Thursday, November 28, 2013

Another story to tell...

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our American friends and family!

Winter weather has officially arrived around here. The picture below is of the sky shortly after it stopped snowing and before it began snowing again last week. Strange weather.

Things have been busy around here, but Eric and I did manage to go on our first date in six months last weekend.

We picked up the babysitter and on a Friday night, what is normally a 10 minute drive, took 45 minutes. Not surprisingly, we didn't make it to the movie on time. My first Korean movie theater experience wasn't off to a good start.

Eric had bought the tickets online, but when we got to the theater, we needed to print the tickets. The machine was entirely in Korean, though. Eric couldn't figure it out, but I was able to watch the others around him and we were able to get our tickets.

Our next job was to find the theater and our seats. That was a challenge with tickets we couldn't read, though. Eventually, we were headed in the right direction, and we were able to find someone who could tell us where to find our seats. We ended up missing about the first ten minutes of the movie. Not too bad.

We saw Catching Fire, and I'll admit it. It was pretty good, and the time flew by. It was a good thing because we'd skipped dinner. We didn't have time to get any before we needed to be home, either. So, we picked up some popcorn and drinks for the drive home, having missed out on them after we arrived late.

Thankfully, the kids hadn't eaten all of the pizza for dinner, so we had cold pizza and beer at the kitchen table to finish our date, after I dropped the sitter off. We discussed the fact that it seems like every date that we've had here in Korea has been a story to tell. Oh, how our dates have changed over the years.

We are excited for an extra day off this weekend now that colds and flu have hit us. I'm not too excited about trying to cook a Thanksgiving dinner in our little kitchen tomorrow, but I'm optimistic that there will at least be food to eat at the end of the day. We hope you have a great Thanksgiving!

Pictures from my phone from the last couple of weeks. Here's the recap:
Cocoa date with Cade :: Fall trees after the snow
Championship baseball game in the cold x3
Pride & Prejudice performance at school
Cade playing in the closet while I got dressed for school
Snow at school :: Christmas lights are up!
(I apologize if this seems disjointed--I took my Nyquil, so that I can actually get some sleep tonight. Now I need to go to bed!)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Championship Game

Eric had both championship games last weekend. On Saturday, the game was in the morning (in other words, really cold), and he wasn't pitching, so the kids and I skipped out. On Sunday, his game was scheduled for 12:30, he was pitching, and we had yet to see an Ex-Pat game, so we went.

Eric decided that it would be best to take the subway since he had no idea where the game was. So, we loaded up our gear (a small backpack for Eric and a huge Costco bag for the rest of us!), and headed out.

Of course, Eric always forgets how long it takes the kids to walk to the subway station, so it felt like we were racing down the street. Unfortunately, I dropped my favorite gloves out of my purse in the process--and they were the only ones I'd brought that day, so I had cold hands!

We made it onto the subway and all was well, except for my missing gloves. It never takes us less than an hour to get anywhere via subway, and this was no exception. As we were nearing our stop, it became clear that we were a bit outside the city. Eric said that we would have to get in a taxi after we got off the subway, but from what I could see, there weren't any cars on the streets, including taxis.

As it happened, we got off the train at the same time as one of his teammates--a guy who spoke some Korean and had actually been to the field we were going to before. We were able to get a taxi without too much trouble (with his help), and we were successful in getting to the field.

The game ended up starting more than an hour late, and I may have mentioned that we were in the middle of nowhere. Thankfully, I'd thought to have Eric pack sandwiches and snacks for the kids in case there wasn't any food nearby. They needed it.

They thoroughly enjoyed playing in the leaves while the teams warmed up. One of the other guy's wives came and brought her dogs. It took Cade awhile to warm up to them, but before long, they were feeding them treats and playing with them.

It was a hard game to watch, since the other team had hired 8 ex-professional players to play for them in this game. They were getting a hefty bonus from their company if they won, and apparently they felt that justified adding a few players.

