Triping in South Korea

korea5It’s been over two weeks since our little visit to South Korea but I couldn’t miss out on giving you a peek at our time there. Altogether, I really, really enjoyed Korea after experiencing it’s rich culture! While I was there I felt like I was in a limbo between western and asian culture. We visited a Korean palace (above), shopped in an underground subway station, and ate a ton of delicious korean food mm mm! I think one of my most favorite parts was just walking around the city of Seoul. There were so many bursts of life here and there. All I have to say is that if you’ve never been to South Korea, you’re missing out!
korea7 korea6korea4 korea3I got to meet up with these friends (below) the first day and they brought me to a fantastic fusion restaurant called School Food, yum yum! We also got to roam the underground subway for clothes. I absolutely loved spending time with them in their home country!
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Four Response: The Best Accessory Jessie

What’s my favorite accessory? This is almost a no brainier – I will have to say that my favorite accessory is my grey bow purse from Forever 21. This purse and I have a long history together! At a Forever 21 store in Korea, I spotted the purse as I was waiting to check out, and very uncharacteristically, I bought it right there on the spot (any store’s dream)! I have been using this little grey purse for three years now and it has served me well! It is the perfect size to hold my wallet, phone and ipod

Monster Movie Marathon

Rachel,

I’m dedicating this post to you because you inspired me to make this movie marathon weekend. I still remember coming home from a tiring day of school to the most adorable card with a sombrero and a sparkly piñata saying “Mexican Themed Weekend!”. Last week, while I was missing you, I was inspired to host a Monster’s Inc. Marathon for Maddie and Megan with “monster pretzels” and “monster tea”. To be honest, I was pretty proud of myself for pulling it off just like I imagined! Friday, when we got home from school, Mom and Dad had already left for their Valentines stay at the Astor hotel. So I whipped up the giant soft pretzels while we watched ‘The Road to Eldorado’ in the kitchen. While the pretzel dough was rising we ate a quick dinner of ramen and fried rice. After the whirlwind of baking the pretzels we carried our warm crispy pretzels and giant Arizona tea upstairs to watch ‘Emperor’s New Groove’ and ‘Monster’s University’.

To be honest, I have just watched too many serious romance and action films lately, so it was really refreshing to see some light-hearted Disney movies! I know you have been having a difficult week, but I would encourage you to take a break, and just like you suggested to me – give yourself the chance to relax. I would totally recommend one of the following movies: ‘Frozen’ (adorable like ‘Tangled’), ‘Emperor’s New Groove’ (the oldy), or ‘Monster’s University’ (if you want to laugh).

Our Monster Movie Marathon was not complete without you – we all miss you so much!
Thanks for teaching me how to be a better older sister!
xoxo, Jessie

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Weekend Snapshots

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Studio class is extremely intriguing this semester. The above poster is a set of 40 symbols that were created by my classmates. These symbols- made of simple geometric shapes- were developed to replace our generation’s commonly used lingo. For example, this set of symbols can be used as an alternative form of texting language. The language includes words such as JK, you, me, where, LOL, lets talk, etc.

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I created the symbol for “home,” which, I admit, is quite appropriate for my personality and tendencies in particular, as I am a major “home body.” And anyways, home is definitely where my heart is, so I had lots of fun with this one. To break it down, my symbol is made up of three basic shapes: a square, a circle, and a triangle. The square signifies structure, foundation, and shelter. The circle represents wholeness, center of being, or “home base.” Finally, the triangle and its orientation illustrates home as a place that we “return to.” Wayne, one of our Studio teachers pushed me to differentiate from  the typical “house” image commonly seen as a symbol for home. I am thankful for his firmness because it influenced me to push past my limit and get creative with this assignment.

 

Phase two of this project focused on using  dynamic crops within our symbol to create patterns. Our teachers have been trying to train our eyes so that we can see and understand images that have depth, movement, and personality. The process has been tough to say the least because I do not naturally think so critically about simple graphics.

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Drawing studio has focused on the idea of dynamic curves and shapes (as you can tell from the below examples). For the last two weeks, we’ve been traveling through an exploration process of seeing, feeling, and understanding how lines move. I was up last night working on four boards that illustrate these explorations. Our teacher, Mark, gave us three hypothetical stories to represent the form that movement encompasses. We then explored these stories by drawing topographical terrain where lines travel up and down the landscape to represents the paths of characters in our story.

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I am currently looking a lot less “bright and cheery,” (sitting at my desk after a four hour sleep night) than this photo taken last week. However, I’ve received so many texts from all of you over the last day/night encouraging me that you are praying for peace and productive work. Those messages are priceless. Thank you for all of your support. I love you guys! 

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Snowy Photos

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Yesterday it finally snowed… hooray! So Jessie and I took the opportunity to have a little photo shoot! We had a relaxing breakfast of coffee and toast and then bundled up for our little activity. Although, it was crazy cold, I am so glad we were able to get these shots!

