Friday, July 29, 2011

Korean Life Memories

My Korean Aboji and the feast my Korean Ohmoni prepared to say goodbye

Part of the reason for my last post about missing Korea is that I've been going through all the photos I never got around to uploading in the last year (wow... have I really been neglecting my blog that badly?). I found some photos from cooking adventures and goodbye trips in the last few weeks of my final summer in Korea. 

An old Korean War helipad at Waryong-san in Daegu.

Some of these were taken by Min Gi on his camera phone.

With my good friend Jina at Donghwasa on a rainy afternoon.

You can check out the full album at Picasa, as usual linked below:
Life in Korea.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


... I realized today that when I say I miss Korea, I don't only mean the country itself or even the cultural peculiarities of the land of kimchi, mountains, and fan death.  I don't mean that I miss my job at TFLHS, which I missed sharply this year.  Of course, I also miss the people I associate with my life in Korea, even though many of them no longer actually live there (or live in another city), but that's not even entirely what I mean.
I think sometimes that when I say I miss Korea, I really miss who I was while I was living in Korea.

I'm not saying I'm a dramatically different person in America--I'm largely the same.  However, I behave differently and respond to my environment differently.  I even think differently sometimes.  In Korea, I felt like I was more adventurous, more interesting, and more inspired.  I felt shiny.  Powerful.

Living in another country has a certain freedom to it.  There is the freedom of not belonging, and it being just fine and dandy to not fully belong.  Here, when I feel like I don't belong, it's more painful and lonely.  There is the freedom from conventions.  Adhering to neither Korean culture nor American culture fully was expected of me, and therefore I could pick and choose quite comfortably.

Also, I was challenged most days in a way that excited and inspired me.  I always had something I wanted to write about.  I saw lots of things I wanted to photograph.  I experimented with foods and local travel more than I'm inclined to do in the area I grew up.  I tried new classes and sports and hobbies for the heck of it.

I know, I know.  I could do those things here, too.  After all, these qualities are not in Korea, but in me.  I just feel like I'd have to work harder to be inspired in that way.  I have to look for the exotic and interesting in the mundane and everyday grind.

The depression I was in for much of this last year has colored my impression of my ability to explore and be inspired in America.  Now that I'm out of it, past the culture shock, and happy with my life again, I'm starting to feel like I want to do the work I know is necessary to live this way.  Living in my home country just feels a bit encumbered sometimes is all.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pregnancy Dreams

People were NOT kidding about how vivid and strange the dreams are when you're expecting.  I've had some so real that I woke up furious with Min Gi for offenses he had no idea ever even could have happened.  For example, one night I dreamed he won a small lottery of $1,900.  He was happy and wanted to use some of the money to celebrate at a bar with his friends.  I said that's fine.

Well, the man ran up a $2,500 bar tab!  He had bought everyone rounds and purchased some very pricey hard liquor and when all was said and done, we were in the hole $600.  I was just so mad at him when I woke up.

I've had dreams of being a secret agent, a man, about childhood friends I no longer speak to, about living in countries all over the world...  It's been exhausting.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's a...


This sonogram was by far the coolest thing I've experienced so far with my health care during pregnancy.  Not only did we find out the gender, but the technician walked us through how the anatomy was developing and we got lots and lots of pictures (including some 3-D) of the little fella in utero.  He looks like a tiny old man--all crinkly and bald with his eyes all squinty.

But it was all good news.  Everything looks healthy and normal.  He's an active guy, squirming around a bunch and licking his arm and crossing and uncrossing his legs and whatnot.  But they could see the developing heart and bones and kidneys and brain and everything.  He weighs about 14 oz right now and they adjusted my due date to November 30 based on the measurements from today.  They also checked my cervix length (longer is better and mine's well above average).

Min Gi was super excited about the whole thing.  He loved watching the baby move around and seeing the different angles.  When I get to a scanner, I'll share some with you guys, but for now, I'm just spreading the news.  Welcome to our baby boy.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Overwhelmed? Just start...

Ok, so I really am ready to begin again with this blogging thing, but I'm having some troubles because I'm overwhelmed with where to begin, how on earth to play catch-up to my satisfaction, and the urgent desire to make whatever I'm posting extremely worthy of reading to those of you who have been waiting for my return (you know... all five of you, including Mom and Dad).

And I guess instead of worrying about all of the blogging "tasks" I want to do, I should just start by posting an honest admission that I am overwhelmed.  And then... to just begin.

So here I am.  Hello.  Welcome back, Diana.

I watched the final Harry Potter film today and wept like a little baby from about the point of Snape's remembrances to the end.  'Cause I'm an emotional slob like that.

I will not promise mind-blowing posting of epic proportions because I'm just going to try a little experiment for now.  I'm going to write something here.  Everyday.  Even if I think it is stupid.  Hopefully I will eventually have some stuff up and going again that is NOT stupid.

I'll share today that last night, I felt the first really good kick from Peanut.  I'm about halfway through the pregnancy and that flipping, weirdo feeling in my abdomen just made the whole thing Real.  Which is very exciting.  Scary, as I've said before, but I'm now much more positive and excited about the whole thing.  Especially since all the job stuff is worked out (for me... Min Gi is a whole other story), and I'm pretty settled into my new position.  I'm also moving in a week.  I will explain more on that, I promise, but that's in that category of Overwhelming that I'm currently avoiding.

So for now, I will go back to my homemade pizza dough that is rising (yes, I make my own pizza dough now... see?  A lot has happened since I've been a non-presence in my blog own world), and to the episodes of SYTYCD in my Hulu queue (yes, I still am madly in love with that show), and think about the fact that I MIGHT know Peanut's gender by this time tomorrow.

How are all of you?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Project 30: Vacation Health Goals

Tomorrow I leave for Martha's Vineyard (again) for a much anticipated vacation that was planned before I found out I was pregnant or decided to quit my job as a teacher.  Although vacations tend to not advance monetary goals, Min Gi and I have taken some steps to limit the wild spending spree that can accompany travel by planning ahead for cooking in the house we're renting and scoping out cheap/free activities to do on the island.  My sister, her boyfriend, and some of the friends that are accompanying us are also trying to economize, so we'll at least have good company.

That said, I'm not going to let financial concerns stop me from having a good time.  This may well be our last long trip as a twosome for a bit, and I plan to enjoy it thoroughly.  I can let money worries overwhelm me at times, but the reality is that we've come up with a new way to once again cut our housing expenses in half to survive on my reduced income (more about that when we come back from the trip), and because I opted for the summer-pay option when I was teaching, I'm essentially bringing in double pay right now.  So even though I'm worried about the future and baby expenses, we're not in all that terrible of a position.  I need to chill about it.

Every week, I'm going to set some health goals in an attempt to improve my general health and make my labor/birth easier.  I'll try to reflect on how they went when I set new ones.  Since I'll be on vacation this week, my goals will be simple:

1)  Drink at least 8 glasses of water each day.  (Pregnancy makes me thirsty; it's hot out and I'm getting some dehydration easily).  I will bring a refillable bottle to take around with me to assist in this process.
2)  Do 2 sets of "pregnancy" exercises each day: squats, Kegels, cat stretch, and wall stretch.  (I should be getting plenty of activity this week, but I need to start doing these recommended things for the next few months to improve strength and flexibility where I need it).

I'm going to start recording water consumption and activity this week in a journal (hopefully food journaling will be a goal for next week).  I'll let you know how I did with these two goals next Friday.


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