Ten Things Tuesday: Creepin thru Bavaria

This week’s edition of the newly revived Ten Things Tuesday is dedicated to the fact that Nathan does not pay attention when I have a camera.

of course it is hard to pay attention when you’re asleep.

  1. Flight out of Korea to Russia.  Many emotions make a man sleepy.
  2. Admiring St. Michael’s in Munich, early on a Sunday morning.
  3. Peering out of our window in Hallstatt, Austria.
    IMG_0457(it looks like he’s pointing at me but he’s just mid-scroll on the Kindle.)
  4. Winding, green-arched, village streets are SO done, you guys.
  5. Sleepy and beardy in Southern Germany.
  6. Duesseldorf trams don’t make you sleepy, just pensive. (but I think he was going for thoughtful)
  7. Daydreaming at a Salzburg bus stop.
  8. Amsterdam, whatever, blah blah blah.
  9. I don’t sleep well in trains or planes or buses. Which is good because I am not this cute.
  10. I mean come ON.
    IMG_1205 - Copy

I hope I never stop sniping pictures of him. I hope he never stops falling asleep on my shoulder.
And he’s not too bad awake, either.

Goryeong: Sunday, May 24

Korea in the spring…slays me.


Photos of hikes and leafy jaunts Nate and I have taken over the past two months pile up in my folders, but for weeks nothing has really reached out and grabbed me. Nothing has given me that insistent nudge: share me. Nothing has stirred me the way that Korea springtime usually does. Who knows why. But though Spring has been around for a few months now, and is starting the uphill climb to summer, I’m only now catching up with it.

Last weekend one of our favorite families in the whole world invited us for an afternoon in the countryside. Jeong Hui and I met because she mistook me for her son’s new English teacher nearly two years ago, just after I moved to Gyeongsan. Our conversation led me and Nate to the Bible study that’s been our Sunday evening staple ever since, at a small, homey church literally two minutes from our door. She and her family are one of my favorite experiences of real, Gospel community. She and her husband Deok Si have 3 kids: Hana, the oldest, Han Byeol, who is the middle child and does nothing that anyone else is doing and thus is in zero pictures (girl, I get it. do you.), and Han Bit, who is crazy and my favorite person.

Jeong Hui invited us to visit her parents’ home last Sunday afternoon to take a half-day trip. Our awkward moment: we bought a watermelon as a hostess gift because that’s how you do in Korea, and did it without consulting Jeong Hui because we assumed that she’d insist we bring nothing, and sure enough, when we toted the monster melon out to the minivan, Jeong Hui burst out laughing and shaking her head. “No, we insist!” we gaily caroled, and then Jeong Hui said,

“My parents have a watermelon farm…”

Hysterical laughter is a great way to start a road trip.

The afternoon with her family was that proprietary blend of serenity and ease with notes of desperate language barrier awkwardness. Lots of bowing, lots of smiling. After nearly 4 years, it takes on its own rhythm and all I have to do is remember not to fight it.

We drove down to the river nearby with its winding paths and signs identifying various wildlife, and Han Bit begged to stop and see if he could find the rabbits he released last summer. He pouted when Jeong Hui, hardhearted, refused. He got over it when he stuck his head out the window to bark into the wind. (although in Korean dogs say mung-mung. Not woof or the ever-inexplicable bow-wow.)

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We took all the pictures as the men talked fishing and Han Bit tried to steal a boat. The light was magic. Everything was magic.


Hana can smize for days.



how do you say Huck Finn in Hangul?


I realized I hadn’t been out of the city in so long, I couldn’t even really recall the last time. Han Bit found me flowers to photograph and Mom and Daughter talked together.

such a sweet friend.

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I didn’t want the sun to set. I didn’t want to leave.

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Every occasional car that passed overhead made the bridge rumble like a tractor trailer. Thunder and blue skies.


This is Korea in spring, after the cherry blossoms and festivals go away, just on the cusp of scorching summer days. These bluesy-soft mountain sky edges and purple breezes, these tall grasses and velvet airs. This is what I’ve been hungering for and this is what I’ll miss so much when we go.

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This, and these.

Note the Rice-Mask Bandit in bottom center.



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.


Object Lesson


This afternoon I had a plan.

It was haircut time. And I was so ready for it. I ran this morning and threw the mass of it up into the messy bun that has been all I’ve really had the patience to do for weeks now. I had photos downloaded. I was jazzed.

