Greetings from the Land of the Morning Calm! We hope you had a wonderful 2006, and we wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We hope to see you again next year when we return to the states. Our two-year tour in Korea will end soon. Next February, our family will return to the U.S. to get set for a new adventure. We will make stops in Hawaii, Washington State, Idaho, and Montana, after which we will head to Washington, D.C. for Spanish training. Then, in July, we will head to Asunción, Paraguay for two years. Paraguay lies in the heart of South America, wedged between Brazil and Argentina. We look forward to exploring South America for the first time and invite you to visit us anytime. Asunción is a short flight to many great destinations, including Buenos Aires, Argentina, Santiago, Chile, and Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Paraguay is also home to one of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls, Iguasu Falls.
In August, Mike lost his father, who passed away unexpectedly. Mike attended his funeral service and shared fond memories of his father with family and friends. We were fortunate to have had the opportunity to see Mike’s father one last time when we visited the United States in May. We had no idea it would be the last time they would spend time together. Mike’s father is survived by his wife, a special lady who is both a stepmom and a friend.
In April, we traveled to China and spent two weeks with family in Shanghai. We also took a short trip to Xi’an, China, home to the famous terra cotta warriors guarding the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. We also traveled around Korea, visiting Jeju Island, Wolchulsan and Odaesan national parks, and Yongpyong Resort, Korea’s largest ski hill and film location for “Winter Sonata,” a popular Korean drama. We also welcomed a few guests to Korea, including Mike’s parents, cousin , and Mike’s in-laws, who are visiting us during Christmastime. We are in Korea at a pivotal time in history, with tensions on the peninsula running high because of the recent nuclear tests and Six Party Talks, and with former Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon becoming the new Secretary-General of the United Nations. Fortunately, the atmosphere here has been relatively calm, and we feel very safe in Seoul.
Our son had a really fun year. He started the year participating in gym class, music class, and play group, but he is now a preschooler at a local Montessori school in Seoul, where he spends half days learning everything from reading to painting. In the afternoon, our nanny takes him to the library, playground, and to over to neighborhood friends’ houses to play. This fall, he started playing soccer. Although he can’t keep up with the four-year-olds, he played his heart out. We’re positive he’ll flourish in Paraguay, where soccer is a national obsession. Our home in Asunción will also have a pool, and he will learn to perfect his swimming skills.
Mike’s wife has been working as a manager in the Seoul office of a global accounting firm. She enjoys her job, but in January she will resign before we depart Korea. She is looking forward to a change of scenery, spending more with our son, learning Spanish, and beginning new endeavors in Paraguay.
Mike is almost finished working in Embassy Seoul’s Consular Section. Mike also spent much of the year volunteering as board chair of the community association, helping improve the community and managing the association’s assets. He enjoyed meeting Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, having drinks with Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin, and returning to his alma mater as a “Hometown Diplomat” to discuss careers in the Foreign Service with graduating seniors.
Blog notes: Special thanks to the 550 visitors who stopped by this week to visit World Adventurers even though I have been offline for about a week. I’ll try to write more often and give you more to peruse. Thanks again!