Moving On

Now that it feels like a lifetime ago and it’s taken me way too long to post about all the last little bits I wanted to post about life in Korea…

…like Dr. Tan (and an absolutely awful photo of me) who helped me stay well and approached medicine like American doctors (amen) at the Samsung Medical Center…

…and the sweet mani/pedi girls who spoke very little English but could still successfully schedule an appointment with me by phone because every time I called they knew instantly it was Ma-Lee! (and with such enthusiasm it made my day). I must have literally been the ONLY foreigner that was a regular…

The list keeps going, but it’s time to pick some must-posts and move on. In the coming weeks I will share our departure and arrival stories, plus a few extra special top-secret trips I never got to post about this past year. Then it will be time to wrap up this Seoul Searching adventure. I can’t believe what an amazing experience this has all been.

Speaking of moving on, here’s a look at our moving day (your Thanksgiving!) in Korea. Hard to believe it was only 2ish months ago (and that my hair was that dark – ew/over it).

Now as someone who has moved more times than I can count on all fingers and toes, I am no stranger to the daunting process of packing. However, this one was hands down the easiest of all my moving days.

Basically, it consisted of me putting on my I ♥ Korea t-shirt (duh) and us packing our suitcases with things we would need to get us through our first month back in America.

Nike and Korea’s incredibly efficient moving men took care of the rest. Literally, we were in the way most of the day.

I think there were about 6 or 7 of them and they went to work like busy little bees at 8am sharp.

You could turn your back for one minute and things would be completely different than they just had been.

I kept thinking how fabulous this all was and what a great way to go. There would be no bad feelings (except for maybe a little guilt that I didn’t have to do a thing) about this move ever. None.

While the movers furiously packed our things, we even had time to reflect and feel nostalgic about our time in Korea. Our excitement to move back home was palpable.

We even took pictures with our boxes.

Because what else should we be doing?

If there is any part of you that is feeling slightly irritated that we have a glamorous life where others do our dirty work, oh don’t you worry we get what’s coming to our lazy a**es in about 6 weeks.

But for now let’s celebrate that ignorance is bliss and watch it all simply get swept away in less than 3 hours.

Our first home together as Mr. & Mrs…

…with one incredible-we-will-remember-it-always view.

Nothing left to do but toast to the memories made here. What a crazy and exciting adventure it has been.

Because Jerry and Arda were still with us,

we bid farewell to the Trump,

and checked into a hotel for one last night out AND a happy thanksgiving dinner in Seoul.

Moving on has never been more fun!

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Are we there yet?

Unfortunately, the answer is N-O. We are not there yet…

but wherever we are sure is beautiful. Thank goodness for that.

It’s been two months since we arrived back stateside and it all seems like one big blur. As someone who (secretly-ok-yes-obsessively) sets goals to blog at least 10 times a month, I find myself at a loss for words/posts.

This is partly because after long days filled with grad school apps, community college (more on this later), deliveries, boxes, storage, and target runs; I am simply too tired to post.

But after a week of being completely settled, I had to ask myself why I wasn’t getting back to the blog. The truth is I have lots of funny stories about our adjustment back to life in America and our blossoming love affair with this crazy/amazing city of Portland.  Not to mention, some incredible day trips in our lovely new home state have left us simply in awe of its beauty.

Still, at the end of the day, I can’t seem to find anything worth writing about. Nobody wants a sob story and I fear that is all I can come up with as of late.

Andrew and I were recently told we will not be able to conceive on our own and no matter what happens in my day it starts and stops with this news.

If you have been wondering why there has been nothing but crickets from Portland, there you have it. I haven’t been able to find a way to post because my heart has been breaking and I somehow wanted to spare the blog of all this.

Big. Fat. Sigh.

We may not be there yet, but thank god we are home. As much as I never in a million years would have thought I would say this being in Korea NOW seems like the easy life, I feel blessed to be back in America as we move forward on our journey to finding a family which we most certainly intend to do.

