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Sorry for the late upload! Here it is~.

A big “thank-you” to David (my awesome boss) for not only agreeing to be in this comic, but allowing me to bring Mini-Grace with me for an in-office photo shoot~

The epic conclusion to this mini-series will be up on Sunday! To be continued!

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The plot thickens…

Hang in there, lovely readers. More shenanigans to be had this upcoming Wednesday  Thursday!

I hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving holiday!

My family certainly did!

Happy Thanksgiving, from the Whang Gang.

The adventure continues…

Duhn duhn DUUUUUHN!

What will happen next??? Find out in this Sunday’s continuation of whatever this mini-series is going to be called!

On a separate note…

WE REACHED $900!!! A special thank you to the following generous donors who have helped the New Mercy Project reach their goal in less than 3 weeks time!

  • Jason Kim
  • Timothy Duffy
  • John Yum
  • Steve Hickerson
  • Tracey Tiernan
  • David Woo
  • Peter Whang
  • Faith Whang
  • Peter Kang
  • Angel Vega
  • Robert Armitage

You still have one week left to contribute to the Christmas Dinner and get a photo comic!

This Thanksgiving, let’s pay our own personal blessing forward by saving these kids’ lives.

Happy Thanksgiving~ Eat well…just…not TOO well…if you know what I mean…

Are you ready for the first “I Wish I Was A Little Bit Taller” mini-series?

Ready or not, here it comes!

Check back every Wednesday and Sunday to see what happens next!!!

For fossils, that is.

Dad and I went off to West Virginia (as we are members of the Maryland Geological Society…NERD ALERT!) to go hunting for Trilobites.

The weather was great, and the pickings were good. Follow me!

For those of you guys that are wondering what the “MIOCENE” means on the license plate, Miocene is the geological epoch of the Neogene Period that extends from about 23 to 5 million years ago. And those people thought it was cool enough to have as their personalized plate.

. . .

Here I thought my “GWHANG” plates were hard core, but I was dead wrong.

To see another ridiculous license plate as well as more fossil hunting nerdiness, click HERE for photos of another trip that my Dad and I went to over a year ago.

Sorry for no comics this week, and for an overall lame month of blogging.

It’s been another 65+ hour week at my firm, and something tells me next week is going to be the same. I’ll maybe just not sleep one night to FINALLY get that photo comic out.

I’m gonna go and put massive amounts of anti-itch cream on my neck now. Those dang West Virginian mosquitoes ate me ALIVE!

And so it ends…

Day 10-11 9/25-09/26

The past two days have been so great.

We got to the airport with some time to spare and waited in the international terminal. We got a bite to eat, and as we sat down, the table next to us filled up with a large Korean family, which included a baby (2 year old) boy. The boy was rocking back and forth, standing on his chair, and in the pit of my stomach, I had a feeling that he was going to fall backwards off of the chair.

And it happened. But because I was expecting it, my arm was there to catch him before he hit the ground.

It was so crazy, but I am grateful that God allowed me to be where I was when I was. I also gained a mini-fan that day, as the little boy consistently wandered away from his family to come up to me and smile coyly. He was ADORABLE. Little Asian dumpling of a boy, with a cute little ascot.

The flight was thankfully uneventful. And after we landed, just as we hit a huge line through customs, they opened up a brand new lane and all three of us were filtered in with no wait. What favorable timing, eh?

Pastor Noel Park came to pick us up , and he graciously drove us over an hour’s worth the entire time he hosted us. He took us to a delicious traditional Korean dinner with several varieties of kimchi, dwenjang chigae (bean curd stew), jellyfish, snail, vegetables, pork, and tons of other banchan (side dishes). To my relief and joy, my co-workers ate and savored all of it.

The hotel’s accommodations were fantastic (my room even has a walk-in-closet and one of those scary high tech toilets). After getting settled in, I watched 2 Indiana Jones movies that were playing on TV and fell asleep.

On Sunday,  I got up and quickly got ready to find Jubilee Church’s new location. Fortunately, I found it with no drama. The service was fantastic and the prayer, worship, and message were all exactly what I needed to experience.

After church, I took my co-workers to Insadong, where we had a fantastic time. The weather was great, and the shopping was fruitful. It was Sunday Open Food Market AND an Arts Festival Day, so we got to see the town bustling. The ahjummahs (old ladies) at the food carts even let us sample the food for free. We split boong-oh-bbang (fish-shaped breaded treats), fish cakes, and something that tasted like the filling of a dumpling (sans the dumpling skin).

