Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Bunch of Pictures

As the title would lead you to believe, this post has A Bunch of Pictures.
In very random order.
Let's dig in.

Here we have a photo of the four of us from last week at Josh's promotion ceremony. You may now all refer to me as Mrs. Lieutenant Colonel Schore. Because there is nothing more attractive than a military spouse who thinks she wears her husband's rank. (Read that last line with heavy sarcasm.)

Boo-yah. Pay Raise.

Also, I should probably make this less about me. I am very proud of my husband who can't possibly be old enough for this. He is a hard worker and wicked smaaht. More importantly, he is my favorite husband ever and a great daddy. 

Congrats, Joshie!

I mean, Lt Col Joshie.

Can you tell in that photo that the kids had already had some "Air Force cake"? Every cake ordered from the base commissary is obliged to have Air Force blue icing that stains the teeth and lips. It's tradition, I suppose.

Next in the list of random pictures, our Korean apartment.

This is our living room. We got a furnished apartment, so nothing is ours. Except the photos on the wall. We brought those along because canvases don't weigh much.

Kitchen. Pretty typical, except that I can't fit a cookie sheet into the oven. It is very small.

Alex's 8th bedroom of her life.

And Derek's 6th.

This is my washing machine. I come here to play "laundry roulette".

Koreans don't typically use dryers, but we were able to borrow one from the base. The venting system leaves a little to be desired, but it works.

There is a strip of shops & venders outside the main gate to the base.
Alex is quite fond of octopus, so that's what she's enjoying here.

This was from shortly after we'd arrived.

We took the kids to a dog café. Here, you can come in and play with dogs whilst drinking a coffee. They have many live-in dogs and patrons can also bring in their own pets.

They also have cat cafés, but Derek is really allergic to cats so I think we'll have to pass on that.

Along the same line, Korea is full of kids cafés, where you can bring your wild human creatures to blow off some steam. This is one we frequent which is walking distance from our apartment. We try to go once a week for a fun outing during the school day, because we practically have the place to ourselves. It's fun and cheap, as well-- only 3,000 won per kid per hour. (A little less than $3.00 an hour)

The kids have made friends with a family from our church that have a son and daughter Derek's and Alex's ages. They don't have many friends here, so we try to get them together whenever we can.

Derek just learned how to play chess, so here he is losing to his buddy.

I thought this was cute-- Derek and his friend Drew (they go back to Idaho when they were toddlers and then were neighbors last year in Alabama) are playing Battleship via FaceTime.

This is along the route to the base. Pretty typical of what our city looks like.

We did an egg-spiriment. This is what an egg looks like when its shell is dissolved in vinegar and then you soak it in colored water. It felt really weird.
Poor Derek dropped his, but at least we got to see that osmosis did happen-- the mess we cleaned up was the same green as his colored water.

We eat here a lot. It's a sushi place. Alex will eat some sushi with us, and Derek eats rice. He's a cheap date.

We took another trip up to Seoul to sightsee. This was from a palace there.

Eating street food-- these fried fish things were filled with something unrecognizable, but sweet-ish.

On da subway. That girl next to Josh nodded off onto his shoulder.

We had Thanksgiving with our friends, the Typolts. We were stationed together in Texas when our firstborns were babies, and then again last year in Alabama. It was a really nice Thanksgiving, very relaxing (probably because I didn't host).
This is what happens when I say I will bring dessert-- off to the bakery we went ;)

Thanksgiving morning surprise! The kids were thrilled. Josh took them out to play in the snow while I was busy in the kitchen preparing some side dishes. (One at a time-- tiny oven!)

Our funny Christmas tree :)

We didn't bring holiday decorations at all, as we had to watch our moving weight. But all of Josh's books from his course last year were able to be sent as "professional gear" which doesn't count against our allowance. So we made a book tree.

I think we'll always remember the year we had books for a tree :)

Our apartment has closed circuit cameras in the playgrounds, so I can watch the kids from the living room when they go out to play.

So there you have A Bunch of Pictures.

All is well here as we approach Christmas. It is proving to be a low-key holiday season, since we don't know many people. Low-key is good.
We are looking forward to a vacation in January. It should look something like this:

Yes, please!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Hallo Out There

It's autumn in Korea, and the weather has been great. The humidity is long gone, the mosquitos finally made their exit, and the leaves have turned beautiful colors.

October was a really long month for Josh with a big project for work, but things have settled back down to life as normal. Whatever "normal" might be for a family that rarely stays put long enough to see the same season twice in any location.

Today, while I was working as the recess monitor (this was just after I finished up being the cafeteria lady), the kids and I went out for a walk around our apartment complex. We are fortunate to have some hiking trails situated just behind us, and I brought a camera along to try to get some pictures with the fall colors before the leaves are all on the ground.

Those two goofballs sure are getting old, aren't they?

We headed up the "mountain" on the trail.

They are really hoping that it will snow a lot this winter, and are keeping their eyes open for good sledding spots.

Huge leaves! And oh my, does Derek need a haircut, or what? Josh has relieved me permanently from hair-cutting duty. He thinks Derek's old enough to be scarred by mom playing barber.

Want to know what you can find at the top of hiking trails in Korea?

What the kids fondly refer to as "old people exercise equipment".
No wonder Koreans are all so slender-- they made their old folks hike uphill only to be forced to work out when they get to the top.

This picture perfectly captures my son:

He fancies himself a comedian. He often does make us laugh, although he still thinks that if a joke is funny the first time, then it will be funny the next three times as well.
He is silly, and sweet, and snuggly, and I'll keep him.
Although I'm unsure of why he's flashing gang signs. Maybe it's K-Pop influence.

There are several monuments scattered around. If anyone wants to translate that for me, go right ahead.

Made it back down and stopped at one of the parks in the 'hood.

And then we had to head home so I could clock back in as the schoolmarm.

We finished the first quarter of school, and no one has been harmed irreparably. The kids each have a friend or two, so while the social calendar is not bursting at the seams, they aren't terribly lonely either. Derek is wrapping up soccer season, and we've got the kids registered for basketball and cheerleading that will start up after the holidays.

Derek on his way to score an actual, real-life goal.

Oh, I almost forgot-- we bought a new-to-us car! Now when Josh is at work we have wheels as well. I'll have to take a picture of our new ride-- she's pretty spiffy. I mean, not Corolla-sport level spiffy, but for a car that cost $600 to purchase and $3 a month to insure, you have to keep your expectations reasonable. And by expectations, we mean: 1) That she lasts until July  2) Um. I guess I covered everything with point 1.

Anyway, Josh drives El Relámpago Gris (That's Gray Lightening for those needing a translation), and the kids and I ride in luxury in the "nice" car.
You know, the one Josh and I bought right after we got married. In 2001. She's never given us a day of trouble, and she's moved from Texas to North Carolina to Idaho back to North Carolina to California to Spain to Alabama and to Korea. She's a well-traveled friend.

If you had told me, back when we were 2nd Lieutenants making the most frugal car choice we could think of, that we would be 3 weeks from Josh pinning on Lieutenant Colonel, and not only would we still be driving the sporty Carolla, but that it would be the nicest vehicle we owned, I might not have believed you.

Life, you are funny.

But joking aside, we will be accepting recommendations for what our next family car purchase should be upon our (presumable) return to These United States of America. Maybe we should upgrade to a Camry? ;)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Trip Pics

Well then. I finally got around to uploading the photos from our trip that now seems quite a long time ago.

We started our vacation off in Seoul. There is a bus that runs from Osan Air Base to the Army base in Seoul. Traveling by bus is the best choice, as there are special bus lanes that bypass the always-terrible traffic that surrounds Seoul. It took about an hour and 15 minutes.

We visited the Korean War Memorial. It was a well done museum, but very large.

We ate a lot of meals in the Itaewon district of Seoul. It was walking distance from where we stayed, and has many international choices for dining. We don't particularly love Korean food, so it was nice to have options. 

We got around Seoul by using the metro system. It's a nice system and inexpensive. My kids have now navigated the subway systems of Washington DC, Madrid, Paris, Barcelona, London, and Seoul. I sometimes wonder if their nomadic young lives will give them the travel bug as adults.

Josh's favorite part of sightseeing in Seoul was hiking the fortress wall that surrounds the city. We walked along the northern part that comes close to the Blue House-- the presidential house. There was a lot of security along the way, and eventually we got to a checkpoint where a security guard confiscated my camera and erased several photos that I had taken. Oops.

I cannot adequately express how many stairs we climbed and how painful it was. My calf muscles were twitching.

A few days later, we took the metro to the airport and boarded a flight to Jeju Island, off the southern tip of South Korea. It was gorgeous!

We saw lots of waterfalls.

Beautiful cliffs and sunsets

We found a Korean restaurant that everyone enjoyed, and ate there twice.

Look at that color!

I apparently loaded the photos out of order-- this is a Japanese restaurant in Seoul. Alex tried the octopus legs and like them!

Back to Jeju. We appreciated the small amount of English on the sign. Josh was having chest pains just from thinking about swimming.

A Buddhist temple, and an impromptu lesson on world religions.

They had a special machine to fill these cones all the way through with ice cream.

The beach is the native habitat of the Schore family. It is our happy place.

We enjoyed visiting tiny Udo Island, which you get to by ferry.

This beach was our favorite spot of the whole trip. You can see the peaks of Jeju and the water was clear and fresh.

It was a nice little getaway, and good to see more of Korea than just our little city.