We have only seen one specialist (which we will not be going back to) and we have a lot of options so this is not the end of the story. Andrew and I have made a lot of emotional progress and even managed a laugh here and there these past few weeks. We couldn’t love each other more so don’t go worrying too much (prayers, however, are welcomed). This is just where we are today and why I haven’t been blogging.

Phew.

Perhaps now that we have that out and in the open – the moving posts, adjustment stories, and our new life can find its way to the blog. My fingers are definitely crossed because I have missed it and all of you so. XO.

Promises

For weeks now, I have been promising myself that I will find time to blog because I miss it so much my heart aches. I also promised Andrew I would not blog this morning because my grad school applications desperately need to be finished this weekend and blogging will not help the cause (he is clearly sick of hearing about it and I don’t blame him).

Either way you look at it, I have to break one of these promises. However, I am going to make this quick so that it feels more like a compromise than a breaking of my word (I love you honey). Life is complicated and sometimes you just have to adjust.

To complicate things even more, I’ll add to my list of promises and promise YOU that transitioning back to life in America is worth a few thousand words and I plan to write all about it. Don’t give up on me just yet, I’m pretty sure I need you more than ever.

SO.

While I’m writing essays this weekend, I’ll leave you with some food for thought.

6 weeks ago this was my life (or at least a version of it since I was never actually teaching but it really does come close – Seoulmates you agree, right?):

And this is my life today:

You may be laughing, but I promise this is not an exaggeration. More coming as soon as my sh*t is together. Love and miss.

Merry Merry Christmas

Feeling Green

It’s a very GREEN Christmas for the Choquettes.

It’s a good thing we like the 4th color of the rainbow.

Between the everGREENs and feeling GREEN (aka like the new kids in town), we are swimming in a sea of GREEN this holiday season.  I would be lying if I said that is where the verde ends. As much joy and excitement as we feel on a daily basis to be back in America, there are equal amounts of anxiety and frustration as we try to find our footing. We are definitely a little GREEN with envy for people who aren’t in the throws of reverse culture shock…sigh. It’s a good thing we know better than to believe that the grass is always GREENER on the other side.

Happy last few days before Christmas! XO.

Departing Days

Leave it to us to have our last 10 days in Seoul to be as action packed as possible. With Lisa, then Jerry and Arda, in town with us, we hit up all of our top spots and made sure to get our fill of soju and kimchi and all things Korean.

Lisa arrived on a Thursday night (9 days before departure) and we immediately got out and about. There was a light festival all along the Cheonggyecheon stream which we oohed and ahhed our way through.

Pretty lanterns with pretty Lisa.

I always love seeing Korea through the eyes of a new visitor. It reminds you just how incredible and crazy this place (that has become so familiar now) was when we first arrived 2 years ago.

The first few days of Lisa’s visit we spent the days exploring fabric markets and shopping in subway stations. Our evenings were quiet and filled with vocab quizzes (thanks Lis) because I still had the GRE looming ahead. Once I passed the test (whoo-hoo NEVER again!), and baby brother Jerry and his GF Arda arrived, it was time to celebrate and experience as much of Seoul as we could in our final week in Asia.

It was such a fun bunch. We ate a lot and walked a lot,

and discovered lots of new things. We stumbled upon this diamond filled sky (or maybe it was just the holiday decorations at COEX mall ;)). It was so sparkly it almost made you dizzy.

We visited a temple and took some time to appreciate the quiet grounds.

Living in Asia, you are constantly passing through temples.

And while they often seem a bit boring after the first fifty you visit, there is a certain sense of inner peace that comes and this rare beauty that fills you up when you least expect it.

The view of the old grounds backed by a modern skyline never gets old.

As hectic as it was to host guests as we prepared to leave, Andrew and I both felt grateful to have them with us.

Without them, we probably wouldn’t have gotten out to take it all in one last time. They made our departing days so much richer…

and way more fun!

It was no surprise that Lisa got lots of attention for her long legs. But we were tickled when a fashion student stopped her to take her photo for inspiration. Paparazzi.

The weather couldn’t have been better for walking around. It was perfectly fall.

