Author Archives: aipingplum

Oh My!: Graduation Day–Master’s in Social Work

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Alas!  The time has come!  I have officially graduated!  Check out my awesome graduation pictures!

Aaand the graduation partay!

I’m so lady like.  Can you tell I’m a grad school grad?

It was a simple, small party.  We just invited a few family friends and my piano students, but it was really nice to have an official marking of the end!  Here are some of the guests:

Thank you, Anna Pougas, for taking pictures, thank you mom for the party, and thank you to all who came to celebrate this exciting time with me!

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Oh My!: Goodbye, Station Wagon…

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Once again, it has been far too long since I have updated.  Yet, life has continued on, and many things have happened!  So, I will attempt to catch up in the next month or so and do my best to make sure nothing new happens so we don’t miss anything!  (Yeah right!)

This post is the story of how I decided to sell my good ol’ station wagon, which has been with me through these last two years of graduate school.  (Graduation post soon to come!)  Last month, I decided to sell my station wagon because I was tired of horrible gas mileage and all the money I was pouring into fixing the nearly 20 year old car.  Plus, I got an awesome deal from a friend on a 2008 Honda Civic that I just couldn’t pass up!  (Although, the day I got the Civic, someone rear ended it, totaling the car, and that was the end of that story…)  But first things first–that post later!

The day I was supposed to return the wagon to the lot (I sold it back to the place I bought it), I started having major separation anxiety, and I couldn’t bring myself to do it!  The wagon had been with me through all of the ups and downs of these last two years: the joys of grad school friendships, the pains of tests and papers, the incredible experience of working as as mental health therapist at the university clinic, the continuation of my piano and violin studio business, and the start of my photography business.  But the most memorable part of the wagon days was all of the tennis, reading, speech, karate, piano lessons, ice cream outings, swimming pool trips, Mcdonalds runs, and museum visits I made over the last two years with two of the most lovely little girls I have ever met, Morgan and Maya.  I had the joy of nannying M&M full time last summer and part time ever since, and we have spent many good memories in my station wagon (except when Maya stuck her gum all over the back seat…)  So I decided, what better way than to commemorate the end of the wagon era with a photo shoot of us with the car before I bring it back!  Here are the results:

And yes, this is meant to be taken VERY seriously.  😉

Okay, this is where it gets a lot better…

We will miss you, good ol’ Wagon…

Places: Champaign-Urbana, IL Early Spring 2012

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Spring is here!  For the first time in central Illinois, we are actually having a real spring over spring break.  And I love it!! As a write, there is a big honeybee buzzing outside my window, buds blooming, and flowers sprouting out of the earth. How can you not love spring?

To celebrate, my friend Jacob and I went on a nice little photo stroll to catch some of these burgeoning buds and flourishing flowers. I juxtaposed our pics to illustrate our unique interpretations. (Me, left; Jacob, right)  Aren’t they lovely?

You likey?  Here are a few more of my favs:

Here is Jacob shooting some flowers:

One of the things I love about photography is that it gives people a reason to talk with you, thus giving you a chance to meet different types of people you wouldn’t have otherwise. While we were walking around the neighborhood capturing spring, an old man came out of his house and started scolding us, saying we had to pay for taking pictures of his flowers.  At first we weren’t sure if he was an angry old man who was actually upset or if he was joking, but we eventually realized he was just playing with us so that he could use it as an opportunity to advocate for a political agenda.

Okay, now you know how late this post is…

Anyway, yay for spring!!

Oh My!: Totaled Car, Broken Computer

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It’s been quiet here in my little online world because I have been without computer for the past month!  A few weeks ago, a lady turned left at a four-way intersection when I had the right of way, and she crashed my car.  I was too busy in bed recovering the day after that I didn’t get any pics of my totaled car, but these politely-borrowed pictures off the internet should give you some idea.

Before:

After:

::sigh::  It was my family’s third car, so I still have my wagon, fortunately.  And luckily, the lady’s insurance was very cooperative, and they compensated us pretty fairly for the lost car.  So what does this have to do with not having a computer for the last month?  You may ask.  Well, my computer, which goes everywhere with me, was in the front seat of the car at the time of the crash and unfortunately, didn’t survive the accident.  Neither did my not-backed-up files.  So to put it plainly, I lost all of my pictures from last year that have not already been uploaded on Smugmug, Facebook, or my website.  ::cries::

It’s a sad loss and a hard way to learn to back up your files.  But many more pictures will be taken, and life will go on.  Plus, the insurance company gave me $ for a new computer, so all is not lost!  I’m back in the game now, so keep your eye out for more posts soon to come.

Places: Birthday Dinner, Seoul, South Korea

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One of the great things about having a summer birthday is that you get to do fun things to celebrate and for me, I’ve gotten to be in all different awesome places for my birthday including Jamaica, California, Minnesota, and Korea.  Here are a few pics with some of my extended family and me at at restaurant on the east side of Seoul.

(Korean cakes are awesome)

Don’t ask me why they are holding large plastic axes…

Happy 22nd birthday to me!

Places: St. Paul Orthodox Church, Incheon, South Korea

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I grew up in an Evangelical home and community and went to an Evangelical college.  As a result, Christian faith has always been important to me as well as a big part of my life.  However, when there were too many unanswered questions (or too many different answers to my questions), I wanted to find something that seemed more rooted in something other than everyone’s different interpretations of the Bible. As a result, I turned to the Ancient Church–Eastern Orthodoxy, for guidance.  I was very skeptical of it for a long time, as I was of all churches and claims to Truth, but during my time in Korea I decided to give it a fair chance.  And am I ever glad that I did.  I met a wonderful priest named Father Daniel Na and attended his church, St. Paul Orthodox Church in Incheon, one city over from Bucheon.  Luckily, he was fluent in English, so he was able to teach me a lot.  I didn’t end up joining the Church while in Korea, but it was an important stage in my spiritual search.  Here are some pictures of the beautiful church:

I also had the pleasure of celebrating Pascha (Easter) while in Korea.  It’s an incredibly joyous celebration of Christ’s resurrection involving a long, late night service followed by LOTS of good food and drink!  Here are some pictures my Priests’ son took of the occasion:

Me w/ the priest’s wife:

Father Daniel giving me a red egg, symbolizing the resurrection of Christ

Aren’t the icon murals incredible??

This church was a precious, precious part of my time in Korea and I will never forget all of the wonderful, warm, loving people in this congregation.  I can’t wait to go back to see everyone next time I’m in Korea!

Places: Jebu-Do, Gyeonggi, South Korea

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Periodically, the staff at my school would go on little trips or dinner outings together to get away from work and spend time with one another.  Our first trip was to Jebu-Do, (the “do” part meaning “island.”)  I was pretty excited when I first found out we were going to an island because I was getting sick of the smog of the city and, well, even though it’s Korea, I ignorantly had images of tropical happiness in my mind.  Well, I was in for a surprise when we got there and there were no palm trees, no sun, and only mud.  Korean island.  Hello…

Well, anyway, even though it wasn’t what I expected, it still was pretty.  Here are some pics for you to judge for yourself:

Some of my coworkers:

Have you ever been anywhere that turned out to be totally different from what you expected?