Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Patience Is A Virtue...I Hear :-/

Hey hi everyone,



Hope you all are enjoying a little extra time off this week. Things are going good for us as usual. I am still waiting for some paperwork that is plugging (plodding) along so it looks like we will be here until the end of January. That is okay though, as classes start on January 4th and I am working at getting lesson plans made and talking to students beforehand. I have included a short video of Harvey doing his belly drag down the grass...and soon will include one of Pearl prostrated in front of her bag of Happy Hips crying. I don't know what the manufacturers put in those things but she is truly addicted. Him and Pearl are having such a good time at the dog park these days too and it has made such a difference in Pearl as her fear of other dogs has disappeared now.



This month now I am getting all the final things done on the unit - replacing tires, and had a backup camera installed, mostly because I don't have another person who can back me up into rv spaces at the parks and I only have two eyeballs, not the eight that would have been handy to been born with for backing up an RV, so the backup camera will help immensely. One inside addition to the unit is that I put in a "fire"place. It really heats up the place quickly, and it is pretty to watch the log burn. :-) I once read an article that said if you are a fulltime RVer that you have to put things into it that make it unique for you, so that is what I have gradually done - like a heated mattress because when I am lazy and tired it so wonderful to crawl into a warm bed (the problem is getting Harvey and Pearl OUT of the warm bed in the morning though :-)), and when dad visited he took out the factory taps and put in high arm taps in both the kitchen and bathroom. Thank goodness he is the handy sort as I have other projects coming up too. :-) Maybe next year I will think about solar panels, but so far the best 'trade-out' has been taking all the carpet out and replacing with oak laminate. After years of borrowing dad's tools I invested in a nice electric drill/screwdriver set from Home Depot and now just do the jobs myself when I can. But Dad such a nice job on the big ones that it is worth to wait for his visits.


Well I better run, as I am sitting here listening to Elvis Presley wail. It has been a long time since I have done that but a man that stops his car on the road and talks to me always has Elvis music in the background. ...As I was writing that I realized how funny it must sound, but when you walk your dogs two hours a day you meet A LOT of people...dog walkers...exercisers...people that drive the same route and wave everyday...so this is a man that drives, waves and talks...and plays Elvis loud. :-) So his music inspired me today. Anyways, to top things off, I have just experienced a miracle and need to investigate it further. My old laptop which I had been keeping under my desk here due to being dead just resurrected itself. I thought for old times sake I should just plug it in, and walah it lit up and booted with a beautiful screen. ;-/ Now is that strange or what??? Anyway, I am going to look to see if there is a loose wire now or something.


Have a wonderful weekend!

Love, d :-)


Friday, December 25, 2009

There is no time to run.

Hey hi everyone,
A man I met walking my dogs a while ago, told me that once you have been through a bad dog attack you are never the same - because you are always on hyper alert - always planning an escape route if anything ever happens again. And I have found this year that he is right. No matter where I walk with the dogs I have always been looking to see what is around me, thinking "well I could climb that fence or that tree, or throw H and P over and do this.." but today showed me that most scenarios and plans are just not possible. There is a large estate down the road that I walk by everyday with Harvey and Pearl and the two large guard dogs always lunge at the fence and salivate wildly as we scurry by. However, this morning as we were approaching the area the owners were entering the estate in a car, and as they opened the gate the two guard dogs ran out. They looked both ways, spotted Harvey, Pearl and me about 150 feet down the road and started charging at full attack throttle. The owners jumped out of the vehicle and started screaming and running, and I of course started screaming. The good thing was that Harvey and Pearl did what I was hoping and ran behind my legs, and realizing there was absolutely NO time to run or jump or whatever just withdrew my stun baton and stood there. It is AMAZING how fast a large dog can move and how much area they can cover when running that fast. All I could think was of how I was going to handle two of them - one was bad enough last year - and also one other thing...thank goodness I wrapped such a big scarf around my neck this morning. So as I said, I just took the stun baton out and waited for impact. Anyhow, with the owners screeching and running after the dogs they came to a realization that they were being yelled at about 12 feet from contact. Suddenly their ears just clued in. BUT IT WAS SCARY. The owners were shaken, but not half as much as me. When it was all over I was just trembling all over, and thankful that there was about 150 feet for those dogs to listen to their owners before getting to us.

Anyway, hope all of you are having a less adrenaline filled day.

Love to everyone,

d :-)

*ps. I thought this pic was funny. Someone has obviously blended their face with their dogs.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Oodles of Mud




Hey hi everyone,




We had a rainy few days last week and I wanted you to see the results. Yes, the Desert is usually gorgeous and sunny but this is what happens when the rain comes. The ground is so dry the water just runs and pushes things along the top. When I took Harvey and Pearl out for their walk I just sat and watched the groundskeepers at the golf course start their mud sweeping with BIG brooms. It seems like it will be an endless chore for them.








The group visiting have all headed down to Mexico for the winter. I am still waiting on my paperwork to be processed and then we are off and moving too. I thought it would be done by now, but I guess it is important to be patient.


Here is a picture of someone's lawn cat. It is blurry but that is kind of how many of my pictures are, so I included it regardless. The cat is one of those cement things. The guy who carved it though should get some award though - maybe like a "Michaelango award" because everytime Harvey and Pearl walk past it they go nuts like it is a REAL cat. Pearl starts to whine and cry and Harvey wants to eat it...and all it does is sit there facing straight ahead. They honestly think this thing is alive. So totally odd. :-/


Wasn't that a great study article yesterday? Our conductor stopped and really went over paragraph 10, because it seems to be one of biggest weaknesses of us all - judging people negatively without knowing all the true facts of a situation...even when we think we do...key as brought out: give people the benefit of the doubt. I really thought it was a good reminder. Very good articles being covered these days.


Okay, everyone have a wonderful week.


Lots of love,


d :-)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A True Gem Here in Palm Springs...

For anyone traveling to Palm Springs, I completely and totally have to recommend attending the Palm Springs Central congregation - Tuesday meetings are exceptionally good. Yes, it is tiny, with only about 70 brothers and sisters, but the warmth and learning that goes on within it is outstanding. They really are a wonderful group - the type of people you just can't help but hug when you walk through the door. I have belonged to many good congregations through the years but I really have to say I really have a high regard for this particular one. Our Congregation Book Study is just excellent every week. It has become my absolute favourite meeting to attend. Lots of participation and insight, and then tonight for the Bible Highlights I don't think it could have got any better - Brother Cunningham just did a super job of highlighting the importance of doing things EXACTLY as told. I could go on and on, but I really can't imagine wanting to spend my time anywhere else on a Tuesday night rather than the meeting. Anyways, I hope all of you enjoy your meeting this week as well too.

Love to all,
d :-)

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Perils of Being Tall...