I did have several hilarious things happen at the market place. The three of us walked up to this one food cart where they were making a snack made of fine, cotton-candy-like wisps of honey skein (called “Kkultarae”). The three guys working at the cart made it an entire show, singing and chanting the steps it took to make the snack.

During a singing/chanting break, one of the guys looked at me, told me that I was pretty and asked (in Korean) if my boss (who was behind me) was my boyfriend. I shook my head and responded that he was not. The guy next to him then asked (embarrassingly loudly) if I had a boyfriend. I said that I did not. He then burst into the same sing-songy chant…singing me his phone number and asking me to “please give [him] a call sometime.”

I ended up buying a box. Haha. It was delicious but the most unique thing I have ever tasted. It was really really interesting. I can’t even explain it.

Then came the amusing situation when we were walking down the street and a 40-some-year-old ahjushee (old man) was meandering past us…

…and he let a huge wet one rip. The sound of that fart was soooooo…moist. I died.

Immature, I know, but if you only heard…

After 8 hours of straight walking, we went to go get Korean Fried Chicken and found TwoTwo Chicken, where we ordered the sesame and garlic kinds of wings.

The garlic one was literally COVERED in garlic. But it was soooooo good. Food coma time. Good night!

Day 12-13 9/27-09/28

It’s been really crazy during my last two days in Seoul, so I’ll have to keep these brief.

On Tuesday, we had a good time just relaxing. I met up with Pastor Park again, who introduced me to several leaders of his church and denomination in Seoul. They were lovely people, and incredibly nice. They treated me to a fantastic buffet lunch at the Grand Hilton Hotel outside of Seoul. Super fancy, and I was so grateful for their generosity.

After lunch, I met up with the others and we wandered around COEX mall, got a manicure, and finished up last-minute-shopping before hitting a Korean BBQ Bacon place. Once dinner was over, we grabbed a cab over to Pierrot Strike, where I got to see my friends from back home in Jersey.

Got to bowl a couple of rounds at the trendy club/bowling alley/game room/bar, catch up with my friends (the awesome sibling duo, Joon and Sarah), and simply enjoy playing the night away.

The last day was a blur as well. It started off as a business meeting that transformed quickly into a whirlwind tour of Seoul. Thanks to an incredible amount of grace and favor from God (are you tired of hearing about this yet?), our meeting contact went so far beyond what we had expected by connecting us with the Chairman of one of the only architectural lighting firms in Korea. This Chairman took us to a fancy Bulgogi lunch, and hired a driver and tour escort from his firm to show us every interesting hotel in Seoul.

By the time the night was over, all of us reeled at what had just happened to us.

Tomorrow I return to the States. It’s been an intense ride, during the past two weeks, but I am leaving better for it. Thank You, Lord for everything. Everything.

Yeah...I know I'm weird...

FOR PHOTOS OF DAYS 10-13: SEOUL, GO HERE.

Entries of my final days in Shanghai. Seoul is next!

Day 7: 09/22

It was a a bit of a mixed day for me. The chaos caused by the masses of families going to the Expo for Moon Festival was purely overwhelming. Just getting into the South Korean Pavilion (which, by the way, was INCREDIBLY disappointing…I feel like I maybe accidentally missed half of the pavilion or something) took over 2 hours of waiting in the rain.

Still, I suppose I should back up and say how GRATEFUL I was for the overcast weather and rain today. There was no sun to bake us, and instead a nice cool breeze flew past that kept us happy and comfortable, despite the wait. So I praise God for the relief he provided us from the elements today.

We also checked out the North Korean Pavilion (which, by far, was the most interesting, non-architecturally-speaking). There were rainbows painted on the ceiling, a fountain with cherubim sitting under a sign that said “Paradise for People” and about 8 television screens of propaganda. It made my mouth drop in disgust and amusement all at the same time.

We escaped the crowd and crashed at the hotel for about half an hour before we decided to go and check out the Yuyuan Gardens. Problem is, the crowd was so crazy, that we gave up and left to go get another massage at a different place.

Forget the last massage place I went to. This place was the BOMB. They acupressure massaged us for TWO HOURS. 1 hour for feet and 1 hour for the rest of me. I have never had my butt massaged before, but my cheeks felt good afterwards. Haha.

All the pain I had in my heels from the past 5 days of walking and standing non-stop were gone. I turned in early, and went back to the hotel alone to plan our route of attack for our last two days in Shanghai.

