Saturday, June 24, 2006

2:0 Switzerland vs Korea

11:00 pm, got our game faces on. Tatoos, red shirts, flags, and cheers. And we were off to fight the crowd of 800, 000 peole doing the same thing as us in downtown Seoul (City Hall). We missed you Kevin!!!! Wish you were here!!! This post is for you.

I thought half time might be a good time to go to the bathroom. I think that hundreds of other soccer fans were thinking the same thing.

There were Roman candles and fireworks going off constantly during the game. The pre-game show included break-dancing, K-pop boy bands and random musical guests.

Hopes were hight for the Korean team to do well. Unfortunately they were off to a bad start with the first goal by Switzerland. Adter my very long bathroom break, the score was 2:0 for Switzerland and only 15 minutes of game time.

Then morning hit and we needed Starbucks real bad.

Friday, June 23, 2006


I'm going to downtown Seoul tonight to watch the BIG game (Korea vs Switzerland). Actually, when I say tonight, i really mean tommorow morning at 4 am (that's when the game actually starts), but the crowd gets going around midnight.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Birthday pics

The big day started with Jamie's world famous crepes with all the toppings and, of course, lot's of chocolate. Jamie also decorated the house with balloons and signs.

We went to Ilsan Lake and we had a blast riding bikes, eating our picnic lunch and our very exciting soccer game (girls vs guys). Just to point out, the girls DID win and half of us were in our bare feet.

Here's me with Betty and June, on our bike ride.

We went to our friend Flora's house on Saturday for a dinner party.

Later, we went to Bennigens for their world famoud Death by Chocolate and smoothies. Here I am with our favorite waiter, Boya.

Jamie took me shopping at Haengdae market. Do you like my new shirt and sunglasses? We also had a nice lunch at this cute cafe at Honguk University.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Why Jennica is a Remarkable human being

I think Jennica is a remarkable person and has unique qualities that make the world a much better place. Some of her attitudes and mindsets have wordlessly taught me important lessons about how to live my life.

I want to take this opportunity to share some of the top reasons why Jennica is an amazing human being. I’ve written about 30 paragraphs of reasons why she is a remarkable human, but for purposes of readerfriendliness I will share only the best.

Jennica’s life is interesting because she is an active person. By this I mean she gets out of her house, moves her body and does things. She goes to the pool every Tuesday. She joins a city-sponsored soccer team. She goes to the park and suntans. She organizes hiking trips. If you ask Jennica to do something with you, she says “Yes!” When she has a good idea she acts on it, instead of just thinking about acting on it. I really believe that variety is the spice of life, and that by getting out of the house and doing things, instead of being all talk and thoughts, life is made more memorable. She has helped me break out of cycles of mindless inactivity.

Jennica is not afraid. She is not afraid of talking to strangers. She’s not afraid of looking stupid when she spontaneously plays guitar in a coffee shop. She’s not afraid of an awkard situation when calling a random Japanese travel agent. While so many people are held back by inhibitions, Jennica follows her heart and builds cool memories. Many people think about something until their fears have talked them out of it, but Jennica dives in fearlessly.

Grudges slide off Jennica like butter off Teflon. She has a fantastic attitude when she’s wronged: she deals with it, gets over it, and gets back to normal. She just feels best when people are happy with each other, and that is the way she lives her life. I believe this is a wonderful, and very Christlike way to live.

I know this aspect of Jennica so intimately because almost every day I am the recipient of her forgiveness. When I am cranky and say something irrational and mean to her first thing in the morning, she could choose to hold it against me for the rest of the day. Instead, as soon as I apologize she acts like it had never happened. Some people say “wait a minute, conflict isn’t that easy. Conflict is meant to be analyzed, discussed, picked at like a wart until you’ve dug out the root.” Yet I believe this mentality does more to gratify human righteous indignation, to feed the sick desire to be justified. I’ve learned from Jennica about how to let go and get back to enjoying experiences with people. Sometimes Jenncia forgives me before I’ve said I’m sorry.

And the top reason why Jennica is a remarkably unique human being:

Jennica has an extraordinary energy, made of pure joy, and she is most fully alive when this energy is bubbling and pouring out of her. It was the first thing I ever noticed about her: a big ol confident smile that seemed to express her whole being. Jennica just loves to laugh her head off; to roll on the ground laughing, to double over laughing, to stumble into a wall because she’s laughing so hard. She also loves going totally crazy – sometimes we crazy wrestle, sometimes she flops her body around on the ground like a fish, sometimes she tries to beat me up by flailing her arms and legs and even her head. I love seeing a person fully alive. Next time you see Jennica, do something really crazy, like start doing a crazy dance right beside her, and you’ll see a lightning bolt of pure joy.

