En Situ

Things are starting to really fall into place for us as we get closer and closer to our TOD (time of departure).

First of all, our baby kittens have reached Albuquerque. They are spending the night with my aunt, uncle, cousins, three cat cousins, and three dog cousins before reaching their final destination at my parents’ home. There they will be greeted even more animal siblings. They weathered a journey west from Korea (over two and a half continents!) to Denver via cargo plane, then a 7+ hour drive from Denver to Albuquerque. Kudos to our very well-adjusted boys, for not only did they ride separated (first time they have been apart in their entire 11 months) on the planes (plane change in Frankfurt, Germany), they met a myriad of new animals along the way. Still, they come away unscathed. This makes for two very proud and happy pet owners.

Getting Abner and Ebenezer back to the states was probably our biggest concern. We can go ahead and cross that off our list.

Yesterday I managed to find two very inexpensive airline tickets for Jason and me to Los Angeles. Air China departing from Seoul on July 30th, short hop to Beijing, then on to LA. Because LA is about 16 hours behind Seoul, we land ten minutes after we depart. In the general scheme of things, I think this idea of gaining a whole day is pretty awesome. We are probably going to crash at a Marriott that night, because … after 16 hours of travel, we’ll be jet lagged, and Jason doesn’t want us to end up burned to death in a heaping wreck of a rental car. I still have to make our reservations, but I plan on doing that next month (one major expenditure at a time, please).

I also (because I am super awesome) managed to secure a rental car for our drive from LA to Albuquerque. Now, a quick note… the reason we’re driving from LA is (well, there are two reasons) 1. it’s cheaper to land in LA, rent a car for two days and drive that it is to fly to ABQ by about $400. and 2. after spending 12 hours on a plane, 2 hours in china, 2 hours on the plane before that, we won’t really be in the mood for getting accosted by the security check points between terminals. Thanks, but no thanks.

What is left?

We need to begin shipping things home; this includes various art, clothes, shoes, small furniture (like an Asian table that folds smaller and the parts to a cat scratching post), and a few minor things. We need to buy two bike bags so we can get our bikes onto the plane as checked luggage. We need to find homes for all our furniture (a couch, a bed, shelves, armoires, dressers, coffee table, vanity…), electronics (oven, coffee maker, TV, alarm clocks, hair equipment, computer monitors, etc.), and a variety of housewares and spices. We plan on having various foreigner co-workers take what they want. I say foreigner because usually the Koreans don’t do “second-hand.”

Then we go. We will have to buy a pre-paid cell phone in LA as well, but that shouldn’t be too difficult to find. We’re also making our stopping point on driving  day 1 be Las Vegas so we can visit a friend who’s offered to feed us… can’t say no to that!

I think we’re well on our way to getting things wrapped up out here in Seoul.

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InActivity

It’s been about three weeks since my last post (that really sounds like I’m confessing to a priest in a confessional) and I feel extremely guilty for not keeping it up. I was doing that “post a week 2011” up until then. Well, I guess I can possibly make it up by posting a few extra posts this week.

Quick Updates:

In case those of you who are unaware, Jason and I did get engaged…officially… on Valentine’s weekend. We’re incredibly excited and anxious to get ourselves back home in August so we can really start planning.

We’re more than likely sending the boys home next week. We’ll miss them tremendously, but are SO glad we can have them home with us in ABQ.

We’re going to be spending about a week in Tokyo next month. Jason has been to Japan before, but it will be my first time. We’re excited. We’ll be hanging out with some good friends and seeing the sights, eating the food, and having a good time.

I think that’s about it for now. Not very exciting the last few weeks, I’m sorry to say. I will try to have more to write on very soon.

Have Kittehs, Will Travel

As the countdown to departure for Jason and I continues, Abner and Ebenezer will be making their trip home sooner. Temperatures in Albuquerque are getting warmer, and that means airlines are less and less willing to accept pets (or any animal I would imagine) on their flights. In fact, United, which is the airline we’re hoping to have fly our babies home, won’t accept them if the departure or arrival destinations are 75°F or above.

If you’re in a more temperate location, that’s fine, it’s February and no big deal, right? Well, we’re not from a temperate location, we’re from the desert, and that means that 75°F comes early and it comes fast. Like April. SO, to avoid all that drama, we’re shipping them home sooner.

Months and months ago we started looking for information on shipping the boys home. After adopting them nine months ago, we knew what we were getting into.

Abner and Ebenezer (2.5 Mo)

 At first, we looked at the airlines, and it was ridiculously difficult to decipher what the real rules were. On top of that, try finding the right crate for the cats in a foreign country. Not so easy. We had to find other means of transport. Aside from the boys, we also have to ship home three bikes, some art, clothes, two computers, and our collection of coffee mugs. We decided against shipping our furniture and will be trying to off load all that and our wired for Korea electronics.

