Book Review: The Artisan Soul

The Artisan Soul by Erwin Raphael McManus

“…Curiosity fuels our imagination, our imagination fuels our dreams, our dreams fuel our souls, and our souls inform our lives” (The Artisan Soul, 182).

The Artisan Soul by Erwin Raphael McManus is a book about crafting our lives into works of art. In the book, Erwin talks about how every person is an artist, whether they believe they are or not, and why is it important to realize our artisan souls. “Is it really that critical to embrace the artist within us? I would simply remind you of the insight from the Scriptures: as a man thinks, so it he” (13). As an artist, we have a responsibility to use our God-given gifts to create a life that is a work of art. Our life is a gift and we should not waste our lives living ordinarily, but rather know that God has created us to live extraordinary lives. Throughout the book, Erwin gives great tools on how to cultivate our lives into works of art and reawaken the artist within us.

“…The great divide is not between those who are artists and those who are not, but between those who understand that they are creative and those who have become convinced that they are not. The great divide is between those who understand that their very nature is that of an artist and those who remain unaware or in denial of their artisan soul” (4).

What I love about this book is how it talks about all the different aspects of the creative act and process. Creating a masterpiece takes a lot of time and hard work. As Erwin says, “For our lives to be works of art, we need to allow a lifetime of work. We must give God the time to make us works of art” (32). It will never be something that happens overnight. It is a process.

      When we create, we are first inspired or have a dream. Then we take an act of courage and a risk before we finally create.  Dream, Risk, Create. We are taking a risk each time we create and in order to take that risk, we must first take the act of courage to face our fears. “It takes courage to not only accept our limitations but embrace our potential” (7).

In the act of creating, we are opening up our most vulnerable places…for what we create is a reflection of who we are (18). When we allow others to see our art, we are allowing them to see into our souls and into our insecurities. Many of the time, we are too afraid to create because we see our limitations rather than our potential. Erwin uses Van Gogh’s quote to encourage to face our insecurities. “If you hear a voice within you say, ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced” (60).

We all have potential. Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up” (62). We must learn to not only accept our limitations but see our potential. Will we face our fears and harness our potential?

 I love how Erwin describes potential as unharnessed talent. God put potential in each and every one of us. However, we can only turn that potential into something substantial when we lean on God and let him chisel away at us, just like how Michelangelo chisels away at the image hidden within the marble block. Will we put in the work needed to give God our best and turn our potential into talent?   

“…To do our greatest work, we must overcome the temptation to be afraid or become discouraged, engaging the creative process with strength and courage” (131).

What will you create? Who will you become?

I highly recommend this read for anyone who wants to be encouraged about their artisan soul or who wishes to rediscover their inner artist. This is my second read-through and I thoroughly enjoyed it both times.

Blessings!

—The Adversity Rose—

Kaitlyn Rose

DREAM. PURSUE. EXPERIENCE. GROW.

This blog will cover travel, pursuing dreams, and personal growth.

Dream Wildly

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.”

–Ashley Smith

Everyone has dreams they want to pursue—no matter how big or small they are. Whether they realize what their dreams are or not, we all have them. Maybe you don’t believe me or maybe you do, but I know this to be true. I remember a time when I did not think I had dreams or things I wanted to do with my life. I told myself I couldn’t think of anything. But in reality, the dreams I had felt too big for me to attain and so I immediately disregarded them. Because of this, when people tell me they have no dreams, I do not believe them for one little second. I was that person once and I know if I could have dreams, then so could you.

One time, I told someone, “I don’t know what I want to do with my life.” This person replied, “Yes, you do. You just have not realized it yet.” For some reason, those words really stuck with me. And I think she was right.

The truth was, I did know what I wanted to do, but it just didn’t seem possible to me. I thought, “What I want is unattainable, so why bother?” I was immediately telling myself I never would amount to much and that I could never achieve those dreams.

However, over the years, I came to realize that maybe my dreams were there for a reason. I reminded myself once again that all things are possible with God. Maybe it is unattainable for me, but it is not unattainable when God is on my side. I realized the only one truly holding me back was myself.

I am not going to lie and say my life is all figured out or that I know exactly what I am doing all the time. I am not saying dreams are easy to attain or that every dream we have will be realized. But I am saying we will never know how far we can go if we never try.

It is for that reason I have continued to strive to do my best almost everyday to keep moving towards my dreams.

So how do you find out what your dreams are?

I don’t know if this will be helpful for anyone, but I will share how I realized mine:
It all started right after a very dark time for me. I saw no hope for the future, could not pass a day without crying myself to sleep, and could only see grey. I prayed and spoke God’s word over my life, desperate to see Him pull me out of my slump. For a while, it seemed nothing was happening. Then God dropped a quote from the Disney movie “Mulan” into my heart, almost like a promise: “The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.” I held onto that quote like someone who was parched and left out in a desert would hold onto a flask of water that dropped suddenly from the sky. Thinking back on that time, it is very interesting to me how God chose to pull me out of my slump. Because how God pulled me out of it was from giving me a Disney quote and in helping me realize the things that brought me joy.

Truly what pulled me out was appreciating the small moments of joy I would occasionally experience, no matter where it came from. I soaked them in and thanked God for giving me those moments. Most of them were small things, some were bigger.

My relationship with my family. My brothers. The encouraging words of friends. My love for Asian culture. My love for fantasy. Light. Studio Ghibli inspired music. Writing. Stories. I just began noticing those small moments and the things that caused the joy. Then, the thought occurred to me one day of how much I would love to live in Asia and teach English.

Bam! I realized a dream I had but had disregarded because I thought I was not brave enough to achieve it.

While I was reading and listening to inspiring messages, I stumbled across the YouTuber Lavendaire. I found her YouTube videos to be quite encouraging and inspiring. She shares lots of exercises to help people find their “Dream Life” and become an “artist of life.”  The reason I share this is because I really do feel her YouTube channel helped me find the courage to go after my dreams along with the feeling of God urging me to step out.

A video for reference:

One of those exercises was to sit down with a piece of paper and pencil and think. Think about what you would want to do if you had no limits on what you could do. Write those down. It doesn’t matter what it is. Write it down. It was through this exercise I came to realize some more desires I had disregarded. I allowed myself to dream wildly. No matter how ridiculous and impossible it seemed. I wrote it down.

Then I felt God urge me to pursue the dream to teach in Asia. My heart quaked at the idea but I thought it did not hurt to research about it. After researching, I decided South Korea would be best. I found a recruiting company. Then I just let the idea roll around in my head for a few months as I prayed about it. Finally, I decided it did not hurt to apply for the recruiting company. It was all those small steps that led me to spending a whole twelve months in Daegu, South Korea and I do not regret a moment of it.

