Friday, April 29, 2011

I'm a big LAME.

My blogging has been a little... lackluster the past few weeks.  I think I'm heading into my "mourning phase" of leaving Korea.  This happens every time I travel and you'd think I'd be used to it by now, but the obvious truth is that I definitely am not.

See the thing is, the boy is actually leaving Korea a week and a half before I do.  He's also taking Ares with him.  I have no idea what I'm going to do in our empty apartment sans boyfriend and cat.  It's becoming more apparent with each passing day that we're leaving- actually leaving.  We went to the post office today and sent a few boxes of clothes, books, and artwork back to our homes in the States.  I really didn't feel anything at the time, but I spent the remainder of my day in a terribly foul mood.

I'm stressed... really stressed and on top of it all, the little kitten we found is not doing well.  It breaks my heart to say it, but I don't think she'll make it through the night. We've done everything we can and our friend Sarah has been the best foster mother to her.  It's just so sad to watch her fade.

There is good news however.  As of Thursday, the boy and I have our airfare booked to Ecuador.  We've purchased our tickets from Seattle to New York as well as our tickets to Ecuador.  I'm more than excited although most of my research has told me that the taxi drivers are known to kidnap and rob tourists.  Fantastic.  I just might have to put my double black belt status to use.

I promise I'll have more uplifting posts over the next few weeks.  Hopefully.  Until then, send good thoughts and prayers our way.  We're both so stressed and anxious about the big transitions we're about to go through.  Thanks for sticking with us.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wandering Wednesdays.

This little gem was taken on our first trip to Thailand.  It was the start of the Lunar new year and we had a few extra vacation days left over.  We spent the majority of our trip stuffing our faces with ridiculous amounts of pad thai,  tom kha gai, and yummy tropical beverages.

When we weren't in self-imposed food comas, we were exploring as much of Thailand as we possible.  We hopped on a bus to Kanchanaburi and immediately rented ourselves a scooter.  We accidentally stumbled upon Tham Sua temple.  It looked like it was perched in the clouds.  Its beauty was breathtaking and it's where we took this picture. 

We can't wait to get back to Thailand.  It's one of our favorite places to travel to.  What about you?  What's your favorite country and what do you enjoy doing there? 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Acting Out.

Two Sundays ago the boy and I found ourselves on the beach strapped in a four person bike.  It was a beautiful day and we were with amazing company.  It was nice to run around, rent bikes of all shapes and sizes, and act like children.  We were even able to get some of it on video.

These are the spring and summer-like days that I'll miss spent in South Korea.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sorry it's been quiet...

I know it's been really quiet over here.  We've been extremely busy trying to pack and get our lives together.  I'm also battling another plague brought on by my sweet (and extremely dirty) students.

I did get quite the surprise today when I headed into work.  There was a high pitched squeaking sound coming from underneath the stairs of our building.  I thought it sounded like a bird but I decided to check on it just in case it was something else.  Low and behold there was a tiny baby kitten in a box screaming its little head off.  I immediately ran to find Chris.

When we returned to the box there was a security guard who told us (in broken English) that he found three kittens and moved them into the box.  Two of the little ones had already passed away.  Normally I would have left the baby in the box for its mother to find it but the man had already picked her up and moved her.  I doubt her mother would even take her back now that her scent has changed.

I scooped her up, took her to the vet, and bought a can of kitten formula and bottles.  I'm praying that she'll pull through.  This happened to us once before and the sweet babykit didn't make it.

Not wanting Ares to contract anything the baby kitten might have, we left her in the good care of our friend and neighbor, Sarah.  She was a huge help when we found the other kitten and I'm more than confident that she'll give her all the TLC that she needs.

I'll be sure to keep you updated, but for now, please keep the little one in your prayers.  I was informed that my parents are going to have to put down two of my cats from home.  They're not doing well and they're suffering.  I couldn't bare to lose three kitties in one week.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Your Daily Gem.

I know that as a teacher you're not supposed to have favorites however, I have a class of sweet, sweet children and they're pretty darn close to being my favorites.  Every day before class they'll all come and find me and say, "Come on teacher.  Let's go to class".  Little Emily will even grab my hand and say, "My best friend Tawny teacher". 

The other day we were sitting in class and one of them decided to declare their adoration for me.

Lucia: Teacher, I love you.

Emily: Tawny teacher, I love you and you love me.

Julie:  Teacher, I really really love you.

Peter:  Teacher, I like... gorillas.

A little C&C makeover.