I chose the time and made the appointment. Left home on time. Did everything right. Strolled in with time to spare.

The stylist wasn’t there. None of the employees there could tell me why, and I couldn’t ask, thank you, language barriers. I texted and called her. I sat and waited. Nothing.

I left.

Furious and disappointed and mildly panicked.

I hate getting appointments wrong. And I knew I wasn’t wrong. She’d told me to come by at 4. I felt stupid and mad and stood up and embarrassed. I’d been so excited and now was so let down. I wanted to go back to the salon and cut off my stupid bun myself and throw it on the floor and do a rage dance on it.

(Colleen in a tantrum is special stuff guys. Spe. cial. stuff.)

As I stalked directionlessly downtown my phone was buzzing semi-occasionally with texts from Nate and friends, but none from the MIA Hair Lady. People were everywhere and my messy bun flapped gently in the breeze, waving hello to the passersby. Nothing was right.

But three things happened as I came to the intersection by the movie theater: 1. I took a deep breath and laughed (a little) at my tantrum. 2. I prayed Lord-I-forgive-MIA-hair-lady-and-please-forgive-my-tantrumming-innards. 3. My phone buzzed. It was MIA-H-L.

I don’t get my hair cut often. As it turned out, she’d changed salons, 3 months ago. Very apologetic about the whole thing. New place is 20 minutes away by subway, but she had other appointments lined up. Could I reschedule? I told her to send the new directions and I’d let her know. The breath I’d been holding behind clenched teeth whooshed out as I hung up.

Oh, girl, when will you learn to hold your plans loosely?

I decided to go run some other errands and maybe see if the other hair place I used to use downtown had any openings. But first I went to find the birthday gift I’d mentally bookmarked for Nate two months ago. His birthday isn’t until April, but it’s rare that I’m downtown without him. This will save the day, I thought.

The store was there. The gift was not.

Again, the nudge. It doesn’t work out like you counted on. And it doesn’t have to.

Should I swing by the salon I used to go to? Sure it’s out of the way and I hated what they did to me last time I went there–and actually come to think of it after that experience I swore I’d never go back–but I wanted a haircut today and how bad could it be?

You could. Or you could give up your plan. Grab a coffee and head home without any real damage from today. 

I turned around in the middle of the street at least twice.

But thank God, the coffee was good. My bun still flops triumphant and greasy. And I am somewhat shamefaced to admit that in the throes of unwillingness to let go I went and TRIED ON PANTS at H&M. Because nothing puts you in a good mood like TRYING ON PANTS.

Lord have mercy.

(He does.)

Sixteen Days

Sixteen days since I last wrote. I’ve written like ten posts in my head, which counts, luckily.

Work and life get real busy sometimes and this place slips through the cracks. because it’s easier to scroll through endless other-people-words than make some of my own. Still pressing through the need to hoard the words instead of releasing them.

Here’s what’s transpired the past few weeks.

Spring isn’t just on her way. She’s here. It’s real. I keep forgetting to take Nate’s trusty ol’ digital camera to work with me because the campus is looking purty.

hello gorgeous.
hello gorgeous.

The new season means lots of things but one of them is this: We got all the way through winter and I haven’t had a single seasonal cold. For one reason and one reason only:


This stuff. hashtag bless. Every time we’ve felt that old throat tickle or sludgy slowdown, we’ve pounded back TBSPs of this stuff. And so far? so burninatingly good.

(Natch, both I and the Boy are feeling particularly sludgish today…so here’s hoping this post isn’t a jinx of some sort.)

The haircut urge is still on, guys. and it’s growing. I dreamed I had this gal’s cut a few nights ago. but I dreamed I gave it to myself and it turned out awesome and I loved it. So…*grabs kitchen shears*

(Of course, that same night the Boy dreamed I straight up shaved my head. He said it was ‘scary, but okay.’ *grabs razor*)

I just watched a Jeep commercial about driving around California and felt a wee leap o’ the heart.  Before the year is out, I’ll be there. (probably not in a Jeep. but who knows.)

Good things are happening at church: a new pastor’s been selected for the English service! Nate’s loved preaching but with us having an expiration date we’ve been praying so much for the next person to come in. There’s a lot to do there and we know it, but the wonderful thing is there’s a lot that can be done. I’m hopeful.

It feels so good to be hopeful.