Wednesday, June 29, 2011


For the last 6 months, Tyler has been in the process of getting a permanent stateside job. We were supposed to leave Korea this Friday... But due to this job opportunity we have extended ourselves 1 month. I am hoping all goes according to plan with this job. We are supposed to contact them mid July to find out more details. I cannot believe we have this opportunity and I'm more than willing to wait it out but 6 months of limbo/uncertainty wears on us. It would really help if we could have a solid date of leave, but as of now, we are at their mercy. Not that it's not a blessing, it is. It's just a long, drawn out blessing. So that is where we are at currently.

In other news-
Sister is doing well! She is getting stuff for her house, furniture, lighting, new bed... things like that. She is also getting her CNA right now for 2 reasons. 1 is so she can work while going to school and 2 is because it's required for her RN. She's following in Mom's footsteps :) She also has a new dog! AnnaBelle is a 18 month old female Pit. She's very sweet.

As for Rocky and Marissa, they are on the beach! They took a vacation down to Padre Island. I will fill you in on the details when they get back.

Mom is having surgery in July. All the more reason for this job to hurry along. Dad is doing well. He and Mom canned 40 pints of green beans over the weekend. I can't wait to try them!

Tyler's family is well. Everyone in the McFather house is doing great. Aven and Talen are both mobile! Now the real trouble begins :)

Tyler really loves his new car. I'm so happy for him. He works so hard and most days doesn't like his job, so it's only appropriate he have something nice to climb into after a hard day! Not to mention I get to drive it too... It's amazingly fast! Can't wait to get it out on the highway. Here in Seoul there's way too much traffic to get the full effect.

I'm  also trying to recover a couple of chairs... that should keep me out of trouble for today! Thanks for reading.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day 15 - Advice to someone who’s thinking about traveling to another country

Be prepared and educated. The more the better! It will make your trip that much easier and much more fun. If you just decided to go to Korea on a whim... You would be very disappointed with what you see. There are parts of this city that you cannot know about unless you really do your research. I've been hear 2 years now and still don't know the entire city!
Try to learn the language. There's an app for that! :P

Know how much the exchange rate is. This will need to be done! It allows you to get familiar with their currency and lets you plan how much money you will need.

Pack light... Souvenirs are plentiful.

Get your passport of course!

Don't forget about home. Ask a family member or friend to watch pets, water plants, take your mail, or house sit.

Kids should come first if you want your trip to be the best it can be. Remember to pack entertainment for them. In your carry on luggage bring diaper bags, books, a few crayons, snacks, music, ect. If they get too squirming too much, feel free to walk with them in the aisle. Car rides need to start early while they are still asleep. It gives you time to navigate and get settled! Plus traffic is non existent at 4am.

Last but not least, the camera. Capture lots of memories! You will not regret taking the photo's. 

That is all that comes to mind right now. I'm officially done with my challenge! And challenging it was. Some posts took much more time that expected and I did skip a day or two :P but over all I did well! Thanks so much for reading. Look for updates on our new car next post!!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 14 - What did you learn from traveling abroad?

  • How to navigate an airport like a pro!
  • Taxi lingo
  • How to pack efficiently
  • How to endure 18 hours on a plane... Movies, naps, word searches!
  • The importance of Skype
  • Photography
  • Preparedness is the key to success
  • How to communicate in a foreign language
  • Subway navigation
  • What it's like to live in one of the world's biggest cities!
  • Cooking with "native" foods
  • How to "haggle" for a good price while shopping. Don't be afraid to walk away!
  • How to deal with not having family close 
  • How to make new friends
  • How to drive in Seoul traffic... ME first!
  • To be more adventurous in eatting
  • And lastly, getting to know how the Army opperates
I'm sure I've learned much more but these things are what immediately jumped to mind. I really hope the information I've posted has helped someone. Last post of the challenge is tomorrow. BOLO, aka: Be on the look out! 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 13- A favorite travel quote

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

I try to live a life free of regret. As much as possible anyway. I believe all things that happen to a person make them who they are. No matter what happens, you always learn and take something away from an experience. I believe that traveling has taught me a great deal. 2 years away from home can build you up in ways you never thought of. It also brought me sadness like I'd never known. I understand myself better and know I'm stronger for it. I honestly feel like I'm better suited to take on challenges. So take some steps outside your comfort zone. You'll regret it if you don't!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day 12 - Someone who influenced you to travel abroad

I remember first being interested in travel while doing a report on Ponce De Leon. I don't remember exactly how old I was but I know I was in grade school. I thought about him on his huge ship sailing to places unknown and I realized there were a lot of places I didn't know about! One thing that I was sure about, was that I didn't just want to stay sedentary my whole life. Even at a young age I knew I liked adventure.

As I got a little older and began learning more about my parent's, they told me about their adventures in traveling and how much they loved it. Though they'd never traveled abroad, they'd always wanted to. They've been to nearly every state but said they always wanted to go to Italy.

It was really my husband who "took initiative" in that department when he joined the Army. Right from the beginning the traveling started. At AIT in Fort Gordon, GA, then our first duty station... Seoul, South Korea! He and I had always discussed traveling and vacation idea's but always thought it would be on our dime. Funny how life takes turns you don't expect. 

We got very excited when we got our orders to Korea. Sure we would miss our family and our home country but this opportunity seemed to out weigh all of those things. The whole experience of moving to a new country was prodigious! We have really enjoyed traveling abroad and feel much more confident in our travel skills and can't wait to put them to use again.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Day 11 - Did you have any milestones or “first's” while traveling/living abroad?


First international flight (only my 2nd ever!), dealing with jet lag, being in a foreign country, cab ride, learning/speaking Korean :P, first duty station, dealing with foreign currency, trying many new foods (like kimchi), riding the subway, eating street food, first blog... 

I hope my life isn't so predicable and bland that I have no more first's! I'm excited and await them all!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day 10 - A favorite foreign movie

Who doesn't love a good black and white filled with scandal? My favorite foreign film is La Dolce Vida. It's an early 1960's film that takes place in Italy about a, "Journalist and man-about-town Marcello who struggles to find his place in the world, torn between the allure of Rome's elite social scene and the stifling domesticity offered by his girlfriend." 

Such a great flick! 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day 09 - A song you like from another country/language

C'est Si Bon! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day 08 - A favorite food from another country/culture

Today's topic is honestly too difficult for me to choose just one. So I will have to list by country.

Korea- Kalbe (beef on a leaf) I like this because it's not fried, dipped in butter or anything else to make it horrible for you. It's 90% vegetables and totally delicious! 

Italy- Gnocci and gelato. Need I explain?... I thought not.

Turkey- Kebabs, beef or lamb. The sauce is the key to this dish.

Mexico- Guacamole and queso blanco dip. If you put that on any Mexican dish, it's bound be delicious!

India- My go to dish is usually prawn saag or tandoori chicken with naan. Curry is usually pretty delicious too but you have be able to handle some spice!

Thailand- I love their national dish, Pad Thai, but my favorite would have to be tom yum goong soup. The herbs in the soup are amazing!

Japan- Sushi! Who doesn't love a Cailifornia Roll? I'm also a big fan of miso soup and wasabi.

France- Lots of people would say elcair or crepes... My weakness doesn't lie with bread. I'm more of cheese and butter gal! Hence why I love French food. My picks would be, beef bourguignon or roast chicken. Though their chocolate mousse is pretty tasty.

I have many more world cuisines to try of course, but for now this will have to do. I'd love to stay and chat more but I'm hungry now. Thank for reading!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Day 07 - Besides people, what did/do you miss from home?

Living in another country has made me appreciate "the little things". Like being able to ask for directions when your lost in English (my Korean is so broken) reading street signs without my Korean language book, driving myself, my beautiful muscle car, drive-thrus (like Sonic!), church, watching football, ordering food at a restaurant in English, talking/texting on the phone, Wal-Mart, having a job, college, clean air, but most of all I miss beauty salons! I can't wait to get my hair done... sigh.

