Archive for April 2008

Running out of time!

I have 6 weekends left here in Korea! Six weeks!!!!! And they’re already full!

I’m starting to realize how much I won’t get done here before I leave, which will make leaving here hard. I think I’m going to miss Korea and all it’s wackiness. One of the things I can’t believe I haven’t done yet is watch some Bboy. It’s basically break dancing but Korea is the World Champion in Bboy competitions. They have them on TV all the time but I haven’t made it down to see the competitions live yet and I really should.

If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, check out this youtube which has some of the champions doing an amazing routine to Pachelbel’s Canon as played on the Gyageum (a traditional korean instrument):



Mum is coming to visit soon, and I hope she is ready……She gets to help me cross some things off my list! Top of that list is staying in a Hanok (traditional guesthouse) in the city center. There is a lot to see downtown but so hard to get there and back that I don’t often go. However, if we’re staying there, we should get to see a lot of stuff.

Then there’s Suwon fortress maybe, or Nawamsol traditional village, the Seoul Tower. Plus all the things that I already love about here like Namhansanseong mountain, Galbi restaurants, and saunas. I think this will be a great way of finishing up my life here.


Add comment April 30, 2008

Some light opera

On Tuesday night I got to see Andrea Bocelli in concert here in Seoul. It was in a small-ish venue very close to where we live so of course, I had to go. He was absolutely amazing. His voice sent shivers down my spine and his encore of Nessun Dorma almost had us all in tears. He sang some of the famous Sarah Brightman duets with a woman called Heather Headley and, although she isn’t a clasically trained opera singer, she certainly held her own with him on stage.

If it hadn’t been for the pouring rain on the way there, leaving puddles in my shoes, it would have been perfect.

1 comment April 24, 2008

the dark side…

That’s it! I’ve officially gone over to the dark side. This morning I got up at 5:40 to run!

Never thought I’d see the day…..

(I admit the wedding shortly after the triathlon is pretty good motivation)

Add comment April 15, 2008

And the madness begins……

It’s going to be fun doing this wedding stuff in Asia! Yesterday, Lindy took me to a dress maker here that made her wedding dress. I was nervous! Their online page was all fancy dresses with trains and veils but Lindy assured me that they could do any kind of dress.

We arrived and the dressmaker was waiting outside. There were 3 people helping us – the dressmaker who speaks only Korean, the designer who speaks Korean and Spanish, and the assistant who speaks Korean and English. As you come in, they serve you coffee and biscuits and sit you down in this mini living room. We talked about the design I was looking for and then they suggested I try on some dresses to see different necklines, outlines, materials etc. This is where it got interesting…..

There was a stage at the front of the room with a podium on it. I got taken up there and the curtains were closed. I had to change into bloomers and try on this HUGE dress – it draped down over the podium and had a train. They pinned me in, turned me around to face the living room, turned on the stage lights and right before opening the curtains, handed me a bouquet to hold!

All so I can see if I like the square neckline! I tried on about 3 or 4 different dresses this way, each time with the grand opening. It was pretty funny. We kept trying to get across the type of dress I wanted – this was difficult for them as the dress I want is much more freeflowing and unstructured than the traditional Korean wedding dress. There was one point where I turned to Lindy and I think the look in my eye was enough that she sat me down, handed me the biscuits and took over trying to communicate with the designer. At that moment, I was seriously doubting if this was going to happen.

Eventually, the dressmaker came out dragging the dress mannequin behind him. He started draping and pinning the fabric. I removed a few of the pins he had put in, added a few extra pins and finally had my dress design.

I was so happy! It was so pretty! They couldn’t really believe that this was what I wanted because it’s not like the typical dresses they do but, he said he could do it and I’m excited to see how it turns out. We then picked fabrics and colors and said our goodbyes.

It was so fun, nerve wracking, intense and exciting doing that. Lindy decided we had to celebrate so she took me out for dinner at this really nice Italian where her husband works as the sommelier. We had some great seafood pasta with wine and champagne and then got a ride home with her husband. It was such a fun way to celebrate. I can’t wait for what’s next!

1 comment April 15, 2008

getting there…

the weather is finally starting to change. Last night I had a nice, relaxing evening. Our school has 4 grills on this back patio: two are gas and two are little weber charcoal grills. I got out the mini weber and grilled some great chicken and potatoes. Sat out in the sunset reading my book waiting for the food to cook and often daydreaming about my life next year. A glass of white wine finished off the meal and I was so happy.

Note to self: make sure Marshall gets a grill

Add comment April 9, 2008

On to KL

So, after my fantastic evening, and some phone calls home, we were off first thing the next morning to Kuala Lumpur. I was attending a Teachers Conference there and Marshall was just planning on hanging out. We had a room with a view of the Petronas towers!


