Thursday, October 31, 2013

See Ya Later October: This Month's Little Moments

Happy Halloween Everyone! 


I hope you have some exciting plans for the night. I for one can't wait to see the pictures of my family back home in all their costumes. Each year my family always goes over to my Abuela and Papa's house for Chili and Trick or Treating. One of the things I hate the most about living abroad is not being home for these holidays. 

Although Matt and I are in a foreign country this year for Halloween, we have had a blast trying to bring as much Halloween spirit into our Korean lives as possible. 

This month has really been a good month. Matt and I had a lot of fun times and I thought today would be a good day to share a recap of all the little things that happened to us. 

1. We watch October's General Conference for our church. 2. I got so many wonderful care packages this month. 3. We visited an amazing temple. 4. Ate at the new McDonalds by our house. 

5. Experimented with Korean Facial Masks. 6. Watched Hocus Pocus and painted the pumpkin we got. Pumpkins are so hard to find here, and they are all short and bumpy so carving was impossible. 7. I think our pumpkin turned out great. 8. Matt and I took advantage of the Fall weather and put on our jackets and scarves. 

9. Caught up on SNL and drank Hot Coco in bed for FHE 10. Found the Bean Game here and Korea and had tons of fun playing it. 11. Went to our ward Halloween Party. The older ladies at church stuck this jacket and hat on me and made me pose on a broom. It was the funniest thing. 12. My co-workers decorated for Halloween. 

13. My mom sent my blanket and some candy corn 14. MMMM glass bottled Coke 15. I watched Ghost Busters for the first time 16. Played a lot of Skip Bo. 

And that was pretty much our month in a picture collage. It was pretty fun, but I got to say I am excited for November to be here! 

How was your October? 

Happy Thursday Y'all! 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Gratitude 101: Part 10

It's time for our weekly discussion on Gratitude as part of Erika's wonderful link up. 

This month the link up will be focusing on the theme Expressing Appreciation

Erika has decided to step things up in the link up and provide prompts for each week for us to think about. Today I will be answering the prompt: 

How do you let others know you appreciate them? 

When I read this question the first thing that popped in my head was the book The Five Love Languages: The Secret To Love That Lasts by Gary D. Chapman. 

I read this book earlier this year and absolutely loved it. The whole premise is that we all have a way we feel love, and often times it is different than the love language of those close to us. 

The languages are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. 


While this book mainly focuses on the relationship between married couples, I think it can be applied to any type of relationship. When you feel gratitude towards another it is so important to express that gratitude. We need to always make sure that people know we appreciate them. But what I realized is that we have to make sure we are speaking their love language. 

One quote I loved while reading the book states, "By nature, we are egocentric. Our world revolves around us. None of us is totally altruistic."

I know in my life there have been times I have not shown my appreciation for others. I didn't say thank you- I didn't pick up the phone and return a call- I didn't say kind words- I didn't do the laundry-

In my life, there have been a lot of "I didn't" moments. But there have also been many "I did" moments in  my life. I love the feeling I get when I get notice or appreciation for something I did, so I always try to make sure others get that same sense. But it's an effort. As the quote says, our world revolves around us. At times we may think well- why wouldn't so and so do that for me... it's what they were supposed to do. I know I think to myself well why wouldn't Matt clean the dishes... we're married- he should pull his weight. {Which by the way, he pulls more than his weight and often times I am too lazy to do said dishes.} 

Showing appreciation is what holds relationships together. Healthy relationships revolve around mutual respect and appreciation for the other. If you think about your best relationships in your life- I bet they include give and take on both sides. Appreciation is a necessary key to any relationship.

I encourage all of you to find out the love languages of those that are closest to you, and when you go to show appreciation try to speak their love language.  I know I am going to recommit myself to showing gratitude towards others. 

