This Is What I Do

I’m a support teacher so I get to work with students one on one or in very small groups. It’s so fun to help them learn, understand English and believe in themselves. First quarter is a wrap and I’m looking forward to implementing a few more strategies to teach my students. New curriculum, just finished a great conference, ideas rolling around in my brain!

A bonus is discipling middle schoolers! Some don’t profess Christianity but that’s ok. God’s love is for everyone. We have a Week Without Walls coming up soon; I can’t wait to spend some time with the 6th graders away from school. Of course, my own 6th grader will be there, too!

Life in Seoul….still an adjustment but always a adventure! 

   

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Anniversary Shoutout

18 years! Babies, moves, jobs, rough patches, high points, more rough years, easy times, questioning, loss, joy, grief, love. Everything at different times and all together. At the same time. Seperately and always together. You can love and be sad, grieve and be joyful, sail through life and wonder why. The human heart is capable of so much. 

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;

where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,

grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

to be understood, as to understand;

to be loved, as to love;

for it is in giving that we receive,

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Amen.

st. francis of assisi – 13th century

Remind me to always be mindful of my beautiful, complicated life. Happy anniversary, my love.

Fall in Seoul

I love fall! It’s cool in Korea so that means no more tank tops for this southern girl.  But here, that means pull out all of your big coats and bundle up.  It’s just fall, y’all, not winter. The leaves are changing and it’s really beautiful here.  My dear hubby bought me a little pumpkin and my dear friends (here and in Mississippi) bought me some fall decorations. Now I can decorate! Pumpkins, leaves and well, that’s about it. Decorating for fall is not high on Korea’s list. Maybe I could carve a sweet potato.

Hanging pumpkins!

Hanging pumpkins!

My brain is on overload from a conference I’m attending.  Report cards come out soon and we’re about to start the 2nd quarter. This school year is going by fast! Jacob has asked every day what we’re doing for Halloween.  Sad to say, probably a bit fat nothing. I’ll find him some candy so he’ll be happy.  Julianna loves kindergarten but is exhausted everyday. She has more good days than bad but she’s still adjusting.  It’s hard for a little Korean girl! The boys are doing their thing and still enjoying school.  IMG_2039

Here is my challenge to you:  learn about trauma in kids.  Learn about transition with adoption.  Read about how trauma affects learning.  For the sake of all the kids who didn’t get a fair start, please do it.  Nothing hurts a mama’s heart more than when their baby is not understood.  And as a reminder, adoption is not all sweet and cute.  There is so much loss and confusion.

Thankful for big brothers.

Thankful for big brothers.

We are thankful for friends here who love on our girl.  (the boys opt out of being loved on!) We are enjoying Korea and venturing out more and more. And we bought a car!  We’re adjusting to life here and feeling more at home.  And we bought a table! We look forward to going to the states in December.

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KIA

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Happy fall, everyone, and be sure and hug someone you love today!

Happy Fall from the Garricks!

Happy Fall from the Garricks!

My Firstborn

I enjoy spending time with my oldest baby. He is a blend of both of us with more of his dad’s intellectual abilities and my weird sense of humor. We like the same vines and sit coms while his dad can’t understand how those are funny. So we watch them when it’s just the two of us. He thinks I just like the vidoes but I know how fast time flies.

September 

I guess one blog post a month will have to do. The past few weeks have been busy for all of us. Just your typical school, work, repeat routine with a few adventures thrown in.

The weather is cooler and starting to feel like Fall. My goal is to have a pumpkin in October.  They are not common here but I know they exist! I may have to carve a squash but we will have some sort of jack o lantern next month!

I can now direct the taxis to our apartment and say “right, left, straight, here, there”–along with my other 5 words. Oh, and “a little bit”. This is important when asking for a little bit of food OR knowing a person can speak a little bit of English. Progress!

Sean and I walked to the Seoul Tower last weekend and the weather was beautiful. 

 View on the way up.  

  Us. Seoul Tower

There are a few restaurants at the tower so we had lunch and saw several performances, which is very common in Seoul. There’s always something going on around the city. 

We also went to the Thai Festival in Cheonggyecheon with friends.  Another beautiful day.

 Artsy.

  
Food.

We had a picnic at school yesterday, which included dodgeball. The boys were happy. All 3. Julianna just collected as many dodgeballs as she could. It was nice and rainy.

  
Walking to catch a taxi. (See the yellow lines? They’re very slippery. Take my word for it.)
Today we had church, lunch and Jacob’s first haircut in Korea.

  

I know I said I would show pictures of our apartment but…. next time! Ok? Kamsahamnida!
 

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It has been almost a month since we moved to Seoul. We have started getting used to using public transportation (it’s really easy and reliable), eaten all kinds of good food, tried (and still trying!) to adjust to the humidity and heat and walking and we’re debating over getting a car. Should we, should we not?? 

  
Things we like…

Jacob–the orange juice and frozen chocolate covered pineapple pieces

Julianna–playing

Caleb–trying new food (street food, preferably)

Tonya–walking around the city

Sean–bubble tea

Things that we need a little longer to get used to…

The complicated recycling system, extreme humidity, not speaking Korean. (yet!)

We have started orientation for school–students start next Monday! I’m excited but a little sad to see the summer end. But I’m not going to lie…this summer has not been very restful!;)

This is a super short video of us in Namdaemun, an area of the city with lots of shopping. Stores and street vendors galore. But first, a picture of Sean thinking about how he would rather have a bubble tea than the coffee he just ordered…

    
Seriously.


