Market Day 

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One of the reasons we love our new apartment is the location. We can walk to base in about 10 minutes. I walk through Anjeong-ri “the ville” to get to base. There are several shops and restaurants. 

On days that end in either 3 or 8, there is a market day. Clarissa and I went to our first market day on Thursday after storytime. 

Along the Anjeong-ri shopping street, on the end away from the base, you will see tents set up the length of the side road. The stands sell fresh produce, snacks, clothes, handbags, live seafood, toys, and even birds. 

Clarissa was most excited about the live crabs and octopus. She kept trying to touch them. She thought that the birds were pretty but too loud. 

She was also very adamant about buying a watermelon. I told her that if she didn’t eat the watermelon, she would not be allowed to choose things on market day. 

She did eat her watermelon. I will definitely make market day part of our regular schedule. The produce is way cheaper and more fresh than the commissary because it is local. 

Beartree Park 

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About 10 years ago, the South Korean government decided that they wanted to move some of their governing activities further south. They decided to build a new city.

We drove from our new home at Camp Humphreys about a half hour on rural highways to get to Sejong to see Beartree Park

Admission for Clarissa was 8,000 won. Tim and I cost 13,000 won each to get in. We paid about $30 total. You are not allowed to bring food into the park. They will ask when you try to enter. 

The park was beautiful. It was made up of several different gardens. The path from place to place was stroller friendly. But several gardens had signs to park your stroller and not bring it on the garden path. 

Our first stop was the koi pond. Clarissa had a great time feeding the fish. You could buy food for 1,000 won. 

We visited several different gardens on the way to the food court. 

There was an actual restaurant in addition to the food court, but I don’t know what they serve there. There were four traditional options at the food court. We ordered some bibimbap and mandu and ate at a picnic table outside. It was tasty. I prefer my bibimbap with meat though. 

Next was a garden with some bear statues. Clarissa and I had fun pretending to play with the bears. 

Then was the main event. There were two different areas to feed the bears. You could pay 1,000 won for either a cup of cut carrots or a cup of pastry ball looking things. First, we saw the younger bears. Some of them were asleep. But some of them were pretty good at catching the food in their mouths. 

Then, we went to see the big bears. They were excellent at catching food in their mouths. 

Behind the bears was a small park with animal statues. 

There is an observatory but we could see plenty without bothering with that. The brochure said you could also feed deer and listed a petting zoo and a playground so we had other priorities. 

The brochure was misleading. There were deer in a fenced area. There may have been food available earlier in the day, but by 1pm when we were there, no one was selling food. It definitely wasn’t a petting zoo. There were animals that you might keep as pets. Corgis, Guinea pigs, rabbits, sheep, goats. But you weren’t allowed to touch them. There were also peacocks, ducks, and other birds in an unaccessible area. Both times we tried a “petting zoo” in Korea it was like that too. I think they just have a different definition of petting zoo. Clarissa enjoyed seeing the animals just the same. 

The brochure said you could take a walk with a baby bear. That definitely didn’t happen. There were baby bears in the petting zoo area but there was a big sign that said not to touch them. 

We passed more gardens on our way out. There wasn’t actually a playground. There was an area that looked like they might do shows. But nothing was happening at that time. 

We enjoyed our afternoon at Beartree Park. We may go back again before we leave. 

When do you celebrate a new job? 

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Tim has been applying for jobs since our first trip to Japan in December 2015. He was aiming for Japan mostly. 

In November 2016, the ladies of PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) were invited to attend a special meeting of KWOC (Korean Women of the Chapel). During the worship portion of our service, I felt like God said that we were going to stay in Korea. I assumed that meant that we were staying in Daegu and continued life as normal. 

Tim applied for a job shortly after that with six locations, three in Europe and three in Asia. We chose the three Asia locations. While we were in Hawaii in January, Tim received an email asking for an interview. Tim was working crazy hours that week so we asked for an interview the following week when we returned home. 

Tim interviewed at 11pm Tuesday, our time. We woke up to a tentative job offer for the Seoul location that Saturday. Two days later, President Trump signed the hiring freeze. 

Crickets. Nothing for two months. 

We were very surprised when we woke up Saturday, March 25 because Tim received the official job offer for Seoul. All three of us really like Seoul so we were very excited with this offer. 

They asked if Tim could start April 15 since we were already in Korea. We told them no because our lease says that we have to give the landlord 30 days notice in order to break the lease. We gave our landlord notice when they suggested April 30 as a start date. 

That Thursday we found out that the location was actually Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek. The headquarters for USFK is in the process of moving from Yongsan to Humphreys so we figured they would eventually move us anyway. It makes sense to send all new hires to Camp Humphreys so that they only have to move once. 

Saturday Tim had to sign a revised offer with the new location. Then they said “oh by the way, your start date may be delayed because travel funding expires April 28.” Since we had already given notice to the landlord, Human Resources said we could move April 27 instead. 

Then we waited. In the military (or overseas moves for government civilians), in order to move from one place to another, you need a document called travel orders. This document allows you to schedule movers and have funding for hotels and transportation during the move. You can’t actually outprocess in one place to go to the next without orders. 

We decided to go to Camp Humphreys on Sunday just to see the base. It is about 30 minutes away from Osan Air Base where Tim lived ten years ago. He is somewhat familiar with the general area. But Clarissa and I had never been to Pyeongtaek. It was nice. The base is huge and they are building all kinds of things to prepare for USFK Headquarters and all of the soldiers who will be stationed there. 

When do you celebrate a new job? When you receive orders… Tim woke up this morning to orders in his email. Now we can officially move in two weeks.