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

–Arthur Ashe

Doing so showed me that with God I could achieve those dreams I had. After realizing this, I have since been, small step by small step, moving towards those dreams, all the while listening to God’s leading. That is what led me to starting this blog—even if I have not been the best at keeping up with it. That is what led me to dance in the professional ballet company. That is what is leading me now. I believe He placed these dreams in my heart for a reason.

Please take all of this with a grain of salt. Although I think dreams are an important part of our lives, I believe the only way we can ever be satisfied and at peace with where we are at now is when we have a relationship with God and are in line with His plan for our lives. Remember this when you are pursuing and make sure it truly is something God is leading you to do.

I hope by showing what I have been learning and my process, I am able to help someone else who is struggling like I was. I would love to be the person God uses to bring light and hope back to someone’s life. I write these posts as if I am writing to the me who withdrew into her shell and cried all the time and who could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. I hope it reaches someone in some small place in their heart.

Dream wildly and then go after it!

Blessings to everyone!

P.S. Feel free to comment some of those dreams, big or small, that you have! I would love to hear from you.

—The Adversity Rose—

Kaitlyn Rose

DREAM. PURSUE. EXPERIENCE. GROW.

This blog will cover travel, pursuing dreams, and personal growth.

Removing the Chaff

“In the never-ending battle between order and chaos, clutter sides with chaos every time. Anything that you possess that does not add to your life or your happiness eventually becomes a burden.”

John Robbins

          

Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon

Back when coronavirus first began to spread like a wildfire and everyone was required to stay home, I found myself in a season of reflecting and processing as mentioned in my previous post. Listening to all the chaos going on in the world and to the chaos in my own heart, I was feeling cluttered and overwhelmed. I did not want to settle into my comfort zone, but I also did not know how to push myself. In the midst of all the confusion, I could not figure out the next direction I wanted to take in life. I found I lost my spark on what to write about in my blog posts, even though I had a lot of time to write.  A small part of me wondered if the clutter in my room was causing most of the stress I was feeling. Therefore, I decided that at the very least, I could de-clutter my things.

Moving back into the house I grew up in, I realized I had accumulated more things over the years I have been gone, and now they were mixing with all my old things I had left behind. I am someone who has grown to hate clutter with a passion and am constantly striving for a more clutter-free life. Since I have been practicing the art of letting go of my things for a few years now, I have noticed it has become a little easier and I have become better (but do not be fooled—I still have a long way to go).

When I first saw the mess of things I left behind mixing with my new things and the other things that had moved in in my absence (empty rooms become storage space), I was very overwhelmed. I could not see my floor as it was full of suitcases, boxes, and baskets, yet I had almost no place to put the things contained inside each of these. However, I knew I could not survive living in such a cluttered space; it would drive me insane. Knowing this, I had to take steps on eliminating extra junk in my life. The chaff. The unnecessary. The things that’s only purpose in my life was to take up more space.

Several small steps and seven trips to Goodwill later, I am a lot closer to being where I want it to be. Although my room is not quite there yet, it already feels so much better and more open than it did two or three months ago. Each time I decide to let go of a simple item, the less stressed I feel and the happier I am. When I see the results, it inspires me to release more. This way, I am only carrying things that bring joy, peace, and love.

“The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.”

― Joshua Becker

“Out of calmness comes clarity.”

― Trevor Carss

This made me begin to think about life in general. I began to wonder if I have extra chaff, clutter, junk, unnecessary things in my life it was time for me to release. I am searching inward, prayerfully, looking for what God highlights for me to remove from my life. I pray His Holy Fire will burn away the excess, the chaff.

I believe in doing this, I will clear my mind more and be able to see what I have been having trouble seeing because of the chaff. I think about the process of de-cluttering my room, and how even a little step here or there towards my goal has made a great deal of progress already and how things have steadily become clearer. Seeing this in the de-cluttering of my room, I know I could see the same results in my life if I take the steps of de-cluttering the excess in my life. I know if I keep taking those small steps, God will help me go after those dreams He placed in my heart. He will show me what I have been struggling to see as I continue to remove the excess, the chaff.

I hope this speaks to someone even if in a small way. I hope you will be inspired to look at your own life and see what things, activities, habits, etc, which need to be de-cluttered from your life. See the excess or chaff that might be holding you back and, with God’s help, remove them from your life, no matter how big or small it might be.

John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into His barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Luke 3:16-17

Blessings and good luck on your own journeys!

Before I end this post, I do want to mention a little about my “writer’s block,” and how it has not been affecting other areas of my writing. About halfway into April, I did begin to write for fun again rather than for others. I was not writing blog posts, but I was writing. More than I had in a really, really long time. The project I have been working on has been going quite smoothly since then and I am ecstatic to be writing as much as I have. Writing has always been a hobby of mine growing up and, though I never did share much of my writing with others, it was something I loved doing. Having all this time for the first time in six years to write has been a blast for me. And I want to continue pushing myself to write in the same way as I am pushing myself towards clarity.

It has been nice to rediscover my joy and love for something!

—The Adversity Rose—

Kaitlyn Rose

DREAM. PURSUE. EXPERIENCE. GROW.

This blog will cover travel, pursuing dreams, and personal growth.

One Step at a Time

“Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.”

Chinese Proverb

In all the craziness of this year (and I feel no explanation is needed as we all know how crazy it has been), I have neglected my desire to write these blog posts. Honestly, I neglected it long before this year. I hit writer’s block especially hard in this season as life seemed to go on pause. We all know it really did not go on pause, but I found myself internalizing a great deal of things. I was stuck. I did not know which direction to go or why the direction I chose was not settling in my heart. It can be a hard thing to figure out how to do something you want to do or get where you want to be. I felt the same when moving to Korea had only been a desire and a thought. I felt it then, and I feel it now. I mentioned this two years ago, but I came to the realization that life will just keep passing on as it is unless I act. I have been trying to remind myself of this and keep myself on my toes so I don’t settle or settle in. I want to keep dreaming, growing, experiencing, and changing. Standing still cannot be an option unless I feel it is necessary for the next step.

However, I find I am back at this place where I am wondering, what next? I suppose this is life. We decide something, we do it, and then find ourselves wondering about our next steps. One good thing is I have millions of ideas and dreams whirling around in my mind and heart. However, those whirling dreams create in me this feeling of almost agitation—unrest. But not the type of unrest where I cannot rest rest. The type of unrest that is reminding me that people don’t grow in comfort zones. I want to keep pushing myself out of those comfort zones to force me to grow more.

