Show up or shut up; what is that saying? It’s a good one. I recently decided to start giving myself participation awards. Showing up seems a battle that everyone is fighting- how do we move from social media to a social event? There are so many moving parts when it comes to attending something as a family. It can be immobilizing to get pants on a toddler so we can go to the park; once we’re there it’s worth it for the family, for sanity, for sleeping. Personal goals of parents can fall behind as we put the needs/ desires of family first. A child acting out can be debilitating for personal goals. So I made it a family goal, we all have to be involved in things we are all interested in.
Here we are at Sen. Dean Heller’s office.
One of the great reasons for being back in the states is the opportunity to stand with others and multiply our community voice. Another is the chance to meet with government representatives. I’ve been watching the VoteRunLead videos. They are so informative and interactive; full of great questions that get my gears going after listening to the videos. One question that stayed with me was from the first video; “Where do you show up in your community?” My first answer was online. I know it’s not what was meant but it struck me funny. I want to be more engaged and active in Reno- that’s not going to happen sitting behind a screen.
Before it started
Monday night we took the boys to a vigil in the City Plaza. I was too engaged to take many photos. We gathered and meet a few folks, more than 500 people attended. It was nice. Members of The Quiet Choir lead the group in, ‘I can’t Keep Quiet’, ‘This Little Light of Mine’, and ‘Imagine’. It was beautiful. For ‘This Little Light of Mine’ bats were flying overhead. It was right at dusk when all the candles were being lit.
Yesterday we (Wyll, the baby and I) had the pleasure of joining up with the Moms Clean Air Force here in Reno. We all went to meet Nevada Senator Dean Heller. Sen. Heller was busy with something so we met with Michael Lienhard, a regional representative. Michael, as he introduced himself, took a lot of notes, smiled, and promised to pass our concerns forward. In the meeting we, representing Moms Clean Air Force, talked about our concerns for the future of air and water in Nevada. It’s effects on public health were frequently noted. The focus was around cuts to the EPA and how that will affect us down the line. It’s been a long time since I had a meeting with a government official, my skills are a little rusty. Please check out the video of our meeting through the Nevada Moms Clean Air Force facebook group.
With the Elder in daycare and Wyll working, the baby and I get stuck with the house chores. We go shopping once a week and try to keep laundry down to three times a week. As much as we try not to, sweeping, mopping and dishes seem to be everyday chores.
The weather has been tres hot in Reno and I’ve been opting for things I can make in the instant pot. Yesterday I made red pepper hummus, falafels (yes the bean balls), and baba ganoush in the Instant Pot. I felt so professional! We fixed them up in pitas with cucumber, tomatoes and homemade tzatziki. Everyone loved it. We ate most of the pita but nothing like a flour tortilla to step up and be a wrap. Hurray for quick lunches!
Last night I made a big pot of yogurt in my sleep. It was so easy. We have things to go with it like apples, bananas, grapes which the baby has now learned he can grab them out of the fridge. This morning we had overnight rolled oats. They were so good and easy. Fridge cold and peanut butter chocolate, just mix together with equal parts oat and ‘milk’ (I did a cup rice milk with 1/4 cup PB and 1/4 cup chocolate pudding I made) and chill in the fridge. I will definitely be doubling it next time.
Beets are in the Instant Pot right now. So easy to steam them up then throw them in a vinegar marinade. I’ve been ‘roasting ‘ many vegetables this way, bell peppers, garlic heads and all my side veg- potatoes, carrots, squash, corn. It takes about an hour to do a pot of beans from dry with the Instant Pot. It’s easy to take whatever veg and beans then heat it up on the stove either in a tortilla with cheese or in a bowl with avocado.
Brown rice is easy to make in there too but I haven’t mastered white rice. I haven’t mastered the one pot pasta meal either but boy am I trying. I guess I’ll just keep a few pots and pans for the stove.
Dongdaemun shopping district has always captured my imagination and after three years only yesterday would I say that I had a good time in the area. Most of my trips have been relegated to wondering around feeling really lost while looking for sewing materials. This trip was really different. My son and I went to the Iplay Museum in the Dongdaemun Design Park. It was so cool. I found out about it on A MultiAsian Family Life. I love Kids cafés and want to go to more of them. This was the perfect opportunity. It was 14,000 won. I think we were there for an hour, maybe more. You get a free drink as an adult. They had drip coffee and honey. I had to buy a juice box of milk because that’s how I drink my coffee with milk.
It’s a kids cafe that has all wooden structures. There was a big pit with big wooden balls and a slide. I went on the slide but the baby was super nervous. There are tons of play zones including dress-up, mechanic, race track. There is a large wall with items that have blinking buttons when pushed they make noises, like the toilet makes a flushing sound. I made the baby do everything. I had so much fun. There was a good amount of people there. We were the first but then a group of Seoul foreigners showed up. I love being reminded that other people have children, too. I’m not the only one!