After some research, we finally found an impressive international organization with the only function being the shipping of pets. This organization puts the pet owner in contact with a myriad of companies who have years of experience in the organizing of pet shipment. The companies are endorsed by this organization, which also means the companies are good. The company we’re going with is Pet Airline, so far, they have been infinitely helpful. Since they are here in Korea, they are able to even help us talk to our vet to get the boys their Rabies Certificates. We pick them up on Saturday.

So, once that is taken care of, I think we will be saying “see you soon” to our boys. They will be met by my wonderful aunt and promptly taken home where the rest of our menagerie awaits.

Abner and Ebenezer
Niki and Copper
 
Lillith
Millie

We Be Jammin’

As a follow-up to my post from last week on turning my Jeju oranges into jam, I would like to offer up this short blog about another jam recipe I found on WikiHow. It has been a yummy alternative to banana bread when you spread it over warm toast. The recipe doesn’t mention the shelf life, so I would suggest not letting it go too long. Bananas are fickle and while semi preserved in the cup of sugar melted down at the beginning, the bananas themselves may not last very long. But, if you find it as delicious as we did, it really wont last very long.

Orange in the Back, 'Nanners in the Front
Toast with Orange Jam (back) and with Banana Jam (front)

A Book Club

Upon the request of my sister, LeAnna, I have created a blog for our newly formed book club. She asked that I create a space for people who don’t have Facebook, but who love to read and want to participate in book discussions and conversations. The Facebook link is here and we’ve just begun 100 Years of Solitude.

100 Years of Solitude

Our International Book Club currently has members in three countries, including Mexico, the US (California, Nevada, and New Mexico), and South Korea.

A Lil’ Puddin

Jason, for reasons I am still not completely sure of, had a can of coconut milk at work, which he brought home about two or three weeks ago. Ever since he did, I have been aching to use it in a recipe. Most of the recipes I found that call for coconut milk are curries, you know, really savory and delicious Thai and India food. But, I wanted to keep it sweet to really keep the coconut flavor.

I finally found this recipe and I was in business. Now, I did take pictures, but they didn’t come out nearly as well as I would have liked, so I am not including any this time. But, it came out REALLY good. The recipe actually calls for equal parts coconut milk and regular milk, but I didn’t have enough regular milk at the time, so I used the rest of the coconut milk. We also didn’t have lemons or limes, so I omitted that ingredient. It still tasted great (and still does today after chilling in the fridge).

Just a side note, for those of you who are vegan: You can substitute pretty much any non-dairy (ie rice, soy, coconut) milk for cow’s milk, especially in sweet foods like breads or puddings. I also find that applesauce or mashed bananas work really nicely in place of eggs and sometimes, butter in things like muffins, cookies, or breads. Just be aware that the results are a little less fluffy and a little more…sticky/gummy, but a lot more healthful!

Happy baking!

Knit Me Something Warm to Wear

I thought I would change up my MO a bit. Previously I have posted about cooking and baking, but today I want to talk about another hobby I’ve been working on. I actually learned to knit a few years ago (before moving to Korea). My aunt’s mother is an amazing crafter of a multitude of genres and she introduced me to knitting. To start, she gave me HUGE knitting needles, which I have somewhere in my closet back home.

When I moved out here in 2009 the winter months were a big downer. Having to be at work and stay in the office throughout the day was quite depressing. I missed the sun, and I was not the happiest of foreigners, let me tell you. Jason suggested I find some hobbies. I took up painting/drawing and I also took up knitting. I should say that I invested a little more time into hobbies I already had, but which I had not engaged in for quite some time.

The art turned out ok, for the most part. I dabbled in abstract, but not quite as successfully at realist. I actually haven’t painted or drawn anything in quite a while–several months in fact. I’ve been baking and cooking more regularly, so that takes up more of my time. Take a look at some of my art projects:

When Jason and I first moved into our apartment in September of ’09, we soon discovered a really awesome alley on which vendors sell a wide selection of fresh, seasonal fruit or veggie. It’s a veritable farmers market that is open year round (although in the extreme cold or heat there are fewer people out). Along this road we also can find plants, beans & legumes, blankets, fresh fish, as well as a plethora of Korean side and main dishes. The smells, as we meander down this road that runs about four blocks, are distinct. The atmosphere, exciting.

Upon discovering this road, we also discovered this shop:

It was actually closed today, either because of the fact it was MAYBE 5 degrees (F) out, or it was Sunday. The woman who owns it usually has a ton of yard on display. When I finally decided I was going to take up knitting, we came here. I picked out a large, 10,000 won, hank of purple yarn and Jason was able to communicate enough with her to let her know we wanted to purchase that and a set of needles (quite difficult, actually). It took me about 6 months to knit my purple scarf. Mainly because after a while I would get bored and put it away. I did finish it though, and have worn the extra long scarf nearly every day this winter. A few months before the Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas season, I decided I would make one for Jason. He picked out a nice red hank of yarn (although the cost had gone up a thousand won) from the same lady.

 It’s coming along nicely. I plan on finishing it by his birthday in February. Wish me luck!