A quick trip for our favorite things in Daegu

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We’re about four months from DEROS (Date of Estimated Return from Overseas). No, we don’t know where we’re moving yet in the United States. But we know we’re leaving relatively soon so we decided to go back to some of our favorite places in Daegu this weekend.

Most military families are in South Korea for two years, though some may extend for three years. Since we are a two months shy of the four year mark, most of our Daegu friends don’t live there anymore so we mostly went for the food.

Saturday morning we drove down to Daegu. The traffic wasn’t bad until we got to Daegu, which is normal. Thankfully Daegu traffic is not as bad as Seoul traffic. When we arrived at Camp Walker, our first order of business was lunch at Awesome Burger, which is near gate 4. We were able to meet up with one of Tim’s friends for lunch. Tim got his usual hellgate burger. I got a regular burger with no bun. Clarissa just ate french fries. We were all very satisfied with our meal.

The next stop was the library. While we lived in Daegu, the Camp Walker Library was pretty much Clarissa and my favorite place. We were there at least once per week. They ordered a bunch of books from my wishlist so I know that I like the selection there. I was disappointed that none of our friends were there. It looks like they may have moved as well. But Clarissa and I still found several books to borrow (you can borrow books from any army library in Korea while stationed on peninsula).

At 3:00, we headed downtown to our hotel, Novotel. We stayed there when we were moving in and out of Daegu so we knew we liked the location. We did forget however, that the temperature is always awful. It was set to about 80 degrees but they did give us a fan for our room. But the view is always great.

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After settling in, we did some shopping. We hit up Daiso (like a Family Dollar), Mango Case (cellphone accessory store- the place to go if you need a screen protector or case for a phone or tablet. They apply it perfectly!), and S Dot (like a Michaels- located next to the Play Station Store). Then we headed to our favorite Korean Barbecue right as they opened at 5:00. If you wait until 6pm or later Kyung Sung Market is packed! (Kyung Sung Market is in Banwoldong a few doors down from Mir Dental)

The food was delicious as usual. Our usual Dunkin Donuts wasn’t there anymore. So we decided on Auntie Anne’s for dessert and walked backed to our hotel. There were some pretty Christmas lights and some people singing Christmas Carols in Hangul on our way.

We did something unusual for us, and just relaxed in the hotel room (we usually run around for hours until we come back to the hotel room and crash when on vacation). Sunday morning, we had McDonald’s for breakfast since it was across the street from the hotel. On our way back to the hotel, it started snowing. Clarissa enjoyed catching snow on her tongue. It was fun to watch the snow from 21 floors up, but you can’t see it as well in the pictures.

After checking out of the hotel we went to our favorite emart (like a Target) in Wolbae. It was a great emart when we left a year and a half ago. It has since been renovated and is even better. It includes a kid cafe and an electromart now so we were happy.

We headed back to Camp Walker for Tim’s favorite pizza. Italy and Italy is right outside gate 4. It was snowing really well by the time we got there. We like it because you can customize your pizza or pasta. The food was great, as always. Tim’s friend came back to see us for lunch.

The snow let up about the time we got out of Daegu. The traffic was only bad in Daegu as well. Since it was primarily a food vacation, we had to go to Tim’s favorite Thai restaurant when we got back into town. Sawatdee (in Osan’s ville) is our favorite.

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. 

Everything is bigger in Seoul

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The army must like to send Tim to training because this is the second time in five months that they sent him to Seoul. This time we are actually staying on base. Everything in Seoul is way bigger than Daegu.

Dragon Hill Lodge is massive. It has ten restaurants, an indoor pool, a playground, and several stores. Once we checked in to our room and put Clarissa down for her nap, I headed to the commissary. I am not exaggerating that the commissary is at least twice as big as the commissary on Camp Walker. I spent a lot more than I was planning to spend because they had things I can’t find in Daegu. Mostly junk food. Ahem. As I was carrying the bags to the elevator, a random lady pressed the button for me and then offered to help me with my bags. It turns out that her family is just arriving in Korea and they are moving to Daegu this week, so we exchanged contact information and are planning to meet up next week when I get home.

This morning, Clarissa and I slept in and then decided to walk in the rain to the library. We had rain jackets on, but along the way someone definitely stopped and asked where we were headed and gave us a ride to the library. They have to be safe on base right? That hasn’t happened on Walker in the rain yet. However, we did hitch a ride on a 90 degree day once.

The library was also several times larger than our library at Camp Walker. I thought ours was a decent size and has a designated children’s room. The children’s room is probably twice as big at Yongsan. I figured we would read a few books and find out what day they do story time here (Tuesday). But we happened to walk in during baby story time! So we played with a parachute, read a couple of books, and sang a few songs.

I think I have decided that library story time is just the place to be. It has been the easiest way to make friends in Daegu and we made friends again today. I think that every time I move, Clarissa and I will have to check out the story time at the local library.

Our new friends invited us to lunch. The Food Court at Yongsan is huge. At Walker, we have a Smoothie King, Taco Bell, Anthony’s Pizza, and Subway. There is also a Starbucks and a Burger King on post. The food court at Yongsan has Burger King, Taco Bell, Anthony’s Pizza, Subway, Starbucks, Baskin Robins, Dunkin Donuts, and Manchu Wok. I might have missed a few and there are other restraints on base besides the food court and the restaurants at Dragon Hill Lodge.

I had mentioned at the end of story time that I wanted to take Clarissa to the PX to get a new toy. Apparently there are multiple parts to the PX here. So our new friends took me to the specific building that you go to buy toys. I think the toy section is about as big as our entire PX in Daegu. So we bought a beach ball (what I really wanted since we could blow it up to play now but it would be easy to bring home), a Minnie Mouse floating toy, and a small Elmo in a car.

As we were leaving one of the moms gave me her contact information. She said they would probably go to the mall play place if it was raining tomorrow and we were invited. She also told me about another play group that meets on base tomorrow for Clarissa’s age group.