April-May Highlights

Goodness gracious, there’s a lot to write about! I’m ashamed at all the time that’s passed since last I blogged. . I have to go back through my pictures to see what all happened in the last two months… When spring arrived, I went to Seoul to see the cherry blossoms. I also had a birthday near the end of April and was excited to turn 24—my favorite number—for the second year in a row (since they do age differently here)! The most unique gift was Dr. Pepper that my best friend ordered online for me. :-) It’s funny the things that become so special and favored after you leave home and rarely come across them anymore…

…like your college roommate and her husband, for instance! I was SOOOOOO delighted to spend a week with Sami and Justin in May!!!! They were my first visitors from home and it was my great pleasure to show them around and just spend time with them. The weather was absolutely beautiful all week and we got to travel and see a lot in a short time—from the royal tombs in Gyeongju (far south) to Seorak Mountain on the East Sea. Our two days at Seorak Mountain were the highlight for me, along with being all-American making s’mores around the campfire, enjoying a pancake breakfast outside, and just being able to relate fully and comfortably without cultural or language barriers. It was certainly one of my best weeks ever!

Just before they came, I visited the Park family in Gyeongju to tag along on a cousin reunion they were having on some island in the South Sea. Turns out that “some island” was Oedo Island, the beautiful botanical paradise I visited last year on a school trip and was eager to revisit! We took a boat over just before the sun went down, and since it’s only open to the public during the daytime, we enjoyed it all to ourselves in the evening and before the crowds arrived the next morning. It was quite surreal to go to sleep and wake up on a private island paradise! It was also fun to spend time with Jaesung’s family and his cousins who were all young and lively.

May was an exciting month at the church and in our home. Baby Baekhap was born to my Chinese housemates on May 4th, a precious, healthy little girl who sleeps all day and rarely cries. :-) When I remember the scares they had early on in the pregnancy, I can’t help but think what a marvel she is. Our church had its annual ping-pong tournament last month also, and you wouldn’t believe how serious they are about it. I mean, it’s the only time I see anyone wear shoes in the building—I guess wearing sneakers gives you a real advantage—and most people come dressed like they’re ready for an incredible workout at the gym. Representatives from each of the small groups played each other and there were also a couple relays. Our team didn’t win, but it was still fun to watch… though I couldn’t last the full 7 hours, even if it was split between two Sundays. :-P

I recently went to my first Korean wedding, which turned out to be pretty similar to American weddings. There were a few exceptions though—no bridesmaids or groomsmen, no time to “kiss the bride,” an announcer for everything written in the bulletin, and a long sermon (though I hear they’re usually short). My dear friend Karen, who moved to Korea roughly a year before me, is getting married here in just a few weeks, so I am very excited to see what her wedding is like! Her fiance is Korean and they plan to stay here indefinitely; I’m glad that she’ll be here at least as long as I will. :-)

Last week the schools took a day off for field trips. True to my nature, I turned down the amusement park for the national arboretum. I’d rather walk nature trails than ride roller coasters any day! So I hung out with the Kindergarten students instead of the high schoolers. Last Saturday, as I’m sure you all commemorated, was June 5, 2010, the day that the cousins and I decided upon years ago as my future wedding date. Well, it didn’t turn out to be my wedding day exactly, but was still a good one. :-)

This week I got my ticket home for the summer! I will be in the States from July 11 – August 10 and will hopefully get to see many of you!! As of now, I’ll be visiting folks in TX, MD, OH, IL, MI, and WV; KY and IN are also in the running. :-) Hope to see you soon! Take care until the next post.