January: Happy New Year to us! One of our favorite celebration spots in Seoul was a bar called Shiva Pub, a tiny Himalayan-themed pub run by an awesomely crazy lady named Sunny who was bound to be as inebriated as us by the time we left in the wee small hours.
February: In Korea, most kindergarten years are topped with the so-called “Festival” although there really isn’t anything festive about it. You basically write an elaborate skit for your students and then devote the last two months of the school year to helping them memorize and rehearse it. It’s really more stressful than it needs to be due to the ridic expectations of parents and Korean teachers, but we got there. Here are some of the kittens cutting up backstage in their “What I Want to Be When I Grow Up” costumes. If you guys are really lucky, someday I will upload videos of their skit.
Upon completion of the Festival. Lion (in B’s class) and Mike (in mine) were two sweet boys we had the pleasure of teaching. They were best friends and when it finally occurred to them that B and I were connected in the same way their parents were, they were heartily amused.
March: Where did the time go? In March, we had been in Korea for two years and it was time for us to shove off. We had several going away parties for us and our friends who were leaving at the same time as us. This is from the very last one, where we stayed in our little town and ate samgyipsal and drank at our favorite local pub. Miss these people and this place SO MUCH.
March: We deserved a major vacation, so after we left Korea we flew to Paris for two and a half weeks. Let me just say that as touristy as it is, Paris is indeed magical. Did I just say that? Magical? Really, Em? YES. This pic is from the very first morning we spent there. We awoke jet-lagged around 4 AM and waited for the first traces of sunlight to hit the streets. Paris in the wee small hours is a very, very special place.
Paris is very good for taking impressive pictures with a lackluster camera. The entire city just knows how to pose.
After two and a half weeks in Paris, we relocated for a week and a half to Reykjavik, Iceland. Since we were there in the spring, we got to experience a normal day/night ratio. It was a gorgeous country. There are very, very few trees, but the sky is a tourist attraction of its own.
We rented a house just outside Reykjavik from an older couple. Here’s the view from the backyard.
The couple whose house we rented also kept chickens in their backyard! They were beautiful and we got to know them pretty well. The eggs they yielded were the absolute most delicious ones we’ve ever eaten.
April: Alas, all vacations must come to an end, and we *finally* returned to the US in April to crash with our families in Memphis until we found a new job. We got some awesome strawberry cake!
May: So, maybe we can squeeze one more spring trip in. In May we were off to California to celebrate my besfrinn Cameron’s PhD graduation from Berkeley AND to celebrate the wedding of my old friend Martin to lovely Anna. Martin is Cameron’s brother, so it was one fun week for their parents! My super old friend Kendra also lives close by in Salinas, so we got to see her and her sweet husband Chris too and go whale watching. It’s awesome to have friends in northern California!
June: So, like I said, it was a busy summer for Cameron and Martin’s parents because literally a month to the date after Martin married Anna, Cameron wedded Eric in Memphis! Here’s a pic of Cameron and her sweet mommy Mary Beth at the bridal salon. I was thrilled to be her matron of honor.
Cameron was beyond beautiful as a bride. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Memphis (where her grandparents and parents had also been married) served as the perfect setting for her union to the wonderful Eric. They truly are a wondrous pair and I couldn’t be happier that they found each other in San Francisco. Since getting married, they’ve moved to Pasadena where Eric is a bona fide rocket scientist at Caltech.
July: B is employed! Actually, he was hired back in May at a community college in North Carolina, but over Independence Day we shoved off from Memphis to our new abode in the North Carolina Sandhills. Good ol’ U-Haul didn’t fail us, despite the best efforts of insane weather through Alabama and Atlanta.
Later in July: BEBE!!!!!!!! After making an active effort at making a baby for only over two months, we learned of the existence of our little angel. We had probably only unpacked the last box from moving a couple of days before. The fun never ends! This ultrasound is of Beebs when she was only about ten weeks old.
September: It had been WAY too long since we had seen our K-Fam (our fellow foreigners who had become family to us while we were abroad) so they came and visited us in NC. Fayetteville has an inexplicable plenitude of GOOD Korean food, so we had a massive feast when we all reunited. It was awesome!
We can’t have a K-Fam reunion without motivational photos! When we get together, someone shouts out a ridiculous scenario that we pose for. I think this one was that it had just been announced that Serena Williams was a man and there were pictures of her in a too-revealing tennis skirt to prove it.
November: Our first Thanksgiving stateside in two years. I was more excited to haul out the china and crystal than anything else!
December: You can take the waygookins (foreigners) out of Korea, but you can rest assured that they’ll be adorning their Christmas trees with stuffed radishes.
B and my brother Trevor shoot pool over at my mother-in-law Sidney’s house in Memphis on Christmas. The table is brand new so we felt all special breaking it in!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from me and Bebe! I really can’t wait to see what we have in store for 2012!