My Grandparents, on my mother's side, just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on the 28th.
I called them a day early, and just now remembered to post something about it.
They know I love them and admire them for still being together, after fifty years, four children (and losing one very young), ten grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, joblessness, jobs on the road, owning a business, retirement, and being a positive force in practically every aspect of my life. Fifty years, that can't be summed up in less than ninety words.
I love you, Nana and Papa, and all the parts of that fifty years that fit into my own existence.
We got out and about a little the other night. My ankle is feeling a ton better, although it really isn't very good. Probably shouldn't be walking as much as I am, but the crutches are actually harder to use. It's a long story. I won't bore you w/ it.
Our friend Brandon's wife visited this week. She is finishing up her Masters' b/f joining us out here in Korea. We went to our favorite chicken restaurant and had good food, good beer and good times. Brandon brought his camera and took a few pictures, and sent them to me via Skype yesterday (can I shill for Skype yet, I totes love them and their phone service, chat service, and everything else. If you aren't using, WHY NOT?). He has a nice camera, one which is similar to the one I have a hunch I might be seeing in my future (for those keeping track, you still have 9 good shopping days left till my birthday).
It is nice to have good and fun people to hang w/ here. It helps to cut the the feeling of being cut off from everyone we love.
That's about all for now!
I just finished reading the blog of my friend, Stacy, who has been fighting T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma for the last two years.
Her latest round of tests, including a bone marrow biopsy, x-rays, scans, and blood work have come back clear. She is off of chemo, and it seems that she is finally, after all this time and all the emotional and physical upheaval, able to start getting her life back.
Following along w/ her story all this time has made me grateful for what I have, and also, for the strange circumstances that allowed us to become friends. Friends who share more commonalities than we originally thought, and who take time to drop friendly notes to one another when it seems the other needed it most. We have sponsored each other in Cancer and AIDS walks, knowing the incredible amounts of energy the other must have struggled to find. In no way do I compare what I am going through to what she has been through, rather, it was humbling to see her fight. It helped me to know that even my worst days would be manageable, b/c if she could do it, I could. It was incredible to see her live her life, including getting married this past October to the partner who held her though it all, and not let the cancer slow her down if she could help it.
I am proud to know her. She is one of the strongest women I know, a fighter capable of beating anything. And now she has. Most importantly, I am proud to call her my friend, and for the chance to send her Samhain and Yule cards again.
Way to go, Stacy. May the Goddess smile on you as you continue to heal.
I can not be bribed w/ Puppy Face.
No matter how cute you are.
No matter how far out you stick that lip, I will only think of what my Dad used to say to me: "A bird is going to poop on that lip!".
You can beg for something all you want, but if my mind is made up, I will stand firm in my answer.
It does not mean that I don't love you. It doesn't mean that I don't want you to be happy (though you have never accused me of such nonsense). It means that I love you enough to stand my ground, and to provide you w/ a set standard that you can rely on. Agreements that you can be sure of, so that there is never any guessing as to what is or is not acceptable.
It also exemplifies my commitment to raising you in a home that is fair and honest. My commitment to raising you in a world where you are not limited by any definition or label, or Social Construct. My commitment to doing what I can to make sure that the world that you are eager to join is one that will live up to your dreams, the crazy dreams where you can be a TV chef and a Hockey Star, an Art Teacher, or a Tae Kwan Do champion.
This firm love I have for you is my way of showing you that I am committed to raising you to see the world fairly, and to love people not only in spite of the things that make us different, but very often b/c of those things.
All the Love in the World,
The Kid proudly sports the latest in fashion accessories for the 6 y/o world traveler.
The disposable face mask comes in a variety of colors and patterns to allow for coordination w/ any outfit. Soft yet durable, it is the most stylish way to protect your lungs from the phenomena known as Huang Sa (황사, 黃沙/黃砂) or, Yellow Sand. Regular use has been proven to not only make you cuter when you make an angry face, but also to curb coughing fits of those still recovering from major colds.
Hurry on down to your local Korean Market or Korean 7-11 to get yours today!
In all seriousness, masks are common in Korea, among people suffering from colds (as a common courtesy to others around them to help hamper the spread of germs), and as a way to protect yourself from the Huang Sa when the levels are high. We found these for 3/1,000 SKW, which is really cheap. Korea is dusty over all, so I wear them too when cleaning, which cuts down on the sneezing when vacuuming (which is our new hobby, since it is so dusty). I am told this is mostly just in the Spring, and that it will calm down a little when Monsoon Season hits. LOL.
Hope you are all doing fashionably well!
