plans very often.
The other night, well it was about 4 in the morning(sunday morning), my phone rang. Of course, I was sleeping so it woke me up, but I didn’t recognize the number so I didn’t want to answer it. So naturally I just pressed the button on the side to quiet the phone and went back to sleep. When I woke up and listened to my voice mail, I was very upset with myself.  It was my brother. He had finally gotten a chance to call me, and I didn’t answer the phone! In the voicemail, though, he said he would try to call the next day if he could find a way. So I prayed all day that he would be able to call. 
I was half expecting him to call in the middle of the night last night, but he didn’t. So I was pretty sad about it thinking “if only I had just picked up the phone!!”
To my surprise, I got a phone call today, at noon. I did not recognize the number…it was Daniel! I was so happy to hear his voice! We talked about what we had been up to and whatnot. We had a good conversation. I didn’t want to stop talking to him, but he had to go after about a half hour. So we exchanged I-Love-you’s as we both knew very well that anything could happen and this could be the last conversation we have. This realization does not come only because he is a marine and his job can be dangerous. It is because the unthinkable happened last May. We had no way of knowing that our mother would be gone so soon. I think every time me and my brother say goodbye now, we make sure we are leaving on good terms. And we always make sure the other one knows we love them. Oh, I hope that wasn’t our last conversation. I hope I get to see him and hug him again. But only time will tell. All I can do is pray and wait. And trust that God won’t put anything on my plate that I can’t handle swallowing.

So of course you know I am going to tell you this: you never know when someone you love so dearly is going to pass away. Please make sure you don’t leave anything left unsaid. I was fortunate enough to feel that my mother knew everything that I could have possibly wanted to say to her. We left on very good terms. I can’t imagine what it would be like if we hadn’t.

The Problem of Modern Feminism

So there is something that has been really bothering me for quite some time now. I don’t know why I have never blogged about it before, I guess I am a little afraid of being attacked by feminazis. But I think I am ready to take the heat now. Some might say that I am being harsh on my own sex, but this is simply not the case, bear with me please…

Have you noticed how the media portrays men and women today? T.V. shows, Commercials, Magazines, etcetera…oh it just kills me. Just about every time I turn on the television, I see men being degraded and women being exalted. Think about it. Most television shows and commercials depict the man as stupid and incompetent and the woman as intelligent and able. I noticed this a while back and it seemed as though I was the only one bothered by this. Then recently the leader of a women’s Bible study that I attend pointed it out as well…thats probably why I gained the courage to actually sit down and blog about it. I thought feminism was about being equals, not being higher than men. But apparently I was ignorant. I think the main problem is that women don’t understand that we can be equals with men, but that doesn’t mean we need to try and take over everything. Today women are trying to have careers, take care of their children, take care of their homes, take care of their husbands and maintain a social life. This is simply too much for one person to handle. That is why so many children are neglected and so many houses are filthy and unwelcoming. And I believe this also is part of the reason so many marriages fail. The husband and wife both work full time jobs and come home tired and irritable and are at each other’s throats while trying to maintain order in the household. Most of their interaction is argumentative and angry. Granted there probably are some people who can do it all and manage their lives well, but for most people this is not the case. And it really bothers me because women are constantly pushed to “make something of themselves” it is frowned upon to be a homemaker and care for your family. We are pushed to pursue a high-paying career and to put it above everything else. Let me just say this, if you want to be that kind of woman, DON’T START A FAMILY. You will most likely neglect them and care more about yourself and your success than you do about them, which is terrible and not worth it. If you are going to be a wife and mother, you need to be ready to play the part. If you want to be a big successful work-aholic career woman and still have a family, its pretty much like being a teacher yet hating kids and not helping them with anything…its no good and its even damaging to the children. And on top of that, trying to balance all these things will wear you out and most likely depress you. 

Well I could go on about this, but I think you get the gist of it. If you want to argue about it…go ahead, but first, I want you to look at what I’ve said objectively and actually consider it. Also, know that arguing with me probably won’t get either of us anywhere…but anyway.. I guess that is all…

On a lighter note

Sorry for posting so many depressing blogs, I’m just going through some tough times right now. There are other things going on besides what I mention in my blogs as well, so that definitely adds to it. But I’m not depressed all the time as it may seem. My emotions just come and go. Which is fine…that’s life. When I wrote my last blog, I was in one of those extremely helpless moods, where nothing could make me feel better and I just wanted to cry my hardest until I could cry no more, then retire to my bed, completely exhausted just so I could wake up feeling numb…which is what happened. I don’t understand it but it helps me somehow to do that. Its almost like torturing myself so that when I let up, I feel good.

Yesterday was an emotional one too, but I called my best friend, Jen and she came to my rescue. So it ended up being a good day. I am very fortunate to have a friend like her. She is like a precious gem in this dingy cave. 

Well tomorrow I get to have lunch with some of my family. I haven’t seen them in a while, so I really miss them. It’s my mom’s side of the family, her mother and two sisters. So we are all kind of going through this together. For some reason I find that incredibly comforting. So anyway, I am really looking forward to seeing them, especially my grandma. Through this whole tragedy I have grown to love my family with greater intensity. I’m not exactly sure why that is. But I think its wonderful. I am also discovering so much about myself, all the while, I am changing a lot. I think I change a little bit each week, which is strange. I wonder what I’ll be like a month from now. Well anyway, I have to leave for work soon, so I guess I should end this now. Please keep me in your prayers. God is testing me and molding me, and the enemy doesn’t like it one bit. I am weak and I fail. But over all God is carrying me. Praise the King.