We arrived on February 19th, 2011... and it was the start to a new adventure... I remember walking into the apartment for the first time. Everything was a bit surreal. It had been quite an emotional and hectic ride--the decision to move, the sorting, packing, selling, and getting paperwork in order-- which all took place in less than a month. There were people that didn't even know we left because it all happened so fast!
Some of you may recall how the apartment looked when we arrived. I remember meeting the children for the first time and falling in love instantly. I remember getting to experience my very first real Spring! Our day spent in Japan was quite memorable and expensive (if you will recall the minor language mishap)...
It's true what they say about culture shock, regardless of the severity, it hits everyone at some point and ours initially hit around three months. We both felt like punching someone out of frustration and then sobbing over a hamburger and fries because we were so homesick (at least that's how I felt). The problem with culture shock is that it can come and go at random. At around the 5 month mark, it seemed to come on with a vengeance...perhaps the terrible weather helped it out. Regardless of the reason, I cried myself to sleep a few times and wallowed in a cup of coffee a few other times (pathetic I know, don't judge).
It's always important to celebrate the little things, and by little things I do mean Summer vacation. Here in Korea, Hogwons take a day for summer vacation. I knew I had to cram every little bit of goodness into that one day and boy did we ever! We made a memory filled day packed with all your ordinary summer activities.
When I hit the six month mark, I made a surprise visit back to the states. That trip really made the homesickness dissipate and I was able to enjoy life a little more after my return! :)
We got to celebrate America's biggest national holiday "foreigner style". Being able to adapt to surroundings and situations makes holidays all the more fun! We made our decorations from scratch and made a massive trip to Costco for all the American goodies. It was a day worth remembering.
Another first for me was Fall. I have always lived in tropical climates which don't often have much Autumn-ness. Thus, I was thrilled at the prospect of Fall. I wasn't disappointed.
Even when you are accustomed to a place and in a routine, there is nothing that prepares you for the loneliness that accompanies a special holiday. Thanksgiving is such a family- oriented holiday that it was one of the saddest to celebrate here. We had a great time with friends and I made traditional dishes which took away some of the pangs of loneliness.
I experienced another "first" ever~ being in the hospital! Imagine that... come all the way to Korea and never be in the ER. Well, now I can check that off my list... Been there, done that, got the IV, thanks.
And most importantly, we have made incredible friendships while living here. Living internationally can be a very isolated feeling if you do not have friends to lean on and support. We are blessed with amazing friends and I thank God for bringing our paths together. I can't begin to list them all but thanks so all of you for all the love, kindness and support over the past year. We love you all!
The movers came, packed all our earthly belongings, threw the stuff out the window (not really... just the moving system here) and we prepared for a move outside Seoul. There is excitement, a little trepidation, and some sadness.
All in all, we are walking through doors that God is opening and therefore are never alone. He has promised to be with us no matter the place or situation and even when things get rough or confusing, we can always rely on that promise.
I want to say a big thank you to all of you who have been on this journey with us via this blog. It means more than you probably know that people care to take time out of their busy lives to read about our life here in Korea. I have loved writing this blog this past year and look forward to new adventure to share in the upcoming year.
Thanks for being part of our Adventure...