They started ahead, scoring a couple of runs in the first inning, but it wasn't long before I had lost track of the score. They ended up losing 10-7 to a team that they had lost to before. Considering the lengths the other team went to, I would say they did pretty well against them!

The award ceremony after the game was quite extensive. Everything was announced in Korean, so I don't really know what was said, but I do know that Eric came home with another trophy--this time for ERA.

After more than five hours of sitting in the cold, we were ready to go after awards had been handed out and pictures had been taken. We got our things packed up, and it finally started to sink in. We had to get back to the subway station. I think I'd had the impression that everyone else would have to as well, but as it turned out many people were able to get rides--back to the subway station, if not home. That's not easy for a family of four when everyone has small cars.

Eric asked one of the guys, and he was able to point us in the right direction, at least. There was a bus stop opposite the exit where we thought we could wait for a taxi. One of the guys mentioned that the bus heads toward the subway, as well, so we could hop on that if it came first. Nothing came. Ten minutes passed. Still nothing had come by. A few random cars, but that was it. By now, all of the other players had left. We were on our own in the middle of nowhere in the freezing cold.

God clearly had his hand in what happened next. As we stood at the bus stop, a Korean couple in an SUV stopped and asked us (in English) where we were going. We did know the name of the subway station, and they were willing to give us a ride. We were able to fit all four of us, plus our stuff in the back end, and they dropped us off at the station five minutes later. (Yes, I think it may have been close enough to walk to if we'd happened to know where we were walking.)

I think we're all a bit relieved that baseball is over for the year. Kennedy and I were happy that they made it into the championship game, but that they lost and Eric won't be heading to Taiwan to play in the coming weeks (selfish, I know). Now, we can relax and spend our weekend writing exams and grading essays--what a relief!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Day in the Life

I have been thinking about doing one of these "day in the life" posts for more than a year now. The idea is that you simply take pictures all day long.

On Saturday, with Eric gone all day for baseball, I thought it would be a good day for it. It was quite a challenge for me--actually remembering to take pictures, dealing with different and locations, learning lots about my lens.

This post is really picture heavy, so I'll try to keep the words to a minimum!

We relaxed a bit in the morning, but we had some errands to run, so we got bundled up and headed out by about 9:30. I think it took us a half hour just to put on coats and gloves.

The parking lot was nearly empty, and we quickly discovered it was because not all of the stores were open yet. So, we stopped at Starbucks and then got the things we needed in the one store that was open before we headed to the next.

We were home by noon--it's rare that a trip anywhere here can take less than a few hours.

We had bacon and guacamole grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch--a new one for me, but it was good!

After lunch, we settled in to do some homework before Eric got home. He came home the winner of the Seoul Baseball League for the second year in a row.

He wasn't home for long before he was off again to the banquet for the SBL.

After he left again, we did some decorating (for Thanksgiving) and then decorated some cookies (for Christmas).

Cade has been asking to decorate cookies for a couple of weeks now. He's convinced the Christmas is just around the corner, and has been listening to Christmas music for a couple of weeks. Thankfully, I had a few cookies leftover in the freezer. I wouldn't share them with anyone, but with enough frosting, the kids can't taste the difference!

Afterwards, we worked on some origami crafts while we waited for Eric to get home, again.

Eric brought home Turkish food from one of our favorite recipes after the banquet. Last year, he was the Playoff MVP, but this year he came home with the League MVP award--quite the accomplishment!

Cade celebrated by enjoying a green Christmas tree for dessert.

Then it was time for pajamas and tooth brushing.

And then stories in bed with Dad.

As of today, the baseball season is officially over. His other team, the Ex-Pats, played in their championship game today. It was a tough loss, but more on that later because now I need to go to bed. I'm ready for a weekend, but I think Monday's going to come whether I'm ready for it or not! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Baseball Update

This baseball season is finally wrapping up.

The kids and I hadn't been to a game in awhile, and since it was a postseason game, I figured we should probably make an appearance.

Gwacheon is far enough outside of the city to be really pretty in the fall.

It actually wasn't quite as chilly as I thought it was going to be, that was a result of the clouds, of course.

We were barely out of the car when it started drizzling. We had to buy a new umbrella within minutes of being there, so I didn't get many pictures.

I did get a few quizzes graded while sitting under the umbrella before the kids joined me.

Thankfully, the game went quickly and they were up by eleven runs in the fifth inning, so they called it right before it started really raining.

Eric also hit his first-ever grand slam, which he was pretty excited about! Next week both teams play championship games.

Our IJM campaign ends in just over a week, so if you've been thinking about donating, but haven't done it yet, now would be the time to do it (right here)!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Lost in Translation

Eric says that blogging gives me a unique perspective on events in our lives. I think he may be right.

Last night was one of the most stressful evenings we've had in a while. And really, it was only a stressful hour or so, but that's enough, you know? Because that hour feels like hours. I can't say that I wasn't a bit stressed at times, but I kept thinking to myself, "at least this will make an interesting blog post."

Kennedy had a birthday party yesterday after school. It was the first one of those parties. Last year, most of her friends had their parties at a "tumbleland" at the mall--just a place where they can run around and play. Boy, do they need those here! While it's not something that we can easily afford, it's okay. Understandable. Reasonable.

Yesterday's party was anything but reasonable, and Eric and I struggled a bit with whether or not we were going to let her to go to one of those parties. In the end, we let her go, and I have no fear that she has any expectations of her own birthday parties following in these footsteps.

The party began with a 45 minute ride around the city in a limousine--something Kennedy described as simply "amazing." The limo ride was followed by dinner in a restaurant that was catered specifically to the kids. Kennedy reiterated the fact that the "yogurt was better than anything she had ever had." And it had Fruit Loops in it. Doesn't get much better than that, I guess!

After dinner, they went to a pottery studio that had been rented out for the event. Each of the girls were able to make two pieces; Kennedy made what she describes as "sauce bowls." (Apparently, they're small.) Then, she decorated a pottery bowl that had already been made and prepared for them to paint.

This week the pieces will be glazed and delivered to school for the girls to take home. Yeah, our daughter's party consisted of painting and coloring in Eric's classroom. We like to set the bar low.

While Kennedy was at her party, we let Cade choose where he wanted to go for dinner. He chose Pizza Hut--again. So, we drove over to the mall and had pizza followed by hot chocolate for dessert. On the way, we saw the building where Kennedy was, so I was confident that we would be able to find it without too much trouble.

We left about 20 minutes before we were supposed to be there to pick her up, and I figured that it wouldn't take more 10 minutes to get there, even if there was traffic. Unfortunately, we chose to follow the pin on the phone, instead of the mental map that I had.

This resulted in driving to the pin and not being able to see the building anywhere. We found a spot to park, but that wasn't helping us orient, so Eric wanted me to start driving. This was about the time when Cade fell asleep. It was good timing, because I was just about to get on a highway which led me to a bridge, taking me the wrong direction over the river. Sitting in traffic. Fifteen minutes late. Heading in the wrong direction. Perfect.

When the divider finally ended, prayers were said, and traffic cleared in the other direction, I pulled a completely illegal U-turn (along with the car right in front of me), and we were at least headed in the right direction again. At this point, Eric tried calling the parents, but neither of them spoke English, so they hung up on him. Thing were not looking good.

After a few more wrong turns, we eventually started heading somewhat close to the right direction. After again, ending up driving way too far in the wrong direction, and getting stuck in more traffic, we were able to get ahold of the parents. This time, Eric was able to speak to someone in English and got some directions that were helpful. We were able to orient ourselves better on the two different maps we were using (both in Korean, of course), and we were getting closer. We were about 45 minutes late at this point.

We finally found the building, not surprisingly, it was right where we'd seen it before! Of course, there were two buildings, and Eric went up into the wrong one the first time, but it wasn't long before they made it out. Kennedy was tear-free, thankfully. It turned out that she wasn't the last one to be picked up, even though we were more than an hour late, so she wasn't too stressed about it. We finally made it home safely around 9:00, and we were all ready for bed by then!
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