How is it already the end of July? I guess I should've expected it to go by so fast because it has been so full of good things. I started my summer with an international trip back to the U.S. Incheon Airport in Seoul is the most beautiful airport I've ever been to, with hardwood floors, leather seats, and plush live plants all around. It makes a three hour wait pleasant.
I learned on this trip to use those wait times for exercise. It is a 14 hour flight from Seoul to Detroit, enough to make me just about lose my mind. Walking laps around the airport instead of sitting and waiting at the gate really helped me towards the end of the flight.
This little man was my number one reason to come back to the States. His name is Will and he is my best friend's new son. He is adorable, sweet, funny, and so lovable. I am so grateful to have had five days to get to know him and enjoy quality time with my bestie!
Besides the little man, I spent the rest of the time with my favorite B's: Beth and Becca. We mostly did nothing, you know, everything you want to do with your best friend. We walked, talked, ate, and lounged lazily with coffee. Perfect.
After Colorado I visited my wonderful friend Courtney and her two sons Connor and Jacob in Texas. We had a great time hanging out, catching up and doing Texas things like going to the rodeo, the Wal-Mart (I hadn't been to one of those in months!), Dairy Queen, eating a Frito pie, and chilling in the pool to cool off. I have pictures, but they aren't showing up on my computer so I will have to post them when I get that figured out.
Last, but not least, I visited my family in Michigan. I had a wonderful time seeing my Mom and sisters as well as my in-laws at their cottage home. It was a wonderful time to relax together and enjoy the summer weather. Somehow, while in Michigan, I only managed this one photo of Mom and I feeding birds on popsicle sticks while at the zoo... We had a great time though!
When I came back the state I love and had just visited was on fire! I could hardly believe it, and looked up news articles frequently for updates. Beth and her family were safe, but hid out in the basement to escape the heat. I am so grateful the fire is now contained. Another close friend was in Fort Collins where the state's second largest fire was also being fought. What a summer for wildfires! I am grateful they are both safe, and that Colorado's forests and mountains are resilient.
At the end of my trip, Charlie was thrilled to be back home. He was hungry (left) and tired (right). He also had laryngitis (apparently from trying to "bark me back" while at the kennel), which was really hilarious. He would try to bark at something and it would just sound pathetic as his voice cracked up and down.
The rice paddies have grown tremendously, but otherwise Korea is pretty much the same as I left it.
It is random: Fire on the bridge to burn trash, of course (Note: "fire" is "swa" in Korean...I'll have even more vocabulary to share soon.), plenty of empty soju bottles, and enough egg crates for a lifetime (Those are flats of 50! Eggs are only sold by the dozen at the commissary here. Otherwise they come in groups of 10.).
Korea is a land of juxtapositions, especially the old and the new. The run-down barn on the left is still completely in use, while across the street a new home is constructed.
It is wet and humid: The typhoon rainy season is in full swing. Like Tucson though, the rainy season does not mean lots of rain all the time. It just means more rain than usual and more frequently. In other parts of the world we just call this rain.
There is lots of new growth around my neighborhood! This is my first time to see eggplant on the vine with its deep purple stalks and stems.
There are many cranes in the rice paddies now, presumably because water + standing water + vegetation= good crane food. We also have these interesting pink flowers that, like the musical side show mobile (above) look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book.
Walking nearby I noticed this pergola with plants growing on top. The roots of the plants are in soil-filled plastic bags. At first I thought this was merely a creative means to find more crop space. While walking home from base though, I saw another plant pergola, more fully grown, and realized it is also designed to create a wonderfully shady place to relax outside. The one I saw was covered with ferns and vines. It was beautiful and looked so inviting!
Meanwhile, Husband is doing this!
He was in Alaska for work for five weeks. He took every opportunity to be outside, especially at Denali National Park. He hiked, backpacked, camped, and even took a flight to a glacier. This was a trip he will never forget and I'm only talking about the recreation part. He also had a great time flying the A-10 and shooting at random fake tanks in the Alaskan wilderness! He pretty much hopes we live there someday, or at the very least gets to take me there for a backpacking trip. Count me in!
I wasn't in Alaska, so I had to find my own beauty here in Korea. That is sometimes easier said than done. I took advantage of my 4:00 am jet lag wake up time and enjoyed the sunrise on the rooftop of my apartment building. Cool air, hot coffee, fluffy dog, color-transformed sky.
Life is such a gift.