Wednesday, August 31, 2011

27 on the 27th

My recent birthday wasn’t like most.  For one thing my alarm went off at 4:45 AM. My best friend was at our door by 5:30, and by 6:00 we were on our way to Busan via Seattle and Seoul.

Knowing I would spend my birthday on a plane, I had celebrated previously with friends, and later over dinner and dessert with my parents.

But back to the actual day...

After a quick flight from Portland to Seattle it was time for a birthday drink during our layover.  The last lime margarita I’ll have in a while.

And a Bloody Mary for Ryan.  

We both decided on fish and chips for our last meal in America.

The rest of the day was spent on the eleven and a half hour ride to South Korea.  There was wine, and movies, and lots of leg room.  We lucked out again and scored two seats in the massive exit row.  Ryan surprised me with this hat during dinner on the plane.  He's a sweetie. ♥

Once we landed in Seoul, we had to transfer to another nearby airport (with six pieces of luggage).  It was about as easy as it sounds.  But soon enough we were on our final plane to Busan and my twenty-seventh birthday was over.  Because of Korea's age system, I’m already twenty-nine in Korea.  Eek!  

As my mom said, "This will be a birthday I'll never forget." :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Grilled Cheese Grill

As I've mentioned here before, the food cart scene in Portland has completely exploded in the last few years.  It seems the groups of carts are getting more prevalent and more gourmet.  On our last weekend in Portland, Ryan and I decided to give The Grilled Cheese Grill a try.

The warm early afternoon sun kept us from eating at a table in the double decker bus, but we loved that it was an option.  The tented seating kept us cool and there was even a beer garden next door, though we didn't partake.  When our sandwiches came, they didn't disappoint.  Mine was provolone, sun dried tomato and artichoke hearts on sourdough.  Ryan went with grilled pepperjack, red onion, tomato, and avocado on Dave's Killer Bread.  Yummy!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Celebrating and Goodbye

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind.  Ryan and I saw our family and friends as much as possible in an effort to say goodbye.

Before leaving our little summer house on the river, we spent a morning sipping coffee with my grandparents.  We're grateful to them for sharing their community with us this these last four months and will truly miss seeing them (and their adorable dog) everyday.

Ryan and I also got some time with my cousins.  We don't get to see them nearly enough, but when we do, it's a treat.

Various friends hosted us for dinner during our last week, a great way to say goodbye.  Making our own pizza turned out to be lots of fun.

A combination birthday/going-away party was the perfect way to bring lots of friends together.

Before returning to the land of kimchi, we made sure to hit up our favorite Portland eateries. 

We also tried some new places.  Sweet Hereafter and Screen Door were both delish.

Following our eating fest, some teary goodbyes and three different plane rides, we're finally here!  Our flight landed in Busan Sunday night (early Sunday morning Portland time) after nearly 24 hours of travel.  More on the trip to come...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Busan Bound

When Ryan and I left South Korea last spring, we weren’t completely closed off to the idea of returning there again.  We decided to discuss the idea once we were back home.  After a month of visiting family, friends, and our favorite local hangouts, we went back and forth about heading abroad for another year.  Could we leave everything again?  Were we prepared to go through another year without the familiarities and amenities of home? 

For awhile we were torn.  Part of us wanted to find a local place of our own.  A place with a dishwasher, an oven and a dryer!  We were excited to think we could rescue all of the wedding presents stored in my parents’ basement, and arrange them in a cute little condo or house somewhere.

But another part of us thought about the amazing experiences that we had last year.  The countries we traveled to, the adventures we had, and the opportunities still open to us.

After much communication with recruiters and a lot of bumps in the road, we both found jobs at a new school in Busan.  I have been hesitant to share the news here until things were finalized, which took much longer than we had anticipated.  (Did I mention there were bumps in the road?)  But it's all worked out now, and we are set to arrive back in Busan by THIS WEEKEND.  Today we finished packing up our little house on the river and are currently jamming our lives into four suitcases and two carry-ons.  Part of us is still in shock, but we are also extremely excited to begin another yearlong adventure together.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Local Tourists

When you live somewhere, you often forget to take advantage of the local sites and attractions that tourists flock to.  Having an out-of-town visitor creates the perfect excuse to see your home with new eyes.  Ryan's mom spent last week in Portland, giving us the chance to do just that.

Besides the Bridge Walk, the three of us shopped at the Nike Employee Store, checked out some food carts, and enjoyed the sun when it made sporadic appearances.

We also got together with some extended family for deep dish pizza, (a special request from the recent Birthday Girl), and enjoyed some homemade blackberry pie with my family for the milestone. Happy 5-0 Sarahmom!

On the days I worked, Ryan and his mom picked fresh blackberries, boated on the river with my grandpa, and explored Sellwood together.

We had a great time revisiting the city we love.