1.27.2011

Awkward Bathroom Encounter

Have you ever been doing something completely hetero but it just came out so...gay? Well, we sure were and it was all really just a BIG misunderstanding... You know, you have to understand, we were JUST cutting our hair and the girls just barged in on us and it wasn't what it seemed at all. That is all I can really say--you be the judge.

Homies or homos?

These are truly the Kodak moments of our generation and we're greatful that they can be caught not still-frame but rather as it really played out.  This is what happens when you get together with high school buddies after years after you are already married and have put the kids to bed.  I hope it makes you laugh.

1.20.2011

How NOT to write in English

Shame!

When using the English language it is important to think before we write things down all willy-nilly.  This, for instance, is a fine example of what is written in the deep South that makes me want to throw myself off the metaphorical bridge of grammatical correctness.  

I guess this is not anything to be too upset over, but it sure did make me laugh a lot right before I arrived at Dunkin' Donuts to devour a cinnamon apple spice donut and a cup of coffee.  

Tell me, how would you feel after reading something like this?  Would you laugh or would you cry?  Would you respond in another completely unrelated way?  Please, tell me below!

*Thank you WeltBranding for the suicide image.

1.19.2011

Losing Family Heirlooms (Almost)

How Could I Lose Thee?
 On a previous post, I was sharing the joy of the snow and how awesome it was to get it and play in it.  We posted a video about playing around in the snow and took 1,000 pictures and at the end of the day I was typing up the post and I looked down....DUH DUH DUHHH!  Guess what was missing?  My ring.  But not really my ring as we all know, that has been on hold for a while since Zales has such terrible service.  It is my great uncle's ring, and he has long since ascended to eternal bliss and it has been passed on to my grandfather who generously loaned it to me.

I could tell you about how we went out with flashlights and walked around the yard, the street, the woods near my house and searched the whole house over...I could even tell you about how much we prayed begging God to help us find it and reminding Him how self-less we are since we do not want to cause any undue stress to my grandfather...Actually, we didn't really pray like the people in the video, since we're not Buddhists, but that was just a joke.  Hehe.  But we did pray, just not to Buddha.  Anyway, I could also tell you how every day I would hopelessly go out for the mail and wander around with my head facing the ground hoping for a miracle like this, or this, or even this... But it was all to no avail.  Miracles don't generally happen on our terms, you know? 

To make a long story slightly less long I'll cut out segments of the past five days and just tell you the result.  We went to visit some good folks at the Goodwyn residence in Rocky Point, NC, and after telling them the plight we were in (what a terrible plight indeed!) Mr. Goodwyn happened to have a metal detector and offered to come by and find our lost treasure.

At approximately 2.45 pm on Sunday, January 16th, Mr. Goodwyn came to our house and we began the search.  Ten minutes later we stepped on the ring and danced around merrily for the return of our lost treasure!
Waving to Olivia just after losing my ring.  I didn't even know!  haha

This is it...What a beauty!

Searching with Mr. Goodwyn

I think I was right over here...Yeah...Yeah!




Here are some random blogs that I ran into while searching for some related content.  Thanks!
*http://loyalkng.com/
*http://alysonhess.blogspot.com/

1.17.2011

Immigration Happenings (Employment Authorization)

There are days when exciting things happen and there are many more days when nothing at all happens.  The other day was a day when something happened.  Our Employment Authorization card has arrived and we have officially gotten excited about the idea of working although the card should serve as a bit of a joke since our economy is anything but good.  Haha.  It is getting better, I should not be so negative about it.

*Image belongs to path2usa.com.
We can check our status online but it's still exciting when something happens physically.  Our next stop will be the arrival of her green card which will mark a very important day in our lives and in the process of immigration in general.  Immigration is a big deal and it has not been easy.  Thanks to the good folks at VisaJourney we have been able to file everything without need of an attorney.

This is all in connection with the broader scheme of immigration which was begun by starting the K-1 visa process, arriving in America and marrying within 90 days, and then following up with an Adjustment of Status (I-485) which often goes along with Employment Authorization, or EAD (I-765) and Application for Travel (I-131), which is also known as Advance Parole--this can cause you loads of trouble if you do not do it in advance, possibly invalidating your visa if you leave without it!

Today....a small victory.  Tomorrow, well, we're awaiting the arrival of our elusive green card.

