Wednesday, February 28, 2007



Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
--Dr. Seuss

This is definitely easier said that done. As people we are constantly aware of what others are thinking about us. I like to think that I am aware that other people may be judging me, but that it doesn't bother me nor does it make me act differently, but I know that it does. I want people to like me and I want them to respect me. I think, though, as I've gotten older I have gotten more comfortable with myself. Korea definitely helped me with that. I think that it was while I was in Korea that I felt the most liked and as a result, that has given me more confidence. I have never been low on confidence. And when I am frightened or challenged, I usually puff up and act more confidently than I am actually feeling. I am an unusual person, I guess.

I guess that I don't really feel insightful today, so I am going to keep it short and end with another quote.

It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.
--Agnes Repplier

Monday, February 26, 2007


It really is kind of sad how people don't write letters anymore. I am an exception. I love to write letters and I often do. When I was in Korea, I wrote a minimum of one letter per week to friends and family telling them what my experience in Korea was like. I hope that they saved these letters as they truly capture an important time in my life. Since returning home, I haven't written any letters but I should start again. I am going through another important time in my life right now. A sort of crossroads. I want this time to be put in ink on a piece of paper that can be reread years or generations from now. I am not very good at journaling. I did keep one while I was in Korea, but it has been ignored for this blog. While I love this blog, will there be evidence of it in the future?

The reason that I am so concerned with having a written record of my life is because letters and journals is what much of our history is based on. It is how we know what people felt during the American revolution and how presidents handled major decisions. This is not to say that I plan on being a famous person whose letters are publishe and analyzed, but I'd like to think that I will leave behind something that shows insight into my life and heart.

I am currently reading a book called "Hidden Power: Presidential Marriages that Shaped Our Recent History." I am on the first chapter, which discussed Woodrow and Edith Wilson's marriage. What we know about their intimate lives is through their letters. While Woodrow seemed like a very moral and religious man in public, he was a very passionate person in private.

It scares me to think of people reading all of my journal (diary) entries. They will know too much about my neuroses through it, but letters are a little more edited. My letters capture my emotion and my experiences with a little more dignity.

I should write a letter tonight an keep this tradition alive.

"We come to love not by finding a perfect person but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly."
--Sam Keen, "To Love an Be Loved"

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Photos from the snow storm this weekend. It was a "blizzard" technically. But it didn't get as bad as they were saying on tv. It's really heavy, wet snow perfect for snowmen and snowforts, but I guess that I've gotten too old for those things. But if you want to come over and play in it with me, that would be awesome.

Friday, February 23, 2007

SeoulGlow #3 -- College Entrance Exam (v.2)

Here is another interesting post from Seoul glow about the famous college entrance exam in Korea. The beginning part is really the best. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 22, 2007



New things I have learned about in the past year (and I didn't think that I'd know anything about):
  1. prostitution in Korea (heard, not experienced)
  2. U.S. army life
  3. how to make espresso drinks and about coffee beans
  4. Japanese anime
  5. How to read the Korean alphabet
  6. How to distinguish Koreans from Chinese and from Japanese

New skills I have developed:

  1. how to shoot a gun
  2. making a really good latte
  3. how to teach English to foreigners
  4. blogging
  5. traveling in foreign airports and subways successfully by myself

Things that I have not yet learned:

  1. How to drive a stick-shift
  2. How to be a disciplined writer
  3. How to speak a foreign language fluently
  4. what to do with my life~!!


"Not all those who wander are lost."

-J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Lenten Improvements

What to write about today? I had a great weekend in St. Louis with Aaron. We went to the botanical gardens at the art museum. We also made it to a casino where Aaron proceeded to win several hundred dollars in no-limit Texas Hold 'Em. I mostly watched because I am an unlucky person. It was a great weekend of relaxing and just hanging out. St. Louis Art Museum

It isn't so bad being back here in Wisconsin this week because the weather is quite nice. It's about 50 and sunny, but I just don't want to get my hopes up too much because I know what a tease Mother Nature can be. I am going to try and enjoy this weather as much as possible, though.

