Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Home.

We are back in the states and living in Durham.

Life is good...we're still busy settling in.



More to come soon.
Posted by Megan and Keith at 2:48 AM | 1 comments  
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN.

As I post this, we are finishing up Tuesday. Our plane leaves on Saturday at 10:30am, Korea time. We will land in Portland on Saturday at 11:59am. Needless to say, it will probably be a LONG day.

We've been bantering back and forth about the things that we will miss and the things that we won't miss.

Here is the rough list.

We will miss...
-the adventure of traveling.
-learning about a new culture.
-the ability to talk about whatever we want, wherever we want, without people really understanding us.
-how cheap eating out is.
-super fast Internet
-the Jim Jil Bang, which is like a spa, minus the special treatments. It only costs $5 to stay for as long as you want.
-spending so much time with kids.
-using public transportation (We LOVE taking the train and it's only $5 to get to the beach!)
-having time to read fiction
-the wonderful friends we've made.
-I'm sure a lot more things that we can't even think of now in the craze of leaving...


We won't miss...
-kimchi, and for that matter, a good portion of Korean food
-not having an oven, dryer, or dish washer
-not speaking the language well and always feeling bad or ignorant because of it.
-the ability of other people to talk about us while we are in the same room as them, assuming that we don't understand. A lot of times we don't, but you learn the word for foreigner or white-person pretty quickly. (Keith speaks WAY more Korean than I do. He understands about 20% of what he hears.)
-how expensive imported food is. (Example: can of Campbell's soup...as much as $5)
-having to look at the pictures on everything to figure out what is what. (Example: salt vs. sugar, dish soap vs. laundry soap.)
-not having a car or bicycle when going to the store on that one day where you have to buy all the heavy stuff.
-having NO SICK DAYS for an ENTIRE YEAR

What we can't WAIT for...
-WALDO
-seeing family and friends
-being just "a phone call away"
-Mexican food
-grocery shopping
-driving
-having our bikes back
-solving small problems with ease



This is it. We are really leaving. It's been an incredible year.



(Sorry for the lack of pictures. Keith's hard drive crashed 3 weeks ago. My computer no longer has internet capabilities for a reason that I do not understand and thus, cannot fix. Also, I accidentally packed the camera cord and I have no idea which suitcase it's in. So, pictures from this summer, our anniversary, and our final days coming soon.)
Posted by Megan and Keith at 9:58 PM | 3 comments  
Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Bright Lights of Tokyo

It's been about 3 weeks since we took a long weekend away to Tokyo, which we absolutely loved. We were really in need a a vacation, some solid together time, and a little escape from Korea...and Korean food.

Our bosses were so worried that we were going to go to Japan, get swine flu, bring it back, infect and kill all of our students, and destroy their businesses, that we kept our trip on the down-low. People are so paranoid about that stuff around here, that I wasn't and still am not allowed to tell any of my students that I've been to Tokyo in the last six months. But, it's been more than 9 days since we've been back, so we are officially not infected with the disease, so all is good. (You wouldn't believe the number of people wearing masks in Tokyo. It was quite amusing.)


In all honestly though, we not only enjoyed our trip, we LOVED Tokyo. It's so much more diverse than Seoul, and in that sense, felt a lot more like being in LA or NYC. Overall, Tokyo is just our kind of city. There were big parks all over the place. It's extremely bike friendly, so much so, that there are entire parking lots at the big subway and train stations that are only for bicycles. We rented bikes for the whole time we were there and it was SO GREAT to ride a bicycle again! We've missed our bikes a lot this year. Of course, the food was INCREDIBLE. We used to eat sushi a lot at home, but haven't too much this year, because the Korean version is not so great and not so healthy. While in Tokyo, we ate sushi for 5 meals I believe, which is quite often if you are only there for a long weekend.

So...basically the entire trip, we were asking ourselves...why haven't we been living in Tokyo this whole last year? But, life would be miserable if we really lived with those kind of regrets. Also, it is SO expensive. Keith read an article on the BBC a couple of days ago that ranked Tokyo as the most expensive big city in the world for ex patriots to live. Although there are a lot of things we really enjoyed there, we probably wouldn't have been able to pay off debt like we've been able to do here in Korea, so, it's probably for the best.

I will post a few pictures from our trip here, but you can see a whole album of pictures by going to my facebook page and viewing the album. (NOTE: For non-facebook users, you do not have to be a facebook member to view the album. You can view it from my profile page.) http://facebook.com/meganpardue












This last weekend we went to the coast for Fourth of July with some other Americans that we know here. We ate pizza and played Red Rover. It was a beautiful day and warm enough to swim in the Pacific. We tried to set off fireworks, but, apparently, they are illegal. We found that out after the lady in the convenience store willing sold a bunch of them to us. We will be going to the beach again this Saturday for Korea's famous Mud Festival. By Mud Festival, they mean that you cover yourself in this famous mud that is supposedly good for your skin and hang out all day in the sun covered in it. It should be interesting, to say the least.


We are counting down the days, 37 to be exact. Still, though, we are trying to savour our time here with our friends and this great experience. Can you believe we've been here for about 5 weeks shy of a year? What an incredible adventure it's been.
Posted by Megan and Keith at 5:17 PM | 4 comments  
Monday, May 25, 2009

The Last Several Weeks

Sorry for the blog neglect. But, here we are.

We have spent the last several weeks trying to see more of the country and enjoying the beginning of the warm dry weather before the rainy season hits.

We have only 12 more weeks in Korea. This last nine months has flown by...well, on most days. It's hard to believe that it's already been one year since we graduated college and saw most of our friends in Oklahoma City.

Many people are asking what our plans are for the fall and we have some answers! We will be returning to the US on August 15th with just enough time to pack up our cars and drive across the country. This cross country move will take us a little farther than Oklahoma City though. We are moving to Durham, North Carolina for me (Megan) to begin a master's program at Duke University. Keith will be working the first year we are there and beginning the tedious and thorough process of applying to PA and Nursing Schools in the area.

We have never been to Durham before, or North Carolina. But, we had also never been to Korea before, and we've managed here just fine. Although moving to a new place does always bring a few uncertainties, moving and living here has pretty much thrown us into a whirlwind more than any city in the US could possibly have...or at least, so we think.

Durham seems like a pretty cool city and we are looking forward to its proximity to other places in the US that we haven't been able to spend any or little time before, such as DC and the Appalachian Mountains.

Both our Moms, Gayle and Lynette, tell us that people often ask how they can be praying for us. What a blessing it is to feel like we are remembered and supported even when we are so far away. We are praying now that Keith will be able to find a job, preferably in his field, but any job at all would be an answer to prayer when we come back to the states. We have been so blessed to have job security here in Korea this year in midst of the economic crisis, unlike so many others. We are also praying that God would bless us with good friends and relationships when we move once again. The friends that we've made over this year have become our temporary family; the people that we spent Christmas with and traveled with and that have supported us in this first year of our marriage. We are so grateful.

That's enough about the future though. We are trying to soak up every last minute of our time here in this part of Asia. In two weeks, we will be going to Tokyo for a long weekend, which we are really excited about. Over the last several weeks, we've visited some nice places around the country and we will continue to do so over our remaining 12 weeks.

Here are some pictures of what we've been doing while we haven't been updating our blog in no particular order...


Fortress Wall in Suwon, which is half way between Cheonan (our city) and Seoul



This view from the wall is an older part of the city...a sight we don't see often where we live.



The wall Keith is leaning on is older than our country.

A couple of weeks ago, we had a total of nine people in our apartment for a fajita dinner. This is the most people we have ever had over at one time...primarily because we didn't think it would be possible to feed nine people in our apartment at one time. But, it worked and it was great. We did, however, run out of dishes. So, Stephanie ate her fajita salad out of a frying pan.


Another train ride to the coast without any seats. This was the most crowded train we've ever been on. But, after about 45 minutes, we were able to find a place to sit on the floor of the dining car.


These two little kids are playing with a buoy that's washed up on the shore and having the time of their lives.

This is the biggest sitting Buddha in Korea. It's one of the big attractions for many people who come visit our smaller city.

The lanterns are in celebration of Buddha's birthday a few weeks ago.

An alley in Seoul in the foreigner district. This is the part of Seoul where we go to eat hamburgers, go grocery shopping at the foreign food market, and buy English books.

Another day trip to Daecheon Beach for Shannon's Birthday on the west coast.



Easter Sunday with a little girl from church. She is wearing her "hombook" in celebration of Easter.

This particular Saturday, we rented bicycles and rode along the Han River in Seoul for the Cherry Blossom Festival.

This is at Independence Hall, which is a museum and memorial celebrating Korea's independence from Japan. We both ran the 10k in the 2nd Annual Hope Marathon with our friend Steve.


Keith's weagookin (foreigner) soccer team that plays various Korean church teams on Sunday afternoons.


That was a lot of catching up. Thanks for checking up on us.
Posted by Megan and Keith at 10:17 AM | 6 comments  
Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The many faces of winter.

We are good.

The winter has been long and cold, but it's almost over.


We have made our best effort to avoid cabin fever.
Here is a video compilation of pictures throughout this winter, including our beach getaway this last weekend on this side of the Pacific. (The video is compliments of Keith, as usual.)

Click here to watch, or for low quality, check out the video bar on the right.


Enjoy your Monday.





P.S. Here's a slice of news about North Korea that doesn't have to do with war...instead, pizza in midst of famine.
Posted by Megan and Keith at 12:05 AM | 3 comments  
Thursday, February 19, 2009

ON AIR.

Our Beijing videos and pictures are compiled and put together. Great thanks to Keith. He's the best.

WARNING:
The video is a little long...about 10 minutes. But, if you have the time, enjoy!

The video is on youtube, via the link in the column on the right. Also, if you would like to watch it on full screen or in higher quality, you can go to Keith's channel page on youtube and watch it that way.


Click here for the youtube link.




Enjoy your weekend.
Posted by Megan and Keith at 11:14 PM | 2 comments  
Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Land of Jackie Chan. (成龍)

After six months of hard work teaching, we were ready for a holiday! It was time to escape for a few days and go somewhere new, which is all a part of our purpose this year.

My parents came and visited us here in Korea, giving us the perfect excuse to head over to Beijing. Even though the Korean peninsula is connected to China, there is a significant road block on the way there...North Korea. Needless to say, we flew.

We had an amazing two weeks with them. It was incredible to show them our life here in Korea and experience all of their "firsts" with them...things we have adjusted to as somewhat normal living here. On the other hand, it was wonderful to visit Beijing together, since that was the first time for all four of us to be in China. Also, I think that having them here right at our sixth month mark will help push us through the second half of this year. We are so thankful that they were able to come.

It's hard to sum up all that we did and saw in Beijing. I will just expound on a couple of the highlights and observations I had from our trip, which I absolutely LOVED!

The first thing that really stands out to me when I think about our trip was the difference between Seoul and Beijing. Of course, there are many differences between Korean culture and Chinese culture. But, I was surprised at the how unique Beijing looks and feels. It truly is a harmonious blend of the past and the present, the traditional and modern. This is especially evident in the architecture of the city. You can quickly walk from a block of high rises to a street of tile roofed, single story shops. I loved this part about the city.

We visited the main Beijing attractions.
If you are interested in the historical background information on any of these places, you can on the title for a somewhat accurate explanation, courtesy of Wikipedia.

The Forbidden City
The Forbidden City was as elaborate and ornate as you could imagine. (I would venture to say it was even more magnificent than the biggest palace in Seoul, but, I'll probably keep that to myself within my circles here in Korea.) It was the emperor's palace from the Ming Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty. These are various pictures from around the different sections of the Forbidden City.

Interesting fact: It is called the Forbidden City because no one could enter or leave without the permission of the Emperor.






Tiananmen Square
Tiananmen Square is a huge area where thousands of people could gather together if they wanted or needed to, as they have in the past. It somewhat reminded me of our National Mall, in that they have similar purposes. It is a national iconic location where thousands can gather together, whatever their reason. One thing that I found odd was all of the towers surrounding it. These towers could very well be for the media as camera towers...but, I couldn't keep my mind from imagining what else these towers could be used for in this powerful communist nation.





Jingshan Park
We hiked up this small mountain behind the Forbidden City in Jingshan Park to see an amazing view of Beijing. Again, it highlighted, so strangely, this gigantic modern city that has not forsaken its ancient history.




Mutianyu Section of The Great Wall of China






Where do I begin? Visiting the Great Wall, was, without a doubt, my favorite part of our trip. We visited a part of the wall is not a popular location to visit, so there wasn't any tourist garbage and hardly any visitors. On the entire stretch that we walked, we only passed about 30 people. Also, the section we visited is one of the best preserved parts of the wall.

My Dad summed up so many of my feelings when he said this: "Being at the Great Wall puts the length of my short life into perspective."

It was phenomenal to be there...to walk on something that is such an important part of world history and civilization, and to stand on something I've heard about for so many years of my life. This is what I love about traveling.


Keith is working on compiling a slide show of our pictures and videos. He did post one very short video from the Great Wall that you can see in the right-hand column. He also took some incredible video at an acrobatic show we saw in Beijing. I guess I will say it again...more pictures and videos coming soon.


And on a final note...a favorite line from Lorelai Gilmore, speaking about her extremely long "To-Do" list:
"Hey, do you know that if the entire population of China walked by, the line would never end because of the rate of population increase? That's my list, every Chinese person in the world."
Posted by Megan and Keith at 8:41 PM | 1 comments  
Saturday, February 14, 2009

Coming soon...

We are safely back in Korea from our trip to China. It was absolutely incredible! This weekend we are headed up to Seoul with my parents. They went up to Seoul one day this week for the DMZ tour, which they really enjoyed. Now, we will get explore Seoul with them until they leave on Monday morning and try to fit in as much of this huge city as we can.

Stories, pictures, and videos coming soon.

Here is one picture of Keith and I on the Great Wall of China. It is as they say...great.



Happy Valentines Day!
Posted by Megan and Keith at 8:53 AM | 4 comments  
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