Viviana sunshine

This post is mostly for my aunts in Korea and other family who are dying to see the new “toys” my parents got this past week. For quite a few years now my mom and dad have been wanting to get a 5th wheel trailer so that they could go camping and traveling around the US in comfort and style. Their dreams have finally come to fruition this past week when they bought this:

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yeah, we used to be able to park at my parents’ house. Here’s some pics of the interior:

This is the living room/kitchen area when you look to the left upon entering.

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This is the entertainment center complete with flat screen TV and dvd/cd player on the far end of the living room area.

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The view of the kitchen which is just off of the living room area. It has a stove, sink, microwave, and plenty of cabinets.

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This view (from the kitchen area) shows the bedroom. The cabinet on the right-side is the shoe and coat closet. The cabinet on the left-hand side is actually the fridge. Not shown is the dining room table on the left (across from the kitchen).

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Here’s a closer view of the bedroom complete with queen size bed, wardrobes and drawers, shower, and toilet.

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By now you’re probably noticing Maya like in every shot beautifully modeling off the rooms…..

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Standing in the room and looking back out, here is a view of the shower and vanity area. The toilet room is on the left hand side (not shown).

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Here’s a better view of the dining area next to the living room area.

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So, how are they going to pull this thing you ask? Here’s some pics of my dad’s new Chevy Silverado.

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Some cool things about the trailer are that the bedroom and living room area are expandable. If you look carefully at the exterior of the trailer pictures above, you can see where the trailer is expanded out. There’s also a 12 ft. awning off the entrance for when you want to sit outside and want some shade. And if you want to listen to some music while your out there, no problem, there’s surround sound speakers out there too. There’s a small outdoor cooking station as well. 

So, I’ve been telling my parents that Daniel and I would be more than happy to move out into the trailer and free up some space in the house but they just laugh at me.

Ok, I really can’t wait any longer….most of you know how I am with surprises and things of that nature…..ok, so while I have been playing catch-up with posts of Korea (and waiting for you all to realize that I am back on the blogging scene), I have been revamping our old blog (www.danmarq07.blogspot.com) so that I can continue my blogging efforts there. I wanted to leave this blog for just the time we spent in Seoul. Anyway, why don’t you go ahead and check it out….but keep reading this one too—I’ve got a few more posts I want to write.

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While we were in Seoul we met a lot of people who were from different countries besides Korea. They came from everywhere, China, Japan, Indonesia, France…everywhere. When Daniel was studying at Seoul National University he befriended a girl from China named Summer. She was such a wonderful friend to us and we still keep in contact with her. Through her we met another friend from China named Zhao Nan (we called him Shaun). He was doing his doctorate in Art at Seoul National University. He took us on a tour of his studio at the university and explained the process of his artwork. I guess he travels down to the southern part of Korea and collects special dirt and uses that dirt to make his own paint. Well, before we left from Seoul he invited us to the opening of his exhibition in downtown Seoul.  Here are some pics of his awesome artwork. 

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Do you recognize this face? The model for this painting was Summer!

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there were a lot of other ones that I wished I would have gotten pictures of! It was so great to see his work displayed in a gallery!

Continuing on with posts that I SHOULD have written a long time ago (like before we left Korea)…..

My intermediate gayageum class culminated in an end of semester concert where we were to play some traditional music for family and friends at the Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts in Seocho-dong. A few weeks prior to our concert I was elected to give a speech during the concert about what I learned from the class and the gayageum. Being pregnant at the time did not make it easy to give that speech (even if the auditorium wasn’t full). I wish I could say that I looked all elegant and poised in the traditional Korean dress as I addressed the audience…but alas, I just looked nervous and sweaty. I ended up having to wear my glasses too….I woke up that morning and realized that I had lost one of my contacts. So not only did I look round and sweaty but also nerdy on top of it all. Oh well. It was a good experience anyway. 

Proof that I was at the podium:

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From the concert:

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Here’s me with my friend, Summer. It was great to have her come to the concert to support me!

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It was such a fun experience to learn a traditional instrument like the gayageum. On my parent’s trip to Seoul, my dad bought me one so that I could bring it back to the States and continue to learn it and practice it. 

UPDATE: Upon returning to the US, I practiced it many times and even performed it for a couple of my friends. But then I got too big to be able to sit comfortably on the ground so I stopped for awhile. Now I have to pick it up again and practice before I forget everything!

Like I promised, here is our post on my parents’ trip to Seoul. It’s kind of a historic trip, especially for my dad, since the last time he was here was in 1984. My parents left that January before I was born for the USA. I think the neatest part of their trip here, for me, were all of the stories my dad had to tell about what Korea was like during the 70’s and 80’s and all of his memories. For those of you who don’t know, my dad served in the US Army stationed in and around Seoul during the 70’s and 80’s and he met my mom (who is Korean) during that time.

For this trip, they stayed with my grandfather in Northern Seoul so we actually didn’t get to see my parents every single day. But, we did try our best to either get up to my grandfather’s house often or meet them in some part of the city. Surprisingly, it takes us a good hour and a half to get to my grandfather’s house by bus and a little less time than that by subway.