It's the first day of Spring!
I love Ostara, or Eostre. It ranks right up there w/ my favorite holidays (running a close second to Beltane, as I still have hopes of celebrating it in good ol' Celtic tradition some year, by seeing the Balefires in the UK), although I may say that they are all my favorites when I write about them. It charges me w/ a new rush of energy as the weather begins to warm (today it was about 77 degrees in Seoul!). It feels extra good after having had both a sprained ankle and a houseful of sick bellies for over a week. I am ready for the cleansing properties of Spring.
It feels like a great time to throw open the windows and dust and do some thorough cleaning (which shouldn't be too hard, since our house is pretty Spartan at the moment. Korea is a really dusty place, so a good round of vacuuming and mopping should be what we need.
I chose this picture of a Spring altar b/c my own celebration tools are still en route, and it helps me feel festive. I have written before about how I love the story of the Ostara rabbit, and how it came into legend, becoming associated w/ the Christian celebration of Easter. When the Goddess was unable to completely heal an injured bird she turned it into a Rabbit, and it was so confused that it continued to lay eggs (which is why the Easter Bunny brings eggs).
Unlike spring time in Hawai'i, we are actually able to feel the weather warming, as opposed to just observing the date. Ostara also means that mine and The Kid's birthday is coming up soon! ;) There are also some rites of Spring that I look forward to observing when The Guy gets home from work. Tee Hee!
I hope you and yours all have a beautiful Equinox, no matter what you observe or how you choose to celebrate in your homes. Enjoy the warming weather and may you find many blessings in this new season!
The Good News?
We know where our Household Goods are! We have been trying to track them down for a while now!
The Bad News?
They are still in Hawai'i.
Turns out our Transfer Clerk is a total moron!
This is the same dude who said that screwed up our Overseas Screening, failing to turn it in on time even when we had it completed four months in advance.
And now, he dragged his feet and screwed up our Family Entry Approval, not getting it complete until we were off Island, and then failing to get it to the Transportation office, after assuring us that he would. In five years of dealing w/ the military, as either Active Duty or a spouse, I have never wanted to chew out a civilian employee so much (and this dude is the SENIOR CLERK, nonetheless!).
Head, meet desk.
So, Inbound here is being extra helpful and trying to figure out how to straighten this all out for us, but since we were initially told our goods would arrive sometime in February after being picked up in December, we are now thinking they won't be here until May.
And that is the total life update right now.
Out and About in Seoul!
(I figured how to move the pics around in Blogger, so you may click to embiggen all photos.)
We managed to get out and about in Seoul, although it looks as though I might not be getting around too much for a little while. LOL.
Our friend Brandon took us out to a great little place in Hannamdong for dinner. They made this great fried chicken, and this dish pictured above, which had chicken and ddoek, which is a stick made out of smooshed rice. The fried chicken wasn't spicy, but this dish certainly was!
Nothing washes good spicy Korean food down quite like Korean beer, which is also so very very cheap!
Here's Brandon paying for the meal.
This is where the magic happened. I love the way you can see the kitchens in Korean restaurants!
Some pictures of Itaewon at night.
That's Brandon and The Kid at the bottom of the stairs in the sidewalk, thinking they are funny for being faster than gimpy ol' me.
This is the cute little flower shop on the corner by our villa. The couple that owns it are always there, and you can seem them eating their ramen at lunch time. When you go in to buy flowers they give you coffee, freshly pressed.
Seems Brandon is always making this face when I take his picture. LOL.
Here we are at a great restaurant where they cook your food on the table. They gave us these enormous bibs so we didn't get splattered on our clothes.
Here it is mostly raw and just starting to cook. It had cabbage, potatoes, carrots, ddeok, hot peppers, onions and chicken rib meat, smothered in gochujang (red pepper paste).
It smelled amazing as it cooked. Of course they brought out all the ban chan, and this great soup that was tangy. It was kind of like a cucumber gazpacho w/ onion and kim (seaweed). It was fairly spicy and amazing. I need to learn how to make the soup b/c it was light, refreshing and so tasty!
We had plans to go to Itaewon tomorrow afternoon for walking and shopping, but due to my little incident we will have to postphone. I think I should have some more photos to share soon!
It took me a little longer than I wanted to get back to posting more pictures!
We moved into our new villa at the end of February. It's really nice, and in a brand new building, so we are the first people to live in the place.
All of the appliances are brand new, and here is The Guy being excited about our fridge. It has one of those cool doors where you can put the frequently used items and just open the little part to get it out instead of opening the whole fridge.
