Bullocks with Butterflie Wings

Mail Call – *MY* Side of the Story

Posted in blogging, Korea, marriage, military, parenting by MommyTaco on 29 March 2013

I started to post this on Facebook, sharing a photo my husband uploaded today, but it got to be so long of a post that I decided I should just turn it into a blog. I haven’t blogged in a few days either….two birds, one stone. Also, this is one of those moments we will both look back upon and laugh with each other. Guaranteed….

There is never a dull moment for our family. This morning, we walked to post to catch the Saturday mail room hours, PX and Commissary. Taco hit the mailroom while Sid and I did the shopping. We found him at the bus stop next to Gate 4 pissed off at me with two giant boxes (The Boy’s homeschool materials already arrived!) and a Priority mail box (thanks, Mom!) and showed me where, for carrying sake, he had already opened my box of Scentsy Scent Paks and had shoved them in his pants, along with a DVD from his parents. Judging by the look on his face, he was pretty pissed at me, but all he said was to order in moderation from now on, and he’s never picking up mail for me again. When asked why he didn’t call a taxi, he said “it’s just down the street” to our house. So I struggled with a power transformer and two full hands of grocery sacks down the street with The Boy complaining that his bag from the PX containing his newly purchased DS game (bought with his own money that he has been saving from his allowance) and a bottle of water was getting too heavy. Apparently we are going to have to start some type of muscle building routine into his Homeschool/PE time.

Taco was offered a ride from one of his fellow Soldiers who saw us coming out of the gate, but declined as, “it’s just down the street.” We each stopped a few times, to readjust the weight around and give our arms a break, and I got far enough ahead of Taco that I couldn’t really see him anymore. Just as we reached the street corner of by our house, I met up with a new acquaintance – the pastor’s wife for a church that we have been invited to attend for Easter Service and potluck lunch. So I chatted with her for a while about the predicament and assured we’d see each other tomorrow morning. As I climbed the stairs to our house, I decided that it would be very kind of me to drop the groceries off inside the kitchen and return to help my struggling husband. One of these boxes weighed nearly 50lbs, and they were really big and awkward. I really did feel bad.

As I reached to put the key in the door, I saw a car drive up, it’s driver a Korean man smirking in what I assumed to be contained laughter. Then out climbs my husband from the passenger seat. He apparently was offered another ride home, and by then, he decided it was not worth declining a second time. As he unloaded the stash from his pants, I asked again, “why didn’t you get a taxi??” His reply, “because I only had two dollars in my wallet!!”

I had money on me, we could have called a cab at the bus stop, if only he’d said so before. But maybe he has learned now to always keep at least 4 Korean Won in his wallet at all times – it’s just enough to get you from post to our house.

I would also like to add that my husband knows how very much I love him and how very much I love to pick on him. Like my Granddad always told me, he most of all liked to pick on the ones that he loves most of all. 🙂

Never Give Up

Posted in cooking, food, Korea, military by MommyTaco on 17 March 2013

894900_10151281703917035_1691354965_oFor the most part, this past week was one of those that I’d prefer to forget ever happened, rather than write down in any type of journal. I was full of all types of emotional instability, sprouting from a difficult start on homeschooling on Monday. Add in the fact that my husband was gone all week with work, our first week in our new home, and a whole lot of feeling lonely and sorry for myself. I was badly missing my friends that would always be there to cheer me up whenever he was gone. I’m not going to lie to you, I flat out lost it on Monday. I was a mess.

Finally, on Thursday, good things had started to happen and I was starting to feel mostly better. I also had something to look forward to that day: Pie Day! (March 14th, 3/14, aka Pi Day) For Pie Day, I planned to use my new Korean oven for the first time and bake a cherry pie. It required minimal effort, minimal ingredients – all of which I can find at our minimal commissary – and resulted in a whole lot of awesome. I even went the extra mile and bought some vanilla bean ice cream to go along with it. Hey, it was a rough week, I definitely earned the extra treat.

Now let me start out by emphasizing the fact that not only are things different here in Korea culturally, but stuff flat out works differently. For some reason, I was having some severe issues getting the oven to stay on. I knew it couldn’t possibly be that the pilot light was out, because in Korea they have a gas line that you manually turn on/off to your stove when you are/not using it – for safety! So there is no way a pilot light would stay on when the fuel supply is off…it’s got to be an electric starter. On this oven, you push the temp knob just like you do starting one of the stove top flames. I could hear it click, I could hear the whoosh of the gas catching fire, but as soon as I let go of the knob, it went out. So frustrating!!

