Daring to Dream

by Grace Ko

I'm an ENFJ, he's an ENTJ. 
We both love people, we share a love for traveling/books/museums/sports. 
On the surface, we don't seem all that different but beneath it all, it's another story. 

I spent a lot of my time in New Jersey this summer on the couch, with HGTV playing for hours on end. I was only 15 weeks and the rough trip across the pond took a toll on my body. I let my body rest: "This is why I came home". As luck would have it, there was a "Fixer Upper" marathon so while my brother was at work during the day, my eyes would be glued to the screen, entranced by story after story of flipping houses into homes. I obviously already appreciated the work of Chip & Joanna Gaines (I especially love Joanna's testimony) but watching this interview has made me respect and love them more. 

My husband is a lot like Chip Gaines - no boundaries, sky's the limit, a big dreamer, a visionary, outside-of-the-box-kind-of-guy. Me, on the other hand, I'm a lot like Joanna - I like predictability, I don't like surprises, I like comfort, I'm a rule-follower, a perfectionist. 

I am seemingly more extroverted on the outside, but Y is really the extrovert. He can strike up a conversation with anyone and everyone. (I joke he can have a rich, meaningful conversation with a wall if he wanted to.) 

He is an architect, to the core. He questions everything, likes to shake things up and doesn't like to do things "the way it's always been done". He isn't easily phased by what others think or say. He's inquisitive, adventurous and "wild at heart", a go-getter, results-kinda-guy. 

They say, "Opposites attract," and in this regard, I am the complete opposite. I think and process a lot. I am a "feeler" to the core. I think, "Why change a good thing if it works?" I am a counselor by training, appreciating "the process"

Meeting Y and marrying him has been quite a journey and watching this video today is so timely as it's Y's 2nd work anniversary here in Korea. 

I can say without a shadow of a doubt, that if it weren't for Y, we wouldn't be on this adventure here in our motherland. If it weren't for him, I wouldn't have started exploring creativity. I wouldn't have started my blog. If it weren't for him, I wouldn't have traveled the world or dared to begin dreaming. 

Somewhere between birth and adulthood, I became cautious, timid to dream, afraid to be creative, fearful to think outside-of-the-box. I became more focused on what others thought or felt, more concerned with pleasing those around me.

As I reflect on the past two years here in Korea, the journey God has brought us on in this marriage and as we are about to embark on quite possibly the greatest adventure of all, parenthood, I am daring to dream. Dreams for this baby, dreams for our growing family, dreams for this nation. 

26 weeks

by Grace Ko

Things are changing quite quickly at 26 weeks. My belly seems to be growing everyday and the scale is there to prove it... There's no hiding this baby bump of mine and there's no mistaking I'm pregnant now. I was offered a seat on a packed subway for the first time this week (!!!) 


Baby's the size of a scallion (14 inches from head to toe!!!) and according to my baby apps, he can open his eyes now! His movements are getting stronger and more pronounced - you can see my belly move when he kicks/punches/jabs/knees. 

With the second trimester winding down (how is that possible?) we are in full gear getting ready. We made an IKEA run and purchased a crib, a chair and a cart to fill with baby supplies and we are (slowly) putting together baby's room. 

Books have become a precious commodity in this household. Y and I have always shared our love for books. We have been respectively growing our collections and have joined forced on this front now. With baby on his way, we are carefully selecting books to fill his little library. 

Jeju, you are a gem

by Grace Ko in ,

The first and last time I was in Jeju was 16 years ago, my freshman year of high school. That year was a tumultuous one, full of adolescent angst and a whole gamut of emotions. But I do fondly remember my trip to Jeju - my brother and I tagged along with my aunt, uncle and cousin on a trip with their friends. 

Last weekend, Y and I went to Jeju for 3 nights, 4 days. A typhoon had passed through only a few days before our arrival and the lingering effects of it were felt - the first two days were filled with intermittent downpours. We spent our first full day escaping the rain in sundry indoor spaces: O'Sulloc Tea Museum, Bangju Church, Bonte Museum. Married to an architect, I have grown to appreciate buildings and architecture. The husband calls architecture "the container of life" and I was grateful it for these containers of life and places of refuge from the temperamental weather. 