Hey hi everyone, :-)
Let's hope that Jehovah God brings the new system before I age too much, because I guarantee you all that if he doesn't I will be the oldest, weirdest, demented person you know, from hitting my head so many times in life. Yes, there are great things about being tall - like not needing a step-ladder often, or going to a party or meeting and being able to spot friends across the room. However, much of the world is built for short people I find. Such as today...a lady was walking by my RV and stopped to talk and was telling me she is limited in her funds these days and is worried about taking care of her little dog, SO it just so happens that I recently bought a new bag of dog food but as usual Harvey is allergic to it...which worked out perfect because I decided to run it across to her place and give it to her for her dog. The only thing is there was a air conditioner mounted low hanging out a window rather than on the upper window, so when I said my good-byes and turned and hopped, skipped and jumped off her back porch, I did a forehead plant into the air conditioner. She of course felt terrible and was asking me if I was okay as I lay on the ground grasping my head, but in actuality I felt like I had crushed my brain and separated all the nerve endings from my frontal lobe. :-( If I get old enough I know I will pay for this...such when I am 97 in an old age home I will be blogging to you all still, as I carry around Harvey and Pearl under my arms...stuffed, or share stories of how they are harassing people in the cafeteria, or found by the staff licking peoples' dentures during the night...the line of fantasy and reality for sure will blur due to the knock'n on the nogg'n now. :-)

Anyway, in conclusion, I nursed my jiggled brain by going to a movie this afternoon - Julie & Julia. The story of Julia Child and a young woman that tries to cook all her recipes. It was absolutely wonderful. I highly recommend it, especially to all people that like to cook. :-)

Love to everyone,

d :-)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Family has arrived.

Hey hi everyone, :-)
It has been a year since I have seen my parents and most my other family. A group of them arrived in the desert this week. They are passing through on their way to Mexico for a couple months. Of course the kids are the ones that change the most, and this time I actually found my little bag of gifts to share with them. Next time I post I will put some pics up of them. I will decide tomorrow if I will go part way down with them. It may be a nice drive for Harvey, Pearl and me and I could check out a bit of Hermosillo.


Teaching and life this week is going good. Last night I attended a dance class. I actually took my nephew but it got me thinking that I would love to take a course over at the studio myself. Just an excellent teacher, and obviously it would be a great workout too. :-) Anyway, I will find out more this coming week. I don't know if I have enough time but I would love to work it in.


Here is a pic of Pearl waking up in the morning. I get up to prepare for work and she insists on snuggling into my housecoat for an hour before breakfast.


Well I better run - the little girls are coming over to walk Harvey and Pearl with me, and make a stop at the goat farm to watch them all being fed. So have a wonderful weekend!


Love,

d :-)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Swiffer nearly "did in" the skinny white dog...

I have many times warned Harvey and Pearl that they are not even allowed to think about dying until they are at least 30...human years old. :-) I have told them that if they even TRY to do it before then, I will hang them upside down like a human baby and slap their butt or rush them to the vet and let him stick probes up them, and down them, in attempts to prolong their lives. Well as usual Pearl decided to test my seriousness on this issue. For 32 hours her life hovered precariously. After two trips to the emergency vet hospital we figured out it was the Swiffer than almost did her in. She had an Acute Respiratory Allergic Reaction to Chemicals. The good part is that because I am in an RV I knew almost immediately what I had brought into it that was different than before. So I put them in the truck and scrubbed the floor with soap and rinsed it with vinegar and no problems since. Afterwards, I went on the internet to do a little research to see if anyone else had this problem and there were tons of stories of peoples' pets that had died or had convulsions after walking on a floor that had been swept with a swiffer or washed with the swiffer mop. It just never occured to me that the chemicals would be that strong. Some animals can handle it, like Harvey the hearty one, but others like Pearl the "I'm ready to die at a moments notice" type can't. Apparently the chemicals cause severe liver damage in dogs and cats. The good part about all this is, that the squirrelly-butt is healing now and should be back to her old naughty self soon. I am exhausted for not sleeping for 32 hours but will catch up today. Oh yes, this is my moment to remind everyone with pets to get pet insurance before traveling. I use PETSBEST.COM. Otherwise at this moment I would have big tears rolling into the coffee cup. :-/

Anyways, the weather is looking good these days. Quite cold though. Meetings and service have been great. A little excitement there too - Tracey had to save a brother outside the Kingdom Hall on Sunday. She has her Red Cross certification and a brother appeared to be having a stroke with his young son with him. Anyways, she was able to do what was necessary. I told her other than the obvious benefits of her taking her six munchkins to the meetings every week, that brother will probably be extra thankful she goes to all the effort.

Okay, have a wonderful week! Love ya, d :-)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Phoenix For the Weekend...





















Hey hi everyone,












I hope you all are doing great. :-) Harvey, Pearl and I had a really good weekend. We high-tailed it over to Phoenix and hung out with Debbie at her place. She has a nice place there and the backyard was perfect for H & P to play in. She has her dog Angel - a real sweety - who put up with my two running around making noise, so we had a really nice time.



Here are some pics of the weekend. The one of Pearl is proof that even cute dogs take bad pictures too. This is the truck all packed up to go and Pearl in her dress...and then a ten foot tongue hanging out her mouth. :-/



This other pic is of Harvey, ready to go. He is the smarty pants that as soon as the duffel bags come out he crawls in one to ensure his passage also. But in this pic he hopped in the truck and wouldn't get out.



Here is a pic of something I picked up for walking my babies. After our attack last winter I said to dad, "man, I just wish they made cattle prods that a person can carry with them in case something bad happens..." Well, they kinda do! A lady on the trail who carries paper spray just in case they run into a big out of control dog told me about a website for dog attack defense. When I visited it they had lots of items, such as the key chain pepper spray, which I thought was good except that the dog may be kind of close to me before I could spray it...and with the wind in the desert periodically I had visions of myself rolling on the ground due to the spray...and the dog just chewing on the three of us like a banquet. BUT they did have an electric baton that is 18 inches long. It will not kill the dog but just stun its muscles to stop it. Perfectly fine after 5 minutes - just enough time for the three of us to run like crazy over some fence, or hog tie it. And it can't be taken away from its user because it has a safety feature. Anyways, that is the one I went with because I figure if a big dog is running at me with fangs beared and gets within 18 inches that basically says to me, "My intent is to eat you...or at least chew on you or your furbies". Besides it says by other owners on the website that attacks are basically deterred by just holding the thing up and pressing the button because the dog sees the blue sparks coming off the end and runs the other way. Sounds good to me. It still does amaze me how many owners of big dogs walk them without leashes and insist that the dog is harmless and then it lunges and they say, "I have NO IDEA what got into "Ginger"!" Or the 98lb elderly fellow that wrestles with his own salivating 150lb dog when it sees other dogs just to keep it from jumping away from him. I love all dogs, I just wish the owners were more responsible. :-/



Well, anyways, time to run and get busy with the day.

Everyone have a wonderful week!



Love,

d :-)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Billy Goats and MORE Billy Goats!






















Hey hi everyone,






Today I thought I would show you something that I think is very unique. As you can imagine the Desert has very pretty sculpted yards and buildings....BUT tucked in behind are some really cool things. On our walk every morning we pass by an estate that is tucked well behind trees. The estate manager says that the people rarely come, but it is a $12 million dollar estate with a billy goat yard. So that is his job, just maintaining the estate and feeding the goats. They are the sweetest little things and this morning when we walked by a new little one had arrived.



Everything is going good. Work is good, the weather is lovely - it is much cooler these days in the morning and this morning I was walking along with a toque and scarf, and sweaters on Harvey and Pearl.



I have attached a few pics. Finally found myself a cheap deal on a camera. Some customs agent in Korea is enjoying my old one and my MP3 player. Unfortunately, when I had to empty my case on the way back for the scanning machine at the airport I must have missed putting them back in. No problem though, just a little hiccup in the big pic of life. :-)



Pic 1. Harvey and Pearl sitting on their pillow outside the RV.

Pic 2. Our transportation for close destinations - the bike and bike buggy.

Pic 3. The motorcycle enjoying some sun time.

Pic 4. My shiny truck - all washed up. :-) BTW, don't think that H+P ever see the inside of those cages in the back of the truck. I just put them there so that people think I have huge dogs inside the RV.

Pic 5. A left over pic I found in the folder from Korea. A typical sunhat/face protector for walking.



Love to everyone!


d :-)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Thank goodness for the old-fashioned way!

Hey hi everyone :-)

I am big on technology, especially since living in small quarters it has helped me keep organized and streamlined - such as instead of owning a TV, now I just watch TV on my computer so I don't have to have two appliances, and instead of having lots of photo albums laying around I use online albums. HOWEVER, I did learn that there is a lot of good to the old-fashioned method too. My handy dandy computer died a sudden and terrible death some months ago, and thousands of pictures that I hadn't backed up went with it. So now I have learned to back everything up. I do have several old albums underneath the couch though and they came in handy this week. I had to phone NET10 to activate my cell phone and on the other end was a ultra polite young man. I mean ULTRA POLITE. Everytime I said anything, he would respond with "Thank you so much for your response mam." Toward the end of my call I was so curious I had to ask him where he was stationed as I knew he must work in a call center somewhere in the world. I told him he had done wonderfully handling my call but I needed to know. He asked me to guess, and first I guessed Northern Mexico, and then India, but then he told me Georgetown, Guyana. Of all places! I told him that several years ago I had lived in a village there for a bit doing volunteer work. It was such a tiny village I didn't expect him to know as it was out in the jungle area. Kuru Kuru. He was so excited as this is the village he lives in. I told him that I imagined it had changed a lot, but he told me it hadn't. So I went to my old ratty albums under the couch and found this picture to share with all of you. This is Ruth and me in the village doing service. This is a typical home in Guyana. Most people would work in the jungle, but now there is a big call center where people can find work to if they will move to Georgetown. Anyway, it was so exciting for him and me to find someone working in a place that I, nor ANYONE, would ever imagine a company to establish a call centre.





This week has been excellent. I am off to the meeting soon. I am helping Eric move a table with my truck first. Then next week we are off to Mira Loma for an assembly day. Anyways, it has been excellent this week. I bought one of those bike buggy things and have been hauling Harvey and Pearl around town in it. As usual Pearl thinks it is totally hers and Harvey is just a privileged guest to be riding with her, so I often hear growls and barks, but the good thing is I always know exactly where they are. :-) We are getting tons of exercise walking these days too. There are so many trails we seem to be going for longer than our two hours everyday but I am loving it and so are they.





Okay, I hope everyone is having an absolutely wonderful weekend!





Love to everyone,


d :-)

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Motorcycle is Ready

Hey hi everybody!

This week has been great, as I hope that everybody else's week has been good too. :-) The big thing I did this week was get me motorcycle off the back of my truck where it has been sitting for quite a long time. I had to do this because I wanted to move my RV to a new site and thought it would make it easier backing up if there weren't two huge handlebars blocking the window. Anyway, since my dad is about 1500 miles away (whom is an excellent motorcycle mover) I had to think of a plan B person. And I decided to call Gloria B for the job. I told her basically that her function was to just call 911 if the thing fell over on me coming down the ramps. So this is how it went. Gloria, is a girly girl as you know, so she was wearing her dress and heels with her two inch gorgeous fingernails...as opposed to me - jeans, shirt, and stubby nails ready to dig dirt with. :-/ Well, I released three pulleys on the bike and suddenly the weight of 365 lbs starting leaning over so I jumped on. Then I realized I was going to have to BACK it down the ramps. At this point because I was born with arms two feet too short for this task I had to ask Gloria to use her perfectly manicured hands to release the last clamp with her knuckle and hold on for dear life as I rolled and breaked going down the ramps. :-( I didn't want to scare Gloria, but at this point, my joke to her about only being there to call 911 was starting to look like a very good possibility. But I took a deep breath, and starting rolling and Gloria held on for dear life and we rolled the beast down. I almost couldn't believe it when we hit the ground vertical rather than horizontal. Anyway, I have shined it all up and the cheap transportation machine is ready to go. :-) ...Oh yes, I am now in Rancho Mirage, so anyone reading this that is in the area is welcome to stop by for a cup of coffee...or tea...whatever else we can find in the fridge. :-)

Love to everyone,
d :-)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I'm A Big Dog Too... :-/



Hey hi everyone!


I hope everyone has had a wonderful month. :-)


Life is going good for me, Harvey and Pearl. I am getting organized since leaving Korea. About 10 days now. The last few years there have been incredibly wonderful – many good friends, excellent students, and met some really nice teachers at my old school. But now I am ready to press on with goals. You know how it is...sometimes in life we end up doing what we are doing because it is easy, but not necesarily what we want to do anymore...and that is fine...but if we can change and WANT to make a change then it is nice to have that option :-). And that is how I found I was getting. I loved my job and the people I met, but I knew in the back of my mind that I always had more that I wanted to do. In early September I made the decision that I was going to get going with what I originally planned – working less and doing more volunteer work. Goals I have wanted to accomplish for quite a while now...but kept putting off. :-( As I mentioned before, my job was really nice, and I liked the people I worked with...but actually something did help me make the decision more than anything else...you know, that little kick in the butt that sometimes we need...before the light bulb FULLY turns on. :-) Hard to believe as it is, but I had to work from March to September with a broken computer :-b (that is my tongue hanging out). Pretty hard for any of us to work with broken equipment if that is your tool. Grrr…very frustrating. In fact, in mid-August the other foreign teacher at my school was so upset about it that she told me that if the computers were not fixed by the end of the month that she was going to hand in a resignation letter. Thankfully for her the computers showed up a couple days later, so she didn't have to do that. But for me, it gave me enough reason to start reflecting on life and goals and what is important. And I really wanted to follow through with the plans I came to Korea with three years ago, and knew now was the time. I am so excited about how everything is coming together as the days go by. I am here at a resort park in my RV for the next three months and then will go our next destination....(that is my teaser:-)) I am working of course too, so that has me very inspired and busy. I have lots of ideas for the students and spend lots of time making lesson plans and curriculum right now.


Attached is a picture of our morning walking area right now. Our resort has palm trees and mineral pools but outside of it is open desert. The mineral sort that apparently heal people. I have NO idea about this...will have to go injure myself deliberately and then hop into one. :-) Harvey and Pearl seem to love it, except there isn’t much that Pearl can pick up in her mouth these days...as much as she would like to. She was so used to chomping down on endless items she found in the park. But this week she did find something to grab onto. I turned around and saw her with a HUGE horse turd in her mouth – almost half the size of her puny head! There is riding stable at the end of the road which is our walking path every morning and night and there is one gentleman that rides his horse to work everyday so when he passes they are just in awe…or fear. BIGGEST dog they have ever seen in their lives. :-) Actually the biggest dog is the one we have to pass on the way to the stables. There is a house with double fences, razor wire along the top and a dog that is a small pony that looks like it weighs about 150lbs. Since we are out in the desert it kind of screams "meth lab" at me, so I try just to walk straight ahead to pass it and let Mr. Muscly Drooly Jowls bark and seethe at us from his fence. However, it never fails, just as we are passing the front fence where this dog is bouncing and practically tasting us, Harvey stops and does a pooh dump right in front of him. :-/ What’s with that??? Each time! It is as if he holds it just for that moment. Pearl and I are shaking in our paws, with slasher memories in our heads from last winter, and here is Harvey seemingly deliberately poohing in front of this huge dog. And I have found that it is very difficult to drag a poohing dog. Anyway, I think it may be a dominance thing. Who knows…


Well, I am thankful that I bought Harvey and Pearl medical insurance before arriving in America, because as you are all pretty well aware, I am the proud owner of the most accident/illness prone dog EVER. This morning I hear squeeling and run out to find Pearl holding her leg up crying like a banchi. It took about 15 minutes to soothe her and I finally called Tracey to help me take a look at her before heading off to the vet. Pearl is bit of a drama queen so I did not want to go to the vet first and find out there was a thorn stuck on her paw or something. How it is right now, is that I gave her some Drama Trauma, an herbal remedy, and I will watch her over night. The wailing has stopped so maybe she just twisted it playing on her lead. Let’s hope so. :-)


As I said before, I really am so excited to be back in the Desert! Work, and other things have me feeling so inspired these days, and seeing old friends and visiting has just been the best. The congregation has just been wonderful and being in service has just been great too. Later this year I even hope to make it to Canada. Summer would be an awesome time to be up there – biking, hiking…and seeing more friends and family. :-)


Okay, I better run. I am going to hunt down my camera and start taking more pictures for you all.



Have a super great week!


Love to everyone!


d :-)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I am now a videographer...

I am now a videographer. :-/ When I first came to Korea I was just an ordinary English teacher. But this experience has really helped me expand my horizons. I went from teaching English, to teaching Musical Theatre, to teaching Animation, and now to being a videographer. I have nothing against this because I constantly like to be challenged and I am forced to learn new things all the time. The video aspect of it happened this morning. As you recall I told you before that due to Swine Flu we were asked to hold our production on a much smaller stage. However, when I arrived to look at the stage it was taken up by a massive grand piano on one half. BIG PROBLEM. So I said, "well this is what we could do...." so now this week we are filming the production and then I will download it on the computer, put sub-titles, and credits and the credits. Never done it before, but I have an awesome program to do it with, and am a bit of a nerd that can learn things fast. Anyways, it should be fun. Oh yes, another kink - the tailor can't have all the skirts done, so I asked the school to give me all the red velvet curtains from one second floor classroom and I will go wild with a pair of scissors and start doing the Sound of Music thing making them. Good thing I watched that movie so many times. Should be fun though! :-) As usual I will keep you all posted.
Well, as of last night, I may be switching to the PROJECT RUNWAY method. My assistant left it too late and we are filming this coming Thursday night, and the costumes are still all in pieces. :-( So I am heading down to the art store to buy a load of straight pins and glue and create the costumes by hand. I am thinking that it should be a lot of fun. :-) By last night's practise though I was burnt. Traveling back and forth to the assembly for four days last week shouldered with practising every night this week just zonked me. I had to sit all the cast members down and tell them that "tonight is the night that you need to be especially good listeners and be good for me". I am usually super patient with the students but I just was so tired I knew I didn't have much left inside. I just explained that if they weren't there was a danger that they would see fire coming out my ears. Most of them understood. I really work hard at being patient with the teenagers because I know that child abuse happrens here and I often see kids in class with casted fingers, arms, and bruises. Much higher than a teacher would see in America or Canada. It is just accepted in Asia. After all this time I have become pretty good too at identifying the boys that are treated rough at home - it is in their demeanor also - so I give them jobs of responsiblity in the classes to try and build their esteem in other ways. Right now in my writing class I have the boys analyzing that chapter in the YOUNG PEOPLE ASK BOOK about teenage stress and how to solve problems. Reading what they write over their shoulders and their homelife and what causes them stress is very enlightening for me. I will tell you one story from this week that goes along with it. I was asked to write an article for the school newspaper coming out at the end of the month, so I thought instead of writing the same old boring stuff that teachers do all the time, I thought that I would write something uniquely Western - a Dear Abby (Dear Darci) type column. So I asked the boys in my writing class to submit questions for me. I told them that they could ask anything they want as they could sign them names like SLEEPLESS IN SUWON, or SAD IN SUSUNG or whatever. Well anyways, I hand out the paper and go sit by my desk and put a box at the back of the room for the boys to put their folded questions into. In a minute I see the Korean male teacher walking around the room looking at the boys writing! One boy turned to him, shielded his paper and told him it was confidential as teacher Darci had said. The Korean teacher was niffed at the boy so he took his paddle and hit him in the forehead, and then took him in the hallway and spanked the life out of him. When he brought him back I told the Korean teacher that he was not allowed to look at any more boys papers. I tell ya sometimes you have to have nerves of steel to stand up to some of the things that happen. In the end though when I opened up the box I got some awesome questions that I wrote all Biblical advice to for the newspaper. Now I will be surprized if it is printed. I will let you all know. Okay have a wonderful evening. Lots of love for everyone, d :-)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

How Many Feet Do I Have?


















My latest fleet of boys in Muscial Theater probably have terrible blisters at the moment. There are two weeks left before production night and I am making them rehearse for hours on end. Dancing REALLY is the best exercise. :-/ My leg muscles are sooooo sore right now. We are finally getting control over our feet and brooms though - even though it feels like we all have one too many feet at times and someone still seems to get a good bonk on the head with a broom head. :-) I am sure boys are wondering what they got themselves into at this point as I must seem relentless to them..."yes teacha we know, agaaaiiiiinnnn"...I just figure if you're going to do something do it to your best ability. :-) So they are dancing and dancing and dancing and singing and singing and singing. HOWEVER, we have had some kinks. When I arrived back at school on Monday I was told that the school was afraid of putting everyone in the same auditorium due to Swine Flu. As you know we do have it in the school and I have a big bottle on alcohol stuff that I bathe myself in between classes of touching the boys or walking the hallways. I'll probably die from alcohol poisoning before I die from Swine Flu. Anyways, this means that now we have to learn to do everything on a much smaller stage where the play can be televised from. And the boys now have to learn to project their voices because of no mics. They are pretty much scared. The high point to this is that I can get the boys to carry the props a much shorter distance instead of across the soccer field to the gymnasium, and "items" around the school will be missing for a much shorter period of time before people notice they are gone. As you may recall me telling you previously, Koreans are obsessed with mirrors, so they have HUGE mirrors in the schools, all over the place. I have found these extremely handy for using as walls on the stage...and the plants and trees through the school I plan on building a forest with on one part of the stage. However, I am NOT going to ask anyone for permission. That would be opening a WHOLE can of worms for the Koreans - they would have to go find the oldest most authoratative person in the school to ask permission from (I keep telling them it's me) - the heiarchy thing. So basically I just tell my boys to take the things and then hope that nobody notices until we are finished or otherwise I will have someone ask "teacha Daci, where all da mirrorsa gone? An where you getta all da foresta stuff? someone noza you got it?" Anyways, it should be very interesting to see how it all comes together by next week. :-) ...after almost 3 years they know who to come looking for when something is missing. :-)

Here is a picture of my latest home project - brewing vinegar water. In Asia, for a refreshing summer drink we drink vinegar water. It is flavoured vinegar, very concentrated that one puts into a glass of water. I put about a tablesoon. Some people like it stronger, but basically I don't like curling my eyelids so I stick with a small amount. Since I was drinking it like no tomorrow I decided to search on the internet how to make the stuff. I found a good recipe and bought myself some fruit, mashed it in a sealed container and then covered it with apple cider vinegar and let it brew for about 10 days, after which I boiled it in my rice cooker to steralize the stuff, and walah I now have a long supply!
Well, I will run, I have about an hour left before the day ends and I have to punish some boys for being naughty. They know that I won't cane or beat them like the other teachers but I make them clean with me which seems to be a fate worse than death by the way they react. Korean kids aren't really that hard to control because they are controlled by family still and intense guilt about losing face for themselves and their families. You can tell them they are bringing shame on their family and they will pretty much hang their head. I am very colourful in class and remind them sometimes that if they ever put their head down on the desk or are naughty it will result in "certain death", and then if anyone is ever naughty all the other boys will start yelling, "teacha! he is interested in certain death! certain death!" - becomes like a scene from a Roman ampitheatre. But since they know I am fair and kind, in their minds they pretty much got it figured that "certain death" is associated with a bottle of windex and a cloth.

Okay, have an absolutely wonderful week! Lots of love,d :-)
Pics:
1. Pearl after she wakes me up at 5:30am. The best alarm clock in Korea. She is only faithful to that time though because she knows I will hop up and make her a little beef strip for breakfast.
2. Harvey the heavy sleeper.

3. Brenda and I went to Lotte World. Kind of like Vancouver Playland under a roof, except for this cool sculpture fountain area.

4. The brew. This one is grape vinegar but I am doing lemon next.

5. Here is a pic from the assembly. Sunday morning was a test of faith. It rained and rained and rained. Plastic EVERYWHERE.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Every Cent the Delegates Saved, and Every Sacrifice They Made Was So Appreciated.











Hi hi everyone!

Yesterday ended our International District Convention here in Korea. As mentioned in the headline here, it was so much appreciated that the delegates came. There are about 40 of us here in Korea that appreciated them even more than anyone else. That is how many true foreigners there are in the English congregations here for the whole country, brothers and sisters that don’t speak Korean. All of us would tell you that even though we are very happy with our decision to come here and support the foreign needs congregation, it has not been easy – in fact to put it in perspective, it is pretty much the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest with a 300lb man hanging off our ankles. The Korean brothers just aren't accustomed yet to having foreigners in the English congregations. We know that Jehovah will help them make adjustments to welcome foreigners into the English congregations but the changes are slow and sometimes it is almost overwhelming, so when all the native speakers showed up from Canada, the U.S., and Australia, we really felt that Jehovah had heard our prayers and sent in the reinforcements. After the sessions, us foreigners commented to each other that we didn’t realize how it was going to affect us until we stood shoulder to shoulder singing with our brothers and sisters that totally accepted us. Every hug that we received, every smile, every conversation we had, just meant the world to each one of us, and we really wish we could personally thank those delegate brothers and sisters for coming. Many of the delegates said they thought their visit to Korea wasn’t much, but they never considered how much Jehovah was using them to encourage the small group of foreigners serving in the country. Words cannot express how much it meant to us. :-) I personally felt like I was given an unexpected treat everyday. First, I couldn’t believe my eyes when Rex Shin stood before me. Wow, I couldn’t hug him any faster. He was so encouraging. And being a Korean that lived here before, and now in Canada, he was able to offer some encouraging words about being part of the congregation here, and also just having him say that he understood how hard it must be for us due to culture and the role that plays in the congregation, really meant a lot. Then I had a really special treat – I met Hans and Minerva Pintar, my CO and his wife from when I was a teenager. It was choking for me to see him because when I was sixteen he took me aside at my Kingdom Hall and said, “you know I see big potential in you for serving Jehovah. I can see you doing big things for him.” Those kind words stuck in my mind over the years, and I thought about them often. It really is so important what we say to the young ones in the congregation. :-) Then finally I saw a dear old friend that I never thought would go abroad for a convention, or for any reason, so I was so happy to see that person at the convention – very encouraging....and surprising.

I was also impressed by seeing ones like Wes Pisoni that after all this time are still abroad working and helping out, and loving it, even though they are far away from their original friends and family. Really good examples.

Here are some pics I hope you will enjoy:

1. This is Estelle’s mom. Her and her husband left New York to pioneer in the Dominican Republic. She gave us a lot to think about, as it is so cheap to live there and the service work is wonderful.

2. This is my favourite pic of the entire convention. Matt looked so wonderful in this hanbok. And for the first time he dumped us. He was so excited that other foreigners could understand him. Actually, Matt is our best student in the Kingdom Hall. He takes every opportunity to try and speak English. Brenda and I are pretty much corrupting him though. At some point he will hear a talk about how bad sarcasm is, and the brother will give an example, and Matt will say, “that is bad sarcasm??? I heard sister Darci say it at least 100 times! Bad…baddddd…baddddd.” ;-) ...in other words if you see me on the other side of A that will be a testimony to you as to the depth of Jehovah's mercy. :-)))

3. This brother was ultra funny and cool. He is originally from Canada, and his wife and him now are living in China, so one day he dressed as a cowboy – hat and all to represent Canada, and the next he dressed as a Chinese peasant farmer. His suitcase must have been huge even for the hats he was wea

4. I also like this video of everyone singing at the end. These were the Canadians waving goodbye. The group with the coolest objects though were the Philippine brothers and sisters who had long skinny snake balloons to twirl in the air.
5. Langley-ites reunited on the otherside of the world.
Lots of love to everyone,d :-)ps., Harvey and Pearl are doing good. They gave me the big sad eye thing each morning as I left for the assembly, but were the absolute best welcome party givers when I arrived home late each night. :-)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Today is D Day!

Our international district assembly starts today. It is a little scary at the moment though because it is thundering and pouring outside and we are going to be in an open air stadium. :-( But I have my tent-tarp outfit to throw over myself...and three other people if need be. I am not sure of the ducky rain boots but if the water keeps running in inches I may have to wear those too and put the shoes in my case. Not quite the glamorous outfit one envisions wearing to an assembly but we knew it was rainy season during the assembly far in advance and would have to prepare for anything. Last night I told everyone about how I attended the Vancouver International as a kid and it also started to rain like no tomorrow, and the brothers stood at the entrances to the stadium handing out black GLAD garbage bags for everyone to wear. Oh boy, now that is a picture I wish I had. :-) Anyways, last night Brenda and I invited delegates to come to Dr. Fish for a kick off evening. Nothing like having your feet nibbled on by baby pirhanas to get you relaxed for a convention. We didn't know who was going to come, but Matt her and I went and enjoyed an ice-cream and coffee, and finally two brothers from New York walked in. We had no idea who they were but one was from Patterson and the other downtown, and then Jeremy Applestein walked in with a couple Austrailian sisters, and then Estelle and her mom who pioneers in the Dominican Republic walked in, so we had an EXCELLENT evening togather. I have to say it was the PERFECT way to start the assembly - just lots of visiting and meeting new ones. Estelle and her mom popped over to Thailand last week to visit the congregations and work in service and were soooo impressed. Now Estelle says she is anxious to go back there. Apparently there is a new English group formed in Pattaya, down south, and they need help because there are so many foreigners to reach there. Beautiful area too.

Well, I better run, I need to go stand at the window, stare at the rain, and figure out my game plan.

Love to all,
d :-)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Swine flu shut down my school!











The boys were yelling in Korean: "yay for swine flu!" Since they go to school every day of the year this is an unheard of holiday for them. I would be totally excited too. :-) Actually, inwardly I was yelling "Yay for swine flu!" too. But being a teacher it's probably not a good thing to run down the hall saying that. :-/ Anyways, now I will make a little plan of stuff I can get done tomorrow. :-)

We went to a wedding last week. The brother is from San Francisco area, a gyopo (Korean raised overseas), and the sister was from the West Congregation. It was AWESOME. They had the wedding in SF and then had a reception over here. They played a video of the wedding for the Korean brothers and sisters to see. It was so funny to see peoples' expressions when they saw the brothers and sisters in America dancing. They would never be caught dead dancing here. Jason's parents basically sent him here to marry a traditional Korean girl, and he found a really nice one. Made me feel a little homesick for once when I was watching because it reminded me of some things we do in the West that are just normal for our culture: the bunny hop, the polka, rock dancing, and waltzing. It was just such a fun evening.

My boys are practising their hearts out for our big play. It has been quite the challenge getting them to learn to dance with the brooms. They were swinging every which way at first and I think we all were afraid that someone was going to get brained. BUT, this last week they got the footwork down and the brooms are going all the right direction now too, so with one month to go I think it is all going to come together. I went costume shopping last week and bought things for the set too, so I think the boys are getting much more excited now that they can get more into character during practise.

I included a picture of the locks of wishes. Koreans bring a lock and put it on the fence with a wish written on it. They also do the same thing with certain forests. They bring a rock into the forest with a wish written on it and leave it. Unique. Sometimes it would be interesting to find out how certain traditions started so many years ago.
Anyways, I hope all of you are having a great week. :-) I will tell you all about the International Assembly next week after it is all over.
Have a wonderful wonderful weekend!
Love,
d :-)
*ps. Harve and Pearl are doing good. Pearl is still healing but is making good strides.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Playing A LIttle Catch Up



This has been a busy month but I thought I would take a moment to catch everyone up on what is going on around Korea. :-)

First I thought I would attach a video of morning exercises. Everyone does this. The beginning of school, or the beginning of the work day. If you go into Homeplus in the morning all the employees will be lined up doing this before they start work. They chant and follow the head person exercise.




Also, this last weekend we took a day and went to Namsun Tower which is in the centre of Seoul area. I think the best part for me was going to Namdaemoon Market. It is the largest market in Korea, so lots of deals to be found. :-)

Here is a picture of the menu in one coffee shop. In the specialty section they have Cancer au Lait. It helps to have a sense of humour living here because their are ALWAYS either mistranslations of words or funny grammar errors. A person can either get riled up that that Koreans are mutilating the language...as some do here...or just laugh about it.

And lastly, here is a picture of Vancouver and how close it is to Seoul. Don't worry I know that I am blurry in the picture, but believe me I look better that way on this particular day, so I included it. :-)

Okay, everyone have a wonderful month. We have our CO this week, and then the international at the end. Should be very interesting.

Love to all, d :-)

ps. Pearl and Harvey are doing great.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Skinny White Dog is Doing Great!

This has been a torrential rain weekend, so I have been pretty much holed up. Brenda came over and we had a good time visiting but I was wondering if I would be able to get out the door for the meeting today. Well, it worked out good. Brenda had an idea to ask Mr. Kim to come pick me up in his taxi and then scoop Brenda and drop us both at the hall. It was perfect. The rivers and canals were all overflowing but we made it there fine.

Happy, yet disappointing news for us though. Jason and Sophia and their daughter Sophia, the only other foreigners in the congregation are moving to Estonia! :-( Cool for them because they have wanted to make the change to work in that territory for a while now, but we will miss having other foreigners to talk to.

Well, nothing else exciting. Pearl seems to be healing fantastic, and we got good news from the lab - the tumour biopsy came back benign. The vet was very worried, as I was too, so this is really great news.

Other than this, everyone is gearing up for the international assembly. One of the young brothers is playing host and is VERY nervous about his English, but I and Brenda we would sit with him and his guests at the assembly to help out. Should be fun for all of us! :-)

Anyways, everyone have a wonderful week. Lots of love, d :-)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Pearl is hanging in there.

Just wanted everyone to know that Pearl is hang'n in there. She had her major surgery today. The vet had another vet come in to assist him with the operation. They said they had to go quite deep to get the tumor out, so she will feel acute pain for a bit. Anyways, after when I arrived at the hospital I could see her crying something awful. The vet told me that she had been crying a lot due to the pain and they considered giving her opium, but were hoping to stay away from that. Anyways, I could see her in the incubator crying, but when she saw Harve and I walk in the door suddenly she went quiet and hasn't yelped since, so I am thinking some it may be physical, but the little monkey-butt was probably just traumatized to wakeup finding herself hooked up to tubes. She's kind of immobile laying here right now, but I am hoping by tomorrow she will have a bit of an appetite and be on the road to recovery. She is bandaged from neck to tail so may qualify for the ugly dog contest but I am just happy she made it through this part. Okay, have a wonderful week. Lots of love, d :-)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Weird Meats of Other Cultures












Well, this year Korea has seen some huge price hikes for food. Apparently, next to Japan is the most expensive in the world for general groceries. Which is why most average Koreans eat out here, because is it pretty cheap. I like milk and try to limit myself to 1/2 gallon a week because it has now risen to $5 for a half gallon. When I first came to Korea, a bag of candy (tootsie rolls) was $8.50 a bag. Now I pay $12.50. This is a big thing when you are a teacher and use a reward system. :-/ However, as long as a person isn't a big meat eater one can still eat well. It is just a bit of a shock to see things rise so much. Although, I did find a cheap meat for Harvey and Pearl. This week in the store I found a tray of meat with a chicken picture on the front and it was only $3 for the tray. They looked like kidneys or livers, and were cheap, so I thought I would see if they would eat them. The name of the meat was written in Korean so I ripped off the label and took it to work with me to make sure it was liver or kidney. Anyway, the office people all screwed up their faces because they said it was a tray of chicken anuses. Creepy, but apparently they roast them on skewers and make into a snack-like meat cookie. To me they look like a sand dollar with a hole punched in the middle. Anyhow, I have no plans to eat them myself, but Pearl thinks they taste divine. So, at $3 a tray they will be the new dinner meat for H&P.


Well, we had Sports Day at the school, and I was in the three legged race. My student and I came in third, which I thought was pretty good, as I thought we were going to take a dive at one moment. I included a video here of the boys doing the traditional Korean race of running across the backs. Kind of thought it would be fun at a congregation picnic. :-)


I am nervous right now because Pearl has a big operation on Friday to remove her tumours. Even though the vet thought they may be benign the tumour specialist he consulted with said they must come out right away so that they don't turn bad. Anyway, he is going to give her special coagulant shots 24 hours ahead of time to minimize bleeding, so hopefully that will help. The good part is, is that the boys are writing tests for 5 days so I can stay home with the little monkey and rub her ears and make her lots of fattening food. :-)


Everyone is doing well in the congregation. Getting geared up for the international. One of the foreign brothers working in the factories got his finger ripped off. In his hospital ward every man in his room has had either their hand or finger ripped off at work. They are all factory workers. He will stay in the hospital until he is all healed. I met a factory worker on the subway that had three fingers ripped off in a cookie machine. Factories here can be pretty scary. :-(


Other than the above we have been taking some wonderful long bike rides. Brenda bought herself one of those folding bikes and it is great. Seems like a regular mountain bike but it folds up quick to go in a trunk...which comes in handy in Korea for taxis. :-) Anyways, we have seen some beautiful scenery the last couple weeks.



Okay, have a wonderful week. Love to everyone, d :-)



Sunday, June 7, 2009

Identity Theft.



Well it appears that I am now an Engineer in the UK attempting to scam people out of a lot of money in Canada. I was notified this weekend that someone, or group of people, have somehow stolen my passport information and am offering people a luxury condo in Toronto. Anyways, the RCMP are taking care of it, but it is stressful for me because there appears to be several people that have been requested to send their money to a bank account. Just hoping that it is all recoverable. In the meanwhile, my passport has been canceled. They will put a rush on it so that I can have one fast, but if does make me feel a bit stressed because the North are making big threats right now. Even though I am hoping I will never have to use it, I still have an evacuation bag packed. Anyways, hopefully everything will be resolved by the weekend. It doesn't surprize me much though that someone got my passport info, because I have had to make so many copies of my passport page for immigration here, and so many copies for the Ministry of Education. I will be much more protective of who gets those copies in the future though.

All else is well...kind of. Pearl has more lumps, so we are monitoring her right now. Hopefully they are benign. She will have a biopsy next week. The little terror is full of energy though, barking her brains out at the neighborhood children, so I take that as a positive sign.

Last night a group of us went to see the Night At the Museum movie. It came in English so it was a treat for us. Fun. Funny though that the Koreans laughed at different parts of the movie than the foreigners. Just different senses of humour. ...Getting into the movie was a story in itself though. I sent out an email telling everyone to meet at 5:30 for the 5:40 show. Well that deadline came and went without everyone there and all the seats were selling fast so we decided on the 6:30 show. Mmm... Over here all movies are assigned seating. Once the seats are sold they are gone gone gone. So Brenda and myself arrive and say we are going to buy our tickets along with another sister from Seoul. There is only 45 minutes left before the show. I suggested everyone do the same...but left it up to everyone to go to the wicket. The Koreans stood discussing for the entire 42 minutes HOW they would get their tickets (what method). This is no exaggeration. Too many details to include here. But Brenda and I were kinda in a state of disbelief. At 6:28 they are running to the ticket booth in a frenzy because they realize they may not get in and there are only 8 seats left in the entire theatre. :-/ Anyways, we learned a lesson that when we go to movies here with groups we will tell everyone that they are on their own in getting their tickets beforehand, and then we'll just all meet up AFTER the movie. Because they are so group oriented and concerned with heirarchy of who gets to make the decisions it is very hard for them to get things done sometimes.

Okay, have a wonderful week. I will tell you all about how the passport ordeal turns out next time.

Lots of love, d :-)

PS. Two pics are attached. A kimchee pot garden in the woods, and second is a navy ship..two of them...heading toward North Korea when we were out in the ocean fishing.

Monday, June 1, 2009

We Had Such A Great Time Fishing!!









Here are some pics of our fishing trip. It was so much fun! There were about 20 on board I think. Here is our group. Mr. Kim, our taxi driver, Brenda, Gina, and me. Gina was the killer fisher of the day - getting 5. It was so funny though. All the Koreans had these high tech rods, with digital readers, and hydraulic winding, etc. - nice expensive stuff. Then there was our group. We were fishing using 8 x 6" pieces...just like the Mexicans use. We would drop our lines off the edge of the boat and then when the captain rang the bell we would yank it in like crazy. Anyways, guess which group caught the most fish???!!! Yes, a good lesson for us - you don't need fancy stuff to get the job done. Eventually one Korean man put his high tech rod away and grabbed a small slab thingy too, and was catching more fish with it also. Anyways, it was an awesome day.

The other item we did this weekend was attend Claira's wedding. She was introduced to her husband one month ago. He seems like a really nice person though. I have to say though, I LOVED their wedding place. This is exactly what I thought a wedding place should look like. It was kind of a combination of Arabian Nights and the Grace Kelly wedding. I had never seen a place like this before and thought is was exquisitely beautiful with fresh flowers and candles everywhere.

Well, Pearl has become the kujo of our lane. She figured out how to get high enough up to see out the window and now it is her own personal perch. She terrorizes all the children as they walk past the window. The high point is that I doubt if anyone will ever break into my place, when they see little "white fang" acting neurotic in the window daily. Anyways, her and Harve are both good deterrents. Harvey just basically sits beside her and looks at everyone, but he has a big head, so I think that will scare people too. Even though there is very low crime in Korea, it is always good to be on the safe side.

Okay everyone, have a wonderful week! Lots of love, d :-)

ps. Brenda and I had to take pics of the hats we see most common on the streets here. The one that I am modelling is intended to keep all sun off the face. It feels like wearing a welding mask to me, but Korean women seem to love it. :-/


Sunday, May 24, 2009

All Hail Dad's Sherman Tank Glasses Case!





Last year when I was visiting, Dad noticed that I had a flimsy looking glass case and dug through his drawer and gave me an old glass case of his. It was bright red, and so heavy it felt like it was reinforced on the sides with plate steel, and it had this huge spring on the side. I accepted his gift but I was thinking to myself that I would have to buy reinforcements for my purse straps because it was so heavy. Anyways, today that case saved me a lot of money. After the meeting we stopped off to get a bite to eat. After, Matt and I hailed a taxi. As we were getting into the taxi I heard a clunk and knew something had fallen from my purse onto the road. As the taxi took off I yelled for it to stop, and as I looked in the rear window I saw another taxi hit my sherman-tank glass case with my expensive prescription glasses that insurance had paid for. The case flew high into the air came down on the road again, out popped my glasses and then another car ran the case over a second time flattening it. :-( However, when I ran back to see the damage, my glasses were safely sitting there beside the flattened case that protected them. Whew! Young Matt and I were both totally impressed with how well they survived due to that case.

Okay, this was another wedding weekend. There is a slew of them going on right now. This one was Robin's. He has been in Bethel for 11 years and has left to marry Heidi. It was really simple compared to some other weddings here - held in the Bethel Kingdom Hall. They would like to be part of the English congregation so for their honeymoon they have left for America for three months to practise English. Anyways, it was a really nice afternoon.

Til next time, lots of love, d :-)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bye mama...

Well the weather is good again today but this last week we've had some REAL rain. Heavy like Vancouver. Pearl and Harvey, who are usually nuts jumping around everytime they see me walk toward the door hoping that I will take them out were even bummed out about it. When I walked toward the door they just layed on the bed and basically raised a paw to say, "bye mama, have a good walk." However, yesterday and today are gorgeous again so we are all happy about that. :-)

This is the testing time for the boys so I had some really nice time off last week, and today is another day off. I have made myself a chore list to work through so I should be pretty busy the entire day though.

This Saturday is a wedding for one of the brothers that has been at Bethel for about 12 years. He is marrying a sister from our congregation, then leaving Bethel to join our congregation. Robin has been to Europe, Australia and some other places before so he is really nice to talk to so I am glad they chose our congregation. :-) For their honeymoon, they are going to America for 3 months to work on their English skills, so that is pretty cool too. I will share some pics of the wedding with you next time. :-)

Well, Teachers Day was last Friday, and I have to say I really enjoyed it. I received a scarf and some bath products from one of my groups, so that was really sweet of them. Then the school booked a wedding hall and took us for a banquet. The Koreans ate super fast as usual but Gina and I just decided to linger and enjoy the afternoon and the great food. Much of it was western, so it was a real treat. :-) Anyways, that is a little difference from North America to here. Here they have Childrens Day, then Parents Day and few days later, and then Teachers Day. Very very nice customs. :-)

Anyways, I will run. Have a wonderful week, and lots of love to everyone. - d :-)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Gorgeous Weather is Here.



This week is a definite turning point for us - consistent warm, beautiful sunny weather. :-) I have the week off also because the boys are writing mid-terms so I have lots of cleaning projects going on around the home. Later today I am off to buy a garden hose. I found a pressure head and decided that I am going to wash the outside section of my apartment building, windows, doors, trim. In Korea, nothing is ever washed. When the structure was built is the last time it was cleaned, in other words. :-( I have often thought that if a person had a pressure washer here and showed people how nice things look clean that maybe they could get an awesome business going. Anyways, I don't have a pressure washer but I will have a hose and a bucket of soapy water, and even if nobody else on the street cares, I will be happy to have a clean door and window. :-) Besides, I planted bamboo and some flowers in window boxes so it will be so nice to see them against a clean background too. Korea has many good things about it, but unfortunately cleanliness is not one of the strengths. For any of you coming for the International Assembly this summer I highly recommend bringing a bottle of Purel to carry in your backpack. You will use it often. There isn't real soap in the bathrooms so you will need it there. Actually, there is soap in the bathrooms sometimes but you won't want to use it. In all the bathrooms they take a bar of soap and stab it onto a spike that comes out of the wall. Everyone is expected to rub their hands on it for cleaning. :-X (this is my pinch face). Brenda and I forgo this opportunity and just use Purel. :-/ All developing countries have their little oddities no doubt.

This weekend should be nice. My co-worker Gina is coming to the KH again on Sunday maybe - will have to wait and see. She is an avid hiker - but he poor girl fell on a steep mountain the other day and now her leg is in pretty bad shape with a cast type thing. And next Saturday I will be having some foreigners over for dinner. Last week's dinner went great and it was just SO nice to have a place for people to sit. :-)

School is also going well. I am a little concerned about one boy. He obviously is suffering from depression of some sort. It is a little complicated here about dealing with those issues because it is not viewed as a real health issue. However, one would think the government would get up to speed on it because the country has the highest suicide rate in the world - something like 40 people per day. The president just gave a speech on it last week, telling people to think twice before doing it. :-/ Anyways, about the boy in my class. When I first noticed his condition worsening I approached the Korean co-teacher and said, "I am concerned about the boy with the depression problem." Since it is not something Koreans like to talk about, her response was, "Teacher Darci, which boy do you mean?" Me: "the one who is basically staring at the wall, with flakes of skin falling over his suit". :-/ Her: "oh, oh...yes him. I will ask about him to his homeroom teacher." Most of you know I talk very straight, so later she comes and tells me that he is non-responsive to the teachers and other students, and I ask her what the course of action is going to be. "Well, we thought we should watch him". So in a country with the highest suicide rate in the world, and a desire not to confront it, that means they are either going to watch him weave his own rope to hang himself in the park, or watch him as he opens the fourth floor window and jumps to the ground. :-/ I later asked a parents class that I teach what they would do in such a situation. I told them how in the West we would immediately have the teenager at the doctor's office for a checkup and medication, or psychological help. They all grimaced. They said they would never take their child to the doctor if they thought he was depressed, but rather they demonstrated how they would hit his shoulder and tell him to "cheer up!" I love teaching my kids, but I really feel for them if they, or anyone here, hits a rough patch emotionally, because it is very frowned upon to get help. One brother in the congregation told me that his mother suffered terribly for 11 years before going to the doctor because of what other's would think. Anyways, next week I will follow up with this boy's homeroom teacher and see what progress he is making. If nothing else, Gina and I can talk to him. We'll see.

Well, I should run. I am off to the acupuncturist. Then I am taking my chair to the park to keep reading my book, A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS. It is based in Afghanistan - awesome so far! Then Brenda and I have plans for doing a nature walk around the Fortress Wall this weekend. Okay, everyone take care, and remember to make some fun in your live's this weekend, :-)

lots of love,
d :-)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Cherry Blossoms Everywhere!








It was absolutely gorgeous here last week. We went on a cherry blossom hike with hundreds of other people through the hills close to my house looking at all the trees. I imagine it is the same where many of you live right now too. Beautiful beautiful.

The assembly came and went last weekend. Twelve foreign men were baptized, so that was nice to see. Here are a couple numbers for you from the assembly: Apparently there are only about 200 English speaking foreigners in the Truth in Korea. Actually that number seemed a little lower than some of us were thinking it would be. Many teachers and other expats (from North America, the Pacifc Area, Europe, and South East Asia) that I know that live here, live here for many years on end, and apparently there are about 20,000 in the country, so that means Truth-wise there is a lot of room for growth. However, there are three long term foreigners that weren't able to attend the assembly this weekend that I know of, so maybe the number could be a few higher. Also, what I learned from reading the Korean Herald newspaper this morning is that apparently there are TWICE as many Thais living here than English speakers - approximately 45,000. They are pretty much the slaves of the factories. The newspaper was really good at outlining their working conditions. Now that really appears to be where a need is great.
The special talk was yesterday. It was really nice for me because my co-worker Gina came along. After that meeting we had the ministry school. There is a brother that conducts it and his English is REALLY bad. Anyways, before the school commenced I explained to Gina the purpose of it and she listened attentively. However, after it was finished she leaned over and said, "the brother conducting that school needs to join it himself." She wasn't being mean, but she said later that she couldn't help but notice that he kept calling the sisters "him" and "he", and mispronouncing as he was giving counsel on pronunciation. Anyways, I just explained that we actually truly do really wish we had native speaker brothers that could give counsel and conduct the school, as it would be so much more understandable and beneficial for the students but we just have to work with what we have for the moment. However, there is a huge need for native speaker brothers to take the lead in the congregation(s), so anyone that can come this way would be MUCH appreciated...any of you adventurous ones reading this. :-)
Well, I am having my first dinner party on Friday night. This has been something I have missed terribly living in such a small apartment, so now that I have a little room I thought I wouldn't waste any time. Going to make a good ol Canadian meal - spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread. The only spaghetti eaten in Korea has sugar in the sauce and sugar sprinkled on the garlic bread...almost makes my lips curl and my eyes squeeze everytime I eat it...but that is how they think Westerners make it, so this will be a bit of an eye-opener. Anyways, I can hardly wait!..Harvey and Pearl are getting lots of exercise running around the new apartment, and are thoroughly enjoying the extra leg space. Pearl is completely healed up now and is hopping up on the bed. Oh yes, I forgot to mention, I thought since I have a bedroom now it would be nice to sleep on a bed so I ordered one online. So now my place is looking more Western and less Korean. I told my boss that I was ordering furniture for my place and he said to me, "why? do you have a hidden husband?" You see in Korea, a single person lives at home with their parents (kind of a death til we part pact...or marriage). I explained that in the West single people live on their own and are expected to maintain nice homes, with furniture and food in them. Anyways, I have arranged a dinner for the administration also so they can see how a Westerner lives. Okay, must run, class starts soon. Love, d :-) Have a wonderful week!