Finding my way is hard though.

 I am not going to pretend it is easy to figure out the next step. It takes a lot of thought, a lot of prayer, a lot of action, and small steps. Since it has been quite a while since I have written a blog post (as mentioned before—writer’s block), maybe it is time for an update.

I danced in a professional ballet company this past season. It was a decision I thought and prayed a lot about and decided to act upon. I still believe it was where I needed to be in that season. But to be completely honest, it was hard. Harder than moving to Korea, harder than the struggles I faced in Korea. Now, do not misunderstand…the people were great, Oregon was beautiful, and it was a wonderful challenge. However, I found something just did not seem to sit well. I do not know yet why I was brought out there, but even if it was just to meet people, say some words, be a presence, or just to show myself professional ballet was not for me in this season, I know it was worth the difficulty.

But if that was not the right thing, then what was? I do love to dance a great deal and it has always had and always will have a deep and special place in my heart. My not returning in the fall to the company does not necessarily mean I am saying goodbye to dance, just might be going a different course or direction. Dancing professionally has made me truly realize how much time is needed to devote to the craft in order to do well and be the best I could be. And I began to recognize I did not love it enough for it to become a main focus in my life.

I have always known the amount of work it takes to dance professionally. When dancing professionally, you have to be dedicated, focused, and self-disciplined in order to maintain your ability and continue to grow. I thought maybe my love for dance and being able to use the gift for God’s glory would make all the work worth it. However, it did not feel that way at all. When I pictured my life continuing in that direction, I realized it was not direction I wanted my life to go, even if it would have been good and exciting and challenging. I wanted to pour my energy in other places—like writing, to name one.

 I realized this pretty soon into my time in Oregon, but I was determined to do my best and finish strong and learn what I could while I was there. Then, the coronavirus hit and changed so many plans. Quite suddenly, I found myself back home in Oklahoma, where I grew up. Over the next few months, I began searching inside myself, almost as if I was internalizing things or processing.

This internalizing and processing period has been taking a long time, but what has kept me going is focusing on the small steps towards the goals I knew I had–working a little at a time each day, each week towards achieving them. It can seem discouraging when the progress seems slow, but over time, you will see the results.

As an example, I have been de-cluttering my room, which was a horrendous mess after I moved back into it after being absent for two years. It seemed overwhelming and impossible, but step by step it has come a long way (I can walk around my room now). It is the same in every area in our life if we continue to take those steps even if they are small steps. Going forward consistently is better than stopping and going, as we see it the story of the Hare and the Tortoise.

On days when the progress seems too small, instead of despairing, I have been reminding myself daily, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13) and “I am capable of achieving those dreams. They are not impossible. Take it a step at a time.” And I will. How do we eat an entire elephant? One bite at a time. It is alright if you have to take it slow, just do not stop taking steps towards those goals. Set smaller goals to reach so the bigger goals are possible.

Reminding myself of this truly helps me and I hope it encourages and helps you too!

On the bright side, I have recently found a job and I’m excited about the job, but God has still granted me some extra time. I find myself wondering, “Why?” What should I do with the extra time given to me? How can I grow? How can I change? What should I continue to pursue? What dreams should I start taking steps towards?

I do not have the answers yet, but I know if I continue to take those small steps, I will reach it eventually.

Blessings to you from this little flower still learning how to bloom.

Here are some pictures from my journey back from Oregon.

—The Adversity Rose—

Kaitlyn Rose

DREAM. PURSUE. EXPERIENCE. GROW.

This blog will cover travel, pursuing dreams, and personal growth.

The Thief of Joy

“Why compare yourself to others? No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you.” –Anonymous

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When I was thinking about what to write, I found myself thinking of some successful people and how smart and creative they are and how they seem to be living “the life.” I realized the reason I often find myself stuck with creativity or in enjoying my life as it is right now is often because I am comparing—comparing myself to others or even to myself from another time. This, of course, brought to mind the famous quote everyone knows by Theodore Roosevelt (even if we didn’t know he was the one who said it): “Comparison is the thief of joy.” So, I decided this is what I will talk about today.

To tell you all the truth, as I began to write this, I found myself afraid to share. I’ve always cherished being honest and real. If someone asks me a question, I want to be as real and honest as I can. I feel we get nowhere pretending we are perfect or live perfect lives. So, instead of listening to my fear and not sharing, or sharing only neat pictures, I may get pretty real in this post. Because they say courage is doing something even if you are afraid. This actually ties in quite nicely with my last post on insecurities and comfort zones, now that I think about it.

We all deal with comparison. I have compared myself to others all my life. Often, I would find myself looking at other’s lives and being disappointed that I’m not like them. My comparison would notice something amazing and beautiful about them, and then follow with a negative about me. Examples: I am not as outgoing as them (I am too quiet), I didn’t get the ACT score they did and I had to take it a billion times to get it close enough to their scores (I must not be smart enough), they get asked to lead praise and worship and I don’t (because I’m too timid and quiet or not a good enough singer), they are given leadership positions (but I am not given any because I am not charismatic or able to lead), they got the dance part (but I didn’t because I am not as good as them), they got the recognition (which means I’m not as good at the job), they got the 4.0 award at graduation (but I, who got a 3.95,  must not be worth celebrating—I am lesser), everyone got odd awards (I never did because I’m too quiet that I am forgotten or not good enough), this person has the dream job (but I can’t have the dream job because I am not capable of achieving it). It leaves me believing lies about myself: I am dull, I am too timid, I am not smart enough, not creative enough, not pretty enough, not wanted, not admired, and not capable.

I also notice that, with each comparison, I’m dismissing any achievements I have gained. If I receive something, I follow with “Oh, it was just this once” or “Oh, but they got it three times” or “Oh, I will lose it because I am not good enough to keep it.” I don’t allow myself to appreciate myself or my achievements. I look at my friends’ 4.0s and think, “Man, I just got a 3.95.” (This is the perfect example of the silliness. I mean, seriously, it is a 0.05 difference!) I don’t allow myself to be happy with how I am or where I am at right now, even if I am accomplishing a dream I had.

I think about the quote “Comparison is the thief of joy” and I know it is true. It really does steal away joy. Many of us have also heard this quote by Steven Furtick: “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” We all know this, of course. We are all aware. Yet, we continue doing it anyways.

