Tuesday, October 14, 2014

It's been a long time.

It's been a long time.
I shouldn't have left you without a dope beat to step to.

I'm going to make more of an effort to jot somethings down from now on.
It seems like time flies and schedules rule the day.

No time left for you.
On my way to better things.  
I'll find myself some wings.
Distant roads are calling me.

Some days it's just easier than others to reflect upon the day, the week.
Not that the days are bad, I have no place to complain.  Quite the opposite
actually.  My castles aren't made of sand and I'm not drifting into the sea.

I'm blessed beyond belief.
My beautiful, caring, thoughtful wife has made me happier than I could imagine.  Being apart of her family has just added to that happiness.

My heart, mind, and being are all in a good place.

Monday, December 31, 2012

How We Met... the short version


            Finding a teaching job in 2010 was not an easy task.  Trying to distinguish yourself from two hundred applicants was difficult when you all had the same qualifications.  My plan to set myself apart was to teach overseas.  South Korea wasn’t my first choice.  I was planning on going to China but those plans fell through.  How different my life would’ve been had those plans not changed.
            August 2010, my flight touched down at Incheon airport.  Hours later I was being shown the school I would be teaching at for the next year, LCI Academy.  I was handed a pamphlet that introduced the school’s mission statement and staff biographies.  At the bottom were pictures of all ten English teachers.  There was a picture of myself and the other eight teachers I met earlier that day.  Interestingly enough, one of the faces I didn’t recognize.  Mined you, this was a face you wouldn’t forget.  To say the least I very much wanted to meet this Kate Terry.
            To officially welcome all the new teachers our school had a dinner.  The entire staff was there except Kate; her flight arrived after mine.  Dinner began and everyone joined in conversation.  About thirty minutes had passed when I saw her walk into the restaurant.  She was more than her picture revealed.
            Over the next year we became inseparable.  Our classrooms were next door to each other and I was greeted with her infectious smile every morning.  We shared in the excitement of exploring our new surrounds.  Walks, subways, buses and bike rides were vehicles for our blossoming friendship.  She became my best friend.  It was easy to follow in love with her.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Proposal



Joshua Niehues

A proposal takes time. Well, the proposal itself has a lifespan which seems to last a flicker of a lit candle. The pre-proposal is where the planning and covert operations happen. Back in August I was trying to get all my ducks in a row and all without Kate finding out about my master plan. At times I felt like a secret agent handling sensitive material.

I knew the information I would need. Some would be easy to get (ring size) others would be more difficult (what type of ring). Also, where do I propose? When do I propose? How do I ask her dad? These questions seem to have reasonable and logical answers, but logic and reason give way to the frightening feeling that you need to be perfect. The proposal, the ring, the position of the sun and moon, everything needs to be perfect.

Fast forward to early December. Operation Proposal was nearing completion.

1. Ask Father Ö

2. Purchase the perfect ring Ö

3. Rehearse my lines Ö

4. Practice my knee bend Ö

Now all I needed to do was decide on when and where. Kate and I owe a lot to who we are because of our families. We both love and respect our parents very much. I knew it would be very important and exciting for her to be able to celebrate with her family. Since we live in California and her family is in Ohio I knew I would wait until we arrived for the holidays.

We flew into Columbus ahead of the first winter storm. I was happy that we missed flying through it. I was also eager to see if there would be a blanket of snow on the ground for the Christmas Eve proposal in a few days time.

The house was alive with activity on the morning of the 24th. Kate’s parents were packing up the car and her brothers were loading up presents to take to grandma and grandpa’s house. I was becoming anxious because I didn’t know how I was going to get Kate alone. Though her parents knew I was going to ask during the holidays I didn’t tell them when or where. I wanted them to share in the surprise.

As we were packing our overnight bags I whispered to Kate that I had a two-part gift that needed to be opened in our company only. She gave me a puzzled look. I told her it would all make sense shortly. We grabbed our bags and walked to the car. The timing couldn’t have been better. Everyone else had gone inside for a minute. This was my chance. Operation proposal was a go!

We put our bags in the car and standing in the snow of her parents front yard I said, “Ok, this is the first part of your gift.”

Then I handed her a crudely wrapped piece of red tissue paper. As she opened it she saw four sequential pictures of me. Later she would tell me she thought it was a bookmark. It was a photo booth strip of me using elementary sign language saying, I… Love… You. The final picture was of me presenting the ring. I watched her eyes and as she was trying to process the final picture I bent down on one knee and said with welling tears in my eyes, “Kate, will you make me the happiest man in the world? Will you marry me?”

The emotions on her face embraced my heart. Her bottom lip began to curl down, her chin began to wrinkle up and tears cascaded down her olive cheeks. At this moment I’m waiting for that one word. My left knee, buried in the snow, I’m waiting for conformation.

“D-Did you ask my dad?” came the emotionally drenched response.

“Yes I asked him. He said yes.” as I stood to embrace her.

“YES!” Kate tearfully replied. “YES!”

I was elated with joy! We kissed and I held her tightly. In the excitement I forgot to slip the ring on her finger.

“You need to put the ring on my finger.” she said with enthusiasm and a voice still chocked up with emotion.

