Recently in S. Korea Category

Okpo Ladies Night

I went out with some ladies from Okpo tonight. I only knew two of the six other ladies but enjoyed meeting the others tonight! All of us were in Okpo at some point and somehow a few of the ladies crossed paths with some and not the others (timing issues). Basically we all have friends in common (Facebook has suggested several of these ladies to me as people I may know based on mutual friends) but weren't all in Korea at the same time. Two of the moms have 3-year-olds so Henry & I will hopefully get a playdate set up with them soon.

Something I like about Singapore (when it works) is my taxi app on my phone. I tell the app where I want to be picked up, what kind of taxi I want (there are various price ranges depending on how "nice" the taxi is), how many people are traveling, and when I want the taxi (you could book in advance). Once your booking is confirmed, you get the license plate number of the taxi coming to you and you can track it on your phone. It was Friday night so service was a bit slow and I had to request the taxi twice (if service is too busy or slow they sometimes won't take a booking so you have to just make a new request) and it came much later than it said it would. Still, it's one of the things I like about living in the city. (I can use it when we move up to Woodlands, too.)

There She Goes!

There goes my baby girl on the big yellow school bus!

Anna took the bus this morning and will take it every morning to school from now on. She was shocked that there were no seat belts on the bus although I did warn her about that. We thought it was strange that she had to wear a seat belt on the bus from Beverly Hills 1 to OIS in Korea but they don't even have them in the USA! Yes, the "bus" in Korea was actually a van, but the point is that Korean kids don't wear seat belts most of the time there and the foreigners are pretty fanatical about it.


Sarah is in a tough spot: she wants to be little and big so she goes on both the big-kid swings and the baby swings.

The girls are amazed at all the wildlife we're seeing. ("This is the first time we've ever seen a wild turtle!" "This is the first time we've seen a cardinal!" etc.)

The kids are loving all of the parks here so far. They are much newer and nicer than the ones they are used to in Korea and they have baby swings for Henry! He loves swinging so much! Every park is their new favorite park. There are so many parks here that I feel almost compelled to try each one (there are 111 in this town).

We have moved into a temporary house which is much better than the hotel. It is a townhouse right near the center of town so we can walk to a lot of fun stuff and it's really just a convenient location. The girls have their own rooms but Henry is sleeping in the (large) closet off of our master bathroom. It's making me want to narrow down the neighborhoods we are looking in for a house (no luck in that department yet!).

Reverse Culture Shock

Three years away makes America seem almost as foreign as Korea once seemed!

Things we'll miss about Korea:
-Craig coming home for lunch every day
-the small-town/small-island feel
-the expat community
-the friends we've made
-heated floors
-I'll actually miss the driving: I like that I can park wherever I want or make a right-hand turn from the left-hand lane if I really need to and no one is going to get upset (no road-rage here). I don't think I ever did anything crazy while we were there but it was freeing to know that I could.
-speed cameras, I like those better than getting pulled over for speeding. Just send me my ticket in the mail, please.
-screen golf
-the "lock-n-lock" aisle at Home Plus (I should have stocked up on the wide variety of food storage containers when I was there, what Target has does not compare!)
-fast internet
-first-come, first-served health care (and it was cheap!)

Things we won't miss:
-people touching our children (although this has gotten better since the whole H1N1 thing)
-loud music in the stores
-mixing my own prescription drugs

Things we're excited about in America:
-being literate again!
-being in our own space (eventually, we have to find the right house first, of course!)

Things we're not excited about:
-rampant commercialism
-the thin plastic bags at the stores and that the cashiers pack one or two items per bag. I plan to keep using my re-usable bags but while I'm out of my routine right now I already have a massive collection of this obnoxious bags!
-loud music playing out of peoples cars (never once heard someone else's car stereo in Korea)

Things that are just weird:
-drive-through everything
-cable news everywhere you go
-I don't have to remember to get a coin for the shopping cart (I wonder how long it will be before I stop reaching into my pocket for a coin when I walk to the carts?)

It's almost embarrassing to take the girls out right now because to anyone who overhears them in the store, they must think that I've locked my kids in a closet for the past five years! They are so excited by all of the little things at the store (the race-car shopping carts, random products & produce, etc.).

Gifts & Gamjatang

Hanmi stopped by with a really nice hanbok for Henry today (I will photograph him in it when he turns one) and several people from Craig's office sent him home with some little things for the kids. We were so lucky to meet so many nice people while we lived here.

We decided to head out to Gamjatang one last time. The girls will miss the trampoline!

Yesterday and today have been hard without all of our "stuff." We can't keep up our regular routines, etc. We are all getting antsy to get on with the traveling part of this adventure (Craig and I, at least, can't wait to get that part over!

Last Minute Tourism

There was no heat in the "museum" part (but the store was nice and comfortable for leisurely shopping!).

They thought this tiara was amazing.

I took the girls up to the Tongyeong Pearl Museum today. (I tried to go in September with Anita but we went on a Monday and they are closed on Mondays!) I originally wanted to get a little necklace for Sarah similar to the one I got for Anna in China in 2004 but I wasn't inspired by anything. There were some beautiful pieces there but nothing in I adored in my price range.

Pizzeria Il Toro

The kids always loved going to Pizzeria Il Toro and the pizza was really good. The man went to Italy to learn to make wood-fired pizza so it was more in the style that we are used to than Korean-style. I would call to order ahead when we dined-in and they always remembered the kids quirky preferences and had things set up "just so" when we got there. (Anna preferred one style chair over another one time so they always switched it for her, they always had pink straws and orange juice for them as well.) You just don't get that kind of customer service in America. We will visit one more time to bring them a copy of the photo!

We visited on the last day we were in Korea to get take-out and drop off the picture. I think they were about to cry they were so sad to see the kids go!

Norae Bang Night

This and some of the above photos were taken by Shelly.

I decided I wanted to go to Norae Bang one last time before we leave Korea so we gathered the few ladies who were interested in going and went out to dinner (I didn't get a picture of Mijung and Hyunjung at dinnner!) at the "Good Korean Beef Place" (and I don't know why I hadn't been there before) then went to The Party.


This used to be a grocery store when we lived here in 2003, now it's the screen golf club where Craig & his cronies spend their free time.

Craig's Hyundai Click

I took the kids down to screen golf this afternoon since they were curious what it was like. Unfortunately Sarah & Henry were a little freaked out by the loud noise when the guys hit the balls so we didn't stay long!

Happy New Year! (Year of the Tiger)

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I didn't bother putting on the pants that go with Henry's since they were way too big. He'll wear them for his one-year portrait though.

Today is the first day of the Year of the Tiger. I gave the girls some new hanboks because their old ones were getting too small and worn out. I bought Henry one for his first-year picture since I have that of the girls. It was difficult to pick a hanbok for him because they were all in what I think of (as an American) "girly" colors. I chose this one because I liked the dragon and I will probably take the dragon off and frame it after he's had his one-year portrait in it.

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