Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Thursday


I saw a pair of tiny princess dogs with matching sweaters, pink barretts, and french braided ear hair.

I was showered by snow during soccer practice, and then packed bags for warm weather when I got home.

I ate chicken so spicy my lips tingled for about an hour.

I laughed so hard that I couldn't breathe.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Here is a link for information about the part of the Philippines I will be leaving for in just 2 days:

We leave at 3 am Sat. morning for the Seoul airport. Then we will take a plane with the kids to Manila. Supposedly, it takes about 7 1/2 hours by bus to get to Aurora area where we'll be doing work with Habitat for Humanity. Should be an adventure. Pray that we can serve well, stay safe, get along, and learn a lot. I'm excited :)

A few pics of Aurora I have taken from various online sources:

Things are lookin' good

Today was just plain fun coaching. It was our first official soccer practice with all our girls back (basketball season finally ended). We have a few brand new soccer players and we shifted positions around on a lot of our returning girls. Thus a lot of practice today was spent explaining positions to people and shadow playing. With so many new players, especially in the midfield, I was a bit anxious to see how certain combinations would gel. However, during the second half of practice, while the girls practiced receiving corner kicks, punts, and goal kicks, our offense actually looked like a solid offense! Girls were making solid passes, connecting through balls, playing to space, looking up, taking good shots. Pretty offense was not our style last year, so it was mighty refreshing to see :)

Unfortunately we only have 1 more practice till break. Our girls will have a week of vacation (where all we can do is hope that they run run run). Then we have just TWO more practices until our first game. It's gonna be a bit of a jump start, but today gave me faith that there is a lot of potential in this squad.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Crafting for a Good Cause

This week I had an auction of 34 pairs of earrings that I designed/made to raise money for North Koreans. At the close of the auction this afternoon, I had made a profit of 415,000 won to donate towards North Korean aid! The school's Amnesty chapter (that I help sponsor) has been focusing on the hardships that North Koreans face both at home and abroad. The kids have been working hard to raise awareness and support. Here is just a bit of background for those of you who are presently unaware:

A few startling facts about North Koreans in North Korea:
*According to the World Food Programme, there are about 23 million people living in North Korea and many of them suffer from malnutrition. Approximately 37% of children currently suffer from stunted growth, a statistic that reveals the overwhelming need for these kids to obtain basic nutrients.
*North Korea ranked last in the Southeast Asian region with regards to economic freedom in 2008.
*Floods in 2007 sparked a large food shortage that has contributed to widespread hunger and malnutrition.
*The GDP per capita is $1,800 (meaning that people live off less than $5/day). The average person in South Korea makes 15 times as much money. The average American makes 27 times that. (CIA factbook, stats from 2008)
*According to reports from people who have escaped North Korea: people are imprisoned/executed without fair trials, there is a huge shortage of resources, government forces people to perform large amounts of "volunteer" work, people are harshly punished if they try to escape, and communication is highly censored. There is no room to criticize the government in any way.

Life for the North Korean Refugee:
Life is not much easier for North Koreans who manage to escape (legally or otherwise). Most North Koreans escape along the Chinese border. While the Chinese government has publicly stated that they do not return refugees to North Korean government, their practices have not always lined up with their words. Most refugees spend years trying to get their families out of China. By the time families make it to South Korea (a common final destination), they are poor, malnourished, and suffering from extreme culture shock. They often face severe discrimination in South Korea and have difficulty getting jobs. Many will take large risks to send funds back to their families. I had the privilege of meeting a woman and her twin daughters a few weeks ago who escaped from North Korea. Her young children were having a very difficult time adjusting because they struggled to speak any language fluently (in their 6 years of life, they have been exposed to North and South Korean dialects, Mandarin, and Cantonese). The girls also lacked the education that most kids their age have received.

Anyhow, I'll get off my soapbox. I just want to do my part and help raise awareness. Here are a few pics of the earrings I made:

If you want to donate, here are a few places that you could go to contribute:
World Food Programme

LINK North Korean Crisis (helps raise awareness)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Don't hate me for saying this...

5 day work weeks feel really long when you haven't had them for quite awhile. It's like getting back in shape (which I am also doing at the moment). You know the process is good for you, but it is nonetheless painful. Evidence: sore muscles, 3 cups of coffee each morning, confusion regarding school vs. home things (ex: Student: "Did you get my homework?" Me: "Well when I checked on facebook, I mean Edline, and it wasn't uploaded yet.") and an inability to answer questions in a logical fashion before 8 am or after 10 pm. Let's be honest, I've never really been good at answering questions before 8 am, but still!

As I build up to a routine and a comfortable level of fitness, I can sense that life is about to go into overdrive. Yesterday I ran a conditioning pre-season practice for the soccer girls. Tryouts officially start on Monday and I am preparing myself for the fact that my free time is about to disappear completely. I also just joined a Beth Moore Bible study this week that requires me to do homework 5 times between sessions. I already have an overwhelming pile of papers to grade. I leave the country 4 more times in the next 3 months. I'm trying to brace myself for impending chaos. At least I know I thrive in chaos :)