Sunday, September 13, 2015


Living abroad changes a person. My dad used to say that (he lived and worked abroad for years before his retirement) and I never listened to him--much like I never listened to anything he said, which is why I am almost 40 years old and still alarmingly terrible at math. But that's a blog post for another time. Today, I am focusing on those wise words my dad would say during his rare trips back home to the USA that I never listened to.

Until my husband decided to move us to Incheon, Songdo, South Korea.

Yeah. I'm living in Asia.

You see those grain towers in the background? Yup. We used to climb them. Please don't try to do this. It's super dangerous and actually pretty stupid.

Me! A born-and-bred Washington (state) girl. A girl who stopped wearing shoes in early June and didn't put them back on until early September, when my mother so rudely forced me to wear them to school. A girl who spent more time climbing grain towers (dangerous--not recommended!) and playing hide-and-seek in wheat and lentil fields than anything else. A girl who didn't realize that people on the street didn't want to look me in the eye and say hello every time they saw me until I was in my mid-twenties. A girl who grew up paying 25 cents for a soft serve ice cream cone every single day of her life during every single summer of her life until she was eighteen.

I now live in a city where it is considered extremely invasive and rude to look people in the eye and smile at them on the street. I live in a city where buying ice cream requires dipping into the kid's college fund, and not minimally, friends, liberally. I live in a city where people not only wear shoes in the summer, but expensive ones with four inch heels, and red bottoms....can someone please explain why women are willing to pay thousands of dollars to have a red sole on their shoes?? A city where kids' activities are structured, organized, and paid for by wealthy, stressed out parents who only want their kids to climb things because it looks good on their college application if they've tried physical activities once or twice.

I am a fish out of water, friends.

But there's a silver lining to my South Korean experience. Hear me out.

When I was growing up, I did not think very highly of my rural eastern Washington upbringing. I thought the place I lived was old and dirty--and I wanted new, fancy, and shiny--and the people there were archaic, closed minded, rednecks. I thought that the city of Spokane, and more specifically, my tiny town of Fairfield was a pathetic zit on the landscape of our fair state--and I was counting the seconds until I could get the h*ll out of dodge. And I did! At 17 and half, I moved. Then I moved again. Then I moved again. Then I moved again.......and found myself living in Spokane as an adult with children.

And then my husband got a job at Samsung. Which brought me to South Korea.

Now, I should clarify: I love being in Songdo. It is an adventure, and for the most part, I am enjoying the experience. Besides some homesickness (which is to be expected) my children are happy and my husband is gaining some important experience. Plus...we are going to crush our debt to pieces by living here for three years. So BAM. Suck on that, creditors!

However, moving to South Korea has opened my eyes to some really precious points that I might've otherwise spent the remainder of my life overlooking. I'd like to share these points with you, if for no other reason than the fact that this blog has become my diary of sorts, and well, I've got nothing better to do, except write another book, which I PROMISE I AM WORKING ON.

1.) I never realized how beautiful my home state of Washington was. I mean, it has desert, rainforest, lakes, rivers, and rolling plains. It has camping, hiking, biking, skiing, and more. It is an outdoorsmens' paradise, which my Montana-born husband does our 16 year old son who would prefer to live in the back yard MacGyver style, than anything we have to offer him--like shelter, food, and a shower.

2.) My tiny hometown of Fairfield is quaint and rustic. The people there are people I've known my whole life, who know more about me and my life and my heartaches and accomplishments than anyone else on earth--possibly more so than some of my relatives know. Calling them all rednecks is stupid on my part--as most of the friends I have in the Fairfield are are some of the most open-minded, all-inclusive, loving human beings on God's earth. And that right there is a fact.

Plus, Flag Day is celebrated as a national holiday in Fairfield. Who can argue with that?

3.) What Spokane lacks in ethnic diversity (because, let's be honest--it lacks. Come on. This is a very caucasian city.) it makes up for in loyalty, kindness, friendliness, self sufficiency, spirituality, and patriotism. Call my city a million things, but you can never call it an unfriendly city or a city that isn't proud to be a part of our great nation. Nearly every house has these three things hanging where the rest of the city can see it: a Gonzaga Bulldogs flag, a Seattle Seahawks flag, and an American flag. And well, if you're asking me, (which you haven't, but's my blog, so deal with it) being patriotic is never a bad thing. America is a great nation, and the people of Spokane will tell you so. Twice.

4.) How can anybody deny the natural beauty of the Inland Northwest?? I mean, granted, thanks to the cheesy vampire movies, everybody knows that the western side of Washington state is covered in moss and all ethereal and moist and green. But have you ever looked at some of the beauty of the middle and eastern side of Washington state? How about northern Idaho? It's gorgeous! Sadly, it took moving to freaking Asia for me to realize it. *forehead slap*

5.) We grow things in the Spokane/Fairfield area that ya'll eat on the regular. Yes, it's true, we crank out wheat, peas, lentils, potatoes, hay (you may not eat this, but the cows that become your ribeye steaks do, so there!), cherries, apples, pears and hops--and although I'm not a drinker, I know that most of ya'll are. So you're welcome for the hops.

6.) The skies in my lovely home state are stupendous and breathtaking. Instead of the pollution haze that so many see in big cities (I live close to Seoul and across the sea from China--I see pollution haze every single day--and it makes me sick.) in Washington state, you see THIS:

Right?? It's stunning. I literally dream about skies like this. That's how much I miss Washington skies.

7.) It's taken my moving to South Korea for me to appreciate these little golden nuggets? Sometimes you just don't appreciate what you have until it's gone.......

Don't worry, Washington. I'll be home in 2.5 years, and when I come back to you, I'll never leave you again. And dad, if you're reading this, you were right.

Moving abroad changes you.


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