2014 Wrap-up – WE’RE ALIVE!
Wow, it has been a really long time since we’ve updated the blog. Sorry about that!! With our SURPRISE trip home, English camps, producing a play in Busan, and adjusting to a new school year with a new coteacher, my plate has been more than full. With the new school year officially in swing this week, I’m ready to get back on a more regular schedule! Evan and I have a lot of exciting things planned this year, but first I want to update you all on what we’ve been up to since we last posted!
We somehow kept it a secret that we were going home for Christmas. Once tickets were bought, my first concern was planning our surprise and making sure people were gathered at my parent’s house for our dramatic entrance. I recruited my sister-in-law Melissa to help make that happen, and she was a huge help. She soon informed me that my parents were planning on visiting my Uncle in FLORIDA (not close to North Carolina in case you don’t know) for Christmas!! In a panic, I messaged my Uncle and told him we were going home and needed him to help us convince my parents to stay in North Carolina. He took care of it within a couple days, telling my Dad that he thought the weather would be bad (fat chance, not sure how this was believable) and that he would come to North Carolina instead. My Dad bought it. Crisis averted.
Then we had our cover story, which was that for Evan’s 30th birthday (December 29th) he wanted to go to his birthplace-Germany! This story is actually true, but he wanted to do this trip with his twin brother which ended up not working out. We told our families that we were flying into Paris, and then going to Germany for around 2 weeks. After convincing family members to not spend the money to send us boxes in Korea, and coordinating with my sister-in-law for a couple weeks, we found ourselves outside of my childhood home, skyping my Aunt Kathy, Melissa, and my Mom as she asked “How’s Paris so far? How’s the weather there?” I smiled and replied, looking around at the weather there, “Oh it’s cold and rainy…” We slowly made our way up to the door, knocked, and waited. I told my Mom the internet connection was bad and I couldn’t get the video chat to work, so she couldn’t see where I was. My brother answered the door, and with barely any reaction (he and my Dad were asleep on the couch) says “Hey Rach!” and gives me a hug. We slowly make our way in, and as we do the feedback on the skype call gets worse. My mom says something about the echo just as I walk in her line of sight, and then she screamed! Right around the same time, my Dad wakes up from the noise and screams “NO!!! NO!!” It was so hilarious and exhilarating. I’ve always wanted to surprise someone like that, and it was just as fun as I imagined!
After things died down at my parent’s house, we drove to Evan’s Dad’s house and surprised him and his girlfriend Trish! It was really late by then so we didn’t film much but it great to surprise them as well. Evan’s Mom and brother Ty, however, were told about our trip well in advance because they had to fly in from New Mexico!
We had a lot planned for this trip, and although it was busy and sometimes overwhelming (reverse culture shock is real), we had SO much to celebrate. It was our first Christmas home in 5 years, and family went out of their way to make sure we had gifts to open. We got a lot of American snacks, and we all know food is the best gift. I also got a GoPro Hero 4 from my Aunt Kathy! We filmed most of our trip on the GoPro, and it’s the coolest thing I’ve ever owned. Check out our American vlogs we filmed on it!
Soon after Christmas we celebrated Evan and Ty’s 30th birthday with both our families over pizza and then pies at my parent’s house. It was the first time that me, Evan and our families were all in the same place at the same time. It made the party really special to us.
For New Years we spent a day or two at my brother Jonathan and Melissa’s house, and just before midnight we went to Jonathan’s bar where they were serving up fancy craft cocktails. Considering how bad cocktails are in Korea, this was a real treat!
Then we FINALLY got legally married in the United States! Well, our marriage is recognized technically, but since our certificate is in Korean, no one would actually recognize it without a translation anyway. My parents came to be witnesses at the courthouse, and the ceremony was short and sweet. After a quick photo shoot my Dad had to go to work, but I know it meant a lot to them to be able to see their “forever abroad” daughter and son-in-law actually get married.
These are just a few highlights, but so many more wonderful memories were made on this trip. I’m so thankful that Evan and I were finally able to visit home together as a married couple, after two and a half years. In future blog posts I want to talk about a few experiences in detail from our US trip, but this is getting long and I wanted you all to know that we’re alive and thriving.
Enjoy some more photos of two of my favorite things about visiting home–the food and and our family pets!