Just then her dad came out. He was walking down the drive towards us, but he saw tears in Kate’s eyes and did a 180° back to the house. He thought we were fighting. Once Kate got his attention he realized everything was more than ok.

The next thirty minutes consisted of tearful hugs, laughs, photo-ops and phone calls. I gave myself a few seconds, has the delicate flakes of snow melted into cool drops of water on my face, to think about how our paths crossed. No one could have written a more beautiful story. Two people from opposite ends of the United States move to South Korea and fall in love. But that is a whole other story.

5. Kate says Yes Ö

Mission Accomplished.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Exploring the streets of San Francisco
even the crooked one!
Trolley car rides, eating our tomato soup out of sourdough bread bowls,
sampling decadent chocolate and cruising the bay at night.
Ah and let us not forget AT&T Park and the Giants dugout store!
That was just the half of it and in only two days.

Kate and I had a wonderful time in San Francisco.  The weather couldn't have been any better!
The rest of Kate's trip was spent between visiting with my family, walking the wide streets of Willows, visiting more family, and my old college town of Chico.

It never really dawned on me how wide the streets of Willows are until Kate pointed it out.  But one thing I always knew, I have a big family.  During the Willows Christmas parade Kate was introduced to a merid of my relatives.  She was pleased to meet them and was lucky enough to spend time with some of them.

We made sweet rolls with my Grandma Louie and sister and built one of Kate's creations with my Grandpa John.  It was great to finally have her meet all the people I had talked about over the year in Korea.  And I was glad to have her here with me... but two weeks wasn't enough ;)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011



It was a long trek across the country, starting at four in the morning in Oakland, hopping on connecting flights in L.A. and Detroit to finally arrive in Columbus just after 7 at night. I would've traveled infinite distances for the one who was waiting for me at the airport.
With bags in hand I walked out of the Columbus airport into the autumn night and there she was sitting in her car waving with enthusiasm. As I approached the car she met me with that infectious smile. She wore her black windbreaker jacket and black tights. Her hair was in a side braid and her olive colred skin shone with a radiance that suggested she'd been in the sun. There wasn't a place in creation I'd rather have been. I was back with my girl. I was back with Kate.
I throughly enjoyed Ohio. I met many of Kate's relatives and friends all of whom were very warm and welcoming. Kate's parents, Lori and Howard, made me feel comfortable and welcomed in their home. Lori makes an amazing pizza and rice krispy treats!
Kate's Aunt Karen and Uncle Jack were the consumate hosts. I had a great time driving through the countryside and checking out the Amish stores. Great pancakes Jack!
I now have pictures in my head of Ohio. now when Kate talks about the 'Short North' I can travel there in my mind's eye. The places of Columbus, German Village, Tiger Tree, and Buckeye Donuts; The hometown feel of Utica, Kenton, and Lima; Circleville's World Famous Pumpkin Festival had me wondering if Norman Rockwell ever had that town in mind when he painted; the colors of the leaves and the proceived eb and flow of the rolling hills, all have become real to me.
I enjoyed Kate's Ohio and I can't wait to share my California with her.

Friday, September 2, 2011

One Year

One Year
My year in Korea is nearing the end.  It’s only natural to look back and reflect on such an experience.  In more ways than one this has been a life changing experience.  I’m not using that phrase lightly, I have changed.  The core of who I knew I was is breathing new life on its own reality.  Like a dream that comes to existence, I’m no longer dreaming of who I want to become, I am.
I’ve become more confident and this confidence has also made me more humble.  It’s okay to not know all the answers.  It’s okay to make mistakes.  The same words of advice I tell my students are finally finding my own ears.  In my 32 years I am finally understanding lessons I was taught when I was younger.  I know I’m a work in progress and I hope it’s a life of progression.  I’ve found an extremely loving and patient woman that has come to mean so much to me.  Kate was and is that person I was able to be myself with.  We talked a lot about everything under the sun.  She has helped me become a better person.
Professionally I’m continually evolving.  I’m learning new methods of teaching and classroom management while putting those ideas and theories to the test.  I’m learning more about the way young students learn.  I’m no longer just reading about Piaget’s cognitive development or Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development, I’m actively engaged in it firsthand.  It’s an amazing feeling to be a part in a child’s growth and development.  I can’t begin to fathom the joy a parent must feel when their child takes their first steps and speaks their first words.  I think to myself, even on the tough days, “I’m in the right profession.”

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Miso the Play

I went to see the Korean play 'Miso' today at the Chongdong Theater with Kate.  It's a Romeo and Juliet type play, but they don't die at the end.  It was really cool to watch and listen to traditional music and dance.  I'm a big fan of the drums... (Erik if you read this... you know what I'm talking about... "Drumline ya dig?")
It was almost entirely free of speech... The musical was full of choreographed dances and rhythmic beats. 


We thought it was gonna be a perfect day to watch go to the matinee, since the weather report was all rain all day... But when we got out of the theater the sun was poking out a bit.  It was a bit muggy but once the sun went down it began to cool off a bit.  It was a good Saturday all around. 

Now I'm relaxing to some Otis Redding... good Saturday all around indeed.