Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Year of the Ox

This weekend a four-day holiday starts, celebrating the end of the Year of the Rat and the beginning of the Year of the Ox. The stores are now stocked with beautifully packaged gift baskets, as gift-giving is a part of the tradition. Lovely boxes containing carefully-chosen, individually packaged fruits can sell for exorbitant prices, as can other foodstuffs, like fragrant oils, honeys, and such. A few days ago, though, I saw a gift box that absolutely blew my mind. In a nice yellow box, swaddled in tissue, lay four parallel rows of shiny, clean, cans of...

wait for it...

Spam. Yes. Good old-fashioned spam. Apparently nothing says Happy New Year like processed pig parts.

Happy Lunar New Year!

(P.S. I took the job. It's now official. USA here we come.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I'm still here. Just having trouble organizing my thoughts. The last couple of months have been pretty intense in a lot of ways. Not bad, just intense.

The big gap in blog posts was originally precipitated by a trip to the US. We were there for almost a month, visiting friends and taking care of some life details. The trip was non-optional for us if Mystery wanted to keep his green card, since staying outside of the USA for too long will get it canceled, and his re-entry permit (basically a permit to stay out for two years) expired, so he needed to get himself firmly planted back on US soil before the expiration date. It was a pretty welcome trip for other reasons as well, though. I have a new nephew that I hadn't met, several of my dearest friends had new kids too, and of course I'm pretty fond of lots of adults in the US too (and previously existing kids), so it was fantastic to get to meet the new people, and reconnect with the "old" ones.

Eggbert had a fantastic time, other than the jet lag which she decidedly did NOT enjoy. (I didn't enjoy getting up for the day with her at 3 am for what seemed like weeks either, but I guess that's the price you pay for switching sides of the Pacific.) It turns out that she loves other kids, even if she doesn't quite know how to play with them yet. It was quite sweet to watch. And of course, the time that we spent with my parents spoiled her rotten--she LOVED having a staff of four, rather than just the usual two. I think that returning to Korea was a bit disappointing for her.

Arguably the most eventful event of the trip was a job interview for me. As I posted some time ago, Mystery and I have come to the conclusion that it just doesn't make sense for us to continue to plant roots in Korea, so we've been working on an exit strategy. Well, that strategy now seems close to fruition. Nothing is finalized yet, but it looks like we'll be moving back to the US in about six months.

I'm really happy and relieved that in this economy, I have managed to find a decent position, but I'm also having some anxiety about leaving Korea. I never quite felt at home here, whatever that means, but it has grown on me, and I know I'll miss it. In the mean time, my mind is neither here nor there. I think it'll be easier to cope once the final decision is made, and it's all official.