Although I find it hard to believe people would compare themselves to me and wish they were like me, some people have. They see my highlight reels, and wish to be like me. But I, just like most people, don’t share the hard parts or ugly parts of my life. So, I wonder, why such amazing people like them would ever want to be someone as helpless as me? You’d think that would help me to not compare myself to others, and yet, I still compare myself to them.

How do we stop comparing? How do we live life to the fullest, enjoying every season, and embracing where we are in our journey? We know everyone’s journey is different. Yet, we still think the grass looks greener on the other side, until we are on that grass and realize each blade of grass has its challenges. We become so aware of those challenges, that we forget we are living on the grass we always wanted to live on.

Comparison does not only steal our joy. It lies to us. It puts us down. It makes us feel someone else’s life is better. It allows us to covet what others have instead of being grateful for what we have. It puts our focus on the problems in our life rather than the good. Or it minimizes the good in our life.

“Don’t compare your life to others. There’s no comparison between the sun and the moon. They shine when it’s their time.” –Anonymous

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.” –Zen Shin

So, I am here to tell you (and myself) once again, do not compare your life to the highlight reels of someone else’s. You are an amazing person with great ideas. You are capable of achieving your dreams. You offer something unique and wonderful to the world. Maybe someone in your life is a sun or a rose, but that does not discredit you, the moon or the lily, from being any less amazing. Every person faces challenges. We may not always see them, but they are there. What makes the difference is whether the person allows those challenges to become the only focus or if they allow themselves to appreciate the good in their life. There is always something to be thankful for, even if your world is turned upside down. We just need to learn to see it.

Now, if you are like me, you didn’t believe a word of that last paragraph, but I encourage you to daily remind yourself of it. Keep telling yourself it, thinking about it, meditating on what God says about you, until you believe it. Don’t disregard just because you don’t believe it now.

I may not be The Bucket List Family (I know I’m not the only one who thinks their life seems so exciting and adventurous), but that does not mean I can’t live a life of adventure in my every-day life.
I have something to offer to the people around me, and I can live an adventurous life right now in the season I am in. Don’t disregard yourself before you begin.

 

Blessings to you from this little flower learning how to bloom.

—The Adversity Rose—

Kaitlyn Rose

DREAM. PURSUE. EXPERIENCE. GROW.

This blog will cover travel, pursuing dreams, and personal growth.

Growing is Uncomfortable

“We have to be honest about what we want and take risks rather than lie to ourselves and make excuses to stay in our comfort zone.”― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

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I don’t know if any of you feel the way I do, but some days I want to change and push to be the best version of myself, and other days—well… let’s just say I’d rather not. But not necessarily that I do not want the change. I do. I really do. It’s more like I find it exhausting and just want to give up. I often wonder, am I the only one who just wants to watch life go by, stay in her comfort zones, and stop trying?

I know for me I am often tempted to just stay the imperfect, flawed, and insecure girl I am who never tries to challenge herself to grow in any way. Someone makes me upset, I just take it out on them instead of forgiving and forgetting and moving on. I snap at someone who did nothing–psh, I am not going to apologize because my pride is more important than admitting wrong. I have a mountain of work I should do–I’ll just sit and do nothing and be lazy. People don’t say hello to me, I don’t say hello to them. People don’t talk to me, I don’t talk to them. It becomes this endless cycle until all you are thinking about is yourself and not allowing yourself to grow into a better person. Not allowing yourself to grow.

I have a vision of who I would like to be. This person is someone who is energetic, fun, bold, exciting, honest, real, kind, and hard-working. Someone who isn’t afraid to be themselves all the time. Someone who isn’t afraid of being very honest and real, but kind and warm. Someone who is really THERE in the moment and seeing people. Someone who isn’t consumed with herself. Someone who loves herself and who she is.

This is only a very small, itty-bitty, tiny version of the person I wish I could be. The person I know is too hard to become without the help of God. (Let me say—it seems impossible, but Matthew 19:26 says, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” So, maybe God can save this weak, self-centered person and help her to be the person He calls her to be.)

One thing I struggle growing out of are my insecurities. I know there are many people in the world who struggle with insecurities. Actually, everyone is insecure about something. Some insecurities are different. Some are the same. I, for one, struggle with so many insecurities. I often wonder if all insecurities come from something that happened in our past or if some insecurities just appear as people grow up. I cannot think of why I have my insecurities or where they originated from.
I just remember one day people were telling me I was quiet. And I started wondering how not to be quiet. However, I did not think I had anything to offer, so I did not want to open my mouth because I felt I had nothing to say. Since then, I have been in this swirling mess of hating being quiet, feeling stupid that I did not know what to say even though all my teachers my whole life said I have a lot to offer and needed to speak up more.

Suddenly, I was afraid of being unseen, unheard, forgotten, and that I would never be able to do anything I wanted to do because I was too afraid to do it. I prayed every day for years for God to give me boldness. Every year, I was further disappointed in myself.

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I have an actual memory of me thinking about how I wanted to go to Asia to teach English and live there when I was like thirteen or fourteen years old, but I was afraid of teaching. I did not know how I would do it. I did not know how I’d get over there. I was afraid that if someone told me I couldn’t, I wouldn’t go. I did not think I could travel alone. I did not think I could live alone in another country. I was not sure if I could stand in front of kids and teach. All of it terrified me. (This is just one example.)


Even now, I struggle some days with wanting to step out of my comfort zone to talk to people. I often feel like people think of me as this boring person who can’t make jokes, who can’t talk, and who would not be fun to be around. I feel awkward talking to people I don’t know well and even people I have known all my life. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to act. I feel silly, awkward, and ashamed that at twenty-four, I still am just a girl who listens to conversations and feels invasive if I manage to interject.

Every few months, I’ll be in my bed crying because it is uncomfortable to try to talk to people. It’s hard to say something when no one is expecting you to speak.  And I want to give up trying to grow. Because growing is uncomfortable.

One thing I learned is that if you try to do something outside your comfort zone, often you feel excited that you successfully stepped outside it for once. You feel victorious. And if you are like me, you want to hear someone say, “Good job, Kaitlyn! You did a great job sharing your thoughts even though you did not want to.” Or “What you said may have seemed juvenile to you because it sounded different outside of your brain, but it really was not! I enjoyed hearing your perspective!” or “Wow! You started a conversation with a complete stranger and had a decent conversation! Way to go!” However, that step, which may have felt like a huge accomplishment to me, actually may have looked small or insignificant in others’ eyes. So, I would feel joyful that I actually said a sentence or two in class discussion, but then get confused or discouraged when, again, my evaluations say I needed to speak up more. I thought I did speak up more. I tried so hard to say those two sentences.