I gave up, paced the house in disappointment, and told my son we weren’t going to have pie after all. I’m not sure which of us was more disappointed. I tried once more on the oven, willing the stupid thing to work – and like a gift from God, it stayed on! I danced a jig in sheer delight and began my pie preparations. I had already thawed my frozen pie crust, so I grabbed my $3.99 can opener I’d purchased in the commissary along with the cans of cherry. It was one of those cheap metal can openers that practically cut your hand as much as the can when you crank that awful metal handle. I didn’t want to buy a regular one for $6.99 when I have a perfectly good can opener coming with our household goods in just a few weeks.

One crank on the can opener, good. Two cranks – SNAP!!! It broke. Naturally. The small piece of metal that causes the can to rotate when you crank it had gone flying across my dining room. It was now completely useless to me. Naturally. It just completely fit in with the crappy week I’d already had. I was devastated. I really didn’t feel like going out of the house again to buy a new one, but 1) I really wanted that pie and 2) I couldn’t just leave the can with a 1/4″ hole punctured in it.

So I started looking around for my husband’s trusty gerber, which I have been using in the past two moonths to knife open cans since I didn’t want to buy that $3.99 can opener in the first place. I couldn’t find the gerber anywhere, Taco was still not coming home for two more days, and I couldn’t call to ask where the gerber was. So I tested out a butter knife. I really didn’t think I’d have much luck, but I actually sawed 1/3 of the way around the can before I started to wonder if I was getting aluminum shavings into the pie filling. Also, my hand was starting to seize in a cramp from holding the butter knife like that for so long. I gave up, told my son to get his shoes on – we were going to the PX for a $6.99 can opener. And, not wanting to risk house fire, I turned off the oven, praying it would start up again when we got back.

We went to the PX, got the can opener, made a last minute decision on a bottle of non-ration-controlled wine that I was going to drink all by myself dagnabit, and headed home. Before we even left post, I decided that the frozen lasagna I’d planned for dinner could kiss my you-know-what and we were going to have chicken fried rice and cheesy ramen at our favorite Korean restaurant instead.

Afterwards, we went home and I started the oven after the 4th attempt. I finished the whole bottle of wine before the pie was done. By then, it was way past our bed time, I was too tired to wait for the pie to cool off and decided that we would just have it for breakfast the next day. It was, after all, still Pie Day in America.

Parking Wars

Posted in military, moving by MommyTaco on 14 March 2013

Parking Wars

First of all: I live in Korea! WOAH! That pill has been swallowed, and – while bittersweet – the lump is starting to dissolve and we are slowly integrating into our new surroundings. Here is one of  the experience I feel worth documenting as my first “In Korea” blog post.

Between 0730-0800 is one of my new favorite times of day. Here in our new home, our livingroom window faces the parking lot of an apartment complex. It is a little hard to see, thanks to the window fence and power pole. (Click it, make it bigger!) There are some cars that are parked blocking other cars into their parking spaces. This, of course, is because there are not enough spots for everyone that lives there. I have never seen anything like this before. Where I come from, if you blocked a car in, you’d have half the neighborhood having their doors banged down until someone finds you to over your car. In Korea, they park it in neutral and whoever is blocked in just moves the car forward/backward so they are no longer blocked. This leads to a pretty entertaining morning as everyone seems to be leaving for school/work at the same time!

Also, check out the small distance left between the cars parked in the middle. Not a lot of room to pull out of your space and be able to turn and drive out, right? They can take what would be a 15-point turn around and knock it out in 3 or less! Something I have noticed in my Parking Wars watching is that Koreans are excellent at backing up their cars. They may not have a positive reputation for many things when it comes to vehicle operation, but I’ve got to give it to them – these people can reverse like it’s going out of style!

So that’s it…my first of what I hope to be many documentations of our new life. So far things are actually going pretty great, aside from missing friends/family like always. But no matter where in the world we go, we know we’ve got lots of love coming our way – and just remember, there’s a whole lot of love coming right back at you from us! ❤