I was excited to see the other SIS teachers who were there so that I could tell them my news! And show off the ring!


Again, we were staying at a Shangri La hotel so again, we had fabulous breakfasts (including a chocolate fountain!) and dinners provided by the conference. The dinners were dangerous – free wine and beer which was constanty filled. As soon as you were near the bottom of your glass, someone came along and replaced it with a full one!


The food was great with an Indian section, a Malaysian section, salads, fruit, chocolates, cakes. Robyn and I worked out that in 4 days we gained 4 pounds. And it was worth it!


While I did actually attend some really good conferences, we had plenty of time for hanging out by the pool and checking out some local places.

n810202220_370324_13041.jpgn810202220_370317_93691.jpg It was definitely hard to think about coming back to Korea without Marshall and starting teaching again, when I have far more fun things to think about!

Add comment April 4, 2008

Finally some details…..

The whole vacation was wonderful ( and I was thinking this even before I became engaged). Marshall had spent a week here in Korea as he had 2 weeks off. I should have known it was love since he spends every vacation he has coming back here to Seoul! We were flying to Kota Kinabalu in Borneo separately since he was going through Hong Kong in order to pick up his summer clothes backpack, and….the ring as I found out.

I arrived into Kota Kinabalu around 3:30 and it is a real testament to how comfortable I am travelling now, that I didn’t check what kind of money they use there, didn’t change any money beforehand, didn’t arrange a hotel van to pick me up. I just arrived. I found an ATM machine and then a taxi and headed off.

I knew the hotel was going to be gorgeous but it just gave off such an air of tranquility (until I discovered the children’s play area and pool that was crowded with screaming kids). As you enter the hotel, they hit a gong and then musicians play as you walk to the lounge to check in. I knew I had about 6 hours until marshall arrived so I took a look around, swam a bit, even worked out! Then, I positioned myself in the lobby bar and started drinking gin and tonics to wait for Marshall. After an hour and a half and 2, maybe 3 drinks, he still hadn’t arrived. It turns out that his flight from Hong Kong had been cancelled! I had to spend my first night there alone! So, in order to distract myself from this fact, I cozied up in the hotel robe and slippers, ordered room service and found a good movie on TV.

We had a great room with an enormous bed, a separate little sitting area and a balcony overlooking the ocean. balconyview.jpgview.jpg

They even put a coconut plant in each room that is planted on the orangutan reserve once you leave!


Obviously Marshall made it in fine the next day and we were able to take  full advantage of the beach loungers, poolside service, boule’s games, gorgeous sun and views, and not forgetting the wonderful breakfasts. Each morning was a huge array of food – all the waffles, pancakes, pastries, eggs, omelettes, breads, curries, laksa noodle soups, congee (the last two were my favorite). I was stuffed every morning!


There were many, many things to do within the resort so I left it to Marshall to plan some activities for us and he did well. Monday night we took a sunset cruise which was really relaxing.sunsetcruise.jpg The funniest part was that there were white people everywhere, a lot of Europeans, Australians and Brits but none of them lived in their home country. It seemed that everyone we met was living somewhere in Asia. I guess it’s a long way to travel if you’re from the states?

There are two great restaurants in the resort. The first is Naan, an Indian place that won best Indian in Malaysia, and the second is Coast, this really fancy place that Marshall had been to before and loved. So, of course we had to try each. We had decided that the Tuesday would be our day to celebrate one year together and Marshall had the whole day planned out.

First thing in the morning we took a bike ride to a little fishing village nearby. It wasn’t a hard ride by any means but it was nice to get out and about. Then, we went to watch the orangutans feed on the reserve, orangutan.jpg, then we had a 90 minute hot stone massage, and finally we had dinner booked at Coast. After the massage, we were both really relaxed and ready for a good meal. In the middle of getting ready, we decided to watch the sunset from the balcony since they are gorgeous out there. What I didn’t know was that Marshall had decided that this was the moment. I’m busy snapping photos of the view and chatting away not noticing that Marshall was shaking a little as he lit his cigar.

thenight.jpgsunset.jpg Gorgeous eh?

I was sitting in the chair just thinking what a great day I had had and how sweet Marshall was to arrange it all when he turned around, squatted down in front of me and asked “Will you marry me?”. My response? “In a heartbeat”.

He gave me this beautiful ring that he had made in Hong Kong and showed me photos of an heirloom ring that is stunning (we will use that one as the wedding band).

I was so happy! It was completely unexpected! And we had this amazing dinner right after that where we just got to enjoy the moment. It was the best day, and night of my life!

2 comments April 4, 2008

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