Ah life with a car


When we moved to South Korea in 2015, we didn’t bring a car with us at all. My 14 year old car got totaled the day we got the official offer. And Tim’s car had recalls on it like every other month. So we ditched the cars and thought we would do public transportation in Korea. And we did, for the first year.

There is a one car rule in South Korea for Americans. In Daegu, it is pretty easy to get a second car approved if you live off post. At Camp Humphreys, it was harder. So while we bought a car in January 2016, Tim had it most of the time because he was working. I could use it after work or on weekends. But for play dates and events during the week, Clarissa and I either got a ride from a friend or took the bus somewhere. It wasn’t a big deal in Daegu because there were like 1,000 different busses and a subway system. Plus all of our friends had two cars. Pyeongtaek was harder because the one bus only went one way to AK Plaza and most of my friends were stranded without a car during the day as well.

During our time in Pyeongtaek, Clarissa would always say things like “I can’t wait until we move to America because we will have two vehicles!” So when we found out we were moving to Washington DC area I had to disappoint Clarissa and tell her that we would still be a one car family. However, she is happy about it because instead of Daddy taking the car to work and us taking the bus everywhere, Tim takes the bus to work and we get to keep the car for the day. I forgot how nice it is to have a car and be able to run errands during the week or just to be able to go on a random adventure because we feel like it.

So on Wednesday, Clarissa and I went on an adventure. We decided to check out Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center in Alexandria. It was an easy ten minute drive from our house. At first I thought I missed it because it is attached to an elementary school building. We really enjoyed it and plan to go back!

There are several small animals in tanks and aquariums inside. Clarissa got to see snakes, lizards, bugs, turtles, and birds. There were also cool things to look at under a microscope and a different magnifier. We saw most of those things in about twenty minutes.

Then, Clarissa went to the play area. There is a puppet stage, puppets, stuffed animals, plastic toys, and plenty of books to read. We stayed there for almost an hour. Clarissa would have stayed longer if I let her.

Next to the Nature Center is an entrance to Dora Kelley Nature Park. From the parking lot, take some stairs through the trees down to a paved path by a small river. Clarissa kept saying, “Are we in the woods?” We could hear animals and bugs but didn’t see many in person. Clarissa really enjoyed walking around and “being in nature.” There were a few different paths that you could take and there are multiple entrances so if you go to the right one and stay on the paved path, it would actually be stroller friendly. The entrance we went to is not because there were at least 25 tall steps to go down to get to the path.

On our way home we stopped by the shopping center near our new house to check it out. We had lunch at Duck Donuts which was new to us. And then we found some fun things at Michaels to work on until the rest of our stuff comes. There is even a small kid store called Robcyns that has clothes, educational toys, and books. Clarissa has been asking for a stuffed snake for about a month and we finally found one here! We also checked out Fresh Market for the first time which reminds me of a smaller version of Whole Foods.



Beautiful and rainy day adventures


The weather was beautiful this weekend. The temperature was about 75 both days and the sun was out. We spent our days exploring.

Saturday evening we ate dinner at a place called Pizza Mauro. We ordered a pepperoni bite pizza. The crust was called a green tea wellness crust.


I am not a fan of green tea, but the crust was pretty good. Clarissa didn’t know what to do with the cheese crust bites around the edge of the pizza.

Then we headed to A Twosome Place for dessert. I have seen dessert waffles several places and have wanted to try one since we arrived in Daegu. I guess they call it “a twosome place” because the servings are large enough for two people. We ordered a very berry waffle. It had strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, whipped cream, and vanilla ice cream on the waffle. Clarissa enjoyed helping us eat it.


We decided to walk home a different way by turning left and coming home on a parallel street. I was too busy admiring the buildings, trees, and sky to take many pictures.

Clarissa was content to be in the stroller about twenty minutes. Then, she had to run!


I did think to take this picture of our building. I posted a picture from our laundry room window when we moved in. This is the opposite direction. If you really wanted to, you could count windows to find our laundry room.


Sunday we explored in a different direction before running errands and stopping at Lotteria for lunch. They have McDonald’s and Burger King in Korea, but we like Lotteria better. They have different kinds of chicken and fish burgers in addition to beef. The sides are good too. You can get shrimp cakes and cheese sticks instead of fries. They call a meal a set (most restaurants do).

I pass the SeoBu (I think you can take busses to Seoul and Busan from there) Bus station a lot. I have wanted to take a picture for a while because there is a sign with Tim’s name on it. I usually see it from the bus, but since we were walking across the street, I finally got my picture.


One of my favorite signs is back this week in our elevator.


Every time we get near the elevator, Clarissa gets excited and starts saying “tar” (car).

Monday and Tuesday were pretty normal. Clarissa and I spent some time outside. I think that the novelty of the playground is starting to wear off. Both days she only lasted about twenty minutes (compared to the hour plus) before she asked for books. We spent about an hour both days looking at books in the indoor playground. It is really a test for my creativity because most of the books she wanted to read were in Hangul.

Our household goods were scheduled scheduled to be delivered on Thursday so our loaner furniture was supposed to be picked up between 8 – 12 on Wednesday. I figured I would have to miss PWC this week. The Wednesday that God had for me was so much better than I would have planned.

Wednesday morning, the loaner furniture was picked up at 7:15 so I actually had time to make the cookies I was supposed to bring before we left.

It looked like rain but Clarissa and I keep being overdressed and hot so I was planning to leave the raincoats at home. Clarissa would have none of that! She would not leave without her raincoat in her hand. Smart girl. By the time we arrived at the front door, it was raining so we needed our raincoats on.

We suited up and headed for the bus. The earlier bus came while we were waiting to cross the street so I planned to take our usual 9:29 bus. But, the bus driver stopped for at least 3 minutes so we actually made our bus. The side door to the bus was malfunctioning so the driver kept getting off the bus to shut the door. Eventually he just closed the door and everyone used the same door to enter and exit the bus.

When we’re got off the bus it was raining really hard. I put our hoods on and then realized we weren’t getting wet. A college aged Korean guy held his umbrella over us until we got to the corner because we were going different directions. He then said something to a lady waiting at my corner who held her umbrella for us until we got to the gate. Once on base, a college aged girl held her umbrella for us most of the way to the Chapel (a 15 minute walk). Only in Korea!

By the time we arrived at PWC, I was feeling pretty loved and blessed. We were a few minutes early which was good since Clarissa was not feeling the nursery. But I was still on time for worship and it was really good. The study was good too. I left feeling quite full.

I think Clarissa has learned her first Korean word. Goodbye is “anyong.” On the bus when people get off and wave at Clarissa, she has started to say “anyo.” Close enough.

I tried something new for dinner Wednesday night but Clarissa needed some extra attention and the salmon was scorched. We didn’t have any other meat in the house so we went out to dinner. My rice and broccoli is already made for Friday night!

Our household goods were delivered this morning. A few things are damaged and screws are completely missing for a few furniture items. But I am excited that everything is finally here. We spent this afternoon organizing but it will take a few days to put everything away.

Tomorrow is May 1 and we finally have a renter for our house. I am thankful that God has answered that prayer. The wife is a teacher and the husband is military, which reminds me of us.