Two Years Ago

Pits. (1.75 years ago. 1 day before engagement.)

Two years ago…

Your friend Kevin leaned over and shouted above the music, “It’s his birthday today, y’know!” You hadn’t told anyone.

Two years ago…

You were just the guitarist who was magically not a jerk like I assumed you would be. (In my defense…guitarists.)

Two years ago…

The other band members were having such a good time drinking, and the crowd was so sparse we were an hour late to start our set.


Two years ago…

You were wearing your giant khaki shorts and a Tshirt. When you started talking it was easy to recognize Jesus in you. What I didn’t recognize that night, I’ve been abundantly blessed to see unfold nearly every day since.


Two years ago you were in my phone as Friend Music Nate.  We swapped testimonies and talked about the Church and the Word until the guys were ready to play.

Two years ago we sang ‘Happy birthday to you’ as a surprise after the second set. You smiled and shook your head because the attention was silly to you and a little embarrassing.


Two years ago I went home alone, grateful for a fun night and for finding a new brother in Christ right under my nose.

Two years ago your birthday gave me the best gift of my life.

Happy 31st, Friend Music Nate.


Ten Things Tuesday #8: the Awkward Edition

I’m not promising ten this week, okay? (It’s not really a question! ha!)

  1. Let’s start out with the fact that Abbey just made me take a mental trip down Memory Lane, with a left turn onto Awkward Interactions with Dudes Boulevard (which is actually a cul-de-sac). That would probably produce ten things all on its own…There was the Mormon with the peaches in a Tulsa Wal-mart, the boy whose (candy) heart I literally crushed in junior high, the rough dozen of Korean cab drivers…
  2. Someday I will tell you about the love letters I got from a Korean Gov’t official whom I taught briefly while at my first job in Korea. Today is not that day (but it included references to my ‘beautiful neck and pace.’)
  3. When I was in 8th grade at my tiny church-run private school, we had a German class because 1 high schooler wanted to actually learn German and a bunch of 8th graders chose between that and calligraphy. I chose German because I’M COOL and no, actually it was because I thought it was the right decision because I’d actually be learning something instead of mucking about with markers! (I was a real joy to be around. Real joy.) It was an audio tape class. We made up our own vocab lists every week and had to memorize various Scriptures in German. I retained nothing except for John 14.6. The point is, as an 8th grader I fully believed there was a right and wrong  choice between German and calligraphy. LESS FUN means RIGHT. And there you have youthful Colleen’s understanding of Life, summed up.
  4. When I was a particularly beefy high schooler and my Dad was the principal and high school teacher, he once compared me to Samson in a school chapel service. He meant it as a compliment to my physical prowess.
  5. This is what I looked like in high school.
    History Day
    History Day Regionals, 2004

    My mom made this dress and it was awesome, despite the p-o’d expression that I wore from approx. 11-17.

  6. Today a lady got up on the bus and I was closest to her seat so, like you do, I did the requisite pause and then swooped in for it. Her seatmate, a fellow-60 something-ajumma, said something to me in Korean and did not move her hand. So naturally I sat on her hand for a good 30 seconds until I realized her seatmate had just hopped up to the front of the bus to ask the driver a question. And she was coming back. I got up. Apologized. The stares burn me still.
  7. Seated in a booth of a restaurant for a post-Bible-study lunch with a bunch of 30+ Korean ladies, all of whom have known Nate longer than I have, without  Nate, one of them told me she had a question. “Go ahead!” I chirped. “Is the sex good?” …..
  8. Once in college I saw a person approaching with whom I did not wish to speak and I pretended to be on the phone and it rang just as they were in the Greeting Zone.
  9. Okay more than once.
  10. Once during a high school chapel service one of the kindergartners came running over asking to be picked up, tugging on my uniform kilt. Which he did not release when I obliged. And everyone saw my underwear. And this was during my ‘I do not smile unless I’m ruining someone with sarcasm’ phase, so TRIPLE DAMAGE.

You guys with this topic I just SAILED through to ten things. I could keep going but THE END.

Hangouts in Daegu

Last week Nate and I had an awesome opportunity to show some friends around Daegu!

For me they were brand new and for Nate they were 50% new.

Nate went to high school with Soonja and Soonja married Dane and Nate married me! Soonja and Dane were traveling Korea (and taking loads of photos) for a weekish and Nate took some time off of work to show them around. I can’t take off work during the semester but my evenings were free, so I managed to meet up with them downtown for some fun evenings.

The first night was a Tuesday, and I took no pictures because I was too busy eating 감자탕 (gamjatang) which, if you don’t know, is pork spine stew with dark greens and potatoes. Aka Amazing. Wednesday night we went for 찜닭 (jjimdak) which, if you don’t know, is steamed chicken with glass noodles, carrots, potatoes, hot peppers, and a brown sauce that has the addictive properties of illegal drugs. Again, no pictures. Thursday night was a Japanese restaurant that is on my top 5 meals ever in my life. We got there right when it opened and the owner/chef was so kind. He brought us out some free dishes, including a skewered pig skin that was slightly like bacon, but we just called it Candy Pig. Sweet and salty and chewy and smoky and moist and…I drooled on my laptop. And I took no pictures.