It’s a little funny to think about it now, but also helps me remember to not get discouraged just because someone did not see the effort it took you to step out of your comfort zone for that brief moment. It helps remind me to keep trying. Maybe, one day, the difference will be so big that someone will notice. Maybe, one day, you’ll find yourself further than you ever thought you would be and doing things you thought you never could do. Trust God with the process even if it is uncomfortable and hard. Don’t give in to the voice in your head that says, “I can’t do it. It’s too hard. I’m done trying. People will just have to deal with it.”

It is so hard some days to fight that voice and not curl up into my turtle shell. It has always been hard. Especially in unfamiliar territories. In South Korea, I remember struggling with it, but then deciding I was not going to let it bother me. Here in Oregon, I find myself fighting it extra hard.

Maybe your struggle or insecurity that you are trying to overcome is something else entirely. But that doesn’t make it any less difficult or hard to push yourself out of your comfort zones. It doesn’t make it any less hard to not let them rule your life. When your insecurities become the force guiding your life, they become an idol and replace God. You begin to be defined by them, and not by how God sees you. You begin to give into them and follow their leading instead of God’s leading. You become your insecurities’ slave if you don’t ask God to help set you free from them.

While I am often tired of pushing myself or tired of following God’s voice out of my comfort zone, I am even more tired of being governed by something that makes me feel hopeless about myself and my life.

That is why I keep pushing myself to try, even if I feel like I fail most days. That is why I keep fighting even if I sometimes feel like I’m going backwards instead of forwards. That is why I keep following God’s leading to places that seem uncertain and trust He knows better.

And I know, that if he can take that little girl who was too afraid to be anything and take her to live alone in South Korea to teach for a year, then nothing is impossible for Him. I can trust He can use this timid, self-seeking, and discouraged girl to be a light for Him in this dark world in a way only He could.

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He can do the same for you. No matter what you struggle with, He can turn it around.

“Open different doors, you may find a ‘you’ there that you never knew was yours. Anything can happen.” –Mary Poppins

Blessings!

—The Adversity Rose—

Kaitlyn Rose

DREAM. PURSUE. EXPERIENCE. GROW.

This blog will cover travel, personal growth, and life in general.

Be

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

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I have finally motivated myself to take up my “pen” (not really—I type) and write you all again. It has been a struggle to want to write anything or know what to write. I have moved back from South Korea, but definitely feel as if I left a part of myself there. I miss my home in Daegu and all my sweet students and friends I made there. It was so sad to leave but I was also very excited to see people back home. I spent my first month back visiting with family and friends and enjoying seeing the faces I have missed. However, after that, I had to take off on my next adventure in beautiful Oregon.

I decided back in May to move to Oregon to be a trainee in a small ballet company there. I had missed dancing while I was in Korea, so I was excited to be able to move my body again. However, to be honest, I was very sad and nervous about this move. I wished I could stay longer with my loved ones, and also the pressures of what I had to do once I got to Oregon were quite overwhelming. I felt, and still feel, as if I bit off more than I could chew.

The trip to Oregon, though long, was quite exciting. My dad and I drove all the way there from Oklahoma and took a scenic route. Coming from a girl who has never been west of Oklahoma, I found the drive (once we got out of the boring plains of Oklahoma and Kansas that I was used to seeing) to be quite exciting! We drove up to Kansas, and then through Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho before we reached Oregon. It was nice being able to stop and sight-see while we drove. My favorite was Wyoming and Yellowstone of course! The trip here was the highlight so far.

Once we arrived in Oregon, we were surprised to find out it was against the law to fill your own tank of gas. So, I am getting used to the fact I have to have someone else to do the work. Besides this unexpected news, I have settled well into my apartment and started dancing with the company. Everyone in the company is so sweet and welcoming and has such a passion to use their dancing to glorify God. It was a nice environment to be welcomed into.
Although I loved being able to dance again, I was far from where I used to be. I was very gracious towards myself in the beginning because I knew taking over a year off of dance was going to have an effect on my ability. However, I found that as weeks passed, I began to feel discouraged. I felt I was leaps behind what I used to do and even more behind what everyone else is able to do.

I also was struggling to find a job that paid well and worked with my dance schedule. It was a month before I was hired and began working. There have also been several other struggles I do not wish to name that have come with my move here.

I wish I could say I have been struggling bravely or with grace, but I have not. When life feels turbulent, it is tempting to succumb to anxiety and depression. It has been hard not to wonder if I had made a mistake or to doubt God is taking care of me. I often wonder if I misheard God or if, for once, God is not coming through. If He wasn’t coming through, there must be a reason? Did I do something wrong?
Yet, when I look back at the last three or four months and look ahead to this next month, I see that God has provided for me so far. I have made it this far. Maybe God will come through next year too. And maybe I will grow in my dancing ability.

Sometimes life can feel like a crazy, unpredictable rollercoaster ride where you are spinning and blindfolded. Sometimes you have to do something that does not makes sense to realign yourself with God. Or take a step backward in order to move forward. I feel like I have made a decision that does not make sense to me right now and feel like I’m starting from ground zero again. Yet despite all of that, I know that God is teaching me something amidst all of this even if it hurts so much. Even if my heart feels like it has a giant hole. I can trust God will fill my holes with Him and His abiding love.

Even if I do not see where my life is headed, I can trust God knows and He IS guiding me. I can trust the process. Things may not go how you want or wish them to go, but God is there with us every step of the way. I hope to one day look back on this and see the evidence of what God cultivated in and through me during this time. I also look forward to better times in the future. I am slowly learning to find peace even when my circumstances are declaring something else.

God has been teaching me to just be.

“Be still and know that I am with you.” –Psalm 46:10

 

On another note, Oregon is a very beautiful state. It is so nice so find yourself catching your breath every time you step outside or take a drive. Every now and then I glimpse snow-tipped Mt. Hood in the distance, towering majestically. Bright and colorful leaves covered the trees and ground during fall. Tall evergreen trees line the streets. It is truly breathtaking.


In University, I was taught to take “artist dates” where you go and do something once a week that brings you joy. Whether that be reading, going on a walk, drinking tea or coffee at a café, or going to a museum. So, last Saturday, I decided it was time for me to go on an artist date. I went on my first solo adventure here in Portland to the Japanese Garden Portland. I felt, for a brief moment, that I had stepped back into Japan. It was magical and so peaceful. It brought me so much peace and joy. I’m so glad I went.

Therefore, I’d like to recommend, if you are having a rough time, take some time to take your mind off your worries and have an “artist date.” Give yourself a day to rest and not think about your troubles or your to-do list. Just be.

 

Blessings!

Here are some other quick snippets from the past three months. Also, the ballet company I am a part of is preparing for our Christmas performance of “Courage, Dear Heart: A Journey Through Narnia.” We are excited!

—The Adversity Rose—

Kaitlyn Rose

DREAM. PURSUE. EXPERIENCE. GROW.

This blog will cover travel, personal growth, and life in general.

Packing Joys and Regrets: What I Regret or Don’t Regret About Packing for Living Abroad

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – Lao Tzu

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Since I have been in South Korea for six months now, I have had time to think about which items I am glad I brought and which items I regret bringing with me to Korea. So today I wanted to give my own opinion on packing for anyone who is thinking of teaching English in another country. I have come up with three separate lists to share: Things I regret bringing, things I regret not bringing, and things I do not regret bringing. Most of these lists are just my own personal opinion, but I hope it helps people either follow their gut reaction on what to bring with them or cause some people to rethink what they’ve decided to bring.

One thing I do not regret doing before coming here is watching YouTube videos and reading blog posts on others’ experiences teaching in Korea. I think it helped me understand what I need to pack or what I do not necessarily need to pack. It also helped me be less surprised by some of the cultural differences. (However, the number of videos did not quite relieve the shock I had of how different Korea was from Japan.)

My list of things I regret bringing is very small, as I did not regret much of what I brought.

Things I Regret Bringing:

  1. Bringing too much clothing.

Unless you are better at controlling your spending than I am, you will buy clothes here. There are several cheap deals, especially in the underground shopping areas. I think I brought too much clothing from home. I haven’t worn everything I’ve brought yet and some of it I do not think I will wear (maybe a sign I should get rid of it). So, I recommend bringing only the clothing you really enjoy wearing because those will be the only items of clothing you will wear. Maybe I’ll make a detailed packing list one day to share.

  1. The number of notebooks I brought.

There are plenty of cute stores here that sell really cute and cheap notebooks if you are really someone who likes to write or journal. I brought too many notebooks and have only used one of them somewhat regularly.

Things I Regret Not Bringing:

  1. Bringing more books.

I love books. I always have. I knew I could not bring my whole collection, and since books are heavy, I wanted to try to limit myself to as few as I can. So I tried to limit myself to five books (I know–such a small number). I was just going to use a library app and read e-books for any other book I wanted to read. However, soon after I got here, I immediately regretted not bringing more books. I have always preferred reading from the actual book and reading an ebook is just not the same for me. Therefore, I regret not bringing more books. The funny thing is, I knew I would regret not bringing more books. That is my own fault for ignoring something I knew about myself. Yet, I was lucky to find relatively cheap English books at a bookstore in downtown Daegu, and was able to buy some books. I now feel much better seeing a bigger collection of books on my desk. I do not regret any of those purchases and plan to just mail them home when it gets closer to my time to leave.

  1. Bringing more medicine.

I brought enough pain medicine (because I know how much I hate headaches and monthly pains). But I did not bring nearly enough cold medicine or allergy medicine. I brought a small amount of Benadryl and that is it. I have a lot of severe outdoor allergies and tend to take allergy pills regularly throughout the year. I don’t know why I thought I would not experience it here. I also did not expect how often I would get sick here. Thus, I regret not bringing some more medicine just because it is hard to ask for medication at a drug store when you do not speak Korean and are not sure what you are taking…

  1. A pair of heels.

I did not bring a single pair of heels mainly because all the YouTube videos and blog posts said not to bring them. So, I did not. However, I have been invited to a few weddings and I wish I could have a pair of heels to wear to them. I would definitely not wear them on a daily basis or on any days that require a lot of standing or walking, but on those random times I have to dress nicely, I like to wear something other than the black flats I brought. I think this particular item probably depends on the person.

 

Finally, here is my list of things I was afraid I would regret bringing but I do not regret bringing in the slightest. Quick Side-note: Before going to Korea, I bought a new laptop because my current laptop was gigantic and too heavy to lug around regularly (I have four years of university to prove it). So, I did not want to bring that heavy thing with me all the way to Korea. I do not regret this choice.

Things I Do Not Regret Bringing:

  1. A Portable CD Drive and a CD/DVD Storage Binder

Since I bought a smaller laptop, it did not have a built-in CD drive. So, I bought a portable one and brought it with me along with a CD/DVD storage binder filled with my favorite movies. I have watched many of them since coming here and do not regret the choice I made in bringing them. It has been a great comfort and also allows me to play any movies or CDs I happen to buy here or people happen to lend me. I have used it regularly and have no regrets.

  1. My Bluetooth Speaker

I brought my Bluetooth speaker because sometimes I like to jam to music that is slightly louder than what my phone can go. Also, my new laptop’s speakers are quieter than my last laptop. I do not regret my choice to bring it. I did not realize I would use my Bluetooth every time I watched a movie (since my laptop is a bit too quiet by itself when watching movies). I have also used it a few times when teaching Gym at my school. So, it has been used quite frequently.

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  1. My Plush Panda Pillow and My Fuzzy, Soft Blanket

I brought these mainly for comfort. I was not sure how I would handle my first time moving out of my parents’ house and to another country. So, I brought a lot of comfort items. Things from home that would bring me some comfort for days I am homesick or physically sick. When I packed these, I thought I was just giving into some illogical-thinking, but I have used these almost every night and they have brought me much comfort. Probably more than anything else I brought. They may have taken up some space in my suitcases, but I am glad I brought them.

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  1. Enough Deodorant and Toothpaste for a Year

It is kind of nice knowing I do not have to worry about buying more of at least one necessity item while I am here, especially items I can be picky about. So, I have not regretted this choice.

  1. Part of My Tea Collection and a Mug

I love tea. Although there is plenty tea here in Korea to buy, I just like not having to buy some. I have used my tea quite regularly and enjoy it immensely. I love to sit down with a cup of tea in the mornings or in the evenings. It is another great comfort item.

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  1. My Portable Box of Joy

I have a box of notes or things that make me happy back home for days I’m feeling low. It can be a great picker-upper. I knew I would have days I’m missing home, so I brought some of those cards or notes that make me happy. My best friend made me a portable “Joy Box” as a parting gift for me to put them into. It makes me happy just seeing it, because it reminds me of all the love I have received over the years. Some days it can be hard to remember that you are loved and that some people like you as a person. Thus, it is nice to have something that can help remind you.

A Weekender Bag and a Backpack

Since I have taken many weekend-long trips since coming here, I do not regret the choice to bring a weekender bag with me. Also, I use my backpack every day when going to work. They are used quite regularly and are nice to have.

 

I think these are all the lists I have for now. I will probably make a packing list someday soon for anyone thinking of teaching in another country! I found any posts I read or YouTube videos I watched before my move here to be very helpful, and would love to send out my own list to maybe one day help someone who was just as lost as I was at the idea of packing for a year in a foreign country. I hope the lists I made today are helpful as well!

Blessings from South Korea!

—The Adversity Rose—

Kaitlyn Rose

DREAM. PURSUE. EXPERIENCE. GROW.

This blog will cover travel, personal growth, and life in general.

Spreading the Wings of Hope

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey towards it, casts the shadow of our burdens behind us.” –Samuel Smiles

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As Christmas time approaches, an eager expectation and excitement rises within me. Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I love the lights, the music, and the warm feelings it gives me. I love the magic of Christmas. I love that it is in celebration of what Jesus Christ has done for us—coming to such a crazy world as something as lowly as a human being to save us from ourselves. Everyone knows life isn’t easy, and throws us many curve balls we are not quite ready to handle…or at least feel like we are not ready to handle. However, Christmas reminds me that hope really does help us through so much and brightens our lives.

Although Christmas is my favorite season, I have always seen it as a time celebrated with family. This year, I find myself several miles away from my family in another country watching all my coworkers leave. A couple of weeks ago, it was really getting to me that, for the first time, I would not spend Christmas with my family. I really wanted to go home. It was even harder hearing all my coworkers make their plans (half of them going home) whereas I was still trying to figure out mine. Oh, the relief I felt when I finally was able to make plans with a friend from high school who is currently teaching English in Japan. Truly, I am so relieved and happy that I will not be spending my Christmas holiday alone.

Soon after, I was invited to a friend’s wedding, which was exciting and added to my relief. Then I found out a cousin will be in South Korea over the Christmas break, which really brightened my whole week. I would see some family after all.

Today was the start of my Christmas break. It’s amazing to think I have been here in South Korea for four months and have not seen any of my family or friends (except a few in September) since I have been here.

It still feels surreal that I am achieving a dream that I have had since I was thirteen. I’m living in another country teaching English! Does it really take this long for it to sink in? (Ha!) I have had so many adventures since coming here, and so many struggles as well. A month ago, I really started fighting to change my circumstances because things were turning sour so quickly, and I did not want to spend this year of doing what I felt God wanted me to do crying every other night and sinking into depression.

Why was I sinking in depression anyways? Hadn’t I defeated this before?

Well, for one, working at a high-stress, intense job can be really difficult especially when moving to an unfamiliar place in an unfamiliar land. However, I had mentally prepared myself for this, because I was aware of what I was stepping into. What I had not prepared myself for was getting sick so often, reacting to the water so badly that my skin feels like it is burning, or my face breaking out worse than it had ever had before. I lost so much weight, I was basically swimming in all my pants. My acne was so bad that I couldn’t look people in the eye, and constantly tried to side-step the many questions I received from students about what was on my face (or just told them it was mosquito bites—which some of it was). Oh, those mosquitoes. I feel like I have scars on my body from those darn mosquitoes. I’m so glad they died with the incoming of snow. Not looking forward to the resurrection in Spring.

There were other mental games that I was struggling with as well. I recognized the signs of falling into depression… The grey outlook on life. The hopelessness. The withdrawal from people. The constant tears. The drained feeling. The disappointment of some unrealized hopes I had coming to Korea. When it dawned on me that I was falling back in, I knew I needed to pull myself out quickly before I fell too far.

I reassessed what I was doing. I was eating poorly, sleeping poorly, managing my time poorly, allowing my life at home to slip, not doing anything that brought joy to me outside of work, and withdrawing from people around me and at home. So, I sat down, prayed for help, and made a plan. So grateful for a God who hears and a God who helps.

It was slow. I focused on food and sleep. Focused on changing my negative thoughts to positive, and focused on reaching out to people. Maybe people would not come to me, but I could go to them. Almost immediately, I started to feel a lot better. I still struggled—still am struggling (primarily with physical problems)—but things are so much better. I am continuing to alter my lifestyle in order to change how I approached my circumstances.

Sometimes I wondered if this was the wrong choice to come to Korea. However, I cannot make myself believe that. I truly believe I am supposed to be here right now. Although I hate the physical difficulties I am facing, it is not the worst thing in the world. I don’t regret any choices I’ve made in coming here (except for a few purchases I made when I first got here—Ha!). I’m reminded that just because it may be harder than I wanted, it does not mean that it was the wrong choice. Maybe this is a battle I just need to overcome with God’s help in order to go after the dreams God placed in my heart. I already feel I’ve changed so much since coming here, but I expect to change a lot more before this season of living abroad is over.

I was able to meet with a graduate from my university that is living in the same city as I am here in Korea last week. Thank God for divine appointments! She was a God-send. I left feeling so encouraged and so inspired. She reminded me, just through sharing where she was right now in life, that even though this time spent here in Korea feels temporary, it does not excuse us from spending it wastefully. We should use this time to continue to grow towards the person we want to be and the life we live after. Time does not freeze just because we are in another place.

I found myself finally dreaming again for the first time since arriving here.

I finally caved, and when to see a dermatologist in order to seek some medical help for my skin—the acne and the after-shower rashes. I just pray I continue to get closer each day to overcoming the adversities I am facing here and am able to fully enjoy the time I spend here. I really want this to be a time of growth and not a time of being stagnant. Especially in my relationship with God.

I truly adore teaching the babies here. I love finding out a little more who I am as an individual. I love living alone and experimenting with adult-ish things. Grocery shopping is getting easier. Maintaining my life at school and home is getting better. I am slowly learning how to maintain mental, physical and spiritual health. Although I am still working on how I handle stressful situations and still figuring out how to manage my time wisely, I’m allowing myself to hope again.

Christmas can be a great time to help remind us the sweetness and simple joys of life. It is actually so sweet to me to see how God is using Christmas during this season to help heal me, whereas only two years ago it had caused me to sink to the lowest I had ever been (not because of Christmas itself, but because of what it represented and how my life was not comparing—I wanted Christmas to be a happy time and it was not).

Christmas celebrates the hope Jesus brought when He came into this earth. His birth was a sign that not all was lost. Things could still change. All we have to do is continue to hope in the Lord. For, “those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

I am truly so grateful for all Christ has done for me and for everyone else. May your Christmases all be filled with joy and peace.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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“And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” (1 Peter 5:10).

