2017 Year in Review

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I feel like 2017 flew by. It was quite an eventful year for us with plenty of changes, adventures, and blessings.

In January, Tim was TDY in Hawaii for a week. The army paid for his plane ticket, hotel, and gave him per diem for food. Even though Hawaii was not on our original bucket list for while we live in Korea, we decided that Clarissa and I should join him anyway. The two of us had a wonderful vacation while he worked. I was able to catch up with two friends from home who were living there. Clarissa made new friends and either went to the pool or the beach each day of our trip.

After our trip, Clarissa decided that she finally wanted to wear panties and be potty trained. That changed my backpack contents significantly.

In February, Clarissa and I went home for the first time in two years. We got to catch up with family and friends in Virginia. I was also able to attend my favorite women’s conference while we were there. We also went to see Tim’s family in Pennsylvania where we both had our first sledding experience.

In April, we moved from Daegu to Pyeongtaek for Tim’s new job. Our lifestyle is very different in our new city. In Daegu, we never found a church home but Clarissa and I regularly attended PWOC and the library storytime. In Pyeongtaek, we have a church home but we don’t attend PWOC or storytime.

In June, we spent a week exploring Seoul. We decided that we should stick to spring and fall vacations as it was very hot during our vacation so we spent a lot of time indoors enjoying air conditioning.

Clarissa and I attended Vacation Bible School on post in July. It was so different just showing up and being a small group leader than being director of the whole thing. I enjoyed it so much more. Clarissa had fun as well and made a new friend. There was also a preschool program specifically for her that made it less overwhelming than being with all of the big kids.

We also experienced our first monsoon season this summer. It rained a lot most days, which was a blessing since Korea had been in a drought the past three years. Humidity was high as usual, but it didn’t seem horrible as long as the past two summers here.

By summertime, Clarissa and I had established a routine of going to the farmer’s market for produce. In Daegu, we mostly shopped at the commissary. But here, there is a farmer’s market within walking distance twice a week, so we go there often.

This fall, a friend started a playground playgroup at our apartment complex. So we spent a lot of time playing outside with friends. There are four playgrounds in our complex. Clarissa’s favorite has a trampoline. Her second favorite has plenty of sand.

We also started officially homeschooling this year. Clarissa and I are working through the God’s Little Explorers preschool curriculum together and really enjoying it.

In November, we went on vacation to Okinawa. The 85 degree days felt so hot after the 50 degree fall days in Korea. But we still enjoyed our week of exploration. Clarissa even got to play in the water at the beach three times. I got to mark dressing like a geisha girl and exploring a cave off my bucket list.

Holidays were also different for us this year. Clarissa and I completed Truth in the Tinsel as usual. But we had more traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas meals with our church family. We took the train into Seoul for some exploring on both Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Let the Hawaii adventures begin! 

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Jetlag is interesting.  Yesterday,  my goal was to make it to 7pm. We were in bed by 6.  Clarissa was awake and starving by 11 so we all snacked and read until about 1.  I woke up about 745 and decided that I should actually get up for the day  to have some quiet time before Tim and Clarissa woke up…I had to wake them up at 11 so we had time to eat for our scheduled submarine adventure. 

The pier for Atlantis Submarines is attached to our hotel’s beach.  I didn’t plan it that way,  but it definitely made life easier.  

We checked in for our tour and they took our family picture.  The pictures ended up being good so we paid the expensive fee for them. 

First,  we boarded a boat. We had to watch the coast guard safety video before the boat could launch.  Then we were allowed on the top deck to see the awesome scenery on the way to our submarine. 

It was pretty cool to watch the submarine come up.  Clarissa did climb the ladder by herself to the submarine.  The windows were very large and the views were clear.  Apparently the deeper underwater you go,  the less the colors show.  Red looks brown.  Yellow was vibrant.  But most things looked blue,  black,  and gray.  Apparently when National Geographic comes to take pictures,  they have to use huge lights so that you can actually see the colors of the fish. 

Waikiki is a man made beach so 30 years ago there weren’t many fish.  Atlantis built a few different structures to attract fish and populate this area. They also have a sunken ship and two planes down there. 

The submarine ride was about an hour and had a live English narration.  They also had headsets so that you could hear the tour in Japanese,  Chinese,  or Spanish. It was interesting and informative.  We were able to see many fish but also a shark,  two turtles,  and sting rays.  We went down to 113 feet,  which is apparently rare for most people to do in their lifetime. We all really enjoyed it. 

Tim had a meeting after our tour so Clarissa and I headed to the pool for about an hour.  We then headed to the mall to see the rest of the stores and have dinner. 

We ended up at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.  It is based on the movie Forest Gump. The service was great. They have two license plates on your table.  The red one lets the servers know that you need something. 

The food was delicious.  There were many things to choose from.  We may eat there again later in the week.  Tim chose a lemonade in a suvioneer cup that had color changing lights on the bottom. 

Clarissa fell asleep on the drive to Target.  I was very excited to be able to visit Target. Though I must admit that this one had several empty shelves which surprised me.  Island life probably means less frequent deliveries. 

Also at checkout my cashier asked me if I needed to purchase a reusable bag.  I have not been to Target in two years so I don’t know if that is a normal Target thing or just a Hawaiian thing.  I have not seen a single plastic bag on the island.