Then: Waffles.

029 030

All the glory.

We closed it out at Old Blue. Old Blue is a jazz bar and I had a few gigs there back when I was still doing the live music in Daegu. It’s such a cozy classy place and it was fun to be back.


In the mornings and afternoons Nate took them up Apsan Mountain and exploring Seomun Market, and we all together hit up the stationery stores and trolled the underground shops for Konglish Tshirts.

hazy days at Apsan!
hazy days at Apsan!

There were so many good ones but Nate and I came away with these:

we wear these in public
we wear these in public

Nate’s got the yellow-Freud-rainbow-square and I have taken the other slogan as my new motto. It’s got…something.

Our little mid-week break with Soonja and Dane was especially great since Nate and I have become Old Married People who NEVER stay out late, and since Nate works evenings, are NEVER downtown on weeknights. We got to take them to all of our favorite places and discover some new stuff too, PLUS we did noraebang (Korean karaoke). Which was no small thing, since S&D are both trained, super-pro musicians and Nate and I were coming off of bronchitis.  We had a blast anyway. And…duh…closed out the night with ‘Don’t Stop Believing.’ Soonja and Dane gave us the chance to go out, explore, eat, and play tourist in the city that’s been our home for 4-5 years. Thanks guys 🙂

We tried so hard to get a group picture…and this was the best one. #yikes

028 037

Ten Things Tuesday #7

  1. Old News Alert: I cut my hair. I can’t figure out how to make my instagram embed properly here, so if you haven’t seen it, click!
  2. It’s pouring rain but I made it back from the coffeeshop before the rain started! And now I’m safe indoors without pants listening to the first Big Spring Rain. Best!
  3. Somehow midterms week is nearly here already!!! Bring on the grading. And the student excuses. Hundreds of relatives will die, thousands of doctor’s signatures will be misappropriated. Jk. but really.
  4. This blog should be called ‘The Pagaards are Coughing’ because we get sick so much. The ACV let us down big, y’all. Bronchitis big. The midnight coughing spasms have mostly gone away and I taught classes today without whispering, squeaking, or squawking, for the first time in about two weeks.
  5. Last week we had the privilege of showing some out-of-town friends around our favorite Daegu spots. I’m gonna blog all about that later this week but: waffles, jazz bar, pig candy.
  6. (When I say ‘I’m gonna blog about that later this week’…on a scale from 1 to nope, how doubtful is it that I actually deliver on that?)
  7. I have a little ritual with my daily Bloglovin check, wherein I scroll through the feed and click open every post I want to read all at once before I move on to start reading them all, which means I normally end up with a dozen open tabs all at once. Actually that’s just how I Internet in general and it makes Nate twitch.
  8. THE BEST thing that ever happens when I check Bloglovin is:
    when Kara posts True stories. They make me laugh like nothing else. They make Nate laugh like nothing else. Kara’s writing is beautiful anyway, and when she’s reporting the little moments of life with a sweet, hilarious little lady…it doesn’t get better than that. I can’t wait til Evan starts talking…
  9. Does anyone have music recommendations? Since Spring is being all boisterous and bloomy, I’m feeling the itch for new tunes. I’m surviving on old standby playlists, but it’s hard to keep up from over here.
  10. And I took a picture of the cherry tree at work today:

    it's prettier than this makes it out to be.
    it’s prettier than this makes it out to be.

Spring Sprang Sprung

The weather can’t make up it’s mind. Two weeks ago we were hitting the low 70s–and last week I wore a cardigan downtown and shivered so hard I gave myself a headache.

But I should be excused for my precipitate joy, because the cherry blossoms came to town, and that means Spring.

Nate and I went walking one evening back in March, when the blossoms were just thinking about making an appearance:

012066 091The sun set at just the right time. The cherry blossoms come out before the leaves do, so all the rest of the trees, except for the evergreens, are still bare.

And Nate took his camera along on a run a week or two ago:

007 009The forsythia are starting up…my favorite.

And last week Nate was showing some friends around the city and snapped this:


This week we’ve had rain with a side of chill, and the blossoms are all fallen. But the azaleas are starting in, and at work there’s one tree, a late bloomer, that I’ve been waiting out. I plan on snapping it tomorrow morning.

The best things about cherry blossoms: how delicate the blossoms are. How when the lightest wind blows by you’re caught up in a flurry of snowing petals. How they accumulate on the streets and sidewalks and gutters and cover over the usual dirt and plastic and cigarette butts. In high school English, when we learned that the cherry blossom inspired some of the most beloved haiku, I used to wonder what made them so special. I don’t wonder anymore. Winter is ugly here; frozen and gnarled and not enough snow to compensate. The cherry blossoms are the first things out, the first hints that the warmer weather is coming, like the crocuses back home. It’s the mystical magical pre-spring, before the forsythia and dandelions bring the noisy sunburst joy.

“What a strange thing!
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms.”
(Kobayashi Issa)

By Wednesday the temperatures will be back up to 70. Hooray!