Seoul is a really wonderful place with lots to offer but 2 years of it wears on person. This city has so much shopping and dining! I love being able to take the subway, pretty much anywhere, get out and find something to do. Kansas City's public transportation is like non-existent. That makes me sad. 

Shopping is so very frustrating here. Korean women are, on average, a size 2-5. They also are very, pardon my bluntness, flat/without curves. Where as us American girls, are NOT! They have some of the most beautiful clothes I have ever seen here but finding your size is nearly impossible. I usually end up window shopping and day dreaming. I have found a few outfits but I got very lucky. I love all the adorable accessories here. Tons of scarves, head bands, earrings, bracelets, watches, purses and shoes. I've got enough accessories for the rest of my life. It's really fun.

Seoul, has a lot of things that America doesn't and vice versa. Tyler and I are definitely trying to soak it up while we are here but "there's no place like home".

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Day 06 -What does "home" mean to you

When I think of home, the first thing that comes to mind is my parents house in Sheldon, Mo. My parent's bought the house in 86 and I was born in 87. It's where my brother, sister and I where raised. My parents home is the country. They operate a small scale cattle farm of 250-300 acres with around 120 cows. This is what my Dad does full time, while my Mom is an RN. 

It was odd to me to live in town at first. People right next door was pretty foreign. At first I noticed every car that drove past, door slam, train ect. After a while I got used to it but living in town is not what I think of when you say "home".  I remember home as 60 acres of "back yard" to play in, gathering chicken eggs, splitting wood in the winter, canning vegetables, making jam, Sunday service then lunch with my family, always sitting at the dinner table to eat, reading books with my Mom, feeding hay to the cows, breaking ice in the winter for them to drink, cattle dogs riding on the back of the truck, hunting, fishing, driving by the time I was 8, my Dad wrapping all us kids in warm blankets in the winter to take us to the truck and off to Grandpa's house for him to watch us, coffee with Dad in the morning, Chiefs football, town being 25 minutes away, summer vacations every year, Sleeping in the same bed with my sister in the winter, Dad and Grandpa taking us kids out to breakfast every Saturday like it was a religious practice, planting a vegetable garden, drinking from a garden hose, swimming in ponds, prayers at night and before meals, spankings and real grounding if you got in trouble, closed stores on Sunday, doing what your told, making your bed everyday, snacks made by Mom waiting on you after you got off the bus, and no TV until your homework was done.

I can honestly say I didn't have a computer until I was 17. Even to this day they have dial up internet! I was never hung up on the computer or setting on the couch. I was an avid sports player for as long as I can remember. My Dad was my softball coach where I learned how to pitch and play shortstop. I remember my Dad teaching me how to catch a pop fly and I missed the catch and the ball hit me in the lip! It go so fat that I begged my Mom not to send me to school. She let me stay home. :) I ran hurtles and sprints in track, was setter in volleyball, and my favorite: forward in basketball. I was never interested in cheer leading or pink. All that girly stuff came to me after I turned 21. My parents came to all of my games.

My parents are such great people, they are what make my "home" what it is. They have been married 38 years come July and honestly still love each other. I've never seen them argue. They do a whole lot of teasing but never a cross word spoken between them. I remember my siblings and I doing the in unison, "Ewww" when they would kiss. When it was Christmas time my Mom would work extra and always took night shift on Christmas Eve. She worked in Joplin and that was an hour away, so on Christmas morning we would have to wait until 9am to open our gifts. When you look through our Christmas photographs you won't find my Mom in her PJ's, she will be in her scrubs. My Dad did dirt work for about 35 years. He ran heavy equipment like trackhoes, backhoes, skid steers, and so on. He was always dirty when he came home from work. I remember how much I liked the way he smelled. Sounds odd but he smelled like freshly dug clay and I really liked it. He even taught me how to run the equipment! I am proud to say I am the mechanic between my husband and I. Actually, I'm more the "man", all thanks to my Dad! When he would show up at any of our games he was always dirty and I was always proud. I remember both my parents as strong, kind people. They love to travel and saw the world together. They were married 14 years before they had me! They always took us on a vacation every year. It was always fun. 

