Monday, September 15, 2014
As you may know, I've been living in South Korea for the past year and a half, but due to some family issues we'll be moving back to the US at the end of the semester. It was a big shock for me at first; I was starting to get really settled here and was looking into various programs, etc. to learn more about the language/culture and further my education here, but I realized that I need to start listening to my husband - he's not happy here so I'm going to trust him and in God's perfect timing and move on.
That means several things:
1. Since I was planning on spending another 1-2 years here I have to squeeze in as many small trips and cultural activities as I can in the 4-5 months. I signed up for more intensive Korean lessons at Yonsei University (one of the top 3 unis in Korea) and am planning out some fall trips for us. Nothing too major, but there are a few places I haven't seen yet, and I'm going to have to make some trips to see friends around the country. Also praying about a trip to the Japanese city we used to live in, maybe right before we leave Korea.
2. I was praying about applying for an Ed.D or Ph.D. program in educational leadership and policy analysis after my additional 1-2 years in Korea, but since everything happened I've been scrambling to apply to at least one program at my former university. Pray that it goes well; the passion is there and I'd love to study at my university again, I just hope the lack of preparation doesn't show too much.
3. Getting in as much work out time as possible now. South Korea is such a safe country. As a woman I can walk or jog alone any time, anywhere day or night and feel safe. My hometown in Missouri is pretty safe but there's only a few nearby places I'd be ok going alone. So, I've set an ambitious goal of losing 2 pounds a week (with some leeway in case I only lose 1 pound/week, etc.) for a goal of 35 pounds of weight loss. Just typing that number scares me but now that I'm exercising regularly instead of sporadically, jogging instead of walking, and fitting in strength training, if I keep it up the fat will have nowhere to go!
4. Making a game plan for coming back to the States. Honestly, I love America. There really is no place like home. I cry every time I leave, and this time I'll be going back to stay! (At least until God calls me abroad again) I'm excited to be near family and friends, but I am worried about falling into bad habits again. I'm hoping that after the first 35 pounds of weight loss in Korea, (let's call it phase 1) I can start phase 2 in the States and lose another 20 pounds. To make sure I'll succeed I'm going to budge for a home gym, and take time to learn how to cook better meals using Spark Recipes. (So excited to have a full kitchen again!) Having a car or two it'll be so tempting to drive onto the boulevard and grab a quick bite to eat, but I need to make sure that's only a once-in-a-while treat and not a daily habit.
Pray that I make this last semester the best semester, and for the Ph.D. application to go well. Bless you!
Saturday, February 15, 2014
I'm heading back to the US for a short visit so I'll only get to visit Spark People sporadically. This month has been busy with preparations for this trip, with me and my hubby's vacation in Japan, and preparing for the new school year (starts in March). While I'm in the US I'm going to have some job interviews; I'm looking to either move back to the US or to another East Asian country so as always I could use some prayers.
Can't wait to catch up with family and friends back home!
Sunday, January 19, 2014
This winter break I opted not to go home (to the USA) after the holidays but to stay in Seoul to get back on the road to health. It was working well while losing weight but when my weight started to fluctuate it was a bit of a downer. Did I give up seeing my family to only lose X much? I soon shook myself of that negative way of thinking, and started asking different questions:
"Well I can tell I'm not my 20 year old self anymore and this weight isn't going to come off as easy. If I'm not going to put my emphasis on how quickly I lose the weight, then what should I emphasize? How can I make getting there half the fun?"
Before the winter break began one of my goals was to walk all the way from my house to the Han River, the huge river that runs through the middle of Seoul, which is about 8 miles from my apartment, so I decided...
"Why not make more goals like these? I'm not sure how much longer I'll live in this country, and I definitely want to see as much of it as possible, so why not get healthy while exploring Seoul?"
After a bit of Googling I found out:
There are 42 mountains in Seoul! - I've only climbed one small one near my house. It doesn't matter if I make it to the top, just exploring the area would be more than enough! Koreans are REALLY into hiking like you wouldn't believe - why not get a glimpse of this part of the culture and see some beautiful scenery?!
There are miles worth of rivers and streams! - On top of that, each river/stream has walking and biking trails, free exercise equipment every so many miles, in addition to fields for just about every sport imaginable. I've walked/jogged around a fair amount of these, but there's so much more!
There are hundreds of parks in Seoul, ranging from small playgrounds to famous ones like the Olympic Park (where the 1988 Olympics was held), Children's Grand Park, and Yangje's Citizens Forest. - Each can teach me a bit about the culture, why not make an effort to walk or jog around some of them?!
There are 38 universities in Seoul! - Each campus has it's own unique feel, and is home to beautiful architecture, parks, and other places of interest. Higher education is very important in South Korea, why not walk around a few and explore this aspect of the culture?!
There are also lots of outdoor attractions, like Seoul Fortress, which stretches over 11 miles, and some of the hanok (traditional Korean house) areas. I've been around a few places like this, but again, I've only scratched the surface! Why not find and explore more?!
In addition there are 25 districts of Seoul! From my district, Nowon, to Gangnam, to Yongsan, where the big US military base is located (I've been privileged to get on base twice, God bless our soldiers!) there are a lot of areas I haven't even taken the subway through - why not make sure I walk around each of them? Each district has it's own attractions, like the French area of Seoul my husband and I walked around the other day. Why not visit more places like this?!
I'm pretty psyched now!
Then I started to think, well this isn't fair. What if someone reading this thinks, "Well that's fine for you but I'm from [insert city, state] and don't have access to so many places. I started looking more into my hometown, Jefferson City, Missouri (population 40,000) and realized that there are so many parks, natural places, streets, and areas I haven't really explored. Maybe I drove through them, but there's so much more you notice when you walk, jog or bike your way through a given area. The next time I go home I'm going to have to jog down the whole Greenway Trail, take a stroll around Binder Lake (haven't been there since I was a kid), take the new bike route across the Missouri River that connects to the KATY trail (240 mile trail that goes through a good part of Missouri), and maybe even one day bike to a different city via the trail. There are so many other cities, towns, State parks, and other areas around Mid-MO I haven't seen. Getting excited to get back home and get on it!
I'll be sporadically posting pictures of the places I go, as well as cultural commentary on my blog www.jeanneabeck.wordpress.com. Feel free to check it out!
Sunday, January 12, 2014
A few pros and cons of doing the Daniel Plan abroad:
The biggest plus is that most of the foods I miss are 6,000+ miles away from me, and not having a car means that even if my husband and I want to go eat something less than healthy we have to walk, take the subway, and walk some more, then turn around and do the same to go home. I lost over 10 pounds my first semester in Korea just from these two things!
What's also great about South Korea foodwise, is that a traditional meal (usually some kind of beef, pork or seafood dish) is served with anywhere from 3-7+ side dishes, which mostly consist of kimchi and vegetables, and for no extra charge! It's great going out to lunch with my husband and seeing that most everything in front of me is Daniel Fast friendly.
On the downside, I can't always read what's on labels, and can't always ask (because of language) what's in food, but if I exercise common sense I do pretty well. Also most recipes in the Daniel Plan are impossible for me to do. I only have a range and a rice cooker. Ovens aren't common; they look like huge microwaves but since I'm not sure how long I'll stay in South Korea I don't want to invest the money in it.
Another downside is that I'm in Seoul, where there are tons of fastfood joints. Just recently a Dunkin Donuts opened up next to my apartment and I was like, "You're kidding me. I have to walk past THAT every day!!!" My biggest temptation, Baskin Robbins, is only a few doors down from that! Gotta stay strong!
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