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Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Letters #52

Happy Friday Y'all!

It's here- it's finally here. We survived another week and the weekend is upon us. I hope you all have wonderful and exciting plans. We will just be getting things ready for our upcoming trip and relaxing.

I guess it's letter time. 

Dear MacBook, It's so good to have you back. It was a sad two weeks without you in my life. Matt was such a sport letting me borrow his computer and tablet when I needed. It's a little sad how dependent I am on my laptop, but it has everything on it- so it's pretty important. So yay for laptops! 

Dear New Middle School Schedule, I have to say- I am loving it. Now all my middle school students are in conversation classes, so we just talk the whole class time. I get to pick the topics and activities. I get to actually plan lessons again. No more stupid SMART workbooks for me! I'm so excited to actually have lessons plans and control over some of my classes. I think the students are liking the new system as well, so it's all good so far. Hopefully the good attitudes continue. 

Dear Dr. Who, Once again- we spent countless hours watching this wonderful series. We are getting towards the end of the 10th Doctors run. For real- how awesome is David Tennant- I'm in love. We said goodbye to both Marsha Jones (good-riddance) and Donna Noble. The Doctor Donna is my favorite companion thus far. I'm looking forward to getting all caught up and to start watching the current season. But I love the 10th Doctor and don't want to see him go. 

Dear Lucky Charms, So happy to see you. I haven't seen sugary American cereal like this since leaving America. It was nice to take a little trip back to America through a bowl of cereal. It was delicious. I love finding American treats. 

 And that was basically our week. Nice and boring. 

Have a great weekend. 

Love, Alex 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Living in the Moment

Happy Thursday Y'all! 

I hope your week is chugging on by like mine is. The weekend is in sight, and I could not be any happier. In just 9 days, Matt and I will be heading off on our adventure to Mongolia. Woohoo! 

Speaking of adventures- today I wanted to talk about embracing your own adventures and enjoying life. 

It is no secret that Matt and I are having the adventure of a lifetime here in Korea. We have been able to experience the expat life. We fell in love with Korean BBQ. Received stamps in our passports. Rode in tuktuks. Climbed around ancient temples. Learned traditional Khmer food.  Cruised the Ha Long Bay. Found a perfect branch to attend on Sundays. Met the wonderful Schmitt Family. Saw Mickey Mouse at Tokyo Disney. Felt the sand beneath our toes in Busan. And much much more. 

All these adventures and yet… I still feel like it's not enough. I read blogs of wanderers in New Zealand visiting Hobitton and seeing beautiful stars. I see people visiting Greece and their wonderful pictures of Santorini. I see people back home buying their first homes. Having babies. Finishing Master programs. I read blogs about expats living in Europe and I can't help but feel jealous. 

I want to be finishing school. Traveling Europe. Teaching for the DOD. Road-tripping around the US in an RV. Having a cute apartment to decorate. Visiting New Zealand on a long holiday. Spending Christmas with my family. 

Really- I just want it all, and I want it all right now. 

A few months ago, I found this print from Pen & Paint that was the perfect reminder. 

"Comparison is the thief of joy." -Theodore Roosevelt 

 I think the grass is greener mentality is common for everyone, but it's hard to deal with sometimes. I bought this print as a reminder to stop comparing my life to others and just enjoy life. 

Being in Korea is an amazing adventure, and I know when I'm back in the states- I'm going to want to be reliving my Korea days. I know that one day the bucket list items will get checked off. I just have to be patient. And more importantly- I need to enjoy life now. Try to soak in the present day. 

And that's where I'm at right now. Trying not to compare myself to others. Trying to enjoy my final months in Korea. Trying to be patient. But to be honest- everyday is a struggle. 

Please tell me I'm not the only one that struggles with this. How do you focus on the present? 

Happy Almost Weekend Y'all! 

PS- I encourage all of you to check out Lindsay from Pen & Paint

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Harajuku Street: Tokyo

Happy Tuesday Y'all. 

Today I'm talking all about the Harajuku area of Tokyo. 

Harajuku is known as the center of Japanese youth fashion and culture. (At least according to the Internet.)  On Sundays traffic is stopped on some of the main streets of the area and it's a perfect day to walk and sight see all the interesting fashion choices of the Japanese youth. This was the top thing on Matt's list to do, so we made sure to stop off here. Harajuku is really close to the Meiji Shrine, and it's possible to see both places in one day. 

It was raining when we went, so I think it really cut down the crowds. I wish we could have seen this place at its full capacity, but we were able to still see some cool things and people. 

