Not just another day

Our final shipment of household goods arrived today, shattering the peace and quiet we’d been enjoying.  If you’ve been reading about our adventures in Korea, you might be wondering, "Wait, how many shipments are coming?  You must have a lot of stuff."  The answer is, yes, we shipped ourselves too much stuff.  Our household goods from Seattle that had been in storage left via cargo ship in early January, and our air freight soon followed.  Our car arrived last week, and we just received our final shipment from our temporary home in Washington, D.C.  That shipment left just before we moved to Korea.  One and a half months in transit is very fast.  Many of my colleagues around the world who left the states last year still have not received their household goods.  Unfortunately, now we have to figure out how to consolidate two households, our Seattle and Washington, D.C. households, and find places to store items we don’t need.  When I put in the orders to ship our stuff abroad, I had the crazy idea of shipping as much as possible so we didn’t miss anything important.  Living abroad however is much like traveling abroad–don’t take more than you need.  Now we have to figure out what to do with all of our stuff without unnecessarily cluttering up our home.

At lunchtime I joined my conversation partner for lunch.  Although she is Korean, she suggested having lunch at Burger King.  I was surprised by her choice, but I obliged.  She explained that Koreans love American fast food, especially McDonald’s and Burger King.  I have not yet seen a Mickie D’s in Korea, but I’ve seen at least three Burger King restaurants in Seoul.  Downtown Seoul has many American fast food restaurants, and they’re all packed at lunchtime.  The clientele appears to be generally younger than customers at Korean restaurants.  She mentioned that Koreans love also love American-style barbeques.  This summer I’m hoping to buy a grill (I love to grill).  If I do I will invite Koreans over for American-style barbeque.  It’s a great way to get to know Koreans and share American culture.

Tonight, amidst our unpacking, we ate dinner with a coworker and his wife.  He is American, and she is Korean.  They came bearing a housewarming gift–three boxes of Kleenex tissue.  I thought this odd until they explained that Koreans traditionally come to house warmings with a gift of tissue.  I appreciate the gesture, but I now have seven boxes of tissue to use up.  We are very well supplied now.  The Chinese meal my wife cooked was delicious, and I played host and cleaned up afterwards.  The conversation was great.  Although we could have spent the time unpacking, we enjoyed the company immensely.  We haven’t done as much entertaining as we could.  Life in Seoul is very conducive to getting together with friends, and our circle of friends and coworkers is ample.

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