Sunday, February 28, 2010


This past weekend, we decided to take one of these recreational trips that are offered to the military on base. For a small fee, you pretty much get transportation and entrance fees covered, so we decided it would be a great opportunity to sign up for the DMZ trip. For those that aren't military, and up to date on the history between the North and South, this brief description is for you... for those that know what I'm talking about, head to the bottom of the post so you can check out all the photos!

After the outbreak of the Korean War, during the ceasefire in 1953, the DMZ was created as each side agreed in the armistice to move their troops back 2,000 m from the front line, creating this "zone" about 2.5 miles wide. The DMZ is a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula and acts as a "buffer" zone to North and South Korea (38th parallel). It's 155 miles long, and is the most heavily militarized border in the world. The Military Demarcation Line (MDL) goes down the center of the DMZ and indicates exactly where the front was when the agreement was signed. Since the armistice agreement was never followed by a peace treaty, the two Koreas are still technically at war.
Our first stop was at Imjingak Resort Park. It's located 7km to the south of the MDL
and is a unification and security tourist spot where people hang "wishes" (ribbons) for
unification, and remember the pain of the divided land. There is also a 21 ton bell of peace
which was made with the desire for peace, and the "Bridge of Freedom", which was named when
12,773 Korean prisoners of war returned from North Korea in 1953 and crossed over that bridge.

{the 21 ton bell}

{the wishes on ribbons for unification}

Our next stop was at Mt. Odu Observation Point. It is an observatory located at the northern edge of South Korea, where you can observe the life of North Korea. All through telescopes, and probably a clear day (which we didn't really have), you're supposed to be able to see Odu Mountain in Gaeseong, the statue of Kim Il-Seong, Gijeong-dong, the outskirts of Gaeseong City, a train tunnel (Jangdan Station), and Geumamgol (collective farm)... Jason and I just saw LOTS of land, with some workers on it, and a bunch of concrete buildings... that's about it!

{a look into North Korea}

After a delicious Korean lunch, we headed for a quick stop to Dora Mountain Station. It's the northernmost end of South Korea (700m away from the southernmost tip of the DMZ). There is a guidepost at Dora Mountain Station that indicates that there are 105 km to Pyeongyang (north) and 56 km to Seoul (south) which is seen as hope and expectation that Korea will not be divided forever.

{heading north or south?!}

{I made Jason pose as well}

{I had to get a photo on the train tracks heading North}

The Joint Security Area (JSA) was where we headed next. This was the part that Jason had been waiting for ALL day. He enjoyed the rest, but this was definitely the highlight of this trip for him. Panmunjeom is only 800m in diameter, and is designated as the JSA between the U.N. and North Korea (it is outside administrative control of South and North Korea). The U.N. and North Korea sides each operate 6 guard posts and 35 security guards reside inside. Security guards are forbidden to cross over to the opposing side's area... so we only saw North Korean soldiers in the distance (they spied on us with their binoculars).

{we were all smiley, even though it was supposed to be a serious/intimidating place}

{defending, us, the Americans that are here to visit}

{a closer look at the N. Korean soldier... can you see him?}

{Jason took a neat picture... a North Korean soldier in the back, and South Korean up front}

In the JSA, the Military Armistice Commission (MAC) holds secretary's meetings, joint duty officer's meetings, and general meetings for observation of the Armistice Agreement since it's signing. We were able to go inside the building designated for these meetings. Felt pretty honored.

{South Korean soldier-he was HUGE, and supposedly they have to fit certain qualifications}

On the way out, we were able to sneak a peak at the "Bridge of No Return"- appropriately named. If you go down it, you won't come back... half the bridge belongs to the south, and the other to the north.

{the "Bridge of No Return- you can see some white dogs that were electrocuted on the fence}

Our last stop on the trip, was at the 3rd Infiltration Tunnel. Only 44 km from Seoul, the third tunnel was discovered in 1978. Almost identical in structure to the other tunnels, it penetrates 435m south of the MDL at a point 4 km south of Panmunjeom, running through bedrock at a depth of about 73m below ground. Capable of moving a full devision (plus their weapons) per hour, it was evidently designed for a surprise attack on Seoul. The most recent tunnel (#4) was found in 1990... so we know they haven't given up on that form of attack. We unfortunately were not allowed to take pictures of the tunnel. I'm sure that if you googled it, you'd be able to find an image. We did however come across this wonderful sign, as we were walking around the area.

{take a close look-hopefully you can read it, if not, it says, "mine" inside a caution sign}

Overall, it was a phenomenal trip... very informative and loved seeing the history. I recommend it to any that have never been and are stationed here at Osan, and I know that any visitor that comes, will have to experience this tour as well.
Pin It!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Goodnight Moon...