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Michael & Rachel,
I can’t tell you how much I’ve been missing our Christmas break together (Sanya post coming soon). This 春节 (Chinese New Year) break has been a lot quieter than in the past! I know we’ll be seeing each other soon though and in the meantime let’s dwell on my ultimate favorite verse, Lamentations 3:31-33 :: “For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.” No matter what struggle, stress, or frustration you’re going through, God is and will be with you! I love you guys so so so much (this goes for you too, Jessie :]).
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Strip District, Pittsburgh

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Remembering our bucket-listing events early last summer, I thought you would appreciate this wintery outing I took in December. Jillian, John and I bussed downtown to the “Strip District,” to join the Saturday-morning bustle.
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Our first stop was La Prima Espresso Company for lattes. We were particularly excited to visit this coffee shop because it has a spot on Carnegie Mellon Campus, and we were anxious to visit the “base camp” per say.
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After enjoying our morning coffee run, we walked strolled the district’s characteristic farmers markets, fish markets, and Asian super markets. Often stopping into small shops along the way, we experienced fresh bread at an Italian bakery, a cigar-smoking-ritual in a dark parlour, Christmas wreath-lined street corners, and, of course, the beautiful Pittsburgh snow.

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We took a pitstop at one particularly adorable Italian bakery. The business had a street-front building filled with mountains…

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and mountains…

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of biscotti! …behind the biscotti palace, a small alleyway brought us to a cozy cafe serving breakfast and coffee.

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From the Studio: Practice Makes Perfect

Rachel!
I haven’t forgotten all the important homework and practice you assigned me over the break. (It seems like its been such a long time since we chatted in Starbucks about cubes!) I’m sorry that I have not been as diligent as you in working on our first theme for our sketching goal, Moose, but at least I am improving my form! I’m excited to continue our little goal and I would like to suggest that we go with plants or shoes for our next theme, (something a bit more simple for the beginner ;).

I miss you so much already and I really appreciate the opportunity I had to call you before you left China while I was at the TCK Seminar. Let me know when you have time to chat!

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On Site: Tokyo P2

I have finally found time to finish up my post about Tokyo! The highlight of my trip was the Japanese garden we visited. We couldn’t go all the way to Japan without properly seeing a Japanese garden! The day was cloudy and cool, but I still really enjoyed the whole experience. I often miss nature when in Tianjin; so coming to this garden reminded me again of the beauty of our God’s creation.

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While we were at the Japanese garden we enjoyed a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. The tea was strong, but very flavorful, and the desert was rice cake with red bean filling – delicious!

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Walking next to the light rail on the way to the robotics competition – its rainy!
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Snapped this while we were waiting at the bus stop. Turned out to look more like a modeling crew then a robotics shot – I’m so blessed to have these guys as my teammates!

On Site: Tokyo P1

As you all know Dad and I just returned from out VEX Robotics competition in Tokyo, Japan. Let me just start by saying, I think Tokyo just jumped to the top of my list of favorite cities. It was almost exactly what I expected, which was strangely surprising for a city! The city was clean and modern, yet it retained so much personality and culture! The people were friendly, though I couldn’t understand one word they were saying! I learned so much from the competition itself as well. As “first years” we definitely lacked the experience to rank highly in the competition. We were so blessed, however, to be awarded the Amaze trophy for our design process and extensive iterations!

To give a quick outline of the trip: our first evening we stayed in a popular shopping area and ate ramen, the next day we switched hotel, went to a Japanese garden, and attended the practice matches for our robotics competition. The following day was filled with the official vex competition; which included the opening ceremony, games, alliance choosing, final matches, and award ceremony. The last day we took a bus tour of tokyo – my first – and shopped. Monday we had a bit of shopping time, then dragged our feet to the airport!
Here are some photos of highlights in my trip!

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Of course the food was a highlight of my trip. The first picture is authentic Japanese Ramen. It was so delicious! We also had Japanese tempura, another food highlight. I was also thrilled to find a Krispy Kreme, delish!

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Not trying to make excuses, but look at those robots! The Hawaiian one was like a flowery tank! The school provided great coverage of the competition, they had a birds eye view of the field and they interchanged it with close ups occasionally – so professional!

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Our views from the tour bus! It was so amazing!

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I’ll miss you, Tokyo!

Rainy Sunday

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Dear Rachel,
This Sunday was a rainy, slow day and it reminded me of all the cozy fall days spent with you last year. After all the work I’ve been doing this quarter it’s nice to finally cozy up and enjoy the rain. I woke up to a much needed cappuccino, chocolate chips pancakes (made by mom), and some family conversation that brightened my morning. The rest of the day consisted of music (my fall playlist, of course), reading Harry Potter, and writing an essay for school. I have to admit, the writing an essay part wasn’t too great but it didn’t keep me from having a great day.

Me and Jessie are hoping to start our fall challenge soon, let’s start it together! And yes, if you were wondering, Megan pulled another front tooth today. Now she is missing three of her front teeth eeek! Miss you tons xoxo!
Love, Maddie

P.S. We need your Pumpkin Latte recipe ASAP!
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