The Kid hanging out in the living room. The place came mostly furnished, so we have new furniture. Whatever we didn't have we borrowed from the Army, like a bed for The Kid and a dining table.
The Guy in our kitchen, trying not to blow us up.
That is our gimchi refrigerator.
It came stocked w/ dishes, too!
Our laundry room, b/f they installed the drying rack. That is a super energy efficient washer/dryer combo. It only takes four hours to do a load of laundry! It's our new favorite hobby! Also, all of the appliances are in Korean, so it took a while to figure out how to set them. We are getting the hang of it.
This is some of the view from our place.
The Kid still the living room, from the other end. There is all of the luggage!
The living room.
The Master Bedroom had a bed, and they threw in a bedding set for us to use.
Our closet has tons of space...this is only one half. It spans the whole wall!
Our giant whirlpool bathtub. I haven't had a tub I can lie down in for so long!
My favorite feature. The bidet. The seat is always warm! What a nice treat for a bad fibro day! Plus, it sprays water on you when you hit the button. It rocks.
Here is the first meal we had in our place. We hadn't yet gotten our ration card, and hadn't been able to use the commissary, so luckily the PX food court had some stuff we could take home. We usually make much better meals, but we had to make do for a few days.
In an effort to keep these shorter, I will post some from our first trip out later. Also included are some of our first meal cooked in the place.
Hope you enjoyed this peek at our new home!
*Deep relaxing breath*
It feels as though we have been living in hotels forever (actually it has been about 7 weeks, minus our stay at VBFitU's and my Grandparents). To say what a relief it is to finally be in our own home, our first one as a single family unit, is about the understatement of the year (now, it IS only March).
We finally moved in last Friday, but it didn't stop then, oh no! We moved into a brand new building, mostly furnished, yes, but we also didn't have a single thing you need in a home (and I am not just talking about the person who sneaks in and magically makes your bed every day).
But I am getting ahead of myself.
Korea is beautiful. The people I have met are warm and friendly, and really really love kids. Our experience so far has been that Koreans really take the "It takes a village" sentiment to heart. Everywhere we go people fawn all over The Kid. They hug her and say hi, bring her candy, teach her phrases (and laugh and smile when she repeats them). Cab drivers are really patient w/ her, people at stores are always trying to help her. One other mom I met told me that people offer their seats on the subway to her children. This is by far the most kid friendly place I have lived.
The first day we arrived, after our 14 1/2 hour plane ride we pretty much just crashed in the hotel room. We didn't wake up until housekeeping knocked on our door. After breakfast we found that the hotel had a nice playground in the courtyard. I also could not believe that it was so warm. In February there was no snow, and we were fine w/ just our coats (and most of the kids ditched those after running around a bit).
Of course The Kid made a friend right away. It was kind of funny, b/c this girl is actually about three years older than The Kid. Kid is So Tall! She is wearing a 10 right now!
Yeah, yeah, Kid, I see you. LOL.
She started school a few days later, on Valentine's Day. The Corpsman in Hawai'i who read her PPD didn't record it in her record and she ended up needing a new one. That delayed school about three days. But she started, and hit the ground running. She reports to me that while she misses Ho'ala "so much", she thinks her new school is great, but her teachers are not nearly as cool as Desi or Barbara. :)
The Guy? He is in gimchee heaven. The photos alone can not do justice to how extremely happy he was to experience his favorite food in the country of its birth.
To be honest, the stuff is growing on me. Best advice for gimchee enthusiasts: don't eat it by itself the first time. Have it w/ a mouthful of rice or meat, like Bul-go-gi. The meat is seasoned kind of sweet, so the spicy and fermented flavor compliments it. And store it in the most airtight container you can find!
Our first weekend out of the base we went to the I-Park Mall, which is enormous. It is seven floors w/ an Imax movie theatre at the top. I have to say that Korea goes to great lengths to make everything look happy and cheerful, so I couldn't resist snapping a picture of this candy store.
The mall itself is pretty impressive. They have indoor and outdoor event centers.
Here is a quick shot of Yongsan Station. It connects the Subway and the Commuter Train.
The public transit here is amazing, and incredibly affordable. Even the cabs are really inexpensive, w/ the most we have paid being about 5,000 Won, which is a little more that $3.00. You can also get public transit, or "T" cards which you just swipe in cabs, on the busses or the Subway, and if you pay monthly or more you can pay cheaper fare.
The city is beautiful in its own way. I have never lived in a city quite like Seoul, which I imagine must be a little like living in New York.
That's all for now. I have a few chores to get done while the house is quiet. I should get around to posting about house hunting and pictures of our new home today!