Lent starts today. As a child I used to give up chocolate or sugar. I need to decide what action I would like to take this year. I have signed up for a "Walk to Jerusalem" program through my church. Actions such as walking, exercising, eating healthy, spending time with friends, etc all equal miles. You want to earn something like 6,000 miles over lent to equal the distance to Jerusalem from Oconomowoc. I am not sure if this is possible as an individual. I think that the church members' totals will simply be tallied.

I am also thinking about giving up sugar (I failed today if I decide to do that). I also got an e-mail suggesting that you give up one activity that causes global warming. That's a little harder for me to do because I have to drive places from my house in the sort-of-country location it is in and there is no public transportation in my city. Perhaps, I can come up with some other enivronmentally-friendly action to take, such as using less water.

I like how Lent has become more about improving the world and yourself versus making yourself suffer through fasting or simply giving up meat on Friday. Why is fish not considered a meat anyways? Anyways, I hope that those of who read this and are religious or only a little, will consider doing something for Lent to improve the world and themselves.

"The human body was designed to walk, run or stop; it wasn't built for coasting."
--Cullen Hightower

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I have mixed feelings about Valentine's Day. It is a great day to show your love for other people, but how many of us really do that? We get caught up in eating chocolate and buying an overpriced card at Hallmark. But do we really give thanks for those we love and who love us? Our understanding of Valentine's day is so narrow that we are often disappointed. It's a lot like New Year's Eve for me. A lot of hoopla with a disappointed feeling at the end. I never seem to get to celebrate the day with my boyfriend. I do "celebrate" with my parents usually. Tonight, we will exchange cards and I am making dinner. It should be nice and hopefully special. I think that we should make more days like Valentine's Day. Perhaps, not everyday, but frequently we should stop to tell those why we love them. I recently did a story for the newspaper about a woman who decorates her house in January and makes dozens of cookies for her friends. She observes Valentine's Day all month long.

I like this video that I posted from Korea because it shows that love does not have to be between two people who know each other. A hug between strangers can mean more than a hug between best friends. Despite all the troubles in the world, it's important to show that we care for one another's well-being. I don't want to sound preachy. Writing this is a good way for me to remind myself what's important to me.

So, I hope that this Valentine's Day opens your eyes to how much love there is in the world and how much you are loved.

"I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you for the part of me that you bring out."
--Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Free Hugs in KOREA

Remember to hug someone on Valentine's Day. This video is surprisingly touching. I remember seeing him in Myong Dong. Now, I feel bad for not having hugged him. I will have to make it up in the future.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Renewed and Refreshed from Shoveling Snow?

Today got off to a good start. Probably most people wouldn't consider shoveling two inches of snow off the hue circular driveway to be a good start to the day, but I think it is. I was able to clear my head and just daydream. I dreamed of summer and visiting friends and made up little fantasies in my head. I feel refreshed from the chilly air and having snowflakes fall on my head. It's so beautiful. I haven't allowed myself to enjoy winter this year. I have been yearning for spring and warm weather, but I realize that I am missing out on a lot of beauty with this attitude. I guess that being sick kept me inside a lot and the extremely cold weather made everyone a little cranky here. But now that I am feeling better, I am going to get out more and enjoy this wonderous season.

This looks like it will be a busy week. I have newspaper stories to write, work at the coffee shop and then I leave for St. Louis on Friday morning. I am just hoping and praying for good weather so I can go. I want to get out of town for a weekend and of course I am dying to see Aaron.

I just feel so much better after shoveling. Sort of renewed and refreshed. I guess I can get some more of that feeling later as large, fluffy snowflakes just keep tumbling to the ground.

"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."
--Albert Camus
"Friends are lights in winter; the older the friend, the brighter the light."
--Roger Rosenblatt

Friday, February 9, 2007

Where do I fit?

I just don't where I belong anymore. I am enjoying my new job at the local coffee shop. My co-workers and the customers are really nice and I enjoy making the coffee, but it isn't enough to make me feel like I am in the right place right now. I have been planning to go to Seattle this summer, but who's to say that Seattle is the right place? I am just feeling at a loss. I feel like I am surrounded by cold air and gray skies but I am searching for warm air and sunshine. What do I do? Where do I go?