Ok, you can’t see a lot past my face– I’ll do better next time. Maybe.  (Disclaimer: the video plays in my edit/preview screen. If it won’t play for you, I’ll post it separately.)   Next update will include a few pictures (or a tour!) of our apartment. Because, apparently, I need more than 3 weeks to set it up! Don’t judge.

All is well with the Garricks-hope the same is true for you.

Suburbs to City

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We have been in South Korea for over 2 weeks and are over jet lag. That makes everything better! We have walked our neighborhood and still not found all of the short cuts which can easily turn into a separate uphill adventure all of its own. Did I say uphill? Uphill. 

These stairs are a great shortcut to the school!

  
We live in a small complex near several of the YISS teachers. That’s helpful since some have been here a while. -I have a porch, y’all! If you know me at all, you know this is a big deal. Porches are a thing for me. I *think* we live in Kyungridan. I think. I could be a little off because things are different here, ok?!  I’ve seen different spellings, too. Just go with it.  We live behind the busy Itaewon strip, up the mountain. Up. Uphill. Way up the hill. 

 Kids are doing well. I started orientation this week so I’m happy to get into my routine, get my classroom in order, go to the teacher supply store next week.  School starts soon! I’m sure my kids are just as excited as I am!

There is so much good food to try. From traditional Korean to American fast food to street food, which is also very good. We had Thai food this week and it was delish! Spicy but good. The kids have been great about trying new foods so our walks usually take us to a restaurant. Coincidence? Nahhh. 

  
We’re trying to learn Korean. I can almost say “turn right”! But I can definitely point and wave my hands so that’s all very helpful in a taxi. I’m sure the drivers love to see me! We say thank you about 10x so I’m hoping they appreciate that while I learn their language! -It’s monsoon season which has meant lots of clouds with almost daily showers. We have been caught in the rain without enough umbrellas and haven been given an umbrella by someone. This has happened twice now! So nice. It has also been slightly cooler which is nice. The humidity here is killer and I’m from the Deep South! We’re a hot sweaty mess every time we step outside. Well, mainly just me and Jacob and Julianna. For whatever reason, Sean and Caleb stay human  when we go outside while the rest of us melt. But believe it or not, summer is still my favorite season.  Just grab a water and let’s go! 

 We’ll start going to touristy stuff soon but for now we’re getting to know our neighborhood and learning how to live here. In a big city. It’s an adjustment but a good one.

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It’s been a busy summer! After packing, selling, donating and chunking our excessive junk we’ve accumulated, we said goodbye to our home in Southaven this week. After 7 years, there may have been a tear or two.  It’s bittersweet leaving church/school/community/friends—familiarity!  The boys have been at Greenbrook, SIS, SMS and DC, making great friends along the way! We can’t forget Julianna loves her Purple Bear buddies.The next few days will be spent with family in Mobile then off to Seoul. We’ll be on an aeroplane according to Julianna– thanks, Peppa Pig! 

We loved living in Mississippi (<— who knew an Alabama girl would say that?!) and have great friends and memories there. It’s hard leaving but it’s also exciting to move on. I’ve learned over the years that you can feel “all the feels” at the same time! 

Happy 4th of July, everyone! If you find yourself in South Korea, we’ll have coffee…or bubble tea:)

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This is a quick update of our first week in SK. 

So far we have

lugged our stuff all over, tried new foods, explored and gotten lost, greatly surpassed our daily 10k recommended steps, gotten over the hump of jetlag, started to like Korean coffee–(so many options!), experienced lots of firsts…

had to change destinations in a taxi to somewhere we could say, double paid a taxi driver (cash and card swiped by 2 of us at the same time!-oops!), heated chicken strips that I thought were precooked but were not (surprise!), not been able to find canned veggies at the store, except corn, obviously;) <–corn is big here…bought grapes that were actually scuppernongs…and the list goes on!

We are {slowly} settling in and look forward to more adventures. Probably with lots of hills. 

   
  

       

**silliness, pedestrian bridge, taxi queue (<–you wait in line), 7 Eleven, mandu, Korean restaurant**

Speaking of Korea…

Let’s discuss our upcoming move to Seoul. I’ve had a lot of questions and would love to answer them so you can have a better picture of where we will be living and working.
Seoul is in South Korea and is considered a very safe place to live. It is not a 3rd world country, but is actually very advanced and has “really fast internet!” I’ll let you guess who in the family is excited about that. We can keep in touch with Facebook, email, Skype, etc. Right now, Seoul is 14 hours ahead of Mississippi. (So completely opposite night/day.) We will live in an apartment in Seoul and may or may not buy a car after we get there. Their public transportation is very safe and reliable so we can take our time deciding.
Yongsan International School is a private school, K-12. The school operates in English. We still plan on learning Korean to better function in the community. (At least some!) Why move overseas if you aren’t going to attempt to learn the language? That’s no fun! Caleb has made the most progress, so far.
I will be teaching students who have needs in learning English and some form of academic assistance. I’m really looking forward to it. Caleb and Jacob are glad I’ll be at the middle school, but for different reasons! Caleb is starting high school…
Sean will be the HR Manager. He is currently in Seoul trying to find an apartment. (Oh, and to start his new job!)
We look forward to getting to know Korea. It’s a beautiful country!
Once you get to LA, Detroit, etc., you can be in Seoul in a quick 14 hours! Nothing to it! So, if you’re ever in the area, stop by!

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