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.

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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





Dance Master’s Delight

8 08 2009

So we were just on vacation for eleven days wherein we did nothing much, hung around, drank coffee, chilled, read books, and intended every day to catch up on posting, uploading pictures, and generally keeping our fan up to date on the goings-on of our final days here in Korea.  Alas, we never did.  Because we were too busy not doing anything productive whatsoever.

On another note, Hillstate, the giant construction project located directly across the street from our apartment, is officially almost complete. This is due largely to the efforts of the diligent construction workers that like to start every day of the week (and weekends!) at 7 am by dropping 1 or 2 scaffolding pipes on the ground ever 10 to 20 seconds for 2 hours before taking a well earned break.

The signal that construction is nearly complete? The first delivery of kimchi refrigerators.

Keeping your kimchi fresh.

Keeping your kimchi fresh.

From LG in a variety of colors to suit your lifestyle--the new Dios Built-In.

From LG in a variety of colors to suit your lifestyle--the new Dios Built-In.

A view of a section of Hillstate including scaffolding pipes.

A view of a section of Hillstate including scaffolding pipes.





Health Food!

18 07 2009

Most days, one kid or another’s mom drops off some sort of food for the teachers. Most of the time it’s a sugary sweet treat, but this week somebody cared enough to bring us health food. With vitamins even!

*Non-nutrative food varnish and flavor enhancer may increase risk of heart disease, rectal leakage, and space madness.

*Non-nutrative food varnish and flavor enhancer may increase risk of heart disease, rectal leakage, and space madness.





Yummy, Teacher!

8 07 2009

Today one of the kids at our school brought in the coolest show and tell ever:

Not just cute, Korean shit cute

Not just cute, Korean shit cute

Later, there was a fire downstairs, but the two incidents do not seem to be related–for now.





Kitteh

6 07 2009

On the walk home from work today we found this thing just lying around in the park:

Ever so...

O hai! G'nite!

She was near a hot pile of garbage, next to the public toilets, all by herself, surrounded by flies, and crying for her momma. With no other felines in sight, we couldn’t just leave her, so we picked her up and took her home. She quieted down as soon as she was cradled comfortably in our hands, and started trying to nuk on anything she could fit into her mouth.

We’re not experts, but we doubt that she was more than 24 hours old. She still had her umbilical cord! We didn’t even know cats had those, as we’d never met a cat with a bellybutton. We thought that since they come in litters there must be some other arrangement with the placenta than the one people have, thus no bellybutton.

Anyhow, I digress. We called up one of our coworkers and she came by to take a look at teh kitteh. We realized that none of us had really any idea what to do for such a brand new baby, and after a few minutes on the internet found out that cow milk isn’t good for kittens. So we put away the dropper of milk we’d been trying to feed her and all set off together to find some kitten milk. On our way we ran into a couple of other coworkers on a patio in front of a coffee shop. While discussing which one of the other teachers at school might be enough of a sucker to play mamma kitty, a curious barista popped her head out the door, saw the tiny bundle, and agreed to take the kitten in.

After days full of cute kids, we were still overpowered by cuteness. Get smaller:

Can't get much smaller.

What's smaller than tiny?

Also, in case you wanted to know, E-Mart carries puppy milk, but not kitten milk. She seemed to like foreign food, though.





Korea Famous

5 07 2009

Last night we were hanging out in front of the local One Time (kind of like a 7-11, but with more choices of squid jerky) with some other foreigners enjoying some beer and the surprisingly pleasant weather. At some point a former student and his dad wandered by and dropped off a platter of dduk bo ki and some kim bap for no particular reason. A little while later a drunk businessman stumbled out of his car, and as he passed by our table slurred out a few words in English. We said something or other, he went inside, presumably to buy some very skinny cigarettes, and we went on with our evening. He came back a little while later and gave us ice cream shaped like sharks, dragged his poor wife (who didn’t speak any English) out of the car to visit with us (who don’t speak any Korean), and promised that if we ever had any trouble with the police, he could fix it for us. He also gave us a special Korean cure for hangovers, pictured below:

I've got wood.

I've got wood.

We’re Korea famous.