If you are stuck on ideas here are a few things to try: 

1. Send a handwritten Thank You card
2. Instead of sending a text- pick up the phone and have a conversation 
3. Find any household chore to be done and do it
4. Pick up the person's favorite treat from the store and surprise them with it
5. Find an honest compliment relating to the person and share it 
6. Make their favorite dish or go out to their favorite restaurant 
7. Offer free babysitting 
8. Make a list of 10 things you love about them and share it with them
9. Give them a hug and a kiss 
10. Let them pick the tv show or movie of the night 
11. Put together a small gift basket with their favorite treats or a package of stuff to make brownies, cupcakes, etc. 
12. Treat them to Starbucks or lunch or dinner
13. Send a letter about all the things they have helped you with and explain how your life is better with them in it 
14. Simply say the words THANK YOU!  

PS- Don't forget the 'little' people in your life that also make a difference. {Custodians, a helpful store clerk, a receptionist, etc.} You might not know their love language, but a simple Thank You goes a long way. 

{When my Abuela was starting chemo, I had everyone in my family give me memories of them with Abuela, or reasons why they loved her. I wrote them all down and put them in this vase. The outside is filled with pictures of all the family. It felt so good to be doing something for my Abuela, and showing her how much we all love her.} 

I hope this list is somewhat helpful. The possibilities are endless when it comes to expressing appreciation. We just have to take the time to do it. 

If you've missed any of my last gratitude link ups- just click here

GRAD-ITUDE 101: A Linkup By Chimerikal

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Hike in Herefordshire {Travel Tuesday}

I thought I would keep this week's Travel Tuesday short and sweet. 

This week I'll share one of the most beautiful places I went to while in England. 

I was lucky enough to take a short hike in Herefordshire, and it was just absolutely beautiful. 


Happy Tuesday Y'all. 

{Linking up with Bonnie

Monday, October 28, 2013

Bongeunsa Temple

A couple of weeks ago, Matt and I went into Seoul to see the Bongeunsa Temple. 

Bongeunsa was built in 794 CE during the reign of King Wonseong. Today, it is the center of Korean Buddhist practice. Monks live and practice here. It is a pretty cool place and I wanted to share it with you guys. 

Be prepared for a lot of pictures. 

{Jinyeo-mun - Gate of Suchness} 

{The celling in the Gate of Suchness} 

{On the celling in the Beopwang-ru - Dharma King Pavilion, there were hundreds of red lanterns hanging. I think our visit was lined up with a certain holiday or celebration because the place was really crowded.} 

{Daewoong-jeon- Main Buddha Hall- This building is the hear of the temple. Daily ceremonial services, practices and prayers take place in this building.}

{The dragons are used in palaces of kings and thus signifies the importance of this hall.} 

{Amitabh Buddha, Sakyamuni Buddha, and the Medicine Buddha are in the Main Buddha Hall.} 

{Jigang-jeon- Hall of Kshtigarbha - Protector of the dead} 

{Bukgeukbo-jeon- Hall of the Arctic, Hall of the Big Dipper} 

{Mireuk Daebul- Great Statue of Maitreya Buddha- This statue is 23 meters tall -about 75.5 feet} 

{The statue is Maitreya coming down to Earth to save all those who are suffering.} 

{Dharma King Pavilion- This building faces the Main Budda Hall and is used for services, grand Dharma meetings, prayers, and practice. There are 3,300 miniature statues of Gwanseum Bosal - Bodhisattva of Compassion.} 

{Bell Pavilion- In here there are 4 instruments:  a Dharma bell, a Dharma drum, a cloud shaped gong, and a wooden fish. These instruments are struck just before dawn and in the evening. We got to hear the evening drums and it was pretty cool. PS- Can you spy the Monk?} 

{Statue of Gwanseum-bosal} 

Matt and I had a great time exploring this temple. If you are ever in the area- I think you should check it out.

So what do you think?

{All information received from the pamphlet at the temple}

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Letters #11

Dear Abuela and Papa, Thank you so much for the 6 packs of White Chocolate Candy Corn M&Ms. I know I mentioned my thanks yesterday, but I am just still so happy I have some of these in my house right now. Thanks thanks thank! I love you guys so much. Dear Mom, Thanks for sending out a box of my winter clothes. It is really perfect timing because it is getting chilly here. I miss you- let's Skype. Dear Everyone that told me I was going to freeze in Korea, Well... I guess you're right. It's flipping cold and it's only October. I guess living in Hawaii for four years really messed me up. It's gets in the 50s at night and I can't imagine what anything colder feels like. 

