Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Just keep swimming...

Many people have asked me "So how are you doing over there in Korea?"  It's such a loaded question, and really not one that can be answered with a simple "fine", or "great"....most facebook comment boxes aren't big enough for a full unloading of an answer.  :)

I know that most people are just genuinely curious.  I must have been a special kind of crazy to make all these plans to move here, bringing my children with me- leaving most of our wordly belongings in a storage unit in Virginia.  I didn't get to give really full explanations of the plans to most people, and at times I didn't even know a complete plan myself.  I just had to be confident that Marshall and I could figure this out- that it IS possible- and that we can do it.

Personally, I'm feeling okay- not great, but not bad.  There is a certain numbness that happens after every move, when you are trying to feel your way around and get comfortable again....that's where I am right now.  I don't know many people, and don't have much desire to go out- but I have forced myself to go volunteer at the thrift shop to try and meet people.  I also went to a playgroup at the youth center.  In both instances I stood around and chatted with nice women but didn't leave feeling like I had made any "contacts".  I know it normally takes time, and I need to remind myself that it tooks MONTHS at Langley before we had friends we would actually hang out with.

Daily life is not much different than it was back home.  We are working to maintain a schedule, not only for my sanity, but I think the children need the predictability it brings.  Maverick is still so easy going, eating and sleeping whenever he wants- but Maddox thrives when she does the same things around the same time every day.  You may wonder how I can possibly keep a "schedule" when we have so much change going on.  But, it's not a minute-to-minute schedule (I feel that would only set me up for frustration and failure).  Rather, it's a general time of day- we do this first, this next, this last, etc.  If Maddox knows that the first thing she does after waking up is go potty, then get some milk, eat breakfast, watch some cartoons, change clothes, go potty again, and then walk to school- if we do this every day (as much as possible) then she does it all without a fuss.  When I throw too many extra things in there, or disrupt the order....we get a meltdown.  These are things we can do the same no matter where we are, so in that respect I consider us on a schedule.

I'm starting to really like this apartment Marshall found for us.  The rough edges are already getting worn down by our daily life here.  When we first arrived it was very empty and had bright florescent lights in every room.  We got a few lamps, bookshelves, blankets- and we've just made a mess of the place- now it feels more like a home!  Ha!  I sweep the floors daily because even though we don't wear shoes in the house, they still seem to get dirty quickly.  It is very dusty here, and I can't figure out where all the dust is coming from.  The laundry has taken some getting used to since the washing machine is in the patio room off the living area, and the dryer is in the patio room off the kitchen.  I hang some things up to dry, and use the dryer other times.  I feel lucky to have a dryer (they are rare here) but I'm worried about our power bill!!

I'm already becoming more comfortable when we venture out of the house and walk around downtown.  I even got particularly adventurous one day and took the train to Emart all by myself!  In my experience so far,  Koreans are generally friendly people.  I have not felt scared at all, nor threatened,  even when walking at night.  The language barrier is nothing a smile, an Ipod translation program, and sign language can't overcome.  Since we are so close to the base, many businesses take Won and Dollars, and many of them prefer dollars.  If we try to pay with Won they will charge more.  They end up making more that way because they get a better exchange rate than we do (at least that's what I was told) when they take the dollars down to the exchange place.

Maddox has lost at least 3 pounds since we arrived.  At her 3 year old check up she weighed 39 pounds, and today on my scale she weighs just over 35.  She is still refusing to eat the Korean food at her school, and I was only sending snacks for her.  The teachers told me she didn't want to eat the snacks either.  I started sending lunch too, and she's eating less than half of it.  She is hardly eating any dinner, saying she doesn't like things that she has liked FOREVER.  Spaghetti-no.  Kielbasa- no.  Chicken- no.  CORNDOG?- no.  So- I really don't know what is going on there.  I'm thinking this change of environment has her wanting to exercise some control and she is doing it with food since she knows we can't FORCE her to eat.  In my mind I'm thinking that she'll eat if she's hungry- she won't starve to death, but still I hate it when she doesn't eat.

We get better service, and even more food when we have the children with us.  The Koreans love Maddox, especially when she says Hello and Thank you to them in Korean.  I've been fussed at by old Korean women for having Mav out (in my Beco- with a hat on!) when it was cold outside.  He was warm and asleep so I just nodded and smiled and kept walking.  Ha!

Being with Marshall again, and seeing him with the kids- I know coming here was the right thing.  I'm so glad that we did.

Edited to add: Since I started writing this last week- Mdx is eating again!  Thank you God!

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