I made a "cuddly" quilt recently, and since the little guy received it in the mail already, I can finally reveal it to you on this blog! I worked away at this while I waited and waited for my household goods to arrive. Thankfully, I packed some fabric and a sewing machine in a separate shipment that made it here to Korea before we even arrived. I tried something new with this blanket, I appliqued the name of the owner on the front corner. I think it turned out pretty well. This blanket now belong to an adorable little fella, Caleb.

With this fun fabric:

I created this "cuddly" quilt:

Pin It!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Smooth Move...

Today, February 22, 2009, we received all of our "stuff"... we were filled with so much joy as our boxes came in, one after the other, through the door. Even Runyan, our cat, was wondering which box had all of his toys in it?! They had a steady rhythm of boxes pouring in, from about 8-11 am, when all of a sudden, they got to the final crate, which had our HUGE German hutch in it. We were wondering for a long time, how they were going to fit this thing in our apartment? They tried for over an hour, but it kept getting stuck in the same spot... in the entryway hallway's turn to the living room. At that point, we pretty much had it in our heads that we were not going to be able to have this lovely piece of furniture anymore, that it was nice while it lasted, and that it would have to depart from us and either go into storage, or be sold to someone else. When all of a sudden, the "head" guy (and by "head" guy, I mean the guy who spoke the best English) came over to us, and said that after lunch, he'd use a "lift" to get it up to us, and bring it in through the balcony. Many thoughts were flying through our head, as well as images of it falling off the tiny lift, but sure enough, it made it! It also fits PERFECTLY, as if this one wall was created JUST for this special piece of furniture. Just crazy... but we've opened every box, and have started the crazy amounts of organizing and placing of the items, and kudos to "Hartman" our Dutch movers, NOTHING was broken. Overall, it was a successful move-in. I'll post pictures soon, of all the rooms and how everything is starting to come together and feel like home.

{Runyan sniffing around for his toys}

{it was a step by step process, and I tried to document it, as well as I could}

{having fun with the boxes}
Pin It!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The perfect book ends... in my book.

Happy 6th Birthday Joshua!!!

Just wanted to wish the most adorable 6 year old boy that I know, my nephew, a Happy Birthday!! 6 years ago, you were your mommy's first little blessing, and I was so excited to be an Aunt (Tante) for the first time... and I can't believe how these years have flown by. And for those that haven't heard, his littlest sister (my sister's 5th child) was born today as well. So, welcome into this world, sweet little Ruth Anne (8 lbs. 9 oz. and 20.5 inches long), I can't wait to meet you and kiss those cheeks!

Christina and her husband have been blessed with 5 wonderful children... will this be the last, we're all not sure... but if it is, wouldn't that just be an awesome set of book ends?
Pin It!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jumping For Joy...

"What could be so important that you need my undivided attention Jason?"- me

"Well, Karen, our household goods are being delivered to us on Monday." - Jason

There is nothing greater than hearing the words, "our household goods are being delivered..." I don't consider myself a materialistic person, in the least bit, but I have missed my "stuff" like crazy. This means that our belongings actually made it to Korea!!! Now, I have no idea if they are in one piece or not, but I don't care. I know, I say that now, and then when I find one my heirlooms broken, I'll have to edit this post... but for right now, I'm jumping for joy. I can finally get our home in order, I can finally cook some decent meals that don't involve Ramen Noodles, I finally will have my clothes and can stop recycling the same outfits that I've been wearing since November (2009), I can create and be artsy fartsy with all my craft stuff, and LASTLY that means that we'll have a "home" ready for our precious little child(ren) when the time comes. Will you jump for joy for me?
Pin It!

Our Valentine's Day...

Our Valentine's Day was pretty low key... wasn't feeling the greatest (I just love being a woman-if you get my drift!)... but it was filled with a yummy vanilla latte and a NY Cheesecake muffin from my new favorite coffee house in downtown Songtan. I highly recommend "From In" to all that have never been. Not only are the prices reasonable, but I even had my own personal space heater by my butt. I'll post some pictures of the place soon, because it's just so quaint and I haven't made my weekly visit.

Pin It!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day...

Dearest Jason,
You are my sweet and loving husband and also my biggest blog fan... So this blog is dedicated to telling you this Valentine's Day that you are and will be forever the love of MY life!!

your life... I mean wife, Karen
Pin It!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Everybody wants to be loved...

In honor of it being Friday and the start of the Valentine's Day weekend, I just wanted to share some lyrics of a dear song that I enjoy listening to "oh so much"! Happy Friday everyone and "just let the love love love begin..."
{these pictures were taken in Germany, at the edge of the Rhein River}

Pin It!

I Got Mail... and News to share!

