Saturday, September 27, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
The funeral. We all woke up late, which is common because it is when we would wake up in Hawaii.
This day was emotional. I think that I felt the loss more keenly because I just returned from Aunt Irene’s funeral, and Grandpa passed not too long ago. I felt such an amazing outpouring of love. I feel much more connected to my family than I have in more than a decade.
I found out that Grandmas journals, and a lot of pictures memorabilia were thrown out when her house was cleaned out. I was deeply saddened. I had to leave and regret not taking more time.
In the afternoon, we saw Gina’s mom in the hospital. She was looking good. It was nice to see her. I watched Gina and Joseph give her foot rubs, and felt the love that was shared.
We returned to Holly’s for the evening get-together. It was a busy day, and one of the most emotionally poignant I have had in years.
Friday, September 19, 2008
The day started late. The family slept in and needed it. We packed an old well used cooler that the Williams’ set aside for us. They insisted we have food and drinks before we crossed the desert. Sue and Rick were gone when we awoke, but they told us all of the stuff we needed before we went to bed. I am still amazed at their hospitality.
We packed things up and took care of the beds. I called my cell from their phone, so we’d have their contact number. The kids were buzzing all around, and Daniel lost his batman toy from Burger King. He was distraught for the whole drive, frequently asking what happened to it and where it was.
I found that in a Toyota Highlander, the room is quite limited, and many tricks were used to actually fit the gear inside. I let Joseph drive the vehicle. He backed it into the driveway, and felt like a hero. I just felt relieved he didn't hