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A New Site

Hello Everyone!
I have moved my blog over to wordpress-


I apologize for the lack of posts. I am working on being more diligent with posting, and my goal for the new site is to focus a bit more on calligraphy. Hope you are well,


The sun is shining this afternoon, and I am thankful for its warming rays. It has been quite a busy few months.

My Aunt Marlene passed away on the first day of spring, March 20th. She had lived with and fought the cancer for 12 years, and it finally claimed her. She was surrounded and supported by her family and friends in her last weeks. While I miss her presence, I am comforted by the knowledge that she is in Heaven, whole, healed, and without pain. The outpouring of condolences and sympathy has truly overwhelmed our family. Thank you for your prayers and your support.

I have recently started to work on my calligraphy again. It isn't much, but I find that the mere act of putting pen to page is soothing. For now, I am merely practicing, working on letter forms and technicalities. I miss the daily studio time from Roehampton, working with amongst other artists and the feeling of being part of a common creative energy.

Spring in Portland, people are friendlier, smiling and gregarious on the bus and the max. Flowers are blooming and the Park blocks at PSU are filled with students. It's time to enjoy iced coffee from Starbucks, a walk around the block, and pause to sniff the roses as they start to bud.

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas!

We've had a bit of snow in the past week. Which makes for that fairy-tale winter wonderland, I'm-dreaming-of-a-white-Christmas feel. But it also makes it a bit difficult to get around in all that ice.

I hope you were able to celebrate with your family and friends this Christmas. We've had our fun playing in the snow, making festive goodies, and spending time together.

I am thankful for all of the events of the past year, the expected and surprising, the time spent with family, and the adventures with friends. And as the 2008 year draws to a close, I am looking forward to a new year, and all that it will bring into my life.

I wish you the joy of the Season and remembrance of all that is good in the past, together with hope for the future.

Clown Cones

As my sister Brittney and I walked out of the local grocery store, a Mom and two daughters walked by, enjoying icecream cones. The younger sister had a clown cone. Brittney and I watched them walk by, and then looked at each other, and walked the direction of Baskin Robbins. Did you ever enjoy these treats growing up?

We walked into the B&R and headed straight for the back cooler. There was a good selection of Clown Cones, smiling red frosting grins, each clown's hat decorated with flashy frosting bits. Brittney chose one with cookies and cream icecream with pink and yellow frosting. Mine was PopRocks sherbert with purple and green frosting.

What a perfect summer afternoon! We devoured our clown cones in the sunshine- reminiscing about past summers and silliness. And laughing at each other as we got the frosting all over our faces and fingers. I love August afternoons in Portland. I've lived other places in the world, but I don't think anything beats a sunny August afternoon spent with my sister.


I left Seoul on Tuesday evening, and arrived back in Portland Tuesday afternoon, two hours before the original flight. Ah, the joys of time travel.

My time in South Korea was amazing. I could not have hoped for a better experience. Teaching English to the school kids was really fun, challenging, and always entertaining. I loved meeting the Korean people, they are warm and inviting. The last five days in Korea were spent sight-seeing. We visited numerous temples and shrines, a few museums, and then enjoyed a day in Seoul.

Now I am sorting through over 800 photos... Here are a few for you to peruse. I've also posted a new album of various Temple pix from the trip. Enjoy!

Here is the view we had from Camp Youngam- this was a perfect sunny day!

My first Korean Bbq dinner- you cook the meat on the inset table grill. Once it's cooked, you wrap it in a lettuce leaf, add a bit of chili paste, and down it.

Street food vendor- we ate here- fish on a stick.

These are the girls in my elementary home room class.

In the second session, I taught the Art booth- we made two paper lanterns, and then pink clay pigs. Here are the examples I had made for the kids.

Buddhist Temple Stay

Hello Everyone!

I'm just back from a Buddhist temple stay. The Monastery is in Haenam, nestled in a valley with high green hills. We were given clothes to wear- orange vests and mc-hammer style baggy pants.

It was a beautiful day- sunny and pleasantly warm. The Monastery complex was crowded with families visiting the temples and also along the lower paths, enjoying picnic lunches and playing in the stream that comes down from the mountain. We were able to walk along and dip our toes in the water- a welcome respite, along with ice cream treats! For sleeping arrangements, the boys and girls were separated (of course!) and I ended up in a small room with 3 other girls- complete with four sleeping mats, two fans, and a disconnected computer.

The temple complex had five main temple/altar buildings. We were allowed to participate in the evening worship service, all 50 Americans fit in the temple, along with a good number of priests. The main altar had 3 large Buddha statues, with a painted silk screen behind. The walls and ceilings of the temple were brightly painted, the ceiling tiles were flowers and the walls had scenes of various Buddhist stories. Along the side walls of the temple were counters, upon which rested memorial candles, each small flickering light with a name written before it. Two large wooden dragon heads leered down on the central section of the room, complete with antlers and magnificent mustaches. After the evening service, we gathered to meditate for 30 minutes. It was a good session, sitting cross-legged on silken pillows with incense burning and lanterns lit. Then it was time for bed.