We discovered a parking lot full of kimchi.

Or at least what would soon become kimchi. Yum?

Only in Korea.

We loved the pink gloves – can’t you just imagine a hundred ajumas getting down with the cabbage?

Speaking of kimchi, we made sure to experience BBQ, bibimbap, chicken and beer and TONS of soju with our American friends.

One night Andrew introduced our favorite drinking games (duh) which did not disappoint…at least not until the next morning.

We played counting games and pass the bean (which is my personal favorite). How can this not be fun?

Gambae (cheers)!

In addition to the eating and the drinking, we made sure to visit Dr. Fish.

Arda and I had a tough time getting our feet in but we eventually made it happen.

Jerbear on the other hand really played it cool the whole time.

This is one thing I will not miss about Asia.

Speaking of fish and not being sad to leave it, we did not forget to eat live octopus one last time…and this time I DID IT TOO!

Just in case you don’t believe me:

It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, however, I did spend about 3 hours fearing that I didn’t quite swallow it and it was slowly killing me by blocking off my airways.

Andrew insisted I was fine. He is definitely a pro.

Jerry looks scared.

But he did really well.

Lisa was brave too – and just hours before her departure – but I didn’t get a picture (sorry Lis).  The final adventurous-eaters-glory-shot! SO glad I made it in this time.

It was a great week and one we will always remember. Thanks so much for forcing us to get out and explore and share in our departing days with us guys – it was the very best way to go!

Making it Last

Our final four weeks in Seoul were definitely not dull. Beyond the insanity of the GRE, Andrew wrapping up with Samsung, and making all the arrangements to get ourselves Stateside, we managed to pack in all sorts of fun and some really special heartfelt farewells.

It was a crazy memorable month and a time we will always hold dear. With  plenty of soju and kimchi to go around, the only thing missing was enough time to really process our final days in Korea.

Before those moments get too far behind us, I wanted to say a few things about the journey leading us to the decision to leave.  I think the best way to do that is to talk about my husband and the blessing that is our marriage.

Never in a million years did I think I would end up living in Asia. NEVER.  The fact that the cute boy I talked to for 5 minutes in a bar on a freezing cold night in Chicago eventually led me to living in Seoul and experiencing another part of the world is hard for me to wrap my head around.

As incredible as it has been to meet and fall in love with Andrew – then marry only days before leaving for an overseas adventure – you would think I would be getting used to surprises by now.

However – good and bad – the surprises just keep coming. This past September we made the decision that it was time to start thinking about a move back to the US. Between Andrew’s global travel for work and my ongoing health issues, our baby dreams were getting further and further away.  With all of our hearts we want a family so very much and putting it off was no longer going to be an option for either of us. After months of frustration and disappointment, it was no surprise that the time to get home was coming soon.

I couldn’t help but feel bad that my health had not so happily surprised us in 2011, and I did not want push Andrew to move before he was ready. At the same time, I am pretty he knew how much we needed to get home. Marriage is truly a beautiful gift.

When we finally sat down and made our plans, we decided to aim for a spring move and promised wholeheartedly to make the very most of our last 6 months in Seoul. We knew that leaving this adventure behind was going to be just as bitter as it was sweet.

While it should have come at no surprise that Andrew scored a big fat amazing job with Nike in no time at all (well sort of, but let’s make it this way for the sake of the blog), I could not believe how quick it happened. When I left for Mongolia we were planning our holidays in Korea and when I returned everything had changed. 21 days was a bit of a holy-sh*t-what!?!, but I was onboard. Talk about a man who knows how to do what is best for his family. I am truly blessed.

The last 2 years have been unforgettable. Together we saw the world and together we grew. Andrew – thank you for finding me, marrying me and continuing to surprise me even when I think I know better.

Over the next SEVERAL posts, I will attempt to capture our departing days here. Between our amazing grand finale of visitors, our incredible support system in Seoul, and all those things I really wanted to blog about but didn’t get around to, it’s going to be a bit before I can let go completely of this journey.

Here’s to making it last. XO.