1.15.2011

Simple Joys of Life

Seeing as how I've been unemployed for a few months I have begun to find joy in simple things.  I say they are simple because I'm trying to return to my roots, you know, things that don't really cost a lot of money.  Without further adieu these are the things that bring great enjoyment to my life (in no particular order):

1.14.2011

On Contentment

As some may well know, Port City has begun it's annual My One Word campaign and it entails much reflecting.  Essentially one must choose one word about which he needs to do much in the following year.  Rather than doing nothing about many things we opt to do much about one.

While living in Korea and perhaps for many years before, I have found myself looking very far ahead--often missing the present.  This year is the start of a new phase when I can be more intentional about finding contentment in present circumstances.  Last year I chose "discipline" and while I still have much to learn I have gained much and hope to see it become more a part of my character over the coming years.

Contentment, then, can be defined as "the quality or state of being contented", or for a more meaningful definition: "satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else" (Dictionary).  Wikipedia defined it as "enjoyment of whatever may be desired," which sounds strange when we apply it to what some other groups seek after...Santosha, which is one of the Niyamas of Buddhism calls for not coveting more than you have (Santosha, Niyama).

An example, which I really like from the Bible comes from Philippians 4:11-12:
11Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be (R)content in whatever circumstances I am.
 12I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going (S)hungry, both of having abundance and (T)suffering need.
Conclusion
You know, it looks like a lot of people out there agree that contentment is important, but I don't see it as the whole point of my life.  Being content won't save the world it will just help us all to get along a little better since we're not trying to grab what our neighbors have.  The wikipedia article goes on to say, truthfully or no: "Contentment is the goal behind all goals because once achieved there is nothing to seek until it is lost."  While it may not necessarily represent all groups within Buddhism it's interesting that it is raised to such a high level.  If I have misinterpreted this then I hope someone will clarify it for me!

This year I hope to continue with exercises in discipline and add to that this year's word, contentment, and try to enjoy what I've been given now.  I don't think that's the goal of life, and I think that Jesus preached a very different gospel than merely being happy, or being content for the mere sake of being content.  I think it much much more simple if you can imagine that--being content in God. 

I'll end with this quote that is not exactly what I've been talking about but it's close enough.  I think it gives a comical ending to all of this:
The aim of life is appreciation; there is no sense in not appreciating things; and there is no sense in having more of them if you have less appreciation of them. 

--G.K. Chesterton

1.10.2011

Snowfalls, Snow Cream, and Tranquility...

*Please follow this link to Ludovico Einaudi's "Divenire" which is the most perfect song to accompany this reading.  Click here.  Now we can continue!

Today, sometime between 7am and 11am we got a lot of snow.  Of course we went out and played in it and I even got some good shots of it (see below).  To be completely sure of the accuracy of our measurements I took the liberty of using a yard stick and the total snow buildup in our yard as of 5.41pm is between 6-9 in. (15-23 cm) depending on where I measured.  Of course, 6 in. was average in our whole yard and I would never lie to my friends but I was able to find some areas that were significantly deeper!

We bundled up to face the cruelties of nature and even managed to collect a bit of snow to make snow cream.  Olivia, being the Seoul city girl that she is, would not partake of my glorious creation because she's one to believe that all air is dirty--including our pure North Carolinian air.  This is all, to be certain, false.  North Carolina offers only the most lovely air quality--we're the green state for heaven's sake!  Anyway, I did a bunch of google searches to try to put something on here to verify for everyone the pristine quality of our air--it seems that it's not quite as clean as I had hoped and many sites were complaining about it.  I guess that the snow cream might not be as pure as I had thought?

I have digressed...We went outside to play in the mostly clean air and enjoy the snow.  This is the most snow I can remember falling in this area since our 1989 snow, and most of you will probably not remember it, and if you were old enough you probably did not live here.  It was very memorable.  I think we have a bunch of pictures of it because we helped shovel off the driveways of my grandparents' house and made snowmen and had a good time of it.  Today we had a good time too, only we're a bit older and we're on the outskirts of Wilmington now, but that is part of the reason we got so much yummy snow.

A couple of weeks ago we also got some good snow but this was way sexier.  You know, I think that I'll just show you pictures and stop rambling on about it.  What do you think about that?