After a night spent tossing and turning on the hard wooden floor, we were awoken at 3am for the morning prayers. After the morning service, one monk took us on a walking meditation through the monastery grounds. It was rather surreal, walking in the dark, along a semi-paved road with a rustling stream on either side of the road and trees overhead. We could see some stars and could hear crickets and frogs. We returned to the Monastery buildings in the grey dawn, the curved pagoda roofs just barely visible in the darkness. I sat outside to watch the sunrise, and stayed for a while as the light grew stronger. But then I realized I was the main attraction for a swarm of mosquitoes, so retreated to my room.

As we were up before the sun, breakfast at 6am was reasonable. We had rice and vegetables for breakfast, complete with seaweed soup. I must say, I am really looking forward to a toasted bagel slathered with cream cheese, and a cup of strong coffee for breakfast when I get back home!

We left the monastery at 8:30 and were taken to ride on a cable car- South Korea's longest cable car ride. It was about a 10-minute ascent to the top of the mountain- and the view was beautiful, we could peer into deep valleys, and could see at least 6 other peaks, barely visible through the mist.

What group outing is complete without a visit to the local grocery/department store? We stopped in Mokpo at the LotteMart, similar to FredMeyers or Walmart. Popular items purchased by the Americans: bread, peanut butter and jelly, Starbucks coffee drinks, snickers bars, m&m's, skittles, and potato chips. I was pleased to pick up bread- four small sliced loaves in one package that reads "Smooth peanut flavor" I've not tried it yet, but am hoping for peanut butter baked into the bread and not any bean paste. I also purchased two peaches- they need a day or so to ripen, but are fuzzy and blush-colored. And I did purchase a Starbucks Coffee drink "espresso" flavored- my first coffee in over 2 weeks!

I've one more camp session- this time its Middle-School kids. They are arriving on buses this morning and will be going through registration and English competency testing before we meet as an entire camp. I am teaching Art this time- making two paper lanterns, and then a small clay pig. I'll try to post pictures soon!

More later,


This is arrival in Seoul airport. It was a 10-hour flight from Seattle to Seoul.

We had a few chances to wander about in downown Gwangju. This is the shopping district- full of restaurants, karaoke place, and of course fabulous boutiques.

This is a fabulous bell that was in downtown Gwangju. The sign said that it weighed 22.5 tons!

While we were wandering, we stopped for dinner at this street vendor. The food is already cooked, and you point to which you wish to eat- the lady picks it out and dishes up the appropriate sauce, and you stand and eat it right there. I think I ate the fish skin... it was a bit salty, but the sauce was very good.

Camp- in session Day 3

Well, its crazy busy here. Camp is now in session- we have 150 kids age 9-11 here to improve their English. The kids are energetic, happy, smart, and enthusiastic about camp. Every where I go, kids are waving and saying "Hello!" we are slowly building up to complex conversations.

Camp lasts for 10 days, and one day is a field trip to a western-style restaurant, where the kids will eat with a fork, spoon, and knife- no chopsticks allowed!

This session I am teaching a Unit about Hospitals. From what I can tell, there are no private practice Doctor's offices here. In order to visit the doctor, the patient goes to the Hospital. So we are going through "What's the matter?" and "How did it happen?" and then going over common things in Hospitals.

The food is very good- we have rice and kimchee, and usually a meat or seafood dish. I must admit, I miss my morning toast for breakfast. Rice is just not the same!

In South Korea

Its been a busy few days here. We arrived safely in Gwang-ju, Jeollonam-do province in South Korea after 27 hours and 40 minutes of travel. The trip was long, but fortunately uneventful, everyone made it with their baggage in tow.

The group I am with is large- 21 from PSU, 35 from U of Missouri. We are in Orientation right now, and will be split between four sites throughout the Jeollanamdo province. I will be teaching in Huam, which is the most southern of the sites, and appears to be right on the beach. I'll give more details as I know them...

I get to teach the Hospital class to the elementary kids- it goes over injuries, how they happen, and visiting the Doctor at the Hospital. Should be fun! For the middle school camp, I will be teaching Art- making paper lanterns and a small cute clay pig. We will be learning concepts like folding and un-folding, attaching and gluing- lots of new vocabulary words.

I went into Gwang-ju city with a group from PSU- we had Korean-style table-top bbq- the meat is brought to the table, and you cook it on the grill set into the table. It was so good- grilled pork and beef, as well as onions garlic, mushrooms, and green-skinned pumpkin.

It is beautiful here, green hillsides lush with pine trees. There are butterflies everywhere and colorful lillies are blooming. There are Cicadas in the trees outside- noisy bugs that are much smaller than their voices. It is very humid- like walking through a sauna, and we had rain a few times yesterday. Most of the native population carries umbrellas with them. I did not pack mine...

Hopefully, I'll be able to get pictures up soon- the computers here are all PCs, and, of course, operating language is in Korean.

Ready to fly

Yikes! I leave in less than 24 hours! My suitcase is packed and so is my carry-on luggage. I've got gum and reading materials, my passport and tickets, and of course my camera. The flight originates out of Seattle, and it is 5,184 miles to Seoul, avaraging about 11 hours flying time. Hopefully I'll be sleeping most of that!

Latest Month

September 2009