My family is by no means perfect but I want to raise my children the way I was raised. I think it made me a better person. My Mom and I butted heads when I was living at home but now she is my best friend. I think it's because we are so much alike. She lets me know when I'm wrong and I like that about her. My Dad is always calm and has a great view on the world and I look to him for advice. I've always been able to talk to him. He's the Dad who, when the weather was getting bad, would move your car into the barn and watch the skies and the weather channel, all night if he had too. When it got unsafe he would take us all down to the basement and he had everything we needed down there. He's been my foundation/voice of reason all my life. He and my Mom are both strong Christians and attend church where my Dad is one of the deacons.

My brother and sister... Oh lordy. They are my partners in crime! My husband says we all have the exact same mannerisms! We all love to scare our parents. Put fake snakes in the wood box kind of thing! We used to wrestle all the time, as kids do. I remember my sister, Shelly, when she was really small had a lisp. And one winter day my brother who was 8, Rocky, and her were sledding and I was folding laundry. Shelly, all of about 6 years old, comes running into the house in her pink snow suit and says (with a lisp), "Samantha come quick Rocky broke his leg!" I said, "Whatever I'm not going out there in the cold. Go play by yourself." She had to of came in the house 3 times and had this same conversation! Turns out my brothers leg was really broken and my 6 year old little sister had to pull him, on a sled, back to the house. When they came inside and I saw Rocky, Shelly immediately says, "See I told you his leg was broken!" To this day I still feel like the worlds worst sister for not going out to check on them. But to my credit they used to like to get me outside just to throw snowballs at me. Rocky is now 21 and happily married and I have a new sister Marissa. They live in Mount Vernon, Mo. Shelly, 18, just bought her first house in Nevada and is going to be a freshman in college this fall.

Writing this, makes everything seem to flood my memory and makes me kind of sad. I just cannot wait to be with them again. So after lots and lots of writing, you now know what comes to my mind when I hear the word, "home".
 Small town life isn't for everyone but a good memory of "home" should be!

Dad giving Tyler the "approval" handshake at our wedding

Mom and Shelly at my wedding

My family!

Happy faces

My family at Rocky and Marissa's wedding

Mr. and Mrs. Rocky Castlebury!



Saturday, June 4, 2011

Day 05 - What do you bring with you when you travel?

Kind of an odd question... I don't carry around a rabbit's foot or anything like that. I'd like to think I pack what everyone else in the world packs. I take pride in my appearance, not vanity wise but looking "put together" and not sloven. So being that type of person, I try to put together outfits, coordinate accessories... ect. I make a check list of everything I will need for the trip. I try to travel light, so it's usually just the necessities:

Chapstick (I never leave home without it!)
Shoes (dressy and casual)
Minimal Jewelry
Passport (if needed)
Missy :P

The one "odd" thing I do take with me is a picture of my family. I have them with me where ever I go actually. Just a small wallet size photo in my purse nothing crazy. I think everyone does that though... Not just me. Other than the above mentioned... I can't think of anything else. As I said, I'm more of a minimalist type of traveler. Those girls that pack 4 bags for 3 days... Not my style. I like to keep the car/hotel room clean while traveling. It annoys me to no end when I get into a car and there is trash under my feet! So I usually "clean out" the car when we stop for fuel. 

I really love to travel. Flying doesn't bother me at all. I don't get car sick unless I am riding with an extra crazy Korean taxi driver... That feeling of impending death has a way of making me feel ill. I think I've done a good deal of travel for only being 23. There is so much more of the world I want to see! Over the weekend my friend Cassandra introduced me to, yet another, new part of Seoul, called MyongDong. It was this huge area of shopping galore! I of course was in love immediately. I will definitely be going back. Seoul is so vast that there is no way that I could see or do everything in my 2 years. 

