Seoul, South Korea
In 10 days we will be heading back to Asia. And although we do not have contracted jobs yet, and we don’t know where we will be staying when we get there, we have no choice but to leave America by December 24th. Isn’t that crazy?! We want to stay in the States, but I’m not allowed to. I am on a tourist visa so the longest that I can stay is 6 months. You might be wondering if we are returning after our wedding in February. Well, no, we can’t come back then either. When we tried to get through immigration in June, they split us up and questioned us individually. They decided to let me in, but they warned me against trying to use my tourist visa (which is valid for 10 years) to enter America after I am married to an American. Basically, I would be a “risk” then because I might try to stay here without applying for the correct paperwork. This makes me so frustrated. Justin wants to go back to school, but he won’t be able to do that next year since we won’t be able to come back here together. The paperwork required for the spousal visa is supposed to take about 6-8 months (perhaps even more), so we will be returning to South Korea to complete another teaching contract. I realise that this is the way that things have to be, but it makes me very sad because I have grown attached to Justin’s family, and it feels a shame to have to leave!!
Even though leaving is a gloomy thought, we have a lot to look forward to in 2013. We need to keep looking at the positive side of all of this, like the ability to keep traveling and experiencing new things.
We fell in love in South Korea, and it was our home when we first lived together, so it is a special place to us. After living in China for a year, and now the US for 6 months, our time in Korea feels like it happened a long time ago. I presume that this is because we have traveled to so many new countries in the last 18 months. Despite our fondness for all things Korean, we feel so loved here in Texas, so it’s hard to imagine leaving this home that we have. However, one thing that we have learnt since meeting, is that “home is where the heart is”, and for Justin and I, that is TOGETHER. There will be many tears next week, but for now, in an attempt to look on the bright side, here are some of the things that we are looking forward to…
Meeting up with old friends. This is Shawn, and I worked with him for a year in Daejeon, South Korea. He was my best buddy, and we did everything together. He looked after me like a big brother would, and we have had so many great times. Our year in Korea was spent teaching at he same kindergarten, and living one block away for each other. We ate almost every meal together, joined the same gym, hung out on weekends, and got to know each other very well. After meeting Justin (in a different city), I was relieved when I introduced these two and they had a good time hanging out. We are excited to see Shawn, and a number of other friends, who are still living in South Korea.
Shopping! Oh we love Korea for shopping!!! Day or night… The shopping never ends!!!
Shoes, bags, sunglasses, clothes. I love everything about shopping in Korea.
The food!!!!! There’s no doubt that we will lose weight when we go to Korea, and that is mostly due to the fact that we won’t have a car. We will eat a lot, but almost everything we eat will consist of meat and vegetables. What you see above is Galmaegisal (slices of pork ‘skirt’ meat cooked on a grill at your table). This is one of our favourite things to eat in Korea. The meat is delicious!!
The opportunity to learn more about other cultures.
Dak Galbi ~ We can’t get enough of this popular Korean dish made by stir-frying marinated chicken in a gochujang (chilli pepper paste) based sauce, and sliced cabbage, sweet potato, scallions, garlic, and tteok (rice cake) together on a hot plate. This is also done at your table, and then shared between everyone. TASTY!!
Being able to do wacky things “because we are foreign” is a wonderful thing. We often feel that we get away with more than the locals do, and most of the time, it’s because we just don’t know any better!
Temples, hiking, and outdoor activities…
Drinking beer from miniature glasses.
Ban Chan (the unlimited side dishes that accompany almost all Korean dishes).
Coffee Shops and cafes… Above is “Starbucks” written in Korean. Pretty awesome!
Justin and I love to get coffee or hot drinks and relax in a cafe.
We play games, write postcards, reply to emails, or just relax and chat.
We definitely miss this about Korea.
Kai Bai Boh (Rock paper Scissors)… We joke that even executive decisions are made using Kai Bai Boh in South Korea. We adopted this practice quickly, and it became very useful!!
Kimchi… Oh Kimchi…. I love Kimchi!!!
Getting lost. We often get lost.
And we love it!
Bibimbap ~ a signature Korean dish consisting of rice, vegetables, meat, egg, and gochujang (Chilli peper paste). This is a cheap, but very tasty meal that comes in a number of varieties. The picture above was actually taken here in Texas, at a place called BibiBap. They have some great dishes, so we occasionally swing by there so that I can get my “kimchi-fix”. I admit, I am an addict!
If you want to see more posts on our time in Korea, you can link up to them here:
We have had such a great time in Texas, and we are super bummed to have to leave… But there are more adventures to be had for “J+C”, so we will try to keep reminding ourselves of this as we go through our last full week in Texas.
Thank you to those who has made these last 6 months so special!!!