First Thanksgiving

Our first major holiday snuck up on us way too quickly- I mean, I literally felt like I had just arrived in the country, and then, all of a sudden, it’s snowing and absolutely freezing and already Thanksgiving time. I was kind of dreading Thanksgiving this year since it was the first holiday we were ever away from our families. Ever. We are family people, so it was hard. There was also a chance of him working that day, which made looking forward to it that much more undesirable. We grew up in the same town, so every holiday was spent with both of our families. Now, it is just us. In a foreign country. By ourselves. We got invited to eat and spend Thanksgiving day with some new friends in a neighboring apartment complex, so, after he did have to go in on Thanksgiving morning (of course), we got to take a short car ride over to eat lunch. Now, technically, we could have walked, and that probably would have even been a better idea considering all the food we were going to consume that day. I can literally see their complex from our kitchen window, but considering the temperatures were below freezing (and it was snowing and super icy), I decided I liked the idea of a heated car instead. (Our beater of a car we use here in Korea doesn’t always have heat, but it is better than nothing, right?)  Plus, we had all of our food we (I) had baked for the lunch. I am not really used to snow on Thanksgiving. Christmas, maybe, but not Thanksgiving. I am not really that used to snow at all. We get snow at home, and it is usually gone as fast as it appears. Every once in awhile it will stick for a couple days. If it snows at home, the store shelves are emptied, and everything basically closes. Here, once it snows, it stays. It is pretty adorable, though, seeing all the little kids playing out in the snow. I, personally, like to enjoy the snow from inside our heated apartment, sipping my peppermint hot chocolate, and enjoying all the prettiness through the window.

Anyway, back to Thanksgiving. There was more food there than we all could possibly eat for days, and we got to meet new people that are friends of friends of people who are stationed here in Korea. It was weird, eating Thanksgiving lunch with new people I had never met before.  We usually, of course, spend the day with people we have known our entire lives, that know everything about us. Here, it was about getting introduced to everyone and meeting a lot of people for the very first time. I guess it is something we are going to have to get used to. When we move to our next duty station, it will be in the month of August (not this coming August…), so we will only have a few months again to find new people to spend Thanksgiving with if we are not going to be able to make it home. I guess it is just part of this new life we are living. Thankfully, in Korea, we were able to find new friends to spend the day with. I can already tell how hard it is going to be moving to new places every few years. New friends, new churches, new cities, new countries. I am learning to adapt, and I guess getting through my first holiday in Korea kind of proved to myself that I can do this.

I have been meaning to get my official stamp for being here with the military since I arrived. I have a couple months to get it, but knowing us, I was afraid of cutting it too close. We have a problem with putting things off until the last minute, and I really didn’t think my immigration status was something that I needed to put off. Being in Korea without the proper documentation didn’t exactly sound like a fantastic idea to me. We could not ever find a day when he could get off in time to take me to the Korean Immigration Office (which sounds terrifying to me, so I needed him to go), so when Thanksgiving rolled around, I thought it could be the perfect time. Korea, obviously, doesn’t celebrate our Thanksgiving Day, meaning all of their government offices would be open for business. And TJ was off. Perfect. So, we gathered all of my documentation and headed to Yangju to the office. The main signs over the road saying the Immigration Office was ahead were in English and Korean. Until you turn off the main road. Then it is just in Korean. We saw two big buildings that it could possibly be, but they only had Korean symbols on the buildings. So, I pulled out my translation app (best thing ever invented), and I found the word for immigration. We parked and went into the building that somewhat matched what my app said. And it was right. And we cut it close (I told you we have a problem doing that). They closed in twenty minutes. Anyway, we took a number (because we figured that was the same in any country), and sat down. When our number showed up on the main screen, we walked up and got it all done in less than five minutes. Five minutes! They were so efficient! In and out with my stamp in maybe ten minutes total including waiting in the lobby. Amazing! We were talking on the way there about how it was probably going to be like the DMV back home but no, so much better. And not as terrifying as I thought it would be. It is probably more intimidating going into the DMV. Anyway, I am all official now, and I can now stay in the country completely legally, which is always a good thing.