It is with great joy that I give you our brand spanking new website.  The boy has been working tirelessly on this bad boy for over a week and we're so pleased that it's finally up and running.  We decided a few weeks ago that our site needed a little TLC and a remodel, especially with the expedition being only two months away.  

Please take a look for yourself.  We'd love to hear any feedback.  As for me, I think the new site is much easier to maneuver.  Plus we have a slew of new widgets we can use (I really just like using the word "widget").    Also, as soon as we depart I think I'll start blogging exclusively on that site.  It should make things easier for everyone.   I hope you like it!

And if you're keeping track- I've only got one more month left in Korea... and less than two months until we are officially on the Maverick Expedition.  Insert giddy shrieks of glee here. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Your Daily Gem.

I should really change the title of these posts.  They're no longer daily.  They should be titled, "Your once in a while, whenever Tawny feels like it- Gem".  I'm working on it.  My students are still as high-larious as ever but it's so normal for me now that I am rarely caught off guard.

This post is brought to you by Tommy.  He can't be older than 6.  He's a little rascal, let me tell you.  He came to the school a few weeks ago and brought with him little-to-no grasp of the English language.  He spent the first two weeks just repeating everything that I said.  He'd often get in trouble since the other students would tattle on him every time he spoke Korean.  He would then look at me with angel eyes, point to the accuser and shout, "Teacher!  He speak Korean!".  I think it was the first phrase that he learned in English.  

Well someone must have recently taught the kid the word "panties" (it wasn't me this time) because he was using it as every other word.  Green panties.  Dirty panties.  Elephant panties.  I was just so thrilled to see him speaking English that I couldn't help but smile and laugh. 

He caught me laughing and slowly looked me up and down.  He then carefully, in nearly perfect English said, "Teacher.  BIG panties".

Thank you Tommy.  I'm going to go run now. 

Our Sunday in Pictures.

Sunday was absolutely glorious.  It could have been a little warmer, but the sun was out in full force and we were able to get in a picnic and a soccer game at the beach.  We had delicious food, fun bicycles, and even better friends. 

I wanted to get pictures of the delish western food that we found hidden in the basement of a local department store but I shoved it all down my throat before my hands could get my camera out.  Maybe next time... since there will be a next time.

Oh and P.S.
Master Sim informed us this morning that we passed our 2nd degree black belt tests!  w00t w00t.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Change in the Winds...

Last night the boy and I went out for a midnight powerade run (the stuff's delicious).  We decided that the cherry blossoms were too beautiful and the weather was too nice to go straight back inside.  Instead we walked to the elementary school across the street, played on the playground, rode the seesaws and talked about life underneath the soft moonlight.

We talked about our hopes and dreams for our up and coming adventure.  We discussed what Korea has taught us over the past two years (which is a lot).  We reminisced about what we've accomplished, explored, and discovered.  This is a country where we've spent two thirds of our entire relationship.  We've grown with each other, cried with each other, experienced hardships and triumphs.  We also talked about our future. 

We both agree that we're leaving Korea at the right time.  Neither of us want to leave this fascinating country and that's what's so perfect.  We wouldn't want to leave being bitter, angry, or fed up.  We're going to be departing with heavy hearts and I know we're going to miss the hell out of this place. 

As we were sitting there under the cherry blossoms, listening to the eerie creak of the seesaw, we relinquished our fears about leaving this place that's been our home for the past two years.  We let ourselves fall in love with Korea and now we can move on to new adventures, new places, and even new struggles. 

If Korea has taught me anything, it is that everything changes.  Just like the fleeting cherry blossoms, our lives experience spurts of growth, blooms, and metamorphosis.  I don't know what our future holds once we step on the plane home.  I do know that I've been blessed beyond measure and I'm anxiously anticipating what's coming our way.

Steppin' Out Saturday

 The whole week has been absolutely beautiful.  It's been extremely sunny and yesterday's temperature was in the low 70s.  BAM.  Every day at work I would longingly look out my office window just waiting for the weekend to come.  I had visions of beach parties, sipping lemonade in the sun, and getting my tan on.

I woke up this morning with sunglasses in hand only to find it overcast and 20 degrees cooler than the previous days.  Le boo.  I wasn't about to let the weather's mood swing get to me.  I donned my summer dress, put on some sandals and braved the wind.  This is what I wore.