Day 8: 09/23

My travelmates were a bit hung over from the night before, so they ended up sleeping in until past 3 pm. So in the meantime, I went to the shopping center across the street and spent my morning/early afternoon doing quiet time, drinking coffee, and video chatting with Dad using the wifi from the cafe. Not a bad way to spend a morning.

Once they felt better, we had sushi (the kind you get on a conveyor belt) and it was delicious~ Full of fishies, we left Pudong to go to Puxi to see the smaller Expo Pavilions, across the river.

God showing favor #1: We had gone into a specific Pavilion in order to get a special “stamp” to validate our Germany VIP passes. They didn’t have the machine to do it, so one of the volunteer workers gave us a private/personal tour of the Puxi side of the Expo, allowing us to bypass lines and everything. How crazy is that??? And we got a shiny Expo pin to keep that would allow us VIP passes to the Germany Pavilion!

It was great. We caught one of the last ferries over to the Pudong side of the Expo and did our walkabout. We saw so many things that we wanted to see more of in the daytime, and decided to come back the next day, even though we were exhausted.

Day 9: 09/24

Today, my co-worker and I were up at the crack of dawn and meandered our way to the Expo (we’re pros now, haha).

God showing favor #2: The one Pavilion I wanted to see was the Danish Pavilion (with the statue of the Little Mermaid), where the lines usually queued up to 4 hours in length…but when we got there, there was absolutely no one there but us. We were the first ones there and got to go in, with no wait.

God showing favor #3: At the Danish Pavilion, there is a special feature where you can borrow a bike and cycle through the ramped portion of the Pavilion. There are only about 30 bicycles for millions of visitors, and again, we had no wait, no line, and got to breeze through.

CLICK HERE TO SEE A VIDEO OF US “TRYING” TO CYCLE THROUGH THE PAVILION.

God showing favor #4: Did I mention that the weather was ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS today? A sunny 75 degrees with a breeze. Unreal looking fluffy clouds in the sky. Perfect weather for taking photographs.

God showing favor #5: On our previous Expo days, we got to see 2 pavilions, max (because of the ridiculous lines). Today, we saw Norway, Finland, Denmark, Mexico, Canada, Austria, and Germany (using our VIP passes to bypass an actual 4-hour long line). In less time than the other days took to see only 2 pavilions.

God showing favor #6: This one is definately a selfish one…but today was international hitting on Grace day. 😛 The guys at the Austria Pavilion (fresh off the boat from Austria, no less), apparently not only had “yellow fever”, but also had “Korean girl fever.” So they gave us the inside scoop to the Pavilion, and let us in first after chatting us up for 15 minutes or so. Hilarious. At the Canadian Pavilion, there were 20-something year old Chinese volunteers/entertainers dressed up as Mounties with strange clown makeup and flower hats. When I went to pose with one of them, the other one came and tried to block the other guy out of the picture. After some fake fighting, they both went on either side of me to pose, even though other people were waiting in line to take pictures with them. Not actually “favor”, perse, but it did boost my confidence a bit.

Today was a fantastic day. I’m exhausted and ready for Korea tomorrow. Very much looking forward to seeing Seoul again after 2 years. It’s past midnight and I’m going to pass out now. Praise God for His favor in the midst of chaos and the company of those who don’t know Him.

Stopping to smell the gigantic representations of flowers.

FOR PHOTOS OF DAY 7: SHANGHAI, GO HERE.

FOR PHOTOS OF DAY 8: SHANGHAI, GO HERE.

FOR PHOTOS OF DAY 9: SHANGHAI, GO HERE.

My adventures in Shanghai continue!

Day 5: 9/20

Today was a stressful day. Since it was our first time going to the Expo, we had no idea what to expect. The large crowd and crazy lines, plus the insane amount of heat…it was hard to bear.

The first pavilion we visited (Australia) was a breeze. Since we were one of the first people to get in, it ended up being a lot of a shorter wait than we expected. It was slightly unimpressive, so we were all a bit disappointed.

We then traveled over to the Vietnam Pavilion (as there was no line), and we were pleasantly surprised by the vaulted bamboo cathedral inside. It was breathtaking.

The last pavilion we hit was Japan. The 3 hour long wait was a bit much, but when we finally got in, it was a welcome relief. I did get to listen to a little Chinese child try to sing his ABC’s. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO HIS VERSION.

I was shocked by the technology Japan showcased, especially the robot that was able to play a sonata on an actual violin. Scary. CLICK HERE FOR THE ROBOT’S PERFORMANCE.