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

My Plan

So, I talk often in my blog about wanting to write and making a stronger attempt to write each day. I have created a schedule for myself.

Each day I must:

1) Write for an hour on my book or book related material.

2) I must take at least 2 good quality pictures and 10 total pictures.

3) Exercise for 30 minutes.

4) Read for 20 minutes.


This is all minimum requirements. I can do more than this allotted time. The schedule has been made so that I make sure that I do each of these very important things each day. I put to dream on there because I feel like I have lost touch with my dreams and I have become more routed in reality. I find myself becoming an adult who loses touch with his/her dreams because they feel unreachable, unrealistic and imractical. I don't want to be one of those people who sells out and stops dreaming! I am going to write in a minute about my experiences with the homeless in Korea. Here are my two best pictures of the day.

"We live on the brink of disaster because we do not know how to let life alone. We do not respect the living and fruitful contradictions and paradoxes of which life is full."
--Thomas Merton

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Whiskey and Absinthe

There are some days where a person can feel so creative and full of life and art. Today is not a creative day. Today is one of those days where I feel like reading or working on projects. Cooking sounds like fun. I don’t know what I should do….

I am not used to the quiet in my house. The only sound is the faint chirping of birds as they crowd together in the pine bush by the feeder. I can also hear a train in the distance bound for Chicago or Minneapolis. The occasional sound of a car on the road also reaches my ear. The heating vent makes a white noise as it fills my room. Although it is peaceful, I find this lack of noise a little unsettling too. I used to hate the sound of the street vendors on the street below my apartment in Korea. I still hate it, but I kind of miss the energy that it brings to the day. The lack of noise here makes me feel sleepy and too calm. I need a little more energy to awaken my drive to write and to be creative.

The coffee shops in my town lack what I need to write. There is Stone Creek and it is so austere and loud with voices and coffee-making that it is impossible to write or to hold a conversation without shouting. Starbucks is quieter, but there are very few chairs or tables. It’s the worst Starbucks that I have ever seen. There’s a place called Brewer’s II cafĂ©, which is kind of nice, but expensive and lacking in really comfortable chairs. Finally, there is Java Hut, which was once really nice but since it has new owners, the hours are sporadic and unpredictable. I should give it a try again because maybe it has improved. I need some java right now to wake me up and to give me that warm feeling. There is nothing like a mug of coffee with caramel syrup and whipped cream to get you in an artistic mood (or a large glass of whiskey could do the same, but it’s too early to drink).

If I would ever become a successful writer, my drink would be whiskey in the vain of the great writers. Hemingway has really made me want to try absinthe, but that is only available in Europe, I believe, because of its damaging effects.

I really don’t know how writers do it. How do they manage to write books? I sit here and I struggle. I think that I need to find a working condition that works for me. I used to like to write my college term papers by waking up at 5 am, sitting at my roll top desk and just typing furiously before anyone even got up. I was so focused and productive. I have had similar success at night.

I hope that when I start working, that I won’t be thinking about interviews and choices, so I can focus more on my writing. It’s probably just wishful thinking. God knows that I don’t have many people to do things with right now, so I don’t have that many distractions. My distractions pretty much include only eating, pets, chores, TV and the job search and my health. I have the biggest desire that I have ever had to write fiction, but it is also the hardest for me to start right now. I feel obligated to write my book about Korea and not to work on fiction. Also, I have always been so afraid of writing fiction and being horrible at it. My worst nightmare is only being able to write trite and clichĂ© material. I want to be great and my fear of being horrendous or even typical prevents me from even starting. It’s ridiculous really because you can’t be bland or great unless you write something. I will start! I will! I need to actively pursue my requirement of writing one hour a day on my Korea book. Starting today, that goal will be met. Right after I get something to eat…

"Hard work never killed anyone, but why take a chance?"
-Edgar Bergman

"A wise man will make more opportunities that he finds."
-Francis Bacon