Thursday, February 23, 2012

Walk in the Park

On Saturday Ryan and I explored a new area of the city together. 

 We walked around this lakeside park, home to a wide variety of ducks and birds and noted its potential as a summer hang-out.  Construction on the park should be completed at that point and who knows, the grass might even be green by then.

 After our walk Ryan finally got the chance to set up his latest project, a homemade slackline

On the way home we stumbled upon a fishing museum.

Hiking, a new sport and a fishing museum?!  It was like Ryan's dream day.

Of course we went in and ended up on a tour with some volunteers who interpreted the history of fishing in Busan for us.

Lovely day. ♥

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Kind of Holiday

National Margarita Day in the US?!  Um, how have I never heard of this before? 

 Since I am a glutton for punishment, I still subscribe to facebook updates from ¿Por Que No?, the most delicious Mexican restaurant in Portland, and they alerted me to the holiday this morning.

Since we currently live in the land of no limes, it's impossible to get a margarita at a bar here that is actually a margarita.  NO, lemons are not a suitable substitute. 
 Luckily we've found lime juice and a sweet lime syrup that go pretty well with our agave tequila so we can make at-home margs.
Thank you, Costco.

Oh how I wish I were sipping one of these at the moment instead of preparing for work.

What, is 8 am too early for a cocktail...?  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Valentine's Day in Review

I love Valentine's Day. 
Love it.
It's probably because I'm a sucker for any day where eating mass amounts of chocolate is encouraged, or it might be because I have the perfect Valentine (cheesy I know), but I love it either way.

In kindergarten last Tuesday we made simple Valentine cards for mommies and daddies and friends.
Angry Birds and Hello Kitty make these six-year-olds pretty happy.
{Oh, young love.}

Ryan and I celebrated our own love at an adorable Italian place on the beach and with gifts and Mexican dinner on the official day. 

{Nine V-Days together and counting!}

Saturday, February 18, 2012

{Mom and Dad in Korea: Part Five}

Korea is known for its public bath houses and spas.  Most Koreans live in small apartments without bathtubs (oh how spoiled Ryan and I were last year when we had one) so public baths are used to relax and bathe.  My parents and I were able to enjoy a well-earned day at Spaland, the nicest bathhouse in Busan on their last day in town. 

We soaked our feet in the steaming hot water of the outdoor foot baths.

We later relaxed in a few of the many co-ed steam rooms and dry saunas, all with varying temperatures and health claims.  Then the men and women parted ways to visit the single-sex baths, a somewhat daunting experience for us westerners.

 Visitors to the single-sex baths shed the uniform issued upon arrival at the spa and enter a large room where everyone is naked.  Yep, naked.  Women are lounging in pools and meandering around to find the perfect bath to take a soak.
It's a bit uncomfortable at first, but after the initial awkwardness you get over it and embrace the opportunity to test out a variety of warm pools and saunas.  

Awww relaxation.

With the busy sightseeing adventures of the previous week and a half, Spaland was the perfect way to end my parents' time in Korea.  We had a great time together.

Later that evening when the time came, it was really difficult for me to say goodbye to them.  I shed a lot of tears.   
A lot.

Usually it's easy to block out the things that are happening back at home.  If we don't dwell on the birthdays, weddings, happy hours and everyday bits and pieces of life in the US that are taking place without us, it's easier to avoid thinking about them.

Most of the time we're able to in a way, block out that part of our lives, and focus on the life we have here.  But with my parents in Korea it was almost as if  my two worlds collided.  
Don't get me wrong--It felt so good to spend every meal with them, to share our daily cocoa and conversation, and to show them the life Ryan and I have been living for a combined year and a half in Asia.  I wouldn't have traded their visit for anything.  But for the first time in a long time, I had a feeling of real homesickness.  That feeling in the pit of your stomach where you truly long for something.  I don't mean longing for the silly little things like margaritas, an English speaking hairstylist or access to my favorite magazines and books--but for the people I love who are thousands of miles away.  With my parents here I realized that if I didn't live across the world from my loved ones, I could see them as often as I wanted to.

The winter weather doesn't help the mood here either.  It's much easier to relish our life abroad when every weekend is spent reading a book at the beach or visiting a new outdoor restaurant on a sunny summer evening.  

Last year at this time we were wrapping up our first year away.  We were excitedly planning our Southeast Asia trip and knew that it wouldn't be long before we'd see our family and friends again.  But that's not the case this winter, where the stubborn season seems to be dragging its heels without much to look forward to.

However, on Thursday night we were home from work before dark.  That hasn't happened since autumn.  The waning blue sky we saw from our rooftop gave me hope that the days are getting longer.  I know that someday soon we'll see the year's first cherry blossom.  And I also know that being away from home will soon be easier as well.

By now my parents are halfway through their tour of Southeast Asia.  After Korea their itinerary included stops in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand.  I'm so happy they were able to visit us and see Asia for the first time.

Hope you're having a blast Mom and Dad.  
We loved having you and we already miss you.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

{Mom and Dad in Korea: Part Four}

Last Sunday we took my parents to Hugsiru, a traditional Korean restaurant.  We had arrived early for our reservation, so we ambled around the neighborhood a bit.  It was the first time I've seen new architecture being constructed in an old style.
At noon we were led to our clay hut within the maze of the restaurant's courtyard.  We took our seats on the floor atop a heated mat.
 We ordered a large pumpkin stuffed with roasted duck and sat back while the side dishes and drinks were delivered on our long table.

After we'd sufficiently stuffed ourselves, we made our way to Yonggungsa, also known as The Temple By the Sea.

Vendors selling fresh waffles and roasted chestnuts lined the entrance to the temple and made way for the twelve zodiac statues.
Mom, the Dragon
Dad, the monkey
Around the corner for a first glimpse of the temple
Dad, Me, Mom
Make a wish and throw a coin from the bridge into a bowl

We finished the afternoon with cocoa at a beach-side coffee shop.  It was a great end to another wonderful day with mom and dad.