Tuesday, September 28, 2010

one big and one little announcement

It's been too long again since I've blogged and of course lots has happened. So here it goes...

We've been debating for months whether we should stay in Korea for another year or go home and fight it out to find jobs and we've finally made our decision... we're staying for another year! AAHHH!!! something about seeing those words in print is just terrifying.

Its bittersweet for us as well as our families but they have been behind us all the way in this big decision. Yes, even our Mom's who miss us dearly did their best to support us even when they were very disappointed we wouldn't be home for the holidays. It just seems to be the wisest decision for us financially in the long run. We'll head back to the US in Dec. 2011 (that just sounds incredibly far away) with a very HUGE chunk of debt paid off (which includes credit card, school, and dentist) and have saved a large sum of savings enabling us to move to Portland, OR where we hope to plant ourselves for a while. It'll also enable us enough cash on hand to have enough time to find jobs, as I'm sure you all know its a tough market out there and we are not foolish enough to think we can just make it on fumes. We knew we'd need a large cushion if we were going to make a move to Portland and staying another year will ensure that.

We're very much looking forward to coming home and even more now that we have a bit of a direction. This next year will hopefully fly by now that we have a plan in place and a bit of motivation. We know at the end of the year we'll pat ourselves on the back and be glad we were able to extinguish a load of debt.

Since we're staying we also agreed we needed a Christmas vacation and a seriously amazing one at that. So we went to work (mostly Ben as this is his favorite thing in the world vacay planning) searching for somewhere we could go outside of Korea but that wouldn't break our budget. After much debate we decided on Thailand. We'll be spending an amazing week in Ko Chang (Island) in the Trat Province of Thailand. Its been labeled as the up and coming Phuket. Its got loads of things to do, places to see, and beaches to enjoy. We are sooo excited and are very much looking forward to a week of relaxation, fun, and recharging and honestly just getting the heck out of Korea for a bit.

I think we'll enjoy this vacay on a new level as we've already gotten to know on a very personal level about living in an Asian culture. We'll be able to more fully appreciate the differences in the cultures specifically food and language. We are very much looking forward to trying authentic Thai food and having Thai massages on the beach. Our hotel is very reasonably priced and so is the spa which I plan to take full advantage of. I can't remember the last mani/pedi I had, Thailand here I come!

We also plan to take to go snorkeling as well as experience elephant trekking. I was a bit apprehensive about the elephant trekking as I've read about how these poor elephants are going extinct and are mistreated bein forced to do shows etc. but we found a place that is committed taking care of the elephants and actually work with a non-profit organization to sell elephant paintings to raise money for their protection and conservation.

To say the least we've booked ourselves a week in paradise and can't wait to enjoy it. I say all of this not to brag but to assure our families that we'll be taking a break, taking care of ourselves, and enjoying our time abroad. Part of this whole experience is taking it all in stride, making the most of it, and enjoying what the world has to offer.

And now a drum roll for the little announcement...

We adopted a puppy 3 weeks ago!!! Some of you already know if you've seen the pics on our FB's but we most definitely needed to make a grand introduction on our blog.

Joey is a smart, sweet, mischevious little 6-month old Yorkie puppy we adopted from Animal Rescue Korea. Here is his adoption page that made us fall in love with him: http://www.animalrescuekorea.org/forums/showthread.php?t=4030

On Saturday, September 11 we made the trek to Gyeongsan (just outside of Daegu) to pick him up. It was a very rainy day and the train was late so it was a bit of a rough trip but we made it. It was a crazy day but so worth it. He did sooo great on the way home only a few whimpers the entire 2 1/2 hour bus ride home to Jecheon. And of course we will be taking him home to the States with us next year. Sadly this is a reality for many pets who get adopted by teachers who need some company during their year in Korea. They get adopted for the year than need a new home when the teacher decides they can't or don't want to take them back.

our first family pic - proud, happy, excited puppy parents
first bath we gave him, so pathetic

who me?

more pictures?!?!
sportin' my new sweatshirt and taking a nap w/ my blankey
*contented sigh* 

Am and Joey snuggling after a looong day traveling to my permanent home
Hi, my name is Joey and I'm adorable.

this is Joey's sleeping position, all fours in the air and tongue hanging out (wish I could have cropped me out of this pic)
Ben and Joey @ "church"

this is my fuzzy pillow/bed, Ricky the Racoon, and my bone
first visit to Urimji

a kind stranger took this pic after watching us struggle to do a self-portrait
me-n-my pup!

the first pic we ever saw of Joey that made our hearts melt
he looks like snoopy here, big ole black nose
whata cutey pie!
recovery from his hip surgery, poor baby and yet his cute little pink tongue is hanging out 
the incision and stitches
ready to play and full of trouble
wanna play?
snuggling in a blanket at my foster parents house
itty bitty fuzzy puppy
His story is sad but worth telling.  He was found on the streets in Daegu as a 3/4 month old puppy and taken to a shelter where he was given to a wonderful foster family (Nicole & Corey and their dogs Uni and Shiggy) to be cared for until he got adopted. They took such great care of him above and beyond to meet his needs physically but also emotionally. So thankful for people like you with such big hearts to care for down and out dogs who need medical care and than to be placed in loving homes.

His first visit to the vet showed there were significant problems with his back legs. X-rays showed his left femur was broken (and healed/fused together) and the doc decided it was best to leave it but his leg will always be about an inch shorter so he walks with a limp and tends to stand a bit like a tripod : ) we think its just cute. He also had a right side hip fracture. He was actually walking around on all this for sometime sadly. Thankfully his foster parents paid out of their own pocket for him to have the needed surgery to fix his hip. He now walks, jumps, runs, and plays without a second thought. Thankfully since they are apart of ARK they received donations from a few kind hearted people who wanted to help. We paid the rest of his surgery with his adoption fee.

Now that we have him I can't imagine him not being here. He has such a zest for life for having such a broken little body when he was found. I saw a show on TV the other day about animals in the streets and they were trying to rescue a dog and I had to turn the channel because I couldn't handle it. I kept thinking about Joey being on the street as a very small puppy and it brought me to tears. I look down at Joey and he's healthy, clean, fed, happy, and warmly rolled in a ball on my lap as I blog. That is the joy of adoption. It made me all the more glad we decided to adopt.

It was a perfect match. Joey fits right in with us and our life here. We decided we'd look into adopting a puppy because I'd have the time to train him and raise him to be a healthy balanced dog. Being home all day and not working he is the company I need to keep my spirits up and not be so lonely. It all just seemed to make sense so we pursued it and a week later we got the email that said Joey was ours! Of course there will be a never ending supply of Joey pics and hopefully video so you can see how funny he is when he plays with us.

So thats whats been going on with us. Thanks for all your love and support, it means more than you know. The cards, the letters, the emails and the boxes lift us emotionally when we're in the dumps cause we just want some comfort food. We could not be doing this with out you all!

A special shout out to Ian and Casey; they made it hope safely after an epic trip home. We miss you guys sooo much, this next year just won't be the same without you. We'd be happy to send you some kimchee or kimbap if you are going through too much withdrawl. Before we know it will be December 2011 and we'll be headed back to the States to see our families and than we're coming to Portland!