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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Life Update

I've had quite a lot of people lately ask me why I'm in Taiwan, what I'm going to do after Taiwan and tell me they had no clue I got married, moved to Taiwan, etc. etc. So, just to catch everyone up, here's what's going on with Tom and I!

First off, we got married July 9, 2010. Yay!

By the end of July we had already moved to Taiwan. We are teaching English at a cram school in a city called Tainan. We moved here for several reasons, but primarily because we both wanted to live abroad and this was the scenario that made the most sense. We originally wanted to go to Africa, but since the only jobs in Africa for people like us are of the volunteering variety and we are broke, that didn't work out so well. A side benefit to this job is that it gives me valuable experience for getting into a graduate school, which leads to my next subject - our future plans.

Well, our future plans are still very much up in the air. I am currently applying to graduate schools for next fall for a Masters degree in International and Comparative Education Policy . I plan on making another post about that whole subject, so I won't explain what that term means now. If I get in anywhere, chances are we'll head back to the states for at least a year or two. Tom just plain doesn't know what he wants to do. Possible scenarios besides grad school include Peace Corps, teaching English for longer, or just finding some other job! Life is really constantly up in the air for us, it seems. We wish it weren't!

Anyway, I think that covers the main points. Here are just a couple of Taiwan photos.

I never intended to put this hideous photo on my blog, but it encapsulates my life right now so well. Me, in grungy clothes, on the scooter next to some random temple.

These were taken on our Moon Festival trip, which will be another blog post. We love Hank, our scooter.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

By all Means it's Time for a Wedding Post

So, it's been 4 and a half months since Tom and I got married and I finally get to make a wedding post! Why wasn't this done earlier? Well, it didn't make much sense to do one earlier, when A.) my blog was purely for displaying photos I'd taken and I didn't take ANY photos at my own wedding and B.) they were all on facebook anyway. Now that I'm getting off of facebook and turning my blog into an all-purpose blog, it's time for the post.

I have so much to say about that day. It was the culmination of the most stressful two and a half months of my life. That is not to be dismissed. But, far and beyond that it was an incredibly meaningful, incredibly beautiful day. Never once beforehand did I imagine that it would be as beautiful and meaningful as it turned out to be. It wasn't perfect: my sister wasn't able to come, the reception didn't seem nearly long enough, the morning was rushed. But, it was such a great day! When I think back to it, all I think about it how beautiful the reception was, how taking pictures was actually enjoyable, all the friends and family who shared it with us and how natural it felt to be doing it all with Tom. Enough of the overall, let me go through it with you.

In the morning, I woke up pretty early (can't remember what time) and got my hair done by Sarah's hair stylist friend Diego. We've been going to him for years. He did an EXCELLENT job. However, there was a bit of a miscommunication somewhere and I ended up having to rush out of there and speed home and then only had twenty minutes or something to get my makeup done and rush out the door again for the temple. Tawnie did my makeup and she also didn't a seriously impressive job, espeeeecially considering the fact that she only had a few minutes! On top of that I'm pretty sure she had next to zero notice. She was actually a hero at seeeveral different points through the day. Go Tawnie!

We were a bit late to the sealing, but not as late as Tom, so it was ok :) . Everyone in the temple was so sweet just as pleasant as anyone ever could be. The best way I could describe the whole temple experience was peaceful. The actual sealing was very tender. We had some of my closest friends there and, of course, family. My dad, Tom's mom and Tom all got a little misty eyed. I, of course, was dry.

Then there were the pictures! I think most people hate taking pictures on their wedding day. It's a must, but I think it's usually somewhat miserable. For us, however, I feel like it was quite pleasant. Our photographers were great and just very easy to be around ( and, of course, it was easy to just wander around and be photographed with Tom by my side. We took the traditional family/friends photos in front of the temple, then pictures of just us at the temple, then we headed over to Heisler Park in Long Beach for a few more. Here are some of those.

Our debut as a married couple (coming out of the temple)

Posing for family and friends

The entourage at the temple

Groomsmen: (L-R) Arron, Curtis, Tom, Bob and Court

The bridesmaids: (L-R) Sarah, Emily, Me, Stacy, Jen
(This was actually taken at the reception, not at the temple)

Temple doors

In between the temple and the beach we decided to have some lunch at Pei Wei. We were ravenous! I definitely went in gown and all and got some pretty gnarly stares (just preparation for Taiwan). It was a fun lunch.

