Repatriated

9 10 2009

Today seems like a good day to get started with blogging again. Here’s the short story. Since we got back, we’ve been shuffling back and forth between our parents’ houses, collecting the scattered remnants from our life before Korea, and trying to figure out what’s next for us.

Today we are at Kristin’s parents’ house near Conifer. This morning the clouds rolled in and swallowed up the mountains across the valley, leaving only one spectral mountain spur in sight. You can still make out a few puffs of golden aspen trees breaking up the triangles of pine trees, highlighted by a layer of snow. It looks like this:

Mountain in the clouds.

Mountain in the clouds.

In the last few weeks we’ve gotten to enjoy a lot of good old fashioned American activities. We’ve done some gardening, learned how to make jelly, can pickles, and assemble corral gates.

Homemade Concord grape jelly. Not so sickly sweet as the stuff from the store.

Homemade Concord grape jelly. Not so sickly sweet as the stuff from the store.

One of our old home brews with jars full of beets waiting for their pickling brine.

One of our old home brews with jars full of beets waiting for their pickling brine.

This is a picture from branding at my dad's a few years ago. We helped replace the gate behind and to the left of the new mom.

This is a picture from branding at my dad's a few years ago. We helped replace the gate behind and to the left of the new mom. Just for fun, guess what she's eating?

We brewed some beer.

Me watching some industrious yeast making beer fun.

Me watching some industrious yeast making beer fun.

We took a little road trip and visited some tourist attractions.

Back row (left to right): Devils Tower. Front row: Kristin.

Back row (left to right): Devils Tower. Front row: Kristin.

The search for the bathroom at Mount Rushmore.

The moment we found the bathroom at Mount Rushmore.

We went to a football game.

Me and my dad at the game.

Me and my dad at the game.

Saw some Americana.

You mess with the US, you don't just get the horns, you get an eagle with a cow skull for a body that will seriously peck you really hard if you get close enough for it to reach you. Like, it will really hurt. I'm not messing around here. It'll maybe even leave a mark. Or a bruise. So you really shouldn't try to steal it. Even without the camera. Canada.

You mess with the US, you don't just get the horns, you get an eagle with a cow skull for a body that will seriously peck you really hard if you get close enough for it to reach you. Like, it will really hurt. I'm not messing around here. It'll maybe even leave a mark. Or a bruise. So you really shouldn't try to steal it. Even without the camera. Canada.

This was not a common sight in Korea. 'Merica!

This was not a common sight in Korea. Nice work, 'Merica!

Saw some wildlife.

A mule deer in the driveway at Kristin's parents' house.

A mule deer in the driveway at Kristin's parents' house.

A mountain goat in the parking lot at Mount Rushmore.

A mountain goat in the parking lot at Mount Rushmore.

A mounted jackalope at the gift shop near Devils Tower.

A mounted jackalope at the gift shop near Devils Tower.

We’ve done a lot of other things since leaving Korea, too, we just don’t have pictures.

It’s been good to be home, but we’re still a little homesick for at least some aspects of our life in Korea. Here are just a few of the reasons:

Kristin's last day with some remarkable kids.

Kristin's last day with some truly remarkable kids.

Feeling fussy.

Feeling fussy.

Six years old and pretty much fluent in two languages. They're that cool. And funny, too.

Six years old and pretty much fluent in two languages. They're that cool. And funny, too.

Fun with tissues and spit.

Fun with tissues and spit.





Tokyo Shu-ba-kz[u]

30 08 2009

We made it to Tokyo safely and successfully navigated to our hotel. Here is the view from our room:

A scenic view of Tokyo.

A scenic view of Tokyo.

The room itself is too small to be seen by the naked eye. Our hotel is in the very cute neighborhood near Hatagaya Station, part of the Tokyo subway system on the Koei New Line. There are lots of little shops, restaurants, secret alleys, and at least one tree-lined path.





On Our Way

28 08 2009

We’re at Incheon International Airport, waiting for our flight to Japan to start boarding. We’ll be back home in another week.

Waiting for boarding at Incheon International Airport

Waiting for boarding at Incheon International Airport





So Now What Do We Get to Panic Over?

28 05 2009

Yesterday was my Open Class (Jake’s was last week), an event where, after several weeks of panic, Korean style, the students’ parents sat in our classes for a total of 40 minutes, watching their children be, well, children.  No matter how hard they try to squeeze it out of them, darnit, it turns out a five year old’s will to party is much stronger.

But my kids were awesome.  They sang their songs, did their dance moves, answered my questions, sat nicely, and no one cried or went crazy.  I am so proud of them (and me!) for doing such a good job.  And they were handsomely rewarded with, what else? 20 cent toys from China that probably broke on their way to the bus.  But I digress….

Today is the final day of Open Classes, and I believe tonight there will be some to much celebrating.  We’ve been on the wagon for so long, I am kinda nervous–like first date nervous–to hang out with Sirs Vodka and Tonic again.  What if they have changed?  What if I have?  What if we don’t have anything to say to each other?  Who am I kidding?

We are officially under three months to go here.  We have decided not to go to China this summer, and just tour around Korea a bit.  We have made a very grown-up decision here (Let the Record Show!!) to save money for the future blahblahblah instead of gallivant about Asia, especially considering that we have already had two fabulous vacations in the last 6 months.  And truly who knows how long it will take us to find gainful employment?  I worry that all the fruits of our sacrifice here will disappear into the ether shortly after our return home.  Any suggestions?

We are going to hike Mt.Fuji before coming home though.  It will be early September, and I hear that it is a night hike with a summit sunrise.  We are so excited.  I am really looking forward to clean air, crisp winds, and views.  I did not realize how ingrained my need for open space was.  We are nestled into a foggy, smoggy valley here, and even on hikes we are lucky to see to the next ridge over, at best.  My mom always said that cloudy days made her claustrophobic, which I totally understand now.

This weekend we will visit a local temple/museum/park with some friends.  I am looking forward to doing something out of the ordinary.  These past two months has been a lot of business on the weekends and not a lot of playing.  I hope everyone has a great weekend and does not spend too much time missing us.





World Famous

12 03 2009

Hey, so maybe it’s kinda dorky, but we’re both a little proud of this. One of our photos was selected as the picture of the day on this website.

On a somewhat related note, while the pink eye has cleared up, one of Kristin’s students showed up to school today with a case of head lice. Since no one could reach her mom, instead of going home, she spent the day in itchy bliss mingling with all the kids in kindergarten. It looks like we have a good shot at going 2 for 3 on the list of dirty kid infections/infestations in under a month.





Bird Watching

10 02 2009

Bird Watching, originally uploaded by Jake & Kristin.

After elephant trekking we stopped at a little restaurant in the middle of the jungle to have a bite to eat. After lunch, we noticed this spider hanging out at about face-height near the path. Apparently spiders like this one sometimes catch and eat birds. It was as big as my outstretched hand.





Serenity Now

5 02 2009

Saffron Buddha, originally uploaded by Jake & Kristin.

This is one of the Buddhas we saw at a shrine while we were in Thailand. The shrine is famous as a home for long tailed monkeys, which our guide described to us as “not so clever” as their short tailed cousins. She also warned us about a variety of activities that would almost certainly lead to receiving monkey bites.

Thankfully we are charged with educating a troop of short tailed monkeys, most of whom are much less prone to biting. We’ve been working on preparing them to give speeches, sing songs, and do dances to show off all the things they’ve learned this year. They’re quite clever indeed, and they’ve done very well.

Still, there are moments when even “serenity now” barely keeps us sane.