  

I’ll Fly Away

Not going to lie- I miss home. I miss my family. I miss Target, Moe’s, and Panera’s. I miss being able to find clothes that half way fit me. Or even shoes for that matter. I wear a 9-9.5. (I know that is quite large even in America, but in Korea, I might as well wear 200s. It is basically all the same.) I literally got laughed at in a shoe store. Seriously, I got laughed at.  I tried on one shirt (size 95- Medium-ish), and it totally fit. Well, it fit minus the fact that a long sleeve instantly transformed into a 3/4 length sleeve as soon as I put it on. Oh well, it happens here quite a bit. Another thing I kind of miss is being able to actually understand conversations around me. I’m not saying I listen in on other people’s conversations or anything super creepy like that, but it is kind of comforting sometimes to hear your own language around you. I’m at the point now that when I walk down the street, I am sort of in my own little world. I do realize, however, that I am being stared at by every single person around me. I am not a fan of people looking at me, but it is totally normal now. Since I can’t really understand anything around me that I hear, it gives me an excellent opportunity to take in the visual imagery all around me. The signs, the stores, the food- all completely foreign to me and absolutely amazing. There is so much to see around me at every point in my day that it is never dull to just walk around and soak everything in. I have to pinch myself sometimes to come back to reality- I am not on vacation in Korea. I am actually living here. My ears might be completely confused 99% of the time every single place I go, but my eyes are loving all the amazing (and yummy) sights.

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One of the things TJ has been wanting to do since forever and a day is get his pilot’s license. I mean, he has been looking for an “affordable” plane to buy almost every single day. (This matter is still being discussed.) Since moving to Korea, the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has come up that is making that dream a reality. Pretty awesome, huh? He has never been a fan of school/studying/tests, but when it comes to ground school, flying, and making that whole dream come true, he is all about it. Every time I turn around, he is looking through his flight manual and studying. So, yesterday was the big day of flying with his awesome instructor for the first time. I have known TJ since we were little, and I have honestly never seen that boy smile more than he did yesterday when he got to fly. Getting to the airbase where he flies is about a three hour train ride. Three hours one way, of course. I don’t think TJ cares a bit about the travel time- he gets to fly when he gets there. He would probably ride the train squished between 100 people for 8 hours if he got to fly at the end of the trip.  Top the day off with getting to eat at a real, live, honest-to-goodness Chili’s (complete with real chips/salsa, as opposed to the fake ones, steak fajitas, and chicken quesadillas). We were on a US airbase, so it was a real American Chili’s, complete with a gigantic red chili on top of the building.  Oh my goodness. I almost forgot for a second that I was in Korea. Then I walked out the front door and off the base, and I remembered exactly where I was. Hit me like a ton of bricks. I am living in Korea.

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Just the beginning

Let me just start off by saying that I have been in Korea for over two weeks, and I honestly have been meaning to start this blog since day one. Really, every single time I sit down to get it up and running, I freeze up on choosing a name. I had some seriously good ones, I’m talking amazing names, but of course other people apparently thought they were just as amazing as I did. After much thought and deliberation by every single person I know, I decided on a name that describes both my husband and me perfectly.  Anyone who knows us knows that we couldn’t be more different- he’s plaid flannel shirts, scuffed up cowboy boots, dog tags, and a sweet country accent. He could strike up a conversation with anyone he meets and probably talk their ear off for hours about anything. That’s just not me.  I love being by myself with my delicious iced coffee thinking about where I want to travel next. My parents gave me opportunities throughout my life to travel around the world, and I loved every second of it.  From trying new, crazy foods to experiencing the inspiring wonders of the world I read about in school, I just love the adventure. Don’t get me wrong- I’m really a homebody. Home with my family is my happy place, but I know no matter where I travel or what adventure I go on next, I know I will always make my way back home.  Over the past seven years, my husband and I have rubbed off on each other a bit. He will now eat foods he can’t pronounce, which is fantastic considering where we are living now. I don’t know what we are actually eating half the time here, but it’s all amazing. Anyway, back to the name. I love it, and it is perfect. End of story.