I finally made it down to the DMV with my two kids! Talk about adulting. I had an appointment, we were thirty minutes early and if I had all the right papers we wouldn’t have to go back.
Lars was amazing. He wandered a little and eventually made a friend. They played around the chairs and laughed to my delight. I think the other mom was also happy that the kids wouldn’t be bored or getting into mischief.
Along comes an old man with old ideas about how kids should behave. He said things that made everyone slightly uncomfortable. He told them they would go to jail if they kept running. He said the other kid’s hair was perfect to pick him up with. People around me started to whisper. He was crossing the blurred line into unfamiliar territory.
What was I supposed to do? Call him out? “Sir, please don’t lie or be nasty with my child; I don’t want him to learn from your behavior. ” I laughed and threw myself under the bus. He reminded me of the old woman telling school kids doing homework at the library to ‘quiet down’. It comes from a different generation. Children are not less than human.
Lars was scared. I didn’t see it or acknowledge it then but I remember it now. He put his fist in his mouth and asked the old man where his mom was. “I’m right here, honey. ” I was right behind him with a few rows of chairs between us. He scurried toward me and stayed seated the rest of our wait.
Tonight my mind is working on a few things. I keep coming back to myself as a parent in a public place. Was there a way I could have provided support for the kids without humiliating this old man? How could I get the old man on my team? I often think that soon the youth will rule the world, but I don’t think telling him he’ll die soon will get me any where.
Is there a way to show pride in something that someone else thinks is wrong?
Yesterday we celebrated moving into our own place. It was nice having people over. We only have two chairs but we had a great time and even managed a table top game. Hacky sack was the game of the day though. Everyone enjoyed being in the sun and playing a non-competitive game.
The apartment manager opened the pool, so we are hoping to have weekly dinners and swims. We were gifted some much needed items like a popcorn popper, you laugh but I’d been making it in a stew pot and it came out soggy more than once.
The wildest thing we got was an Instant Pot, apparently we don’t need a stove or oven any more. This baby does so much, it claims to be a seven in one but it has 14 cook button options. I’m excited and nervous to get started. It came with a recipe book and I’m starting with the first recipe. I hope it moves from easy to hard instead of appetizers to desserts. It’s a squash soup, wish me luck, I’ll keep you posted.
So we finally moved to our own place. It feels like forever since we had some personal space. Granted we loved being with family, it’s just time we had the room to argue, cry and be parents. We’ve been here for about a month-it’s flown by so quickly. We found a few gems and meet some nice people.
Close to the apartment we moved into is Huffaker Park. It’s pretty nice with a stream that runs through on one side. It has two play structures and a big hill or small mountain that is most often jogged. There are plenty of people walking their dogs, too. Many of the dogs seem to be older. The laughing, chaotic run of a toddler pretty easily throws them off but we’ve had few confrontations.
On more than one occasion I’ve found multiple groups with kids at the playground. Often moms, but sometimes grandparents or dads, with kids under eight years old. Today, it was a mess with two year old boys. Maybe, I exaggerate, four toddlers, two infants, one dog; plus two girls who came at the end. Watching kids interact who are the same age as mine was exciting.
Developmentally, they are all so different. I can see that Lars is a little under developed when it comes to language, perhaps shy too. He’s very gentle but learns how to be more rough and tumble around others. I pick up things too like the advantages and hard work put into timeout and other forms of discipline. One mom commented on my “no thank you” routine, which I picked up from another mom in South Lake Tahoe.
It feels good. I think we’re on the right path it’s just taken us a while to get here.
Now that I’m no longer in Korea, this blog will be taking a change of direction. It will remain my travel and food blog as we are staying in the beautiful South Lake Tahoe area. It will, however, be more focused on the California areas that I visit.
Tahoe is an amazing adventure. The most wicked part is getting here, then it’s all about relaxing. From the Bay Area, you’d take the 580 East which after Sacramento turns into the 50. It’s all fun and games until you pass Strawberry then it becomes high cliffs with every car tailgating you to Meyers (which is basically South Lake Tahoe).
Trying to pass the slow cars is another adventure. You get into this slow driving mode and when the passing lanes come, it’s hard to get up the speed needed to pass in a few short miles. So you get trapped behind these boats being towed to the lake or an RV. It’s not bad if you don’t have to pee and can settle into enjoying the scenery- but not too much!
Finally coming off the mountain and into Meyers is such a welcome site. Fifteen more minutes, I tell myself. As I cruise down Pioneer Trail, the nausea subsides and I can look around at the big trees and the blue blue lake. I always laugh when I see the sign for Temple Bat Yam, I know that I pronounce it wrong to make it funny but I can’t get over it; three years of driving past that sign and I still giggle, every time.
I was pretty surprised how easy it was to make pesto and with ingredients that could be found in Korea. The difficult thing would be having a blender or food processor which I had but most ESL teachers don’t. I think this is because many of us don’t invest too much in home items.
2 cups herbs/ kale
4 cloves garlic mashed with
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup Parmesan
1/2 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Blend everything together until it looks like the photo!
People watching in LA!!!
We’ve been in California now for two months. It’s surreal knowing that I won’t be going back to Korea for a few years. My diet has done a 180* making me look healthier to my fellow Americans. When I’m around my family all I hear is “eat, eat, eat”. It can be a little stressful. My students used to ask me what native foods I missed the most. Enchiladas was always the response. I had to go to a hole in the wall to get what I was craving but I found the perfect place in Salinas! It was right next to a furniture store. The restaurant was full of Latinos and the staff spoke only Spanish. It was so good.
Tahoe, oh my!
We are in a long term environment at Wyll’s parents house in South Lake Tahoe. It’s so beautiful here. So far we’ve gone on hikes in the woods and played at the lake. The amount of nature, specifically animal life, is incredible. We’ve seen bears, small ground animals, and all manner of birds!
They might be over his head.
I’ve been slowly working on my Korean as well. It’s fun to have a project that I work on with the baby. Larz isn’t speaking yet but he understands a lot of words. His understanding of English has blossomed in the last few days, with tutoring from his grandpa, he will point to correct objects when asked where they are. It makes me feel like a slacker because I know we could be doing the same thing in Korean if I was prioritizing it. So here’s to getting it done and teaching the little guy a language that is not native to mom or pop.