Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Star Wars, Christmas, and Jensen Turns One!

Oh gosh. Has it really been a full year? Anyway, I won't waste too much time saying all the things that moms always say. It really did feel fast. This year was just a crazy year anyways (2 moves, one to another country) and in the midst of everything, we are still adjusting to being parents.

Star Wars The Force Awakens came out (on the one year anniversary of Jensen's due date!) and we actually got a sitter for the first time. After basically a full year. We'd only been to one other movie while a family member watched him earlier this year and what can I say? I'm kind of a nervous mom and the timing with nursing is always a little tricky anyway. And we didn't live by family the whole year (womp womp, military life). The thing is, you can take a laid back baby to just about anything except a movie theater. Well. Anything that James and I do on a regular basis anyway. We're not exactly clubbers.

So yeah, we got a sitter. And went on a movie date. Jensen was wonderful for the sitter and we got to see the new Star Wars movie, which was pretty much the movie I had been waiting for since I was about ten years old.

That same week, we had a virtual birthday party with my parents, James's parents, and some of our siblings. Jensen opened presents (with a little help) and dug into his Buttercream BB-8 cake that I made on camera while family watched on the other side of the world.  It was bittersweet. I can't imagine living here without the connection of video chat with family. I'm so thankful that we live here when we do. Even if this had been a decade earlier, it wouldn't have been so easy (thank you, Google Hangouts).

And that same week was Christmas. It was very Star Wars-filled. The go-to themed gift for everyone in our family was anything Star Wars this year. I even got Star Wars mascara in my stocking. But this was the first Christmas that we didn't either have family come to us or us go home to family. Again, we did video chat to open presents, but it just wasn't quite the same.

That's definitely the hardest part about living in Korea. It's not the weird food or the language barrier. It's that my heart breaks every time I think too much about how my parents and James's parents only get to hang out with Jensen through a computer screen. But thank God for that computer screen. I don't know how we would get by without it.

I've been going on some really cool runs through the city (sans stroller), but haven't brought my camera or phone with me so I'll have to remember to do that a few times soon. I've been reading more. Jensen is toddling around and exploring all the time. James has been home on break. My heart is full.

<3 Amy

PS: I ran 4 completely pain-free miles for the first time in.. forever. I'm starting to get excited and will blog more about running soon.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Living in Korea Part 2: Getting Settled In

We've been here for about 7 weeks now and now that household goods and our car have arrived, we are somewhat settled in. We are living in an apartment on base, which we love. I might post pictures once we hang pictures on the walls. We live on the first floor, so it's not too hard to take our dog out (something we were concerned about, moving to a city), we live in a neighborhood of other American families, and there are little play parks around the neighborhood for Jensen to play on.

What is it like living in South Korea? Well, our experience is a little different because we live on base. It's kind of like living in a little American bubble in the middle of a huge city. It's relatively quiet, the commissary (which takes American dollars) is just like any commissary on base, we have a few Starbucks and all the typical AAFES stuff (post exchange, Taco Bell, Burger King, KFC, etc).

But then we get to leave our little bubble and step out the gate into another country. We've gotten pretty good at the subway system, which is the best way to travel around the city. We've been exploring around, but it's starting to get a little harder with the weather getting colder. We've heard there is fantastic hiking outside the city, so I can't wait to do that. Also, we can't wait to use the bike highways that go in and around Seoul.

There is plenty of weird Korean food but also plenty of completely Western/American places to eat in our little international neighborhood as well. We could live here for two years and easily not eat any kimchi the whole time. But what fun is that? The nice thing about it though, is that we can dip our feet in slowly and experience a different culture at our own pace. There was no culture shock and I really don't think there will be.

Personally, I think adjusting to not working anymore has been as big of a change for me as it has to move to another country. I'm still trying to figure out how to structure mine and Jensen's day. Do we need structure, I hear you say? Yes, I think so. Otherwise we're both sitting in pajamas at 2pm, eating ice cream, having accomplished nothing with the day.

I am running more. After everything, I think the pain I was experiencing (still kind of experiencing but it's mostly gone away now) is down to core stability weakness. I am doing exercises to strengthen those muscles and working up the mileage slowly. I'm running about 3 times a week, and the farthest I have run recently is a 5k, but I'm thinking I'll start adding to that soon. I really can't wait to get back into longer runs again.

Meanwhile, Jensen is learning how to walk. Doing crazy things like moving to another country does not slow down other things, like my baby growing up into a toddler.  We'll be spending out first Christmas together without mine or James's parents. Kind of crazy, right? There is a part of me that is really sad that we can't have a big 1st birthday party with family for Jensen. But there's still Skype and there will still be cake and singing. Life is kind of bittersweet sometimes.