Dress: Style Lab (Korea)
Knit Sweater: Style Lab (Korea)
Jeans: Random store (Korea)
Wedges: American Eagle (U.S.)
Belt: H&M (U.A.E)

Do not even get me started with how most of my wardrobe comes from Style Lab.  Last week I received a call from my good friend Sarah Willey.  She cautiously informed me that Style Lab was gone.  GONE people!  As in, it was there one day and as vacant as Charlie Sheen's soul the day after.  I tell ya, it's a good thing we're leaving Korea.  I don't know where I would find my clothes if we stayed.  

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wandering Wednesdays.

There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.
-Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

This picture was taken last summer.   The boy and I had just returned home from 14 months in Korea.  We were given 5 weeks to immerse ourselves in everything American, and let me tell you- we did.  It's ironic because it was one of the best vacations I have ever had and I spent it rediscovering my homeland. 

This particular picture was taken on a day trip to Seattle.  Chris finally took me to see the Fremont Troll tucked away under its bridge.  It was the first and only time that I've seen it in person and we quickly snapped a picture before another bus of tourists arrived.  Sometimes it's nice to play tourist in your hometown. 

See you soon Seattle! A little over a month until I'm back in your overcast arms! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Comin' at ya NYC!

It's official!  The boy and I booked our tickets to New York City!  It's the first leg of our journey and we'll be leaving Seattle on June 16th.  It's nice to finally have them purchased so we have an official date to look forward to.  The price wasn't terrible either.  We'll be crossing the country for less than $200.  Nice.

We're attending the NoFF (Nomading Film Festival) on June 18th and then we'll set out for South America soon after.  Thanks for accompanying us on this journey.  We can't wait to get out and experience more of our world!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Our Weekend. In Pictures.

This weekend the boy and I headed to Seoul for our good friend Corey's birthday.  We indulged in Mexican and Thai food, yummy adult beverages, a wee bit of shopping, a picnic and some quality time at the zoo.  I'm exhausted and have hapkido in the morning so I'll probably post only a few pictures tonight and follow up over the next few days.  Hope everyone's weekend was just as special.

P.S.  The weather was beautiful!  I swear it was 70 degrees when we got back into Pohang this evening.  Nice weather makes for a very happy Captain and Clark!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My top websites for cheap(ish) airfare.

Yes yes yes... there are few things that I love more than looking up cheap airfare online (ie. grown adults with the hiccups and kitten videos).  I've recently received a few e-mails and comments asking me what my exact procedure is and what sites I frequent the most.  I figured it would be more beneficial to everyone if I just made a post about it.  Without further ado...

I start out with an open mind.  I don't want to limit myself by specific airlines or even modes of transportation.  I'll take a plane, train, ferry, or even a scooter if it'll take me to a desired location.  That being said, I usually start with airfare since it's the fastest and usually the easiest to find.

I start my search on either or  I prefer Expedia since they always include the taxes and other fees.  I absolutely hate finding airfare that's I think is a steal to then realize it's actually $300 more with taxis included.  Expedia doesn't play with my emotions and I like that about them.  

I use Kayak to find which airlines are the cheapest to a desired location.  I will then go directly that airline's website and search for an actual ticket there.  It'll either be the same price that Kayak quotes or even cheaper.

When it comes to airfare within a desired region I'll usually do a quick google search of which airlines are the cheapest and the most used.  For example, In Europe it's highly recommended to find flights to other European countries on Easy Jet or Ryan Air.  Both companies offer discounted prices all the time.  It's especially great for the boy and I since we'll be able to benefit off of last minute deals thanks to our flexible time line. 

It's very important to try different options.  If you plan on visiting multiple destinations make sure you incorporate that in your search.  Expedia gives you the option of flying to multiple destinations and I often find that flights are a lot cheaper when booking this way.  For example, yesterday I was looking up flights to Aleppo, Syria on our way to Delhi, India (from Europe).  My first search looked like this:

Milan, Italy -> Aleppo, Syria (connection in Cairo, Egypt) = $399.50/person
Aleppo, Syria -> Delhi, India (connection in Doha, Qatar) = $382.20/person

grand total: $781.70

Using the multi-destination option I found these tickets for nearly $100 less:

Milan, Italy -> Aleppo, Syria (connect in Amman, Jordan)
Aleppo, Syria -> Delhi, India (connect in Amman, Jordan)

Total for both flights together : $690.60

I had tried flying out of various cities in Europe.  Milan has been the cheapest thus far but I still have a few more airports that I'm looking into.  I'm telling ya, I could spend hours doing this stuff. 