Snow Cream:
I had to look up a good snow cream recipe because I didn't want to be a failure on such a lovely day.  I used the following sites and then modified them to make it 'our way'.  I guess we weren't really feeling the egg since some people worry about good times (salmonella) which somehow coincide with all important events and holidays... Strange... Anyway, these are some of the sites I stole from.
In the end I decided on using milk, vanilla extract, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, and brown sugar.  We didn't have any sugar besides that, so please don't think it had anything to do with our health.

(A bit of our adventure)



1.06.2011

Good Gifts

I want to tell you a story about giving gifts.

A couple of years ago I went to Osaka, Japan to renew my E-2 visa in Korea so I could get a new job working for Seoul Metropolitan Office Of Education (SMOE).  Originally, Olivia and I had both planned to go together, since we wanted to do everything together, especially travel.  Since this was in the early stages of our development her family didn't know me very well yet.  She was told that she was not allowed to go with me and it caused a big fight and I ended up going by myself which made the trip much less enjoyable.

I did get to meet some good people--that is, my buddy Christian from UNCW and Steven from couchsurfing, and his wife.  I got to meet Christian's friends too, which were all very friendly, but I really just wanted my girl...I hope you guys can understand if you ever read this.

The goal was to get Olivia something that she would like and make her smile.  I bought some magazines and one even came with a Marc Jacobs bag, and got some other little things, just silly things...I also bought a CD of ...What in the heck was her name anyway?  Well, she didn't like the CD too much, you know...She just didn't go for it!  I also bought some journaling supplies and some stickers and kept various things in my journey of two days and wrote about it to her... I ducked away in Starbucks for a few hours when I was waiting for something and wrote a lot, I really did.  When I finally got back to Korea I was really excited to give the gifts to her so I pulled them out, one by one, and you know what?  She really didn't like any of it.  Haha!  I mean, seriously, she really didn't like ANY thing I bought her or made for her.

Of course, she told me this and it really upset me--how could it be possible that this from-the-heart gift be child-like?  You see, my friends, it really has a lot to do with culture and something like this in America might be seen as a sweet gift...You know, I took the time to tell her how I felt while I was gone and brought her a little memory of it and some 'cool' things about Japanese life and culture.  At the time I had learned next to nothing about pleasing her with things purchased so I was very hard put.  Since I've gotten married I've learned slightly more, although not as much as I would like, and have now impressed her at least once with a gift that didn't murder my bank account.  It's not that I am unwilling to sacrifice my financial well-being for her, it's simply more advantageous if we can both be happy for less, you know?  Anyway, it's just sweet when it all works out--she's happy, I'm happy, and we've both got money to spend on other things we need.

End of story.

Oh, wait.  This is the first part.

For Christmas we had both decided we didn't really want anything since we're not working and we can very easily understand this--we're realists.  I was advised by my sister that there were some quality Singer sewing machines on such-and-such a website so I checked them out without talking to Olivia.  Hehe.  We had talked about how much she wanted one, since she has picked up quilting as a hobby, and had come to the conclusion that next year would be better.  I disagreed privately but agreed openly.  I finally ordered one and had it sent home via UPS and I told my mom to tell her she was expecting something and to call as soon as she received it.  Olivia had no clue it was coming--besides, we were always together, when could I have possibly snuck away to order such a thing for her?

A few days prior to the arrival of our beloved sewing machine we went to Jo-Ann Fabric and found some rotary cutting sets on sale and I pushed her to purchase it since it was a spectacular deal--at 50% off it's hard to say 'no' to something we'll probably buy in the very near future...Unemployed or no.  We got it--A rotary cutter, a grid ruler, and a self-healing mat.  Oh, the glory!  (See what we bought)  Anyway, she was quite happy with this so I just smiled and pretended like that was all that was going to be bought.

Finally we all came home and found the box on the front porch and she had no idea that it was outside since she doesn't just go out on the front porch for no reason when I'm gone.  We brought it in and I talked to mom about it as if it was hers and I asked Olivia to get the scissors.  Haha... I 'helped' mom open it up and there it was, the Singer Esteem II 2273 sewing machine...Olivia was so happy!  She was actually happy in an unprecedented way--it marked a very special day for us.

I've learned a thing or two now... I'm getting better!

You can watch our opening ceremony here: