Settling in to life in America (reverse culture shock)

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In some ways, life in America is like our life in South Korea. Tim goes to work during the day. Clarissa and I are home with Mittens. Homeschool is back in session. We think we found a church to attend. Tim’s days off are for exploring. We are still a one car family.

But in some ways, life is very different. Sometimes I think the transition from America to Korea was easier than the transition from Korea to America. I wonder if it’s because of the differences or if it’s because we were looking forward to moving to Korea for so long that it made things easier?

Before moving to Alexandria, I had only ever lived in Hampton Roads or South Korea. In Korea, most families are only there one to three years. So everyone is either new, or remembers what it is like to be new and attempts to help new people. We don’t live near military housing here, so there isn’t an influx of new people all the time that need to get plugged in (at least not the way it was in Korea). So when Clarissa and I go to a new place, people don’t seem eager to include us or invite us in to their group. The exception to this being our wonderful neighbors.

I consider Hampton Roads to be pretty conservative socially. It wasn’t quite southern with the large military population, but there were definitely likeminded people around. Before we left, the LGBT stuff wasn’t a big thing. Gay marriage wasn’t legal in most states before we left. Four years later, and in Northern Virginia, it is definitely more liberal. (Granted we arrived right at the beginning of Pride Month, so this may not be how things normally are?) But, Clarissa and I have had some interesting conversations about cashiers and why they are dressed like a girl but definitely look like a man or why we see men kissing each other at a restaurant.

I think it was also pretty common in Hampton Roads for moms to stay home with their kids, especially when they are younger. There were working moms too. My mom worked weekends when I was a kid. In my neighborhood, it seems pretty common for both parents to work though. When Clarissa and I go to the park, most of the kids her age have nannies from foreign countries. Or the moms that are there all have kids in private school uniforms and are hanging out together. I am having a hard time finding stay at home moms here. I am sure they exist. I just haven’t found them yet. When I looked online, it says that there were 91 elementary school aged kids in Alexandria who are homeschooled this school year. So these families do exist, but they aren’t a large percentage of the population.

The other thing that I am getting used to is having a car. We had one car in Korea, but Tim had it most of the time because he was working. Now when Clarissa asks if we can go somewhere that requires driving, it takes me a minute to remember that I am the one with the car and we don’t have to wait for Daddy to get home or for the weekend to go to the park or the library. It is also weird to be able to get the errands done during the week so that we can actually do fun things on the weekend.

The supply situation in South Korea was interesting on base. Many items from the commissary or PX came by boat, so if something was out, it might take a month to get it in. Then if there was an embargo on something, like poultry, you just had to go off base for the Korean version because the commissary just wan’t going to carry it. Amazon was the fastest way to ship things and it was great to get your item in a week, if you found a seller who would ship to an APO address. Here, I can go to multiple locations of the same store if I want to. But so far, most of the items that I want are in stock the day that I go shopping. Amazon is so fast. When we left, prime was definitely 2-3 days. But most things, if we order before midnight, will be delivered to our house the next day.

We have a great library system here. Because of our location, we are actually eligible for the library in a few different cities. In Korea, the army libraries were all connected on the same system, so I could request up to 5 books at a time from a different library. But because they were all in different cities on the peninsula, it might take 3-4 weeks to get the book I want. Here, the books are all located in the same city, so I can request multiple books from a different library, and it will be at the library that I want to pick it up in a day or two. We are also allowed to request like 20 books at a time!

The air quality here is amazing. In Korea, the air quality continually got worse while we were there. I don’t remember it being as much of a problem when we lived in Daegu. But in Pyeongtaek, especially the last year that we were there, the air quality was a problem. It would be  over 200 for weeks straight (healthy is 0-50). We often had to wear a mask outside so that we wouldn’t get a headache or sore throat from the air. I think in the five weeks we have been in Virginia, the air quality has only been over 50 once and it was 68 that day. The air quality this morning was 4.

Clarissa’s personality has been a little more outgoing here than in South Korea. She said to me the other day, “I can be more chatty here because everyone speaks American!” She has no problem walking up to a kid on the playground and asking if they want to play with her. At lunch the other day, she even asked if we could sit with a little girl and her mom because they were about the same age. She never would have done that in Korea, even on base. She still doesn’t like big groups of people though. The first playground we went to, I thought looked really cool, but there were a ton of kids there and she asked to leave about ten minutes later in favor of a less crowded playground.

Taking your pet home from South Korea

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One of the most stressful parts of our move (for me) was making sure that Mittens could come to America with us.

Mittens, our cat, was born on the roof of a building on Camp Henry in Daegu, South Korea. At least, that is where someone found her and her brothers and sisters. Said person brought her to the Camp Walker vet, who nursed them for a few weeks before adopting them out to families on post. It just so happened that we were in the market for a cat when I saw a posting that the vet had free kittens available.

That was three years ago. Clarissa was two and Mittens was less than two months old when she came to live with us. They have grown up together like sisters. Mittens sleeps in Clarissa’s bed every night. Though we still haven’t seen how she manages to jump to the top bunk on her own.

In the fall, I knew we would be heading back to America sometime in 2019. I began researching the process of what it takes to bring a cat from South Korea to America. It’s actually not as difficult as I thought it was going to be. I joined a facebook group by one of the pet shippers, thinking it would help me to know what to do. And to a certain extent, it did. But it also really stressed me out because he would post horror stories about how pets were denied boarding for silly little things (and bigger things) and he had to rescue the pets and ship them home later.

The difficult thing about military or GS life overseas is that you don’t always know where you are going until right before you leave. Some places require more preparation than others. For example, to go to Japan, your pet needs a FAVN test 6 months before you leave Korea or your pet will be in quarantine until the end of the 6 months when the pet arrives in Japan. Hawaii requires a similar schedule. To go to Europe (the EU), you need 3 months of FAVN or your pet can’t even enter the country. But to go from South Korea to mainland USA, your cat just needs a health certificate and a current rabies shot.

Our DEROS (date of estimated return from overseas) was April 30 and we had no idea where we were going by January 1. I knew we were going to America, but that could mean Hawaii and so I decided to get Mittens updated on her rabies shot early so that she would have two rabies shots and would be able to receive the FAVN test immediately if we found out we were going to Hawaii.

I was relieved to find out in February that we had a tentative offer for a job in the Washington, DC area because it meant that Mittens didn’t need the FAVN test. We could also take a direct flight from Incheon (Seoul) to Dulles (Washington DC) which would make life easier for the humans and the cat.

Right before we left, Tim heard about a different pet shipper that someone from work had used with good results. Once we finally had orders, I decided to talk to her. Gina was wonderful! She advised me to book the Delta flight with Korean Air code share because Korean Air is excellent with pets and doesn’t have a flight time limit (Delta normally only allows pets on flights under 12 hours). Doing this, Mittens was able to be on our flight as excess baggage instead of manifest cargo. Her treatment was pretty much the same. However, we only had to pay the airline $200 instead of paying a pet shipper between $1500-$2000.

Once our flight was booked, I was supposed to call a phone number to book Mittens on my flight. My phone would not call the Korean number for some reason and when I called the American number, I was on hold so long the phone call hung up on me. So Gina called them for me on her phone to book her spot on the flight. Then I had to take Mittens to the vet less than 10 days before our flight in order to get a health certificate. You don’t want to do it 10 days out because if your flight is delayed for any reason, you will have to start over. Then within 3 days of your flight, you need to visit the quarantine office to get a special health certificate from them.

That part was pretty stressful for me. I knew Mittens was healthy and her rabies vaccine was current. But the vet wasn’t available until the Friday afternoon before we left. Tim sold our car that morning, so I had to bring Clarissa and Mittens from Osan to Humphreys by taxi. And for some reason our taxi driver refused to actually go onto Camp Humphreys. So he brought me to the main gate and we had to switch taxis to get to the vet. The vet was done with Mittens and handed me a health certificate within 15 minutes. I then called another taxi. This guy didn’t speak any English and couldn’t figure out where I was supposed to go, even after I talked to dispatch. So after driving around for a bit, I made him bring me to where Tim was on Camp Humphreys so we could go together. Once the guy figured out how far we needed to go, he refused to take us.

We then went to the USO, where the lady at the front desk translated the address into Hangul for me with directions. She advised us to take a taxi from off post because they were usually willing to go farther. So we called another taxi to take us from One Stop to the front gate. Then, we got into a new taxi who was happy to take us to the Quarantine Office at the Port of Pyeongtaek. This guy didn’t have amazing English either, but our translated copy of the address made it super easy for him to know where we needed to go.

After we arrived at the building, we asked him to wait for us so that we would have a taxi back to our hotel at Osan. We walked in to the building and took the elevator to the fourth floor. From the elevator, take a left and go through the double doors. I presented the worker with my health certificate, rabies certificate, and flight information and filled out a form. In about 10 minutes, he handed me a health certificate for the Quarantine officers at both the Korean and American airport. I was instructed to bring Mittens to this place, but the worker didn’t look at her, just the paperwork. The taxi driver then took us back to Osan Main Gate so we could get to our hotel.

The next hurdle was to get to the airport. Osan offers a bus from the air base to Incheon Airport. However, pets are not allowed on the bus. I tried talking to a pet taxi, but he wasn’t convinced that he could carry the three of us, our luggage, and Mittens in his van. It was the same crazy price to just send Mittens with him as to send all three of us with our luggage.  The day before we needed to go to our airport hotel, a friend of Tim’s offered to drive us to the airport hotel in his van. We fit comfortably in his huge Japanese van and had great conversation along the way.

At the airport, I was worried that there would be a problem with our paperwork or that they would say Mittens didn’t have a spot on the flight (because of all the things I read on the other shipper guy’s facebook page). Gina assured me that Mittens should be fine, but if for some reason they denied her on the flight, she would send one of her workers to get Mittens and she would ship her to me later in the week. So I at least had a back up plan going into the morning of the flight.

When we checked in for our flight (you can’t do online check in with a pet), I told the check in lady that we had a cat. She asked for my rabies certificate and health certificate. I then had to put Mittens on the conveyor belt for her to attach paperwork and stickers to. Her crate had metal screws and a water bottle attached. There were puppy pads at the bottom of her crate to absorb any messes and make her more comfortable. I also had to write Live Animal with arrows (like this side up) on the crate and attach some cat food to the outside of her crate.

Then the check in lady called someone who came to get Mittens in her crate and put her on a cart. They immediately took her to our plane to load her into the cargo area (the other pet shipper guy said they just fling the crates with the luggage and you never know what will happen). After we finished checking in our suitcases, she gave me a note to pay the $200 at a different counter to pay for Mittens.

After our flight, at US Customs, the border patrol agent asked us about Mittens. He just wanted to see her current rabies certificate and didn’t care about her health certificate at all. From what I was reading, health certificates are required by many airlines but rabies certificates are all the USA requires to enter the mainland. We then went to pick up our suitcases and saw that they had put Mittens off to the side in a different section. We showed them that our baggage tag matched Mittens sticker and they let us take her. That was it.

Please note that to bring your pet from the United States to South Korea, the requirements are completely different. This post explains the process we used to bring our cat from South Korea to the United States in May of 2019.

Settling in (week 3)

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I think it is finally starting to sink in that Daegu is home. Hotel life made it feel like more of a really long vacation. But now that we are in our new apartment and I have to do dishes and cook again, it feels more normal.

On Sunday, we tried our first church. We were surprised because Tim’s boss was there. It was a small church. The sanctuary might seat 100? The only other child in the nursery was almost five. But she and Clarissa love each other.

Neither of us was thrilled with the service itself. But I have never been welcomed that many times in a place in my life! The people were all very friendly. After service each week, the whole congregation eats lunch together in the fellowship hall. New people sit at a special table so that you can get to know the pastor.Tim’s boss ate with us as well. Apparently he is one of the founding members of the church. He is a great guy.

So, it’s not completely ruled out because of the people. But we want to check out the other churches too to see if one is more like Forefront.

I meant to go to the chiropractor before we moved but the weather made that difficult. By Monday, I was so sore that I was getting migraines. There is a spa in the hotel that does massages 24 hours per day, so Tim and I decided that I should get one after I put Clarissa to bed.

It was a Thai massage. Until then I have only had Swedish. This was radically different. It started off with a warm water foot soak and some tea. Then she brought me to a room and told me to lie on a mat on the floor.

She probably spent 20 minutes massaging my legs. Then she massaged my hips. My hips have bothered me on and off since I was pregnant with Clarissa. It hurt while she was doing it, but I have not had any problems since. Needless to say, if you have any problems with your hips, I recommend a Thai massage.

The whole thing was pretty intense. For example, half way in, she was pressing on my abdomen. She asked if it hurt. I wanted to say “You told me to drink tea a half hour ago and now you are pressing on my bladder!” but I didn’t.

I think my Swedish massages have focused on my back and neck. Everything else was an after thought. The Thai massage spent an equal amount of time on each area of the body. She even massaged the top of my head and my ears! I think I may have to go back at some point as a treat to myself. I don’t know if I will go back to the hotel or if I will try a different place.

On Tuesday, we signed the lease for our new apartment and then Clarissa and I had lunch with Tim on base.

Wednesday, Clarissa and I took our first subway ride with just the two of us. We missed the first train because the line of people would not get out of the way for us to get out of the elevator. But God totally redeemed it because when we arrived at our stop by base, they saw us coming and held the first elevator for us. Then when we got to the next elevator, it didn’t look like we would fit with the stroller if everyone got on, so this gentleman said, “After you!” (He actually did fit afterall).

We had lunch with Tim and then headed to the PX to buy some things for the apartment. The army has loaner furniture but doesn’t have things like towels or sheets. It normally isn’t a problem, but since we set the record for moving in to an apartment, our linens won’t arrive for at least another two weeks.

I was looking forward to taking a picture of Clarissa in the stroller with all of our stuff and bragging about how we got it all back to the hotel by subway. But it would not all fit so I had to take a taxi. Tim was actually happy about this. He was concerned it would not be safe to carry everything back myself.

Thursday was moving day. Tim’s boss and sponsor came to the hotel to pick us up with all of our stuff. I was able to unpack all of the suitcases before the deliveries started.

The housing office brought us loaner furniture. The refrigerator and dryer were too big to fit through the door of the laundry room. Not a problem. They simply took out the window to the computer room and slid them in that way.

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The landlord bought us a new Korean washing machine. This did not have a problem fitting through the door. It looks small on the outside, but is actually a decent size inside. The fun part was using Google translate to figure out what all of the buttons mean.

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Our microwave and water filter were also delivered on Thursday. The gas dryer was hooked up. It was a busy day.

In the evening, we decided to walk to emart (like a Target or Walmart) because we didn’t have any groceries. On the way we discovered a store called Toy and Mom. Think Babies R Us, but in a store the size of Trader Joe’s. This store was about a five minute walk from the house so I imagine that I will be there a lot.

It was only another 5-10 minute walk to emart. We bought a few things that we needed. We were hungry and wanted to eat in the food court there but could not figure it out. There was a computerized menu where you could order and pay with a credit card. But it was all in Hangul so we could not figure out how to finish the order. We waited a bit but it was 8:00 and no one else came to order. So we went across the street to McDonald’s. I honestly have not eaten there in ages. But the food seemed less greasy to me.

On Friday, I was able to Skype with Shannon. Tim took the bus to work. He got to come home at lunch time because the army let us borrow some kitchen items like pots, plates, and forks. We had talked about him bringing them home at the end of the day but his boss thought I might like to have it earlier. It worked well because Tim was here when the KT guy was here to connect the Internet because he wanted to be here for that.

Tim went back to work. After naptime, Clarissa and I took the bus to base. We met Tim at the commissary to buy more groceries now that I knew what my options were for cooking.

Saturday was for exploring. We live near a busy intersection and had seen one direction on the way to emart. We decided to go a different direction. We walked straight for a mile or two (I am a horrible judge of distance). Then we turned left and headed for Drury park. It was pretty but we definitely need to come back once everything has bloomed in a few weeks.

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It was actually a huge place with hills and walking trails. We walked around the perimeter of the park. We have heard that there are awesome views from Daegu Tower, which we could see across the street, behind E-world. But we could not figure out which road to take to get there.

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By this time, we had been walking for over two hours so we decided to try the subway line nearby and see how far it is from our house. So we took the green line two stops and got off. On the way home, we stopped at a food court. It seriously had 20 restaurants to choose from. We ended up with Pizza Hut. Though it was really greasy and I don’t think we will eat there again.

We decided to pick up a few more things from emart and then headed home to put Clarissa down for her nap.

I also had my first operator error with a Korean appliance. I didn’t realize that in addition to turning on the transformer, I also had to turn on the gas to work the dryer. I was getting very frustrated that the dryer was on a long time but the clothes were still wet. Tim figured out the problem. Now I know…

On Sunday, we took the bus to base so that we could pick up a few things at the PX. We could not figure out dishwasher detergent at emart on Saturday. We also wanted to look at our furniture options since we didn’t ship our couch or table. At my spouse orientation, they said that there was a larger selection at Osan and they could ship it to the PX here in Daegu. But we were actually pretty pleased with the selection here.

After naptime, we made yet another trek to emart. This time we brought our luggage cart so that between that and the stroller, we could bring back a printer and a vacuum. Clarissa had her first major temper tantrum in public at emart. She wanted to run through the aisles and was not happy with her options of stroller or being held. But we all survived.

After a snack, we decided to check out the indoor playground in our building. The door was locked so we opted to play outside instead. Clarissa had a great time. There is a car for her to ride around in and two slides.

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This morning, I decided to take out the trash. It is different than in the United States in that you have to separate EVERYTHING. There is a bin for plastic, plastic bags, cans, glass, paper, general trash, and food waste. There were other containers too but they weren’t in English so I don’t know what to put there.

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Then Clarissa and I wanted to try the indoor playground. But it was still closed. I took a picture of the sign to translate later.

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But we brought our coats just in case and played outside instead.

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Tomorrow! Tomorrow! We are leaving tomorrow!

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It’s hard to believe that in nine hours I will be on a plane,  moving out of the country.

Moving has been a lot more work than I thought it would be. This week of snow didn’t help our time line either. But we have been so blessed during this process.  My parents have watched Clarissa so that I could clean,  pack,  and paint.  Tim’s parents came to help as well.  Shannon spent her Saturday cleaning my house too. 

We got to visit Josie yesterday.  She was definitely excited to see us and tried to leave with us.  But she is doing very well in her new home.  She looks great and seems happy.  That was good closure for me,  even if it was hard to leave her.

We sold Tim’s car today.  That was quite a relief. 

God is totally all over this move. There are so many variables and unknowns heading into tomorrow. Normally that bothers my control freak nature. But God must be working on me because other than being exhausted, I have complete peace about this move. I am not nervous or anxious about anything.

Ways you can pray for us right now :

Health
I am finally getting over a nasty cold that I have had for about three weeks. Clarissa woke up congested this morning. Jet lag also has a way of weakening an immune system.

Adjustment
There is a fourteen hour time difference so there is a practical need for a routine with a toddler. Tim will be starting a new job. We will be living in a different country with a different language and culture. We really don’t know anyone where we are going.

We have a hotel reservation, but I don’t really know how long we will be there until we move in to our apartment. We will get our belongings in two different shipments and also use some loaner furniture in the meantime.

Life back home
Obviously we will miss our family and friends. Both grandmothers cried, so you can say a special prayer for them.

Our house looks great and has fresh paint. But we still don’t have a renter. So you can pray that God would send the right family for our house.

Travel mercies
We have three flights. We will be in transit from about 430am Monday to 630am Tuesday eastern standard time. So you can be praying that we make all of our flights, that our bags also arrive, and that our toddler travels well. Twenty six hours is a long time to travel. So all three of us will need to sleep at some point. There is a chance of snow in at least two of our locations tomorrow.

Starting our new life in Korea
Obviously there is a reason that God chose this time and place to send us to South Korea. We want to do God’s best for us there.

So you can pray for us that we would have wisdom in where to live, what church to be a part of, which activities to attend, and who to hang out with.

Two weeks and counting

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We move to South Korea in two weeks! Thanks to those who have been praying. God has already answered some of our prayer requests from the last post.

Josie
We found a new home for Josie.  I went ahead and made an appointment to surrender Josie,  just in case we could not find a home.  I posted and shared in a few places without any luck.

Last weekend,  some friends of a friend came to meet Josie.  I liked them a lot.  The only problem was that they have a cat so we didn’t know what would happen.  But they really liked Josie so we started what we are calling a trial.

I should have kept Josie a while longer because she is doing wonderfully in her new home.  Her new mom texts me pictures each day.  She looks happy.  She and the cat even play their own little version of hide and seek.

God really answered that prayer.

Our house
Our house officially went on the rental market this week. We had our first showing on Friday. We would really like to have a renter for March 1.

For the most part, we have gone through everything we own and done a big purge. We have sold several items and plan to donate a lot as well. (Prayer request – two Fridays in a row I have scheduled donation pick ups and they never came to get our things. I am trying with a third organization on Tuesday. I want my donation to be a blessing, but it needs to get picked up first…)

I feel like we have a pretty good idea of what to pack in suitcases, unaccompanied baggage, and household goods at this point. That makes my life much less stressful!

Travel mercies
Clarissa’s passport finally came!

I guess our prayer requests at this point would be to finish well here before we move.

This will be Tim’s last week of work. They are giving him a going away luncheon on Tuesday, which surprised me since he has only been there since November. But they seem to think he is awesome (which I totally agree with and is great for his confidence going into a new job).

Just pray that we would be wise with our time during these next two weeks. That we would get to see and say goodbye to the people we need to stay in relationships with.

Tim’s parents are coming to visit the 12th – 16th. You can pray for safe travels for them. They started their last trip with a tire blow out!

And Tim’s request would probably be to have time to relax before we go. He has been working during the day and then coming home to work on moving stuff so he has not had a lot of down time lately.

You can also pray about Tim’s car. We took it in last week for something we thought would be $50 and ended up being $500. And another light came on that we need to fix before we can sell the car. We still owe money on it and would really like to break even on this car when we sell it.
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This is really happening!

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We talked about living in South Korea so much that at one point a couple of years ago,  it seemed normal.  There was no doubt in our minds that it would someday happen.

This job offer feels like it came out of nowhere.  I know that isn’t true.  At this point in time we were living in the place of wanting to go someday,  but trusting that God would make it happen in His perfect timing meant that I thought it would probably be a while before it actually happened.  So, although it may seem random,  I know this is God’s perfect timing for us to move to Korea.

There are so many preparations where God has already given us favor. Every day it seems more and more real. Which is good, because we are actually moving in five weeks!

There are several ways that you can pray for our family during this transition.

Josie

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As much as I love Josie, she can’t come with us. Please pray for a new family for Josie.

Our house

We are going to rent out our house while we are gone. Please pray that God would provide a renter for March and that the house would never be vacant. Pray that this renter would take care of the house, but also that our house would be a blessing to them.

Travel mercies

We will be in transit for about 26 hours from Virginia Beach to Daegu. That is a long day for anyone. Clarissa will be 18 months old. That is a long time to sit and be calm. Tim has to report to work about 13 hours after we land in Daegu because of a holiday there. There is a fourteen hour time difference so that should be fun…

Oh and Clarissa’s passport has yet to arrive. We applied for it a few weeks ago and paid to expedite it. But apparently, the photo had red eye and so we had to mail a new photo. The post office took three just to be safe. Hopefully these will work… Do you know how hard it is to take a picture of a toddler head on while she sits on a stool? All of the pictures look like they have red eye to me, though not as bad as the first one.

Hotel life

We will be living in a hotel for about a week before we leave. That shouldn’t be too bad because we have a suite and it will be easier to pack, clean, and paint our house if we don’t have to sleep there.

We will be in a hotel in Korea until we find an apartment and all of the paperwork goes through. Tim’s sponsor said it took about six weeks for him. The hotel we will be staying in is highly recommended but is just a bedroom. There is a shower but no bathtub.

Please pray that we can all adjust quickly to the time change and that Clarissa gets into a good routine.

Pray also for wisdom in what to pack and in which shipment. We will likely be living out of suitcases for a month or two. Our unaccompanied baggage will be delivered when we move into our new apartment. A month or two after that our household goods shipment will arrive.

House hunting

Pray for wisdom in where we should live. We get a housing allowance, so we want to stay in budget. It is a large city so there are many options.

We want a safe and welcoming place to call home for the next 3-5 years.

Church

We need a good church home that Tim and I both like. With a children’s program that Clarissa will be safe and loved on.

Work

That Tim would really enjoy his job and do well.

Friends

Several of Tim’s friends no longer live in Korea. I don’t have any friends currently living in Korea. Church might be a good way to meet people. Tim will be working. I have seen a few events for spouses as well. Would love to have a Christian girlfriend to pray with regularly.

God’s best

We know that this is the right time to go to Korea or God would not have arranged everything so beautifully. I don’t know what God’s plan is for us at this time or this place. But I want to be obedient and do whatever He has called us to there.

Clarissa

18 months is a fun age wherever you live. I don’t know how memories work at this age; if Clarissa will miss Josie or her grandparents. She is into everything and loves to climb. Hotels are not necessarily toddler proof.

She is also getting picker about what she eats. While we are in a hotel, I can’t do much cooking. Pray we can find healthy things for her to eat. She is sleeping through the night most of the time and napping regularly. Pray that continues with a fourteen hour time difference and a strange room.

I think she will be fine. I just want her to flourish and grow.

Thanks for praying for us! Let me know how I can be praying for you.

God answers prayer

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There seems to be a pattern in my life. I want something really bad and I am frustrated that it doesn’t happen. Eventually I get to the place where I am content and can live without whatever it is that I think I want. Then, randomly, I get said desire. And it is usually way better than what I thought I wanted originally.

A couple of months ago, I wrote about how Tim and I felt called to South Korea but it wasn’t time yet. Tim had been applying for jobs for two and a half years but got a new local job and so we decided to take a break from Korea stuff for a while because it wasn’t time yet. We were wrong.

God has been orchestrating a pretty cool story for us. One of the jobs Tim applied for in the fall asked for an interview in November. Tim had just started the new job and was excited about it so he was going to cancel the interview. But we were busy that weekend and forgot to cancel. So when they called, Tim went ahead and did the interview. We didn’t think much of it.

About a month ago, one of my friends at school asked about Korea. I told her that we decided to put that on hold for a bit. We caught up on each other’s lives and plans and it started me thinking. I only seem to do things for about two years. I was at Calcott two years before I was transferred to Jacox. I taught at Jacox two years, was at KPC for less than two years, and this Is my second year tutoring at Calcott.

That night I went to bed around midnight. Five minutes later, Tim runs in and shoves his phone in my face. It was an email asking if he was still interested in the job he interviewed for in South Korea.

After a month long process, Tim received the official job offer on Monday night. We fly to Daegu, South Korea on Monday, February 23rd.

When we think about it, God has really been preparing things for us for the past several months.

This summer, Clarissa and I went to Connecticut to visit my dad’s side of the family. I had not visited in five years so it was great to see everyone. They were all able to meet and hold Clarissa.

Tim and I both tried to volunteer at church but nothing really worked out.

We randomly switched banks this fall because of a promotion Discover was doing. They don’t have a foreign transaction fee, but our old bank did.

For a while this year, it seemed like everything was breaking and needed to be fixed but because of Tim’s new job, we had the cash to fix them.

We had already planned to go to Pennsylvania for Christmas. Now everyone in Tim’s family has had a chance to meet Clarissa and we were able to say goodbye.

For the past two years, I have been praying that my car
would last until we moved to Korea. It ran wonderfully until it was hit on Monday, the day Tim received the official job offer. Not only that, but the insurance company is going to give me twice the amount of what I thought I could get for my car!

Even when I think about the initial word that God gave me about Korea, it makes sense. God told me that our next move would be South Korea. I had the feeling it would be in 3-5 years. That word was mid February 2012 so it is exactly three years.

Yes, God has been answering prayers behind the scenes for a while. We just didn’t see all of it until now.