Also, I had sworn myself against travel agents- mostly because I thoroughly enjoy doing the work on my own and paying someone to do what I love would just be dumb.  However, most travel agents have partnerships with certain airlines and can often get you discounted airfare that you won't find on their websites.  For example, Kangsan Travel based in South Korea will often find me great prices on trips to Thailand and other areas around Southeast Asia.  They also have a neat feature on their website that allows you to look up your own airfare.  Only downside is that you don't get the taxes added on until you check out.

Here's a little cheat sheet that I've made just for you:

Flights to or around Europe:

Flights from Korea:

Flights to or around Southeast Asia:

Flights to India:

Now don't forget, I'm still learning.   There are so many other tricks of the trade and I'll be more than happy to share them with you as soon as they're revealed.  Until then, I hope this helps.  Feel free to offer an advice that you have to share!

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    Your Daily Gem.

    There are an overwhelming amount of young boys at our school with the name Jack.  I know it's a catchy name and it's probably one of the most popular when it comes to movies and folk tales.

    We've got Jack in the Box, Jack and the beanstalk, Jack (and Jill), that nimble Jack with the candlesticks, Jack the ripper, Jack Frost, Jack Dawson from Titanic, Captain Jack Sparrow, Jack Kerouac, Jack Johnson, Jack Black, Jack Bauer, even Jack Russell terriors...

    Jack can also be found in various compound words and phrases.  Jackknife, Jackpot, Jackhammer, Jack-O-Lantern, hiJACK.  The list goes on and on.  It's no wonder our Korean co-teacher had to make up nicknames for the 3 Jacks in her class.

    There's Jack K1 and Jack K2- aptly named because both of them have Kim as their surname.  She also exclaimed, "I call the other one Jack S!"  The teacher's room immediately fell silent and I think someone dropped their chopsticks. 

    We slowly looked at Anna and I carefully asked the obvious question.  "Anna, do you really call him jackass?"

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Wandering Wednesdays.

    Christmas Eve 2009.  Desert of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 

    As you may know, I love looking up cheap airfare to anywhere in the world.  If I'd have to guess, I probably do it at least 6 days out of the week.  I'm an addict.  In the fall of 2009 I had decided, on a whim, to look up airfare to the Middle East.  I started in Yemen since it's a place I've always wanted to go and ended my search with Dubai.  The tickets were ridiculously cheap from Korea and I figured it would be an amazing way to spend our Christmas vacation.

    The boy and I, along with our good friends Sarah Willy and Ed, packed up our travel bags and headed to Dubai on December 23rd.  The picture above was taken on Christmas Eve, the day we arrived.  We spent the day wandering around the Mall of Dubai and craning our necks at the Burj Kalifa.  We then road out into the desert where we spent the night camping out under the stars.  Alone.   It was my best Christmas away from home to date.

    Your Daily Gem.

    Much to my dismay I no longer teach Andy, Isaac and Jenny.  Their absence is a direct correlation to my lack of recent daily gems.  Luckily my co-teacher Claire has been picking up the slack.  She recently gave us this gem.

    While sitting in class. 

    Andy Teacher, I have a great idea.

    ClaireWhat's your idea Andy?

    AndyUmm... I don't have leprosy. 

    He then looks at the other student in class and says, "Don't worry Isaac.  You don't have leprosy either." 

    Sunday, April 3, 2011

    Whoop Whoop!

    Alright everyone.  Good news!  Take a look at this little airfare recipe that I mixed up for ourselves.  This is just after a few hours of searching online.  I'm hoping that I'll be able to find even better deals within the next few weeks.

    Keep in mind that we were quoted $3523 for a RTW ticket that looked like this:

    Seattle, USA -> New York, USA -> Guayaquil, Ecuador -> London, England -> Delhi, India -> Bangkok, Thailand -> Hong Kong -> Seattle, USA

    Thanks to my mad (and compulsive) internet searching skills, I've come up with this bad boy. 

    Seattle, USA -> New York, USA -> Panama City, Panama -> New York, USA -> Paris, France (connection in Reykjavic, Iceland) -> overland to London, England -> Delhi, India -> Bangkok, Thailand -> Vancouver, Canada -> overland back to Seattle, USA

    The grand total for the trip above including taxes and fees comes to $3089.22.  We'll have to find our way to Ecuador, but we've read that there are boats and ships that leave daily to the Galapagos from Panama.  We might be able to weasel our way onto one of those if we're lucky enough.   We'll also have to make our way to England to leave for Delhi, but we figure that we'll be doing a lot of overland travel within Europe and it shouldn't be too challenging. 

    I'll keep you updated.  We still don't know the finer details of where we're going which may end up to purchasing a lot of last minute tickets.  I can only pray the prices remain the same- if not cheaper! 