Cool sideways growing trees at Heisler Park. One I may try to edit out the cars in the background there.

These flipflops are actually the photographers extra pair from her car. I'd been wearing hers as mine had been discarded by virtue of extreme discomfort.

And now we come to the reception. It was cruel how short it felt because I was having the time of my life. I couldn't get over how GORGEOUS everything looked. A big part of it was the location. I had imagined a light, summery, outdoor reception for years, but pulling it off was probably the single most difficult aspect of the wedding planning. For one, pretty much everyone who I needed help from was instantly (and sometimes quite vehemently) against it. Don't get me wrong, I get it. Having a part reception is difficult to pull off in a lot of ways. But, you know what? IT WAS SO WORTH IT! Also, the park wasn't just any park, it was perfect. We had it at Bonita Canyon Park in Brea. It's quiet, peaceful, about 10 minutes from my parent's house and only a couple from my sister's. It had this gorgeous lake with weeping willows around it and beautiful hills behind it.

Another big contributing factor to the beauty of the reception was, of course, the decorations. I have to give the vast majority of the credit for all of that to my mother. She was the executor for nearly every aspect of it. Not offense mom, but I hope we never have to make that many decisions together ever again! But really, without all of my mom's help the whole thing would have just been pitiful. In addition to my mom we had a great crew of friends and family who helped set up and who provided their artistic talents. Doesn't it look great?

These food pictures nearly kill me because for one, we didn't really get to eat ANY of it and two these tasty foods are pretty unavailable here in Taiwan. Also, I specifically chose these foods for the receptions because they were both perfect for the theme and were some of my favorite foods. Don't they look great. Wow, I sure can talk about food.

We got a great deal on this duet. The music was stunning. It was a little unnerving that they played such perfect songs for us, without any prior knowledge. Also, I've always loved the cello.

Tawnie. Hansen. You. Are. Great.

We opted for pie instead of cake. Best decision ever. Much more tasty, much more pretty, many more options and much much cheaper.

Beautiful weeping willow. Can you find me?

The dock.

Loved these. Thanks mom.

We danced to "Sunrise, Sunset" from Fiddler. Perfect song for it. Dad and I tried ever so hard to waltz, but the dress made it a bit tricky.

We were actually talking about "superstitions" in one of the classes that I teach the other day and I showed them these two pics. They loved it.

It was caught by my cousin Margo.

Another big reason why the reception was great and why I didn't want to leave is that we loved chatting with all the friends and family who came. Wish we could have had more time with each.

After the reception, we grabbed a few bites of food, picked up our luggage from the house and then drove ourselves over to the Marriott in Newport Beach.

All in all, it was a superb day. One which I have a really hard time explaining adequately. I didn't have any bit of cold feet. To my knowledge, neither did Tom. It really felt so natural to be spending that day with him. It was strange, however, to think it was my wedding day. It's still strange to me and I still think to myself, "wow, am I really married?" Anyway, I could go on and on, but I think this post is beyond long enough.

I hope you've enjoyed it. More to come!

P.s. This post took like a week to complete because our internet has been ridiculously slow, to the tune of one picture per 20 minutes or so. Fun.


Here's the deal. Tom and I have been talking, for quite some time, about how much useless time we spend on facebook. We don't really "enjoy" facebook, but somehow get sucked into checking it too many times per day for too long each time. Whenever we would try to figure out what to do about it, though, we'd despair because we'd realize that facebook is currently the easiest and most comprehensive way to keep track of people and stay in touch. "Is it really a good idea to sever that line, especially while we're already in a different country" we'd say? Finally, though, since the desire has persisted, we decided that we would, indeed, forsake facebook, but at the same time would dive head first into blogging. I plan to re-dedicate myself to my existing blog and Tom plans to start his own. We're actually really excited about this!

From now on, my blog is going to be less focused on photos and instead, will be for just anything I decide to post on it. I will still try to put all of my favorite photos on the blog, but I'll also have posts that are just for updates and just for opinions. I already have a pretty big list of possible posts! And here they come!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Getting off of Facebook!

Hey everyone! Tom and I decided we would like to get off of facebook! More on that in the next post, but the important thing is that pretty soon here this blog is going to be re-energized and given full attention. Stay tuned!