{Yum Yum Yum} 

Dear Bongeunsa Temple, You were such a beautiful place to explore last weekend. I am glad Matt and I got the chance to visit you. I am looking forward to writing a blog post just about the visit. But for now, here is a sneak peak. 

Dear Coworkers, I know you didn't decorate the school lobby just for me, but it sure felt like it. I LOVE the decorations. When I walked in I screamed and shouted I LOVE IT! Yes, you looked at me a little strangely, but whatever. I know you don't really celebrate Halloween, but you sure did a great job with the decorations. I can't wait till our Halloween Party next week! 

Dear Korean Facial Masks, You are a bit strange. I'll be honest though you did make my face feel nice and smooth. I will be trying some other types again, but I don't think Matt will be on board. This time Matt tried Tea Tree for clear completion and I tried Yogurt Strawberry for soft and moist skin. For anyone looking for ideas for Family Night- this should be put on your list of things to do. Dear Jenny, I think you know what you'll be getting for Christmas this year.... yup your right- Korean facial masks. :) PS- Thanks for that wonderful e-mail. 

Dear Weekend, As always thanks for getting here. I love you. Dear Readers, I hope your week was good, and I hope your weekend is even better! 

Happy Friday Y'all! 

Love, Alex 

Oh PS- Dear Student that Danced for me, Ummm... that was the funniest thing / most disturbing thing I have ever seen in my life. It really didn't help that you are 8 and you know this dance by heart... 

We Took the Road Less Traveled

Thursday, October 24, 2013

What Makes You Happy?

Today is Thursday! This is very exciting to me because that means it's almost Friday and the weekend is close. 

When I used to work for a bank during one of my summers between college semesters, I would do this really weird count down. It would be 8, and I would say it's almost time to go home! My co-workers would always laugh at my logic. It's 8- which means it's almost 10- which means it's almost lunch time- which means it's almost time to go home! {My hours at the bank were 7-4.} 

I was thinking about that count down today when I got excited about Thursday being here, and it just made me laugh. 

{I love Hoops and YoYo- via

So I got to thinking. What makes me happy? What I am happy about at this exact moment? And I thought- well, if I have a list I should share it with y'all! 

Here we go: 

1. I'm happy it's Thursday. I love Thursdays! Not as much as Fridays, but pretty close. 
2. I'm happy I have left over pasta to eat for lunch today. Yum Yum :) 
3. I'm happy there are 6 bags of White Chocolate Candy Corn M&Ms sitting on my bookshelf- along with a card sent from my Abuela and Papa. And even better there is Candy Corn in my kitchen cabinet from my Fahey Grandparents! 

4. I'm happy that I have a place I can go everyday and express my feelings and adventures with others. {PS. this is the place.} 
5. I'm so happy my Fall t.v. shows are on and I have something to connect me to back home. Am I watching too much t.v.? Probably. Do I regret it? Not one bit. 
6. I'm happy that there are so many options for gratitude journals out there. I got inspired yesterday when reading Erika's post on her gratitude journals. Just look at the different types that are on Amazon
7. I'm happy that Kenzie is starting The Thankful Project- it's about time Thanksgiving time got some attention. Plus, what a great way to spend the month of November than expressing how grateful you are! Thanks Kenzie! 
8. I'm happy that my husband is sitting here next to me playing his video game. 
9. I'm happy that this Saturday we are going to a Halloween party at church. 
10. I'm happy that a good friend of mine e-mailed me a detailed list explaining all the new movie releases that have come out since I've been in Korea. For each movie, she wrote both a plot summary, a personal review, and a rating out of 10. When explaining Rush her was Review said "Chris Hemsworth... need I say more" This whole e-mail made me very happy! 

{Mmmm Pasta} 

What makes you happy? Right this second, why are you happy? I would love to hear from you! 

Happy Thursday Y'all, and remember: