“The mind is everything. What you think, you become.” – Buddha

Sometimes I get frustrated living in Korea because I think we are not doing enough or seeing enough. There are several reasons for this: Jim works a lot, Seoul isn’t as close to as we would like it to be, and it’s very cold right now.

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When we do go to Seoul, as we did the other day, we try to make the most out of it. Our anniversary was no exception for the frigid weather we have been experiencing this winter, but we sucked it up and found this really cool temple across from the Coex Mall, right in the middle of the city.

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The Bongeunsa Buddhist Temple was founded in 794. Many of the building were destroyed by a fire in 1939 during the Korean War and then  rebuilt afterwards. I didn’t go in any of the temples because that required taking off my shoes. It was too muddy and too cold for that, but I did peak in some of the windows.

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It’s easy to forget about the history that we are surrounded by. Days like this remind me of how lucky we are, even if they are few and far between.

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Coex Aquarium

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Jim and I love aquariums. We have wanted to check out the Coex Aquarium in Seoul since the summer, but haven’t had the time. We finally made time for a visit on our anniversary, and what a perfect day it was. The Coex Aquarium is located on the bottom floor of the Coex Mall.

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“So many books, so little time.” – Frank Zappa

For our Anniversary, Jim and I went to the Coex Mall in Seoul. Mainly because we wanted to see the Aquarium, but also to check out one of the biggest malls in Asia.

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As you know, I’m book crazy. I miss going to Barns & Noble to check out the bargain racks and browse the new books. Jim and I would do this on a Friday night, just because we were bored. I’m happy to report that we were finally able to browse books, which were written in English, at the Coex Mall.

Brandi & Luni’s  is a huge bookstore in the mall. Not only do they have Korean books but they also have tons of books written in English. Of course, I order the majority of my books off Amazon because they are usually cheaper, but I was happy to just be able to touch the books. There was even a bargain rack!

I noticed that children’s books written in English were more expensive than in the states. Adult literature was similarly priced to Barns & Noble, but Children’s books were overpriced. I didn’t buy any books at the store, but I was very happy to look. I felt like I was experiencing a little piece of home.

Korean’s love notebooks, stickers, and stationary. I have a problem not buying all three of these items whenever we go out. This time I gave into my addiction and bought three notebooks.

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How can I say no to a notebook with nail polish on it, a penguin notebook, and a Korean notebook that says “I love you?” I just can’t say no, and it’s a problem. When I get back to the states I am going to be able to open up my own notebook shop.

“Love is the answer, at least for most of the questions in my heart.” – Jack Johnson

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Tomorrow is our two-year Wedding Anniversary! I can not believe two whole years have gone by since we promised to love each other forever and ever. Since then, we have said goodbye, with tears in our eyes, too many times to count. But with every goodbye, comes an amazing hello. One of the best parts of the military life is being able to experience your first kiss over and over again with the person you love most in this world.

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This is our first Anniversary that we are able to spend together, and lucky us, Jim actually has off from work. We are hoping to spend our Anniversary in Seoul this year. It’s nice to be on the same continent for our very special day. Our wedding song was “Better Together” by Jack Johnson, and it is always so much better when we are together.

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I wrote this song on my way home from Pensacola when I was visiting Jim is AIT, two summers ago. I’m hoping maybe Taylor Swift sees this and decides to turn it into a Country love song; I think it would be a hit.  Saying goodbye hasn’t become any easier, and I don’t think it ever will. Let’s hope we don’t have too many more goodbyes in our future.

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Book Review: I’ll Take What She Has by Samantha Wilde

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I’ll Take What She Has by Samantha Wilde is a story of two friends, Nora and Annie, who have known each other since they were in kindergarten and went to school together until eighth grade. When Nora moved away, they promised to be friends forever and continued to stay in touch through letters. When a teaching position opened up at an elite private high school, Dixbie, outside of Boston, Annie called up Nora right away and told her she had to apply. After being accepted to teach English, Nora and Annie are reunited at last. While living at Dixbie School, both friends struggle through the ups and downs of adulthood: marriage, babies, and the sisterhood of friendship. Nora and Annie start to realize that being best friends forever isn’t always easy, but if a friendship means enough to you, you will fight as hard as you can to keep it.

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Korean Frying

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Last week, my friends and I tried out Korean Frying in the Ville. If you live in Korea, on or near Camp Humphrey’s, you can walk out the walk through gate and it’s on the right, a few blocks down.

I have a bad habit of going to the same places over and over again, just because they are good. On this particular day, we were starving and I suggested trying this place out.

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The place is a lot bigger than I thought it would from the looks of it on the outside. We were there around 2:oo PM and it wasn’t crowded at all. The service was great and the owners are friendly.

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“The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want.” – Ben Stein

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I’m so glad we have advanced past the typewriter days. When I was a kid, I remember typing my Christmas wish list on our very own typewriter, and it took forever. I want to buy one again, just for fun. It will look great in my future in-home library.

Could you imagine using a typewriter to blog? Where would I stick my posts? On the bulletin board,  next to the elevator in our apartment complex? I really don’t think that would go over to well, “Draw a check mark if you read this and liked it!”

Being a blogger isn’t as easy as it seems. Sure, I get to sit at home and type on my laptop (I need a new one, by the way,) but you can also go a long time without getting a lot of feedback and recognition, (but at least there is a “like button.”) I do not get paid for my blogging and I don’t have any advertisers, yet, but it’s all in a day’s work.

I have fun blogging. Since I’m not in college anymore and I don’t have a “real” job, no one is forcing me to write papers or show up to work on time. With blogging, I am able to force myself to do write, write, write (as my dad so often tells me to do.) I, in return tell him to paint, paint, paint. Check out his stuff on Pinterest.

I’d like to think that my dad and I will both be famous one day. I tell Jim all the time that I will be a celebrity. He then starts to laugh really hard and I then I start to laugh too. I just like to joke about it.  I really do think my dad’s art should be in a gallery, and that he really should be famous. He deserves it,  and I’m not just saying that because he’s my dad. I’m saying it because he is a great artist who graduated with an art degree from my favorite college, Penn State University.

We are going to create a children’s book together: I will be the author and he will be the illustrator. We have been saying this for a while now, but it will happen. Dream big people, the worst you can do is fail, and in my mind, failing is not an option. As my assistant band director used to say, “It’s time to kick ass and chew bubblegum… and I’m all out of gum.” (Originally used in the 1988 movie “They Live“)