    Steppin' Out Saturday

    The weekend was beautiful here in Pohang, Korea.  Well, Saturday was actually pretty cold and overcast, but today (Sunday) was in the high 50's and sunny and bright.  So yes, if you haven't already figured it out, this is a "Steppin' Out Sunday" post but I figure since Korea is so far in the future, it'll still be Saturday back in the States.  I think we call it "bi-winning".

    Top: Style Lab, South Korea
    Tank top: Style Lab, South Korea
    Leggings: Forever 21, South Korea
    Shoes you can't see: Gmarket, South Korea
    New Shades: The "Everything Store", South Korea

    Oh and the boy and I have been pretty sick the past week so we've barely left the house.  I was able to finally get around to learning how to fishtail brain my hair and I'm pretty excited. 

    Yes please.

    Don't worry mom and dad, I'll return... at least to visit.

    Saturday, April 2, 2011

    Airfare Wars

    I've been a madwoman lately when it comes to looking up airfare.  To be fair, looking up and booking plane tickets is one of my favorite things to do in the whole wide world.  I like it more than sneezing, unicorns (gasp!), pain au chocolats, and mayyybe even slightly more than Anderson Cooper. maybe.

    When the boy and I decided to start researching airfare for our RTW expedition we immediately jumped to the conclusion that we'd be purchasing an around the world ticket.  We knew that it'd be cheaper and that we'd probably get more bang for our buck.

    I started with Airtreks, Star Alliance, One World, and Sky Team.   I made a sample itinerary and sent it out to each air service to get our starting quotes.   Our sample itinerary looked a little something like this:

    Seattle -> New York -> Guayaquil, Ecuador -> London -> Delhi, India -> Bangkok -> Seattle

    This way, after our stop in Ecuador, we could hit the major hubs around the world and then travel overland from there.  We know that Europe should be relatively easy to traverse using the train system or airlines like Ryanair or Easyjet.   Easy peasy, right?

    Wrong.  Turns out that our cheapest quote (by far) was $3,523/person.  Ouch.  It still wasn't as bad as another quote we received that put our estimated cost at $7,500/person.  My bank account is dry heaving with me just having to type it out.

    Okay, so technically $3,523 isn't too bad.  I mean, you are paying to travel across the entire world but we had expected it to be a little cheaper.  We're also traveling during peak holiday season which I'm sure didn't help us out fiscally.

    While RTW tickets are good in a lot of aspects, we decided to exhaust every other option we had in order to save money.  We've looked into taking a transatlantic cruise from South America to Europe.  We actually found one that left from Panama City and arrived in Spain (with a stop in Curacao, no less) that was only $450/person.  We found a few other inexpensive transatlantic cruises as well.  Only problem is that most of them end in April and won't start up again until September.  We need to depart in June or else we'll just waste our time and money while waiting to leave the States.

    The boy also discovered that some cargo vessels will often take on passengers, much like cruise ships but minus the extreme thrills.  It's an alternate way to travel and would be an amazing story.  Chris sent out a few e-mails and we're waiting to hear back from most of them.  One cargo vessel offered to take us on board but it was for an exorbitant amount of money and we respectfully declined.

    As of now, I think we're going to forgo purchasing an around the world ticket.  It makes more sense for our unique expedition.  We won't even really know where we're headed until we collect the letters in the Galapagos.  We might need to take the Trans Siberian, hitch hike the western coast of Africa, jump on board someones yacht, or maybe even catch a cross country train in China.  I'm actually more excited now that we won't have deadlines or specific times that we'll have to reach a certain country. 

    We're pretty happy with our decision and hope that we'll be able to offer more tips and tricks as we approach our official booking time.

    Here's what our extremely tentative schedule looks like:

    • June 16/17: Depart for NYC
    • June 18: Attend the Nomading Film Festival (NoFF)
    • June 20: Fly out of NYC to Panama or Ecuador (which ever is cheaper)
    • June 21-?: Retrieve letters from the Galapagos and deliver any addressed within Central and South America.
    • July sometime: Fly or sail to Europe.
    From Europe we have an open slate.  It'll be my first time in Europe and I want to see as much of it as possible.  We're hoping that we have a good amount of letters scattered throughout the continent and that we'll be able to find low cost ways to travel.  We'll also attempt to make our way to India at some point, and also end up in Thailand.  We'll make our way home from there.  maybe. 

    There you have it.  Our weeks of research summed up in a wee blog post.  It's going to be an interesting ride and we're thrilled that you're coming along with us!
    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...