They even showed us a weird technology hybrid kabuki show. Interesting…

I was feeling a bit sickly after we got back from the Expo, and after a delicious dinner at the Super Brand Mall, I unfortunately ended up puking up a bit because of the crazy heat and humidity. Then I passed out into bed and slept the night away.

Day 6: 9/21

Today was a much better day. Since we knew what we were getting ourselves into, we left much better prepared than when we did the day before. We were first in line, and we even got VIP passes to the China Pavilion (though we ended up giving them away to this adorably grateful Japanese couple, because the reservation times did not work with our schedule).

The first thing we did was book it to the farthest end of the Expo and made it as one of the first people to see the UK Pavilion…and it was simply amazing.

So I don’t bore you with details, I’ll skip along to the Switzerland Pavilion. It wasn’t amazing architecturally, except for the fact that they constructed an actual ski lift that takes you to the top of the green roofs of the Pavilion and gives a fantastic view around the entire Expo from a bird’s eye perspective. SO much fun. CLICK HERE TO SEE WHAT I SAW ON THE LIFT.

After Expo, we went back to the mall with the fake brand stuff. But when we got to the place, we were immediately trailed by this creepy Chinese ahjushee in a button up white shirt.

I was creeped out at how close he tried to get to us and the way he smiled at us. Then I got scared, when two more men joined their friend and followed us as well, one trying to cut us off at the front. As they trailed us, they made shortcuts to circle around us like barracudas, and slapped their water bottles as they stalked us, trying to intimidate us.

They even followed us after my boss got in their face and was threatening bodily harm to them if they didn’t stop. They were going to follow us into an elevator, but my gut feeling was to not get into a confined space with them, so I grabbed my co-workers and made a beeline to the Metro Station (which was connected to the shopping mall).

The moment we were in the Station, they stopped following us (there are Chinese guards posted at every station entrance). And I thanked God that we left with all of our stuff, our health, and safety in-tact.

We then decided to go and hit the outdoor Antiques bazaar, where the people were friendly, neighborhood-like, and extremely easy to bargain with. The long walks through the covered outdoor markets, chatting with locals, listening to birds in their cages, and seeing babies run around with their butt-less pants made us all feel so much better. I even bumped into a whole group of Korean tourists and got to chat with them.

Now I’m in the hotel, and I’m about to crash.  I’ll be keeping things in perspective, praying always, and being joyful in the Lord always…He has protected us and given us favor, every step of the way on this trip.

The UK Pavilion made me jump for joy.

FOR PHOTOS OF DAYS 5: SHANGHAI, GO HERE.

FOR PHOTOS OF DAYS 6: SHANGHAI, GO HERE.

My journal entries from my first 4 days in Shanghai.

DAY 1: 09/16

This morning started off a bit frazzled. I got up around 6:30 am, and despite having a full 5 hours of sleep, I felt exhausted. Nevertheless, I immediately packed my last minute sundries (toothbrush, face wash, cell phone charger, etc.) and booked it to the airport.

There was no airport drama (Praise the Lord!) and I got settled into the 16 hour flight. Bibimbap and some “Light Coke” (as opposed to the American “Diet Coke”) later, I enjoyed my window seat and blew through several films including A-Team (mleh), Karate Kid (I know, I saw it already, but it was fun to re-watch), 71-Into the Fire (AMAZING), and listened to the K-Pop radio station as I wrote this blog entry.

I am pondering how God is going to show Himself during this trip. Yesterday I felt panicked as my contacts were not getting back to me concerning VIP tickets to the World Expo, and (no thanks to my OCD and foolish need to be in control), I was mortified at how my well-thought-out plans were falling through last minute. What if my credibility is lost due to my inability to follow through with my words?

But God has NEVER let me down in any way shape or form in my life. Yes, there were hard times, but He never abandoned me or allowed me to be humiliate by my enemies. Undeserved amounts of favor have always followed me, and I know that He has a plan for this trip, and His plan > mine (no matter how hard I try to do things on my own).

So! My prayer is that instead of worrying, that I be a joy to Him through my obedience and willingness to trust Him. I have no clue what will or will not happen, but I’m good.

Day 2: 09/17

Yay for silly jetlag! I ended up getting up around 6:00 am, Shanghai time, and after my quiet time, I decided that I would wander around the hotel and see what amenities were available. To my delight, past the first-rate gym (with all the machines and weights I use back home), a foosball table, and a lounge, there was a lovely outdoor pool on the roof deck. After a quick jog to start the day, I exchanged money at the front desk, and headed over to the People’s Square.

