What’s Been Going on in Our Lives

This past winter held a rather exciting event for us:

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It kind of happened quickly in the sense that we didn’t spend months and months looking for the right house, although we had been talking about it for quite some time. This one is on a couple acres of slightly rolling land with a grand yard, an attached garage (which is very handy in our northern winters), and an open kitchen-dining room-living room layout which we love.

The other thing I love is that it’s ours to paint and do with what we like. So paint I did, with help of family and friends. The master bedroom is shown here in the original color:

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And this is the dining room, mostly finished with newly painted white walls. Both rooms were the same purple color as above. It was SO nice to have both painted before we moved in.

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Natasha even helped do some touch up painting in her room with paint we found in the basement.019-001

Moving day was exactly three weeks ago and what a day indeed. It is a lot of work, lest anyone think differently. But we had help and it went very smoothly.775

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We are now settling in and making new memories in our new home. Natasha loved helping unpack easier items…mostly because she could stand on the step-stool. 033

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Along with having a new house, spring and summer make me so excited. Especially as we anticipate the arrival of our new little one in June. :)  1-011

Happy slightly late Easter everyone!

California

It has been way too long since I’ve done a proper update. But I’m here to announce, this is the completion of our New Zealand trip last year, and I’m finally bringing it to a close with the last stop on our journey home in early November, 2014.

We flew from Seoul, Korea to Las Angeles and from there quickly got a rental car and headed up US 1 to visit my cousins for a couple days in San Louis Obispo. We were flying the rest of the way home out of San Francisco, so it was a nice little stop along the way and we got to see the western coast of the United States for the first time. I have a funny feeling we would have been more impressed if we hadn’t just come from the western coast of New Zealand. I thought they looked very similar.

Natasha was a little leery of playing with boys, but it turned out that she rather liked her cousins, and they got along fine.
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We were hardly in San Francisco, but it wasn’t to be an extensive touring time. I wanted to see a hilly street, and the bridge, and that was all. We will return another time to experience more.

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(Photo credit to then-4-year old Natasha. I thought she did pretty good.)

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And that, is a wrap. We flew home and happily entered a cleaner house than when we left, and a cupboard full of sweet potatoes and an overflowing platter of fresh fruit. (Thanks to Daniel’s family who knows us pretty well.)

We are now getting ready for another visit to Europe with Daniel’s two younger brothers and a friend. That makes us a party of 6, and Natasha and I will be the only girls. I didn’t grow up with brothers, but it’s a lot of fun having brother-in-laws and more guys around. I might even be slightly more excited about traveling with them than seeing the new places on our itinerary. It is such fun to share flying, public transportation, and new cultures with people who haven’t traveled much. I think it actually helps me appreciate the places we visit more because they are seeing it all with completely new eyes and it becomes new to me as well.

p.s. I did say that a review of the Asiana Airlines lounge would be the next post, but…we had a change of plans. I think I have already emphasized how much we enjoy flying business class when points allow us, and didn’t think we should rub it in anymore. ;)

{Photo editing credit:  Amos Haley}

In Korea for the Morning

To continue the journey home we flew from Sydney to Seoul, Korea with Asiana Airlines. I always feel like royalty when flying business (using airline points as usual) and it was grand.

Pre-takeoff beverages:

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Dinner:

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Plenty of room for one’s feet and belongings…

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And after such a delightful flight, we arrived in…South Korea.

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Our flight from Sydney to Seoul arrived in the evening. We made our way to our room for the night via taxi, and the help of an iPhone with Korean characters for the address. We had help from our host in our procurement of some deli-store kimbap before heading to bed with tired bodies. The next morning as we took a taxi from our guesthouse to the Unseo station area we were surprised to find…fall. I had forgotten we were north of the equator again and it wasn’t spring anymore.

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We had hoped to do some proper touring of Seoul making use of the advice of a friend who lived in Seoul a few years ago. She had told us about an old fashioned shopping street and a palace that I really wanted to see. Alas, we realized we only had the morning to do anything before we needed to catch our flight back to the United States. Taking the train to Seoul proper and back would have burned at least 2 hours, so we decided to just meander around the island where we were, and enjoy what we could in the short hours we had.

Now, typically, I don’t like to look like a tourist and take pictures of everything that is unusual to me. But this was Asia. And knowing that there was absolutely no way we could even attempt to “blend in” with the locals, I decided to take advantage of the moment and make memories by snapping pictures. Everyone who passed us on the street knew we didn’t live here, and they didn’t even have to take into account that we were carrying basically all of our earthly belongings from the past 3 months with us on our shoulders. It was just…um…obvious.

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So, meander we did. In search of breakfast, mainly. The streets we walked down were basically deserted and we were having a wee bit of trouble deciphering the signs and the hours of restaurants. This sign made us laugh though:

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There were all sorts of sea creatures destined for someone’s dinner in aquariums right on the street, which was fascinating.

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After a nice walk around the block, we found an eating establishment that looked open for business and we wandered in. It was next door to a hotel, and it seemed that a tour group was here for breakfast as well. As we entered, Natasha commented, “You’re right Mom, they all have black hair.” That’s when I was glad it seemed like they couldn’t understand English. Daniel took charge of the situation and ordered some food by looking at the signs with pictures (thank goodness) as well as a calculator for clarifying the price of various dishes.

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We were seated at a low table on a slight step, leaving our shoes in the lower portion. We sat on cushions and arranged our bags around us. The kimchi and rice came piping hot from the kitchen and we ate with gusto. Korean food is truly so good. Ideally, we would have liked to have some bulgogi, but our host from the hostel told us it was more of an evening dish.
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Afterwards we found a supermarket and wandered around some more, looking the most like tourists ever. I snapped pictures of octopus and many legged sea creatures in the refrigerators.

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A kind man saw Natasha investigating the fish, and pointed out the sign and then to which ones were in the tank. I nodded and smiled, but even though he was being so helpful, it didn’t mean a thing to me since Korean characters are not a strong point of mine. Even repeating the names he told me wasn’t working. But smiling is universal and I did a lot of it.

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On our way out, we stopped at a little accessory store. We had some extra South Korean Won that I thought should be “used up” so for Natasha’s souvenir we picked out a glittery gold hair clip. Natasha was thrilled. We try not to buy trinkets at every little store in every little village or country that we travel through, so it was really quite special for us to actually buy something just for her.

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Back outside of the train station, we had a snack of kimbap and prepared to travel once more. This was our last stop before L.A. and it was so bittersweet to be coming to the end of our big adventure to New Zealand.

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Still, I think Korea will see us again sometime. One morning was not enough.

For the next post, I’ll be featuring a special post by Daniel, doing a nice review of the Asiana Airlines lounge in the Seoul airport. Push-ups in the train station were a must before boarding though.

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