The highlights of their trip were spending a couple of days on Jeju Island (the small island off the southern tip of South Korea), a tour of the DMZ, shopping in Namdaemun and Insadong, seeing some palaces in Seoul, my parents were able to visit the memorial sight of the Christian martyrs who were all beheaded near the Han river, and of course just spending time together. 

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So there are a million other photos from this trip but it would be impossible to put them all on here. Most of these photos are from Jeju Island. I didn’t include any photos of the DMZ because we were dumb enough to have forgotten our cameras (luckily a nice woman on the tour sent us photos from her camera….they’re still on my email though). My mom also has some pics of them just hanging out in the noraebangs (karaoke rooms) and the martyr’s memorial near the Han river.  It was really fun to have them here with us!

Time to dust off the old blog and break out the birthday party hats. We have a new baby girl! She was born last week and weighed in at over 9 lbs. Despite being much heavier than our first, Maya, who was around 7 3/4 lbs, labor went much quicker and easier for Marquita–must have been the experience and conditioning gained from the first time. Anyway, we are grateful. 

We’ve named our new little one Viviana, and based on her feeding routine, she is voracious. She is also amazingly beautiful and just a bundle of joy.  Of course that is based on our extremely biased view, and also on the comments of others. I don’t think anyone would tell us if they thought she was ugly, but it wouldn’t phase us anyway. As for Marquita and I as parents, and Maya as a big sister, we are beaming with pride. 

Without further adieu, the baby of our affection:

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Well, I guess I can officially be considered a liar. I promised more posts on my parents’ trip to Korea and I have yet to do it! But, it will come…it will come. I wanted to get on here and write a quick update though. For the past few weeks we have been scrambling to get our affairs in order and to get packed for our big move back to the United States. We spent a wonderful and unforgettable 15 months in Korea and now we are back in the ol’ US of A. As far as airplane trips go, it was pretty uneventful. But to me, it marked the end of a chapter on our lives. I was shocked when I got back to my hometown in Utah, not because much has changed—-hardly anything has in the past year and a half—-but because I have changed in so many ways.  Of course it is nice to be back to see family and visit with friends, don’t get us wrong, we are glad to be doing that. But, leaving Korea was a really hard decision for us. It is so true that with a little curiosity and acceptance, home can be anywhere. Everywhere you go, there are good points and bad..sometimes really bad.. and Korea, like any other place had those points. But we love Korea and we love all the people and experiences that made her special to us. 

So, what’s next you might ask. Well, that’s a question we are answering even as I type. We know that we will be in Utah until the Fall, there will be a new baby in our house,  and then we are off to Grad school to start another chapter. Where? Probably either Canada or Hong Kong. I guess we’ll see and we will definitely keep you posted.

Dare I say that we will add more pictures of all the great things we were involved in in Korea before we left? Or will I just condemn myself? I had my last gayageum concert, Daniel finished his work at the University and with Maya’s school, we visited a ton of friends  and family…well, I’ll just add all that to the queue of things I still need to write about.

Oh my gosh, you know the weeks fly by and yet again I am the the laziest blog writer ever. We have a whole mother load of pictures and stories (thanks to my father-in-law’s 2nd visit to Seoul and my parents visit as well). But, before all of that–which is coming soon….I hope…..I have an important announcement. 

We found out a couple of weeks ago that we are officially having a girl! “Officially” meaning in the doctor-visit-before-last my friend and I were able to convince the doctor to tell me the sex of the baby since I wasn’t a Korean national. He tried and tried and couldn’t get a clear look but said that he thought it might be a girl. This last visit the doctor was for sure it was a girl and promptly told me to get pink ready.

And you know what? I am actually excited about having another girl. I warned Daniel that there will be a lot of estrogen floating around our house, but he was excited anyway. I’ll ask him again when they’re teenagers…

And, to give you a little sneak preview of what’s to come (and some hope that we will be posting again shortly…)

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These two were taken on Jeju Island. I am thinking Maya was impersonating the 돌 하루방 (the lava stone grandfather statue that Jeju is famous for in the first photo.

I don’t know if I have ever mentioned this before, but Maya could literally survive as a street urchin here in Seoul. Whenever we go out sightseeing or even to the store somebody gives her something. Some days she lucks out and gets cookies and other days she’s not so lucky and some old grandma or grandpa gives her red ginseng candy. 

With this is mind, let me tell you how Maya made us some money the other night. We were on the subway nearing Sadang on the light blue line when a slightly drunk ajosshi came aboard. He saw Maya and commenced (just like everyone here does) waving and smiling and trying to make her smile and say something in Korean. Maya started to be coy which made the ajosshi try even harder. I was a little bit embarrassed since everyone was watching us. All of a sudden the man hands Maya a 5,000 KRW (roughly equal to 5 USD) and tries to get her to call him 할아버지 (grandfather). We were so surprised and didn’t know what to do and we had to get off the subway to transfer. Maya was quite happy with her prize. 

I don’t believe this girl.

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