The Metro was really clean, smooth, and fast, and because we were traveling past rush hour, it wasn’t crowded at all. SO nice~

By the time we got to People’s Square, it was almost noon, and I hadn’t eaten since our on-flight Korean Air dinner, so…yeah…I was hungry. We wandered around looking for something that wasn’t KFC (there were SO MANY KFC’s in Shanghai!) and I saw a sign for dumplings on the second floor of the Shanghai Food Store.

Pushing past the throngs of people getting ready for the Moon Festival, I shuffled up to the second floor and saw the dumplings shop. To my disappointment, despite the crowd, there was hardly a line for it.

But to the left was another, smaller food stall that had a line flowing out the door. I peeked over the counter to see what was being made, and to my delight, there were Shanghainese soup dumplings!

The people didn’t understand English, so I used sign language (I made imaginary dumplings in my hands to symbolized what I wanted to eat, put them on an imaginary tray to confirm how many dumplings there were per order, and held up fingers saying how many servings we wanted).

It was SO delicious. And only 1 dollar for 4 dumplings~! And the marketplace downstairs sold chicken feet…in individually shrink wrapped packaging…like Slim-Jims. HILARIOUS.

After walking miles and hours down Nanjing Road and along the Bund (and stopping by tons of fun cartoony stores along the way), I got into a subway station and headed back to the hotel, where I collapsed and took a nap. Asia has so many cute things. I was tempted to buy a little keychain speaker, but didn’t want to spend the money. CLICK HERE TO SEE ONE OF THOSE TRINKETS IN ACTION.

Dinner was uneventful as a contact of ours treated us to dinner…at an Italian restaurant. (Yes. I’m in Shanghai, and I had pizza.) Sleep was so sweet.

PS: As we drove back in a taxi, I saw a Massage Parlor called “DOUBLE RAINBOW.” I died.

Day 3: 09/18

Today was a great day (though largely uneventful).

Woke up at 7 am (jet lag is getting a bit better now), and went to the gym, where I worked out for an hour before cooling off in the swimming pool. So awesome.

I did some research online and found this fantastic little restaurant in the French Concession district of Shanghai called Bull Noodle. Along the way, I saw hundreds of little boutiques with the most bizarre t-shirts and things and bought the most unique novelty items for very great prices.

After a DELICIOUS lunch (I would so go back there any day), I haggled my way through one of Shanghai’s largest faux stuffs markets and got what I wanted.

Once I got back, I met up with my “Uncle” Daxing’s cousin, who hooked my group up with inside info and VIP passes on some of the Pavilions for the Expo. She was so nice.

And then I passed out. Sleepy sleepy. So sleepy sleepy.

Day 4: 09/19

Looking back on today, I have to say that I saw God showed a huge amount of favor.

Our group’s first destination was Xintiandi, the SoHo of Shanghai (if you will). We went into a dimsum place, completely starving. We didn’t eat dinner last night because we were so tired, so we were running on a small shared meal from more than 24 hours prior.

We walked around the district for an hour or two and a bar caught my eye. It was so uniquely designed from the outside, so we took a peek inside. It was so much fun. The bar/restaurant (TMSK) was owned and designed by a couple that were also glass artists.

They usually didn’t allow people to take pictures inside, but for some reason, they decided to not only let us take photos, but also give us a private tour of the space. Crazy, right?

We decided to go and get a massage, considering how much our bodies were aching from the combination of working out every morning and walking miles every day. I thoroughly enjoyed my massage.

The lady who massaged my head and shoulders was good, though she got progressively harder and harder in her massaging (ouch). And when she massaged my thighs, she got a little bit too close to my danger zone. The man who massaged my calves and feet…

…let’s just say that I wanted to stuff him in my suitcase and take him home. I’d let him stay in my apartment for free, use my TV, Internet, and fridge…just so long as he could give me a daily foot massage like the one I got today.

One hour has never flown by so quickly. And for $23 bucks…I’d do it again.

On our way back, I noticed a bunch of Chinese people walking into this one restaurant, and I was intrigued, so we stopped by a Taiwanese modern tea house/dimsum place. There were delicious foods with delicious teas, and we left full and happy.

I'm in Shanghai, baby!

FOR PHOTOS OF DAYS 1-4: SHANGHAI, GO HERE.

2 Weeks Later, and I’m back~!

Over the next couple of days, I’ll be posting a report/blog of my travels and “adventures.”

Look forward to it!

Mmm...

A Cartoon Stuck in a Real Girl’s Body

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