But like they say, after the rain comes the sun and scintillating it was. It was all the more glorious. We spent our days breathing in the fresh autumn air, letting our eyes soak in the blue skies and took the time to say things like, "How beautiful!" "This is so amazing!" Making the most of the weather, we spent one day exploring winding paths through lush forests and rolling hills, the following day making our way along the coast's beaches. Our bellies were filled with a motley of Jeju's finest: abalone, pork belly, seafood stew just to name a few. 

I went to Jeju just an excitement of getting away from the hubbub of Seoul life and feasting on good eats and sights. But I returned refreshed, rejuvenated and recalibrated, with a greater sense of hope and expectation. To be quite honest, grieving has been a real part of this pregnancy. I often look through Instagram or Facebook and see the places people are traveling to and I'm filled with the occasional pang of wanderlust, an ounce of envy and a sense of loss: "There's another place we won't get to go to," "That's another thing I won't be able to do once baby comes..." Now, don't get me wrong. I am extremely excited for baby's impending arrival but I'm also very aware his impending arrival brings very real impending life changes. 

A part of me went to Jeju thinking, "Okay, here's one last hurrah." But God must've known my heart. At every corner, every stop, every cafe, there were families traveling with young children. It made me realize that my life won't stop with baby's arrival. Yes, there will be changes. Yes, there will be adjustments. But there will also be a new sense of joy. And I can still travel, WITH baby! 

Baby, I can't wait to take you to Jeju and to show you the beauty of this country you will be in born in. Korea is beautiful, you'll see. 

Dating my husband: Leeum Museum

by Grace Ko in , ,

I can be quite a homebody. It often requires much planning and effort to get myself out the door. But lately, Y and I have been going on many dates, trips and spontaneous outings making the most of what's left of this season of just being the two of us. 

The other week, he got off early and asked me what I wanted to do. Being the pregnant woman I am, I scheduled the rest of the day around what I wanted to eat. 

We went to Plant, a vegan cafe in Itaewon for lunch. I had attempted and failed to bring Y there several times because everytime we had gone, it was always closed. So you could imagine the joy of finally being able to go. He ordered a falafel burger, I got the vegetable tempeh wrap and washed it down with a cold kombucha.

Then we leisurely made our way to the Leeum Museum. It was our second time there. We bought our tickets to the Olafur Eliasson exhibit: "The Parliament of Possibilities" but stopped to sit for a break at the museum cafe first. (I've been loving that my husband, typically a go-getter, doesn't-sit-still-ever energizer bunny has adapted to slowing down for me.) 

We shared a green tea latte and spent an hour reading our respective books- mine: The Secret Life of Bees, his: Ina May's Guide to Childbirth (which may or may not have been a suggestion from me). 

The exhibit sparked a sense of amazement in the mundane, ordinary objects and we left feeling full from creativity and innovation. 

25 weeks

by Grace Ko

I'm a bit ashamed that I am writing my first pregnancy update on this blog at 25 weeks, but hey ho! Better late than never, right? 

I've been getting asked, "How many months are you?" And I always need to stop and calculate because pregnancy is measured by weeks. But at 25 weeks, I guess I'm 6 months and then some. 

At 25 weeks, the baby is about the size of a rutabaga, measuring 13.5 inches from head to heels (!!!) Sometimes, I look down at my growing belly but am amazed to think there's a 13.5-inch baby in there! Baby is starting to put on some fat and we could tell when we saw him (it's a boy!) at our ultrasound. 

Our gender announcement on Instagram: "9 years ago, I met a guy nicknamed "Wolverine". 5 years ago, I became "Mrs" to Wolverine. Now, we're having Baby Wolverine!" 

Our gender announcement on Instagram: "9 years ago, I met a guy nicknamed "Wolverine". 5 years ago, I became "Mrs" to Wolverine. Now, we're having Baby Wolverine!" 

I've been thoroughly enjoying meat (a vast difference from first trimester when I couldn't even stand the thought of it), I have a nightly ritual of snacking on milk & cereal (another oddity as I typically hate milk and rarely eat cereal), I am thankful for Pilates lessons and evening walks with the husband. I love that we have started routines, such as reading to baby before we go to bed. (We just finished reading him The Cricket in Times Square.) I'm not enjoying the struggle of finding clothes that fit and I'm truthfully a bit jealous my husband just keeps getting slimmer and fitter while I sometimes feel like a whale, but hey, I'm busy growing a baby.