Next weekend I'm going to try and see a new park. It has fountains and a stream with several bridges. Not really much like Seoul at all. Hopefully that turns out well. Look for another post tomorrow! Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Day 04 - A picture of you in another country:

Yeah for rooftop shots!

 Today's challenge was pretty simple. This shot isn't the best due to all the haze in the background, but if you are waiting for a "clear day" in Seoul to take pictures.... You will be waiting a while! This is on the roof of our building. I don't take a whole lot of pictures of myself since I'm usually behind the camera. I had to do a timed shot... It turned out pretty good considering! 

Since we are on the topic of photographs.... I did break out my lil' point n' shoot while we were at a birthday BBQ. Here are a few shots from that:

Lucas Brown, our chef for the day.

The Spread!

I looked at David and he had a mouthful of cake and I said, "David, smile for us..." HA!

The guy trying to avoid a photo opp is Lukas Deem. He's been such a great friend to us. Even though, strangely enough, this day I had to sock him in the arm for scaring me... He deserved it! :)

Beautiful Briella Brown

Sisters Briella and Haley Brown

We had a great time and some even better food! I'm so glad it's warmed up and we can all get out and enjoy each other's company. Look for the next post tomorrow!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Day 3- A challenge you've had while traveling/living abroad

The simple answer to this is, many. The list is long my friends... But here's the short of it.

Language barrier's
Shopping (finding correct sizes)
Not being able to drive
Delaying college because you have no other choice

Menu's not in English
Complete opposite time zones
Absolutely no family structure

Outrageous phone bills (before skype)
Exspensive plane tickets (you can't afford it and neither can they, to visit)
Staying up late or waking up early to talk to family, friends and business'
Whenever your out, hearing little to no English.... Constantly.
Missing your family a little more everyday.
Not being around for milestones, I missed my sisters high school graduation, her and my brother buying their first house, many birthdays, parents surgery's, Nieces and nephew's school events and first steps.... 

As I said, the list is long. I'm sure it has made me a stronger person but I am filled with regret for not being there when I should have been. Don't take Sunday lunches, movies, walks, shopping, hugs and kisses for granted. I'm missing the most important things but I am right where I'm supposed to be. Beside my soldier and giving him support. And I wouldn't trade that for anything.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Day 2- Where you'd like to travel next

As we all know, I miss America very much but that's not a very exciting/new post. Besides the land of the free, I think I'd like to go to either London or Paris. Both have amazing architecture and great food. I've been thinking about the places I would like to see and things I'd like to do for both. I mean a girl can dream can't she?


I would love to see the National Gallery. It has a collection of Western European paintings by Van Gogh, da Vinci, Botticelli, Constable, Renoir, Titian, Stubbs... You name it!

Go to the London Eye for an amazing photo opp and breathtaking view. And I would have to get a picture of me in one of those awesome red phone booths!

The 900 year old Royal Palace would be a must.

See Big Ben!

The fountains in Trafalgar Square.

Eat lunch at Porters English Restaurant.

Cross the Millennium Bridge and SO much more. 


First and foremost, see the Eiffel Tower, during the day and night.

I'd love to see the Louvre. It houses the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and works by Rembrandt. Oh the culture! I love art in all forms!

I'd have to see the Notre Dame Cathedral. AKA- Quasimodo's hang out. I've never seen Gothic architecture but I'm sure it's detailed and very beautiful.

Napoléon's Arc de Triomphe definitely makes the list. Such a small man with a huge monument :P

Eat at Le Grand Colbert for their famous Roast Chicken.

Have a glass of wine at Chez Dumonet and some pan-fried foie gras.

Caveau de la Huchette is a legendary jazz club... Need I say more?

The world is so big and wonderful, I'd love to make to as many places as I can! While I'm so glad I'm an American, I value and appreciate our world and all the people and places in it. 

Tomorrows post is about a struggle/challenge you've had abroad. So stay tuned!