Happy Birthday Honey!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Our trip to Kyoto, Japan

Jamie and I had the amazing oppurtunity to take a mini-vacation (9 days) in Kyoto, Japan. We hadn't expected this time off, but our school decided to renovate and as such they gave us some time off.

June 3rd we left Seoul for Osaka and we were en route to beautiful, culturally rich Kyoto. We spent our first 5 days in Kyoto, one day in Osaka, one day in Nara and the remaining 2 days in Kyoto.

Here's one of the many bamboo forests in Japan--this one is in Nara (the old capital).

Jamie and I attempted to escape the noise of tourists by going to Lake Biwa. little did we know that Lake Biwa wasn't the cute, charming place we had envisioned.

On another note, many people commented on this shirt that Jamie made for me as a anniversary gift. It reads: "I'm Jamie's geisha". People asked where they could buy such a shirt and we replied--you can't, it's simple "one of a kind".

Here's a charming coffee/teahouse on the philosophers path. We actually found a different coffee house to hang in each day and every one was different in its own right. One coffee house(a meikyokukissa) played classical music on authentic turn-style record players. The whole time it was completely silent and even the waiters wore felt bottomed shoes to keep the peace.

This is a view of the town of Gion from the top of the hill.

This is an authentic teahouse on the outskirts of Gion, surrounded by temples and shrines. The garden here was pretty breathtaking too.

We rode bikes every single day and we pretty much covered the entire city. It was sweet.

Note to self--do NOT wear 2 dollar sandals bought in Thailand when roaming japan on foot. It's the pits. But we found a way.......

Gardens in Japan

The gardens in Japan are some of the most photgenic, beautiful and insanely peacefull places to be in the world.

The first picture is taken at Ryoan-ji. This rock garden is one of Japan's most famous Zen gardens: a raked gravel pit with 15 stones in small clusters. Apparently, if you look close enough, you can see pictures and images in the actual stone designs.

Here you can see the contast between the tile and the different textures of stones in the Zen garden.

This garden is part of a tea house we went near Gion.

The emperor's garden in the Imperial Palace. There were seriously WAY too many shots to take and it's hard on the ol' memory card.

Breathtaking views

We went to Osaka for one night and took in some of the city life. Actually, ironically, the one day we were in Japan last August (getting our E-2 Vistas), we realized we were in the exact same downtown neighborhood, called Namba. Originally we came to Osaka to see a Ben Harper concert, but we arrived to late a t night to get there in time.

A path outside of one of the Shino shrines. We went on a walking tour for 5 hours and took in several Shino shrines and Buddist temples. Apparently, most people get married in Shinto shrines, preformed by Shino preists. Before this trip we had no idea how religous people in Japan really were.

On our walking tour. That's out tour guides' name on the lantern at one of the shrines we visited.

Kyoto Station on its own is quite an architectural wonder made of steel. We spend some time gazing at the high views and the floating garden on the rooftop.

Here we are in Nara, overlooking the quaint village and green hills.

The philosophers path was one of our favorite spots in Kyoto. The trail follows a beautiful canal an it's lined with boutiques and coffee shops. This path was a favorite morning stroll of 20th century philosopher Nishida Kitaro.

The giant wooden Buddah we heard soooooo much about in Japan. This place is called Toddai-Ji (temple). it's actually a world heritage site.

New friends

One night, after watching the geisha show, Jamie and I decided to go for a late night meal at a local grill bar in Gion. Who knew that would end up meeting the owner, a Japanese man who lived through WWII? he also spoke very good English and he kept us entertained for hours with his war time stories and his zeal for life. he also insisted on bringing us course after course of delicous grilled chicken, hamburger, homemade french fries and soup made from scatch (and he agreed that we only had to pay 4, 000 yen, drinks on the house).

In Nara, we soon discovered that the grounds of the temple were covered with Japanese school children, most of them with their school assignment being--go talk to foreigners and practice your English. These girls were absolutly adorable and we had lot's of fun chatting with them.

Here's a couple we met at our hostel. he's from Germany and she's from Japan and they met one another in New Zealand, both studying English. We ran into them at the Starbucks en route to the train.

At our hostel we learned how to make sushi from one of the hostel guests. He was so kind and patient and taught every one of us and let us eat our products.

Some girls we met at the hostel, one living in Hong Kong and the other in Japan. We had some good chats into the night.

And the infamous hostel staff--the BEST hostel in kyoto-K's House.