Near the bathrooms there is a lactation room. I asked a staff member for a nursing room and she It’s huge. We hung out in there for a while too. There are three private nursing spaces. It was really nice to get some undistracted feeding in while traveling. We had a blast. I highly reccom
I got some one-on-one time with my partner and we talked about the many possibilities the future holds. We’re 18 weeks pregnant and have almost no idea about the next step. We threw around several ideas but the main one was to focus on what’s happening now. I’m growing a child and Wyll is launching his board game after three years in the works! I’m so proud of him and excited to see how it goes. Nervous to see where it takes us and happy to see us becoming more adult. It feels like when we decide on a plan it changes, so I’m comfortable without one or having one that includes the possibility of change.
Being pregnant in Korea is super fun, I’m forced to have a stress-free time. Adults in the know, often remind me to sit down, take a rest. Zenith has been super sweet. My class time has been cut and my co-workers ensure I’m not overrun. I’ve been given iron supplements, seaweed soup, fruit and even had chairs taken from others and brought to me. Since July, being away from all my family was intended to be a good experience. The first trimester of pregnancy was awful. It probably took me a month to get over the jet lag. The exhaustion was so intense. I stopped learning Korean and slept 12+ hours a day. Concerned students thought I was seriously ill.
The concern for my health doesn’t stop in Korea, family and friends in the states often express their worries. On the American side of things, my mom and little brother are coming to Korea this Thursday. Yeah, this Thursday! I’m so excited. My mom has never been out of the states and my brother is eight. I think it will be a wonderful learning experience for both of them. My brother may even pick up some of the language. I’m ready to start doing things. There’s a Studio Ghibli exhibit in Seoul I think my brother will love. There might even be a trip to Malaysia in the works.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve gotten my energy back and taken advantage of the solo time. Today I went to Conga, the local coffee shop and read my economics book, Capital by Thomas Piketty, finishing the first section! It’s a good refresher for me, I hope the following sections will have some new information. It’s funny to understand where Piketty is going moments before he reveals it, making it almost like a mystery novel.
After all that reading, I picked up supplies to make vegetable stock and Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup. It was my first adventure in making stock and blanching tomatoes.The result is really tasty, but The Bell Pepper Soup wouldn’t be as great without the spices Wyll picked up for me on a recent trip to California. I was really pleased because it was all vegetables that I transformed into something pretty wild. I didn’t have some of the ingredients and my substitutes worked out well.
So, if you haven’t noticed, I’m back in Korea without my shiny new husband. Much to my annoyance people ask “Where is he?” But, really, what did I expect? As much as students enjoy my classes, they all want to know where is Wylliam and when will he arrive. Yesterday, a student ratted out another saying “She is not happy; she wants Wylliam.” I replied quickly “Yes, he is quite handsome.” When I told Wyll this story, he said “she was my favorite!”
Surprisingly, I wasn’t too nervous about spending a year abroad and alone. I thought it would be a wonderful chance to dedicate time to our personal projects instead of fussing over the other’s project. This week I started my Korean language lessons! They are going very well and I hope I’m picking it up quickly (day two of lessons- we should probably check back in on these feelings). I received my foreign service test results and I didn’t pass. It was expected. Although, I passed the multiple choice section which was a surprise. This information gives me new idea about how to move forward with the exam. I’ll keep going on the current events and really focus on essay writing. I think 30 mins of each a weekday is a good start.
Wyll, on the other side of the world, has arranged for a large play session of his game at Eudemonia in Berkeley. This Sunday he will be recording the Kickstarter video with game participants. I’ve also heard that Starcraft has expanded it’s second edition, which leaves me with few questions as to why Wyll was online at 7pm Korea time (3am California time) yesterday.
I think separately we are making good progress on our adventures. I do miss him. I missed him terribly the first week. It’s getting better. When we talk it’s a reminder of why we’re putting each other through this. It’s important for us to still have personal identities. It’s important for us to love ourselves and put ourselves first right now. We’ve been together almost every day for the last four years. It’s nice to be independent and sleep on the whole bed without pushing someone else onto the floor.
After a year of anticipation I finally celebrated Christmas with my brother and sisters. A week before the 25th as no one wanted to wait any longer and many of us have other family obligations. It was perfect.
We did a secret Santa to ensure that even the naughty received a gift. Fortunately no coal was passed out. So we must have been pretty good as a group. Wyll and I got the opportunity to give out our Korea gifts and that was a lot of fun. I think everyone ignored the secret Santa idea and got gifts for everyone. It was extra jubilant.
We ate traditional foods like ham mash potatoes. There was persimmon pancakes for breakfast and then I made a vegan persimmon bread for the following day.
I had so much fun. I love spending time with the family. The next trip should be a lot of fun a few kits were handed out. So the next visit will involve sushi making!