 {Mmmm… banana chocolate crepe} 

Visiting Japan is always so much fun. It's nice to see all the different fashion and subcultures. Here in Korea there is just one look the youth are going for. They pretty much all wear the same style, but in Japan everything is more diverse. 

If you are in Tokyo- Harajuku should be a place where you visit. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Meiji Shrine: Tokyo

Happy Monday Y'all! 

I hope you had a wonderful weekend. 
I got my computer back on Saturday and am so excited to have it back. 

Today I wanted to go back to Tokyo and share the Meiji Shrine with y'all. We visited the shrine on our last day in Tokyo right after our Disney trip. 

The Meiji Shrine is a Shinto shrine that was dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Shoken. The shrine was completed in 1921, but the original building was destroyed during the air raids of WWII. It was reconstructed in 1958. 

During the Meiji Era, the Emperor helped with the industrial growth and modernization of the country. The sake barrels are offered every year by members of the Meiji Jingu Nationwide Sake Brewers Association. I love the look of of the sake barrels- they are all so colorful. 

These wine barrels are given to the shrine each year from France. 

The shrine sits in a forested area, so it's really beautiful to walk around. It was rainy and very humid when we were there, but it was still nice to see this place. We were in Tokyo over a holiday, so it was really busy and crowded. I would try to visit during a low period because I think it would be a little more peaceful. (And easier to get people less picture.) 

While we were there, the shrine had all these different bonsai trees on display. Some of them were 80 years old, and they were all impressive. Matt and I really want to get a bonsai when we move back home. 

Meiji Shrine is also a popular place for couples to get married. Sunday is a big wedding day, so if you're interested in seeing a bride and groom- go on a Sunday. We saw a couple as they were leaving and a couple that were taking their pictures. I was quick in line to be a stalker tourist and had to snap a picture or two or three of the couple. 

We loved the shrine. It was really nice to visit another shrine in Japan. This was different than some of the ones we saw in Kyoto. It wasn't as colorful as Yasaka or Fushimi, but it was just as beautiful. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Letters #51

Happy Friday Y'all! 

I hope you had a wonderful week. Like most weeks, ours was pretty boring, but here's what we were up to. 

Dear Students, I would have to say- y'all are driving me crazy right now. Man oh man do I wish we had a long break coming up. I need a couple weeks to break away from my students. I really think that's the biggest benefit to teaching in America- the summer and Christmas break. I always enjoyed detoxing from my students and having a little time away to start to miss them. Here in Korea- I've seen my kids straight for a whole year and they are driving me crazy. I am so tired of saying "Read the directions." and "Look at the book" over and over and over. Maybe this upcoming Chuseok break will be the time apart I need.... but I doubt it. 

Dear Crochet Lessons, So far so good. I'm currently learning the double crochet and have figured out the single and the half double. I am still crocheting a little tight, but my goal is to work on that this weekend. (Any tips would be appreciated.) I can't wait to get past the lessons and start creating something. It feels really good to be learning something new. I love continuing my education in these small ways. Next up weaving! 

Dear Doctor, Thank you for keeping us company throughout the week. This week we said goodbye to Rose Tyler and hello to Martha Jones. I still prefer Rose over Martha- but I'm sure I'll get used to the change. Each episode I fall more in love with this show. 

Dear Schmitt Family, I hope you're prepared for our Harry Potter battle this Sunday. Thanks for inviting us over again- we promise not to kick your butts too much.

Dear Weekend, Thanks for coming. We are excited to bum around and get things ready for our Mongolia trip. Tomorrow I get my computer back, and I am so excited. Matt is happy to not have to share his laptop anymore. 

Have a wonderful weekend! 

Love, Alex

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

An Egg Hunt: Tokyo Disneyland

Happy Wednesday Y'all! 

Way back in June, Matt and I took a weekend trip to Tokyo to visit Disneyland for my birthday. And let me tell you- Best... Birthday Trip... Ever! 

I really plan on talking a whole lot about our two day Disney trip, but for now I want to share something cool we got to do while in Disney- an Easter Egg Hunt. During Spring, Disney Tokyo sets up an egg hunt around the park for the Easter season. Each egg is decorated in the Disney decor and characters. Although it was way past Easter when we visited- the eggs were still up. We were really excited to walk around the park and check out the eggs.

We had the best time looking for eggs. Most of the eggs were right outside the ride they represented, or right around that area.


I was really excited that we got to visit the park during this egg hunt. It was raining when we were at the park, and all the eggs really brightened everything up during the dreary weather.