Experiments in Watercolors

I got an itch to learn how to watercolor a couple years ago and have been dabbling here and there since then. I started by trying to recreate some patterns I found via Pinterest (mostly flowery ones by Rifle Paper Co.), but I soon needed to find my own watercolor voice. This year I began a series of watercolors based off of photos from my travels. In the process of creating these watercolors, I discovered that I’ve been lying to myself for quite some time. I always said I couldn’t draw, but it turns out I can! I think I’m getting better with every new page in my watercolor Moleskine sketchbook.

Here are a few of my favorite watercolors so far:

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Say what???

I spent a lot of time in Korea grading mind boggling sentences like the one above. Most of the time they weren’t funny and I was left to find a way to turn them into intelligible statements. But sometimes there were real gems that would make me and the whole teachers’ room explode in laughter.

Disclaimer: I know it isn’t easy learning a second language and I applaud all of my students for trying their best. I laugh at these from a good place not a mean one. I know that I sure as hell have made people laugh quite a bit while traveling and attempting to speak foreign languages. I wonder what incredible things my Spanish teachers from middle school heard me say. I’ve been laughed at around the world for my silly attempts to communicate, and the ridiculous pantomimes that go with it. I don’t take any of this too seriously and I hope you don’t either 🙂

With that said, here is a countdown of my all time favorites: Read more

It’s Raining Inside

apartment winter indoor condensation

One of the many quirks experienced while living in Korea is the variety of apartment issues that come with a typical Korean apartment provided to a foreign English teacher. Problem #1 is usually the itty-bitty size of the apartment. I was super lucky coming to Korea with my boyfriend because we were given a two bedroom apartment, so space wasn’t an issue. Others aren’t so lucky. I will say that we were very fortunate to be given the best and the biggest apartment in our building. In fact, after we left Korea, the director of our school moved into our apartment. I’m not sure he knew what he was getting himself into though… I think he was accustomed to a higher end of living, so I wonder how he’s handling all of the issues that come with living there. For the current teachers, I think they can add having their director as a neighbor to their list of nightmares. Here’s a list of the apartment troubles we did have to deal with and the ones our director is probably currently struggling with. Maybe he’ll actually fix them now that they’re his problem. Read more

Stop It America!

This one goes out to a lovely friend who’s about to repatriate to the States after a couple years teaching English in Korea. We’ve been messaging back and forth telling each other about our plans and recently I got a message from her that said I’m the only ray of light; the only positive person amongst negative voices that tell her not to leave “the safety net of Korea.” I just have to put my foot down and say STOP IT AMERICA! Read more

Biking Ayutthaya – A Photo Essay

Dave and I spent a couple days biking around the ruins in Ayutthaya, Thailand in January. Here are some of my favorite photos from our schvitzy adventures there. Read more

Journey to Our New Home: LA to Squaw Valley

We left Pacific Palisades early on Monday morning for PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). It’s been a dream of Dave’s to drive PCH up the coast and now we’ve done it! We want to go down it one day so we can stop at more of the pull-offs. Here are some of my favorite shots from our drive. I took all of these with Instagram on my iPhone. Follow me on Instagram @ wakeupanddance. Read more

6 Key Things to Look for in a Korean Teaching Contract

letter from student
If you teach English in South Korea, then you too could get funny notes like this one. I received this from a student shortly before leaving Seoul.

I’ve gotten enough emails regarding what to look for in a Korean teaching contract that I’ve decided it’s time to write a post about it. I’ve previously written posts about how to find and get a job teaching English abroad, but none were specific to Korea. Here are six things to look for in your contract: Read more

Springtime in the Rockies and the Curse of Boulder Valley


All I can do when I think about Boulder is shake my head and sigh. It’s not just wonderful, it’s irresistible. Seriously, its charm is almost unbearable for those that don’t live there. Dave and I knew we needed to mentally prepare ourselves for this before arriving in Boulder last week. We’ve been away for a year and a half and knew that we couldn’t let The Curse of Boulder Valley overtake us.

For those of you who think I’m using exaggerated language, let me assure you I’m not. The Curse of Boulder Valley is a real thing. When white visitors came to the valley in search of gold, Chief Niwot of the Southern Arapaho tribe told them it was hexed. He was an eloquent speaker and was said to have declared: “People seeing the beauty of this valley will want to stay, and their staying will be the undoing of the beauty.” Read more