Monday, August 30, 2010


Commuting has gotten a whole lot easier -and considerably more enjoyable- since I moved on campus. I can't remember ever having the luxury of walking to work before, and now it's part of my daily routine. No more bruises from crazy pushing on the subway or jockeying for quick exits through the turnstiles. Instead, I leisurely stroll through picturesque, verdant grounds. What a stupendous way to kick off the Fall term^!

Scenes from a Commute:

^Off to a swell start! Thanks for your prayers and encouraging words... so far, so good.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Culture Shock

I'm back.

Some of you may have noticed a lapse in posts. I can explain:  I was in California reassimilating to American culture while visiting family and friends. Eleven months had passed since I'd last been on my home turf, and boy did it feel awesome to be there again! I think I may have readjusted too well because now that I've returned to Seoul, I'm experiencing a rough culture shock. It actually seems more pronounced than when I first moved here a year ago, I guess because everything was new and exciting then. Now, it's another story.

Anyway, I'm fighting through the jet lag and trying to get some renewed focus and enthusiasm. Tomorrow kicks off the Fall term, and in (front of) the classroom I shall be.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Not Christmas Eve

Although Christmas is still several months away, it does feel a bit like Christmas Eve over here. In spite of a particularly hectic week at work, I've been giddy and beaming thinking about my upcoming trip to California. I head out early tomorrow morning and, in fact, should already be in bed resting up. However, I'm too excited to relax and lie down!! Anyway, in case there's a lapse in posts for a few days, you'll know the reason. In the meantime, take good care, and I'll see some of you very, very soon!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

College Days Revisited

I've only lived in my new, on-campus apartment for two days and yet I've already adapted to the college life... ramen for dinner and now cranking out an essay that's due tomorrow morning. Since I haven't had a lot of opportunity to think about much else besides work today, I thought I'd post my essay. However, I'm currently experiencing technical difficulties while trying to incorporate it into this format. Oh well... some other time.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Moving Is...

... so exhausting.

It has been a very long and busy day^. There's still more to do, but I've run out of steam at this hour. Will resurface tomorrow with something more interesting.

^Fortunately, part of my workload was lightened thanks to two friends who helped me at very key points during the day... thank you! 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

35 Things

Don't read too much into the order. This isn't a prioritized list, nor is it comprehensive, but it is a compilation of 35 things for which I'm grateful:
  1. one adorable niece (and another on the way)
  2. two amazing sisters
  3. the Trinity
  4. all four grandparents
  5. loving + supportive parents who help keep me grounded
  6. a very special friendship, six years and counting 
  7. friends (including you, M.R.S.) who make me laugh, and cry
  8. freedom of speech
  9. Beethoven's 9th
  10. freedom to worship
  11. faith
  12. hope
  13. love
  14. 14 cousins
  15. aunts, uncles, and others who sprinkle humor and joy into my life
  16. Italian + Swedish + English heritage  
  17. a multi-stamped passport
  18. a sense of adventure
  19. grace
  20. forgiveness
  21. second chances
  22. a comfortable bed
  23. air-conditioning
  24. food in the fridge
  25. coffee
  26. ice cream
  27. forgiving wrap dresses
  28. capitalism
  29. a curious mind
  30. an interesting job
  31. dog-eared C.S. Lewis books
  32. access to Tim Keller sermons
  33. Mary Tyler Moore Show DVDs
  34. Skype
  35. the students who threw a surprise party for me in class today:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Shanghai Wrap Up

By now, you've undoubtedly deduced that I enjoyed my time in Shanghai very much. I'd welcome the chance to visit again, especially in cooler temperatures. If you're wondering where I stand in answer to that perennial question (Hong Kong or Shanghai?), well... you'll just have to guess. Each place is fascinating, and I recommend visiting both to form your own opinion.  

Coming up next week, I've got another big trip on the horizon. In fact, it's almost all I can think about because not only will I return to a place I love, I'll get to see several people whom I adore... you know who you are!  xo  

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Even though it's a little out of the way, I recommend visiting the area of Tianzifang next time you're in Shanghai. It's got a bohemian feel -very artsy and eclectic. With loads of little shops and cafes, it's a terrific place to wander around and soak up the local vibe. The area makes great use of traditional stone gate houses (shikumen), and the many alleyways which connect everything heighten the discovery experience. 


Monday, August 9, 2010


Shanghai's Xintiandi provides a fantastic model of how to re-purpose old buildings to achieve aesthetic and commercial benefits. It was on my list of places to check out, and I stopped by several times (though I still have no clue how to pronounce its name). Housed within these historic buildings are restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops, and the space as a whole is perfectly suited for people watching.

Aside from the site of the 1st meeting of the CCP, the other 'historical' attraction in Xintiandi is the Shikumen Open House Museum which gives a glimpse into the domestic life of a middle class Shanghainese family living during the 1920s. Here's a sample of various rooms; perhaps a few of you will draw inspiration for your next renovation project... keep me posted! 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Shanghai Maglev ranks the Maglev as one of the Top Ten things to do in Shanghai. This train, with its magnetic levitation technology (hence maglev), is able to transport passengers 30 km (18.6 miles) to the airport in under eight minutes (7 minutes, 20 seconds to be exact). It's an incredibly smooth ride that's over before you even realize it. The train achieved a top speed of 301 km/hour when I rode it, however, it's able to reach 431 km/hour (268 mph) and does so on various schedules throughout the day.  


Dizzy in Shanghai

One of the most fascinating aspects of Shanghai is its ability to cling to the past while embracing modernity. These contrasting elements exist side by side, and endless examples permeate the city. Instead of falling down rabbit holes to experience wildly different scenes, I stumbled upon them with a casual glance here and a sudden turn there. One minute I'm watching a woman sweep streets with a broom made of sticks, the next I'm sucked into Barbie World -seven floors of everything Barbie. Dizzying indeed.