Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Twenty-Six Years

Today, is my birthday.
I've lived on planet Earth for 26 years.
Some people didn't make it that long.
Others will make it longer.
Birthdays remind me how incredible this all is.
Like, what are we doing here?
And, why am I so lucky to be a part of it?
And a bunch of other questions I'll never understand.

Several people have asked me what it's like to have a birthday in Korea. I'd say it's about the same as anywhere else. I haven't gotten a full and complete answer to this question from my Korean friends, however, they also give gifts, sing a song, and eat cake and ice cream.

Being that we are still somewhat new to this experience and don't necessarily have a thriving community at our finger tips, Jeremy planned a lovely weekend just for the two of us and it was swell.

First of all, he collaborated with my parents to send some goodies in the mail. Things like Clif bars, chocolate, homemade granola, and Emergen-C (which has already come in handy--thanks, Mom--because I got sick today). One of the items sent across the ocean was his gift to me: a new Osprey back pack! So sweet. Now we'll look even cooler on our adventuring! Which--as you know--is what it's all about.

On Saturday morning, Jeremy made me pancakes and coffee. He set up surprise Skype dates all weekend, so I got to talk to our friends Ben and Zach that morning. We spent the afternoon relaxing at home. I worked on a painting. And later we went for a walk and ended up doing a bit of dumpster diving. If we get shipped back to America, I'm sorry. That evening I got to Skype with my dear friend, Kylie and later we watched some of our latest addiction: Downton Abbey.

Sunday morning, we Skyped with Ashley and Ben. Then we went on an adventure planned by Jeremy to this art district up on a hill that overlooks Cheongju (my co-workers told me later it's called 수 μ•” κΈ€, or Soo-am-geul). We got the right bus and didn't even get lost! We strolled up the hill side and found this lazy little part of town (rare for Korea) where there was a neighborhood famous for its random street art. Apparently, there was also a Korean movie filmed in the area. We found a little cafe/restaurant that made us quite happy.

The cafe we found is called Able703. I haven't stumbled upon many contemporary or original restaurants in Cheongju. There is either authentic Korean shops or McDonalds. I liken it to the difference between a hole-in-the-wall Chinese buffet and P.F. Changs. You know that one is probably more authentic than the other, but you kind of like the knock-off better. I liked how it was Korean owned and operated, but had their own flair added to familiar soups, salads, and sandwiches. In fact, (heads-up Lincoln people) it reminded us amazingly of Bread and Cup: simple, yummy, and a little pricey. But heck, it's my birthday!

Monday was my "real" birthday and when my alarm sounded, I opened my eyes to see my sister (who had Skyped in to wish me a Happy Birthday FIRST thing in the morning). From then on it was also another day at school. Five classes. Equally confused students faces. Good times with my co-workers. They even bought me an ice cream "cake"(ice cream formed into the shape of a cake) and sang Happy Birthday! 

I got to spend the evening painting, which to some would be a major let down, but to me felt just right. We ended with a Skype call with my parents and it was all around a perfect birthday.

Thanks to all of you for your letters, e-mails, and Facebook well-wishes. Nothing beats celebrations with friends, but I feel incredibly blessed to be on this side of the globe on this twenty-sixth year.


Cassi Meelhuysen said...

Thanks for sharing and the Grateful Bread type of place sounds WONDERFUL. (miss that spot) Which school do you teach at in Korea?

By the way, Happy Birthday. :)

Heather said...

Thanks, Cassi!

I teach an elementary school in Bunpeyongdong, Cheongju.

Shannon Breakey said...

Heather!!!! I just wanted you to know that I have been following your blog...every Friday I work at the front desk at the gym here at Southern and go on the computer and catch up on your posts...I am glad that this year is going so well for you guys! I knew that you would do well there and I am so proud of you and your positive attitude. I totally get how living somewhere else can be hard over the holidays especially...but it can also be fun to see what other people do for their holidays. I enjoy how authentic you are when you write and how you share what is actually happening...not just the good or the bad. I hope your year keeps going well for you two and I look forward to continue reading about your lives down there :)
<3 Shannon