b.f.f. in korea

A b.f.f. from Australia came to visit me this past week. Our friendship was born in the mountains of Switzerland 3 years ago and like many L'Abri friends, he is a friend for life.


What is it that makes someone a friend for life?

This is a question I asked myself with eyes full of tears as I said goodbye to him and boarded the bus to work. Why do I love him so much? Why is his friendship so meaningful that it changes who I am? What is it that sets this friendship apart from so many others?

It must be Christ.

As I cherish the special people in my life, I realize just how much the Lord uses people to express his love to me. In other words, we---that means YOU, are all connected. We matter to God, and we matter to each other. And I think when we finally understand what (or who) it is that we live for, we will also understand how much we together can represent the purpose of God.

Maybe that's an awful deep thought for a silly little post about my friend's visit. But think about it will you?

And while you're thinking about it, enjoy these fun pictures.

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Kenton, you are Christ to me,
we are Christ together to others,
and you teach me to love God
and others with more intention and joy.
Thank you for who you are in this world.
And thanks for visiting.
And just a little reminder-
If you do your homework and study hard...
next time you won't get an F- - - - - in my class.
Okay? Okay.


have yourself a merry little christmas now

I've downloaded 11 different versions of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and I've listened to the playlist 4 times now. I think my favorites are Sarah Groves, Diana Krall, Coldplay, and James Taylor.

And in my quiet evening home, I just finished making:



i said i'd never do it...

Culture shock is to be expected when you travel a lot. Sometimes differences are small and just make you smile. Other times you can't help but be baffled that people can live so differently from what you think is normal.
For the most part, I've really tried to dive in to life in Seoul. I'm trying to learn pieces of their language, I'm trying to live with their styles of dress, their habits of liesure, and even their styles of food. And while trying to be as open-minded as possible, there are still some things early to which I firmly stated "NO FREAKING WAY!!!"

...until today.

Today I joined most of my coworkers for a night at the fish market, featuring Sannakji, i.e. live octopus. Sannakji is a sort of delicacy here in Korea. You choose your prey, and then they chop it into little pieces and put it on a platter for you. The pieces are still squirming on the plate. Even though chopped up, the octopus (or nakji) squirms for hours and the suction cups are still active. You are warned to chew well because the suction cups can stick to your throat and make you choke and die. No problem!

But wait, let me take you to Noryangjin Fish Market.

Here you choose your fish. They pull it out of the tank and kill it right in front of you.

It's not very often you get to watch dinner killed right in front of you. I almost felt the need to thank it before watching the guy knock it's brains out.

Then we watched as this guy prepared the fish. (i.e. slice, skin, chop, filet...get all the guts out...)

This woman helped us choose the perfect crab.

...and some other things.

After everything was chosen and purchased, we made our way to the restaurant. And this is where I bring you to some dinner entertainment videos.
Here is a picture of the Sannakji (octopus).

It really was squirming around. Check out this video!

My dad used to tease us when we were kids. He would eat gross sea creatures and pretend that they were squirming down his throat and inside his stomach. This was like a nightmare version of those memories.

And here...what I swore I'd NEVER do...

Since the pieces are still sort of alive, you have to shock them in soy sauce and wasabi. That's what's in the little dish in front of me.
And when it's inside your mouth, the suction cups try to stick to your teeth, and to the insides of your cheek.
It's a weird feeling, and all in all, I felt like I was eating a worm.
(enjoy the video!)

I'll have you know I was nervous about this all day.
I was distracted and anxious and at the dinner table I was even shaking.

Okay, so the rest of the fish, the parts that we didn't eat, were dumped into this pot which we called "Fish Head Soup" because the head and the tail were floating around simmering in the brothy goodness.

And here's a nice overhead view of the market. It's a great place, full of color, excitement, and new adventures for foreigners like me :-)


'tis the season!

I think every day should be 'Tis the Season.
I think we'd smile more often.

Below you will find various pictures of recent moments that have made me smile.

It snowed while I was home. As you can see, I was working really hard to help my mom scrape off the car.

I can't even find the right words to describe the Thanksgiving feast. I had 3 meals of leftovers before I had to come back to Korea.

I brought home a can of beondegi. That's 'silkworm larvae' and it's a favorite snack here in Korea. And Jen, my friend, was brave enough to taste it. I'm really proud of her!

Here's a picture of beondegi. Yum! right?

I don't think she liked it.

I was sad to leave home so soon. I would have liked some more time to relax, visit, take walks, and be with my family.
But there was a brilliant sunrise right as the airplane was taking off.

Here's a picture from the runway.

Today I was wandering around E-dae with a friend and I found this great little shop.

I decorated my apartment.

I lit some candles.

And I made my first batch of Christmas goodness.

What are you smiling about these days?