Goryeong: Sunday, May 24

Korea in the spring…slays me.

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Photos of hikes and leafy jaunts Nate and I have taken over the past two months pile up in my folders, but for weeks nothing has really reached out and grabbed me. Nothing has given me that insistent nudge: share me. Nothing has stirred me the way that Korea springtime usually does. Who knows why. But though Spring has been around for a few months now, and is starting the uphill climb to summer, I’m only now catching up with it.

Last weekend one of our favorite families in the whole world invited us for an afternoon in the countryside. Jeong Hui and I met because she mistook me for her son’s new English teacher nearly two years ago, just after I moved to Gyeongsan. Our conversation led me and Nate to the Bible study that’s been our Sunday evening staple ever since, at a small, homey church literally two minutes from our door. She and her family are one of my favorite experiences of real, Gospel community. She and her husband Deok Si have 3 kids: Hana, the oldest, Han Byeol, who is the middle child and does nothing that anyone else is doing and thus is in zero pictures (girl, I get it. do you.), and Han Bit, who is crazy and my favorite person.

Jeong Hui invited us to visit her parents’ home last Sunday afternoon to take a half-day trip. Our awkward moment: we bought a watermelon as a hostess gift because that’s how you do in Korea, and did it without consulting Jeong Hui because we assumed that she’d insist we bring nothing, and sure enough, when we toted the monster melon out to the minivan, Jeong Hui burst out laughing and shaking her head. “No, we insist!” we gaily caroled, and then Jeong Hui said,

“My parents have a watermelon farm…”

Hysterical laughter is a great way to start a road trip.

The afternoon with her family was that proprietary blend of serenity and ease with notes of desperate language barrier awkwardness. Lots of bowing, lots of smiling. After nearly 4 years, it takes on its own rhythm and all I have to do is remember not to fight it.

We drove down to the river nearby with its winding paths and signs identifying various wildlife, and Han Bit begged to stop and see if he could find the rabbits he released last summer. He pouted when Jeong Hui, hardhearted, refused. He got over it when he stuck his head out the window to bark into the wind. (although in Korean dogs say mung-mung. Not woof or the ever-inexplicable bow-wow.)

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We took all the pictures as the men talked fishing and Han Bit tried to steal a boat. The light was magic. Everything was magic.

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Hana can smize for days.

 

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how do you say Huck Finn in Hangul?

 

I realized I hadn’t been out of the city in so long, I couldn’t even really recall the last time. Han Bit found me flowers to photograph and Mom and Daughter talked together.

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such a sweet friend.

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I didn’t want the sun to set. I didn’t want to leave.

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Every occasional car that passed overhead made the bridge rumble like a tractor trailer. Thunder and blue skies.

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This is Korea in spring, after the cherry blossoms and festivals go away, just on the cusp of scorching summer days. These bluesy-soft mountain sky edges and purple breezes, these tall grasses and velvet airs. This is what I’ve been hungering for and this is what I’ll miss so much when we go.

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This, and these.

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Note the Rice-Mask Bandit in bottom center.

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Ten Things Tuesday #7

  1. Old News Alert: I cut my hair. I can’t figure out how to make my instagram embed properly here, so if you haven’t seen it, click!
  2. It’s pouring rain but I made it back from the coffeeshop before the rain started! And now I’m safe indoors without pants listening to the first Big Spring Rain. Best!
  3. Somehow midterms week is nearly here already!!! Bring on the grading. And the student excuses. Hundreds of relatives will die, thousands of doctor’s signatures will be misappropriated. Jk. but really.
  4. This blog should be called ‘The Pagaards are Coughing’ because we get sick so much. The ACV let us down big, y’all. Bronchitis big. The midnight coughing spasms have mostly gone away and I taught classes today without whispering, squeaking, or squawking, for the first time in about two weeks.
  5. Last week we had the privilege of showing some out-of-town friends around our favorite Daegu spots. I’m gonna blog all about that later this week but: waffles, jazz bar, pig candy.
  6. (When I say ‘I’m gonna blog about that later this week’…on a scale from 1 to nope, how doubtful is it that I actually deliver on that?)
  7. I have a little ritual with my daily Bloglovin check, wherein I scroll through the feed and click open every post I want to read all at once before I move on to start reading them all, which means I normally end up with a dozen open tabs all at once. Actually that’s just how I Internet in general and it makes Nate twitch.
  8. THE BEST thing that ever happens when I check Bloglovin is:
    when Kara posts True stories. They make me laugh like nothing else. They make Nate laugh like nothing else. Kara’s writing is beautiful anyway, and when she’s reporting the little moments of life with a sweet, hilarious little lady…it doesn’t get better than that. I can’t wait til Evan starts talking…
  9. Does anyone have music recommendations? Since Spring is being all boisterous and bloomy, I’m feeling the itch for new tunes. I’m surviving on old standby playlists, but it’s hard to keep up from over here.
  10. And I took a picture of the cherry tree at work today:

    it's prettier than this makes it out to be.
    it’s prettier than this makes it out to be.

Sixteen Days

Sixteen days since I last wrote. I’ve written like ten posts in my head, which counts, luckily.

Work and life get real busy sometimes and this place slips through the cracks. because it’s easier to scroll through endless other-people-words than make some of my own. Still pressing through the need to hoard the words instead of releasing them.

Here’s what’s transpired the past few weeks.

Spring isn’t just on her way. She’s here. It’s real. I keep forgetting to take Nate’s trusty ol’ digital camera to work with me because the campus is looking purty.

hello gorgeous.
hello gorgeous.

The new season means lots of things but one of them is this: We got all the way through winter and I haven’t had a single seasonal cold. For one reason and one reason only:

braggs_acv_1

This stuff. hashtag bless. Every time we’ve felt that old throat tickle or sludgy slowdown, we’ve pounded back TBSPs of this stuff. And so far? so burninatingly good.

(Natch, both I and the Boy are feeling particularly sludgish today…so here’s hoping this post isn’t a jinx of some sort.)

The haircut urge is still on, guys. and it’s growing. I dreamed I had this gal’s cut a few nights ago. but I dreamed I gave it to myself and it turned out awesome and I loved it. So…*grabs kitchen shears*

(Of course, that same night the Boy dreamed I straight up shaved my head. He said it was ‘scary, but okay.’ *grabs razor*)

I just watched a Jeep commercial about driving around California and felt a wee leap o’ the heart.  Before the year is out, I’ll be there. (probably not in a Jeep. but who knows.)

Good things are happening at church: a new pastor’s been selected for the English service! Nate’s loved preaching but with us having an expiration date we’ve been praying so much for the next person to come in. There’s a lot to do there and we know it, but the wonderful thing is there’s a lot that can be done. I’m hopeful.

It feels so good to be hopeful.