Today when I went to the mailbox, there were 3 package slips waiting for me. I was starting to get a bit anxious because before we left stateside, we sent 2 boxes with belongings that wouldn't fit in our suitcases... 5 weeks later, they arrived! The third package was some books I ordered off of Barnes and Noble's website, and I'm so excited to "dig" right into them. They really caught my attention, because they're written by one of my favorite fabric designers, Amy Butler, and the projects look awesome. I can't wait to grab some fabric now and just start sewing!
So, you're probably wondering why some child-less lady would purchase a book full of projects for "little ones"... and that's where my NEWS comes in. For awhile now, Jason and I have felt led to be parents, and after doing some research, and praying A LOT about it, we feel like the Lord is telling us to adopt! So, this past weekend we took the "plunge" and started the process through an organization called Christian World Adoption (CWA), and we couldn't be more excited. We sent our first package of paperwork away this morning, which pretty much began this whole process... but there's still a ton to do ahead of us. We would love to have your advice/guidance and prayers during this journey... God is good, and we know He will provide!
Pin It!

Let it snow...

I woke up this morning, early, and wondered why it was so bright outside...

The weather man predicted that we would have rain all week, but we got some snow last night. Now, it's not much compared to the inches/feet of snow that are being dumped on our families in Pennsylvania and Maryland, but I'm happy to have a little bit of it. The rain came back this evening, and it's already washing away... but it was nice while it lasted!
Pin It!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

A month has come and gone...

Can you believe it... it has been one glorious month in S. Korea! Time flies while you're having fun, and I suppose that's what seems to be happening over here; although we don't want to say that we're having too much fun because our families stateside might not think that we miss them. A month ago, we got off the plane with dazed/sleepless eyes and had no idea what to make of this place... we've gotten over our jet lag, explored a bit, and unfortunately are still not sure of what to make of this place. Every time that we think we have it "sort of" figured out, it stumps us with something else. You're probably wondering what I'm talking about, but maybe I can give you a few examples:
  • When you walk downtown, you have your pick of places to eat... and not only Korean places. There's Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Mexican, Italian, Eastern European, etc. In fact, not until last week did we actually dine at an authentic Korean restaurant. Can you believe that? The Italian food we had was some of the best food I've ever eaten, and I've eaten Italian food in Italy!
  • We thought that when we left Europe that we would never see a "cafe" again... or experience the deliciousness of the German pastries and Dutch koffee verkeerds (those were my favorite, ultimately a latte). After a week of being here, we located all the bakeries and coffee houses and they matched up to some of our favorite places in Europe.
  • People told us this was the land of the purses, tailor-made suits and dresses, mink blankets, etc... and you don't realize until you go "downtown" that they weren't kidding. These stores are EVERYWHERE and just when you think you've seen all the purses in one store, they shuffle you over to a "hidden" door that leads down to the basement/dungeon where there is a whole new selection of purses to look at. Oh, and if you're not satisfied with any of those purses, they shuffle you through another "hidden" secret passage way to a vault that has more purses! It's a shame that I'm not a "purse person", but it's probably better for Jason's wallet.
What I have learned before, but I continue to forget and then relearn is that I should never go into a new situation with expectations. Maybe then this place wouldn't "stump" me so much, and I can just ENJOY!

I've been blessed enormously with some great Christian ladies to befriend and learn from, and we have settled into an awesome church with amazing folks. Jason doesn't fly here, so he's home every night... he's busy working a lot, but he's home. There honestly is no reason for me to complain (at this moment) so I will leave you with this...

Before we moved, some dear friends of ours (the Blacks) took us out for some dinner at a Asian fusion restaurant in downtown Geilenkirchen and at the end of the meal we were given fortune cookies. My fortune couldn't have been more accurate!
Pin It!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Take a walk with me...

I took a walk in downtown Songtan today, with my camera, and this is what I saw:
This is the surrounding area of my new "home" and I'm LOVING it. It's so different than anything I'm used to... God is certainly stretching my comfort levels, and for some reason I'm okay with it! I hope you enjoy as much as I am.

Pin It!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Do you know the Muffin Man?

"Oh, do you know the muffin man, the muffin man, the muffin man... Oh, do you know the muffin man who lives in Drury Lane?"

I certainly do not know the muffin man, otherwise I would have had him bake me some muffins for my PWOC Bible study tomorrow. First off, I'm not a great baker... and Secondly, it's so hard to bake ANYTHING when you have limited utensils/supplies/resources (household goods are still on a ship in the middle of some ocean and aren't expected to show up until March-ish). However, I came across a recipe from that sounded amazing... and boy did these muffins turn out great! I can't wait to share them tomorrow with the ladies.
P.S. Happy February!!

Pin It!