—The Adversity Rose—

Kaitlyn Rose

DREAM. PURSUE. EXPERIENCE. GROW.

This blog will cover travel, personal growth, and life in general.

Adjusting to a Foreign Country

The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique. –Walt Disney

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Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, South Korea

This is a much-needed update about my time in Korea. I feel bad for not doing well in keeping up with my posts, but transitioning to a new life makes it hard to find time for anything except breathing and eating. I’ve been in Korea for a little over a month now and have been officially teaching English for four weeks. If you are looking for someone to paint you a false picture of all rainbows and sparkles about moving to another country, then don’t look here! I will be honest and say it is a big adjustment and I am trying to learn to love myself through the process.

First, I’ll start by sharing my experiences with teaching. I have to say that week one of teaching felt like a disaster and was one of my more stressful experiences. I had so much to learn and so much to do and was making a million and one mistakes every day that it is no wonder that I cried my first day of teaching. Despite this, I was pretty excited to be teaching and adored the kids. The weeks that followed were much better and I have been adjusting pretty well to the crazy teaching schedule. I really do love teaching these kids and they are so adorable!

I teach five-year-olds five classes in the morning and early afternoon (Korean age is actually a year or two older than American age, so the five-year-olds are actually around three- or four-years-old). They are my favorite classes to teach because they are so sweet and loving! They tell me constantly that they love me and give me many hugs. I really do love them! After a short break/prep time, I teach four classes of first graders that come from another school. I am slowly learning to enjoy teaching them too. They definitely were not my favorite that first week, but now I actually enjoy teaching them on most days. Because they are older, I feel they can sometimes be a bit hard to control. However, after getting some classroom management help, I’ve been doing much better.

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My first graders drawing and reading after their monthly exam.

I still make a lot of mistakes every day, but teaching is a learning experience. I know I will continue to get better and learn the best way to help my students the most! I want them to do well. Grading, although sometimes a lot of work, can be quite entertaining. It is fun to see what the kids think about and their thought processes. I have laughed many times, because who would not laugh when a kid compares himself to a parrot because he is a good listener? Or when they are supposed to create a new creature and one says that his creature has 100,000,000 billion teeth? It is pretty entertaining.

We had a pajama day for the five-, six-, and seven-year-olds this last Friday, which was probably the cutest thing I have ever seen. I wore my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fuzzy pajama bottoms and was petted and hugged by many little children that day. My favorite was either the dino slippers one boy wore, or the boy who was so proud to show me his alphabet pajamas. I am glad I work at a place that has dress up days! Halloween is next!

 

 

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Brayden’s dino slippers for Pajama Day.

 

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Yeonjun’s alphabet pajamas he was so proud to show me.

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My homeroom class on Pajama Day.

I love talking about the kids and can probably talk about them all day. I obviously will not–But here are some more pictures!

 

Since I am at work most of the time, my time outside work has been spent relaxing, cleaning my apartment, cooking, eating and sleeping. I have struggled with figuring out how to shop for food the most. I can clean, organize, and do laundry just fine. Cooking and shopping for food? I have no clue what I am doing. I never knew it was this hard to figure out. My first two weeks were ramen and curry every night. Not doing a whole lot better about my meals now, but have been taking it a meal at a time.

There are no driers here, so I hang my clothes to dry. I have no problem with doing this until it is an extra humid day and the clothes take three days to dry. Or when they dry wrinkled and I have no way to unwrinkled them. Still a struggle. I probably will invest in a steamer. I do find that I do better with laundry here though than I did back home. I am not entirely sure why, but it is true.

I have figured out how to handle the wet floor from the showers (since you just shower on the bathroom floor), so it is no longer that much of a problem. However, my skin reacts strongly to the water here. Maybe because of the chemicals used to clean the water, but I wash my face with bottle water and am looking for a shower head filter. Itching on my hands after washing my hands is not too bad, but itching on my back, arms, chest, neck, and head while showering is something else entirely. Also found out I am allergic to the body wash I have been using for the past several months. Yay! Now I have to be weary about all the products I use. My face and hair have not liked the move here either, and am currently looking for ways to solve those problems.

I have enjoyed exploring my city during the weekends, taking time to explore stores, restaurants, cafes, churches, and just getting used to how to get around. My friend/coworker and I have decided we like the trains better than the buses, against what most of our other coworkers think. Trains seem much more straightforward to us and less stressful than buses where you have to find the right bus and press the stop button when you get off. We had several bad experiences with them and no bad experiences with trains. So, we like trains. We walk so much here that I think I lost some weight from it all. I am used to feeling my feet and legs ache.

However, maybe because of the stress of moving, teaching, time change, food change, weather and air change, I think my immune system is down. I’ve been sick the past two weeks which makes it hard to explore as much as I would like. I am in the process of trying to build my immune system back up. I’m ready to not have to cough every five minutes.

Because this week is a big Korean holiday called Chuseok, I have three days off work so I was able to go to Seoul this past weekend and meet up with some friends and explore. It was a great way to release some stress and just have some fun, even if I got sick after coming back. We explored Myeongdong, Gangnam, did some karaoke, and went to Namsan Tower and the Gyeongbokgung Palace. It was a blast and I am excited for my next adventure! It was also nice to see some familiar faces and I really enjoyed hanging with my friends!

Since I have been struggling with some acne and hair problems, I have been trying to learn to love myself with those imperfections. It is much easier to love yourself when you don’t hate looking at yourself in the mirror. It is something I know God has been working with me on. So, I’ve been focusing a lot on trying to love myself with the imperfections as I am trying to find the solution, and how not to stress as I stress about things too much. Everything has worked out so far, so there is no need to stress!

Final update, I have a bank account, my alien registration card, and a Korean phone number even if I am planning to switch around my phone plan. I will get my first full pay check in a couple of weeks, and will have to pay my first month of bills soon after. Little by little I am settling in for my year of living here!

I am really glad to be here and really do love my job, even if things have not been super easy. And I do have some prayer requests!

  • Please continue to pray that I would be able to find a home church while I am here!
  • I would love prayer for my body. I need to build back up my immune system so I can stop being sick.
  • Also, that I can find a good shower filter so I can take a shower without itching like crazy and getting red marks all over my body.
  • Prayer that I will be able to make some more friends here!
  • I would always like prayer that I will continue to learn how to be a good teacher.
  • Please pray for my students as well!
  • Prayer that I will be able to pick up on the language while I am here
  • Prayer that I’ll have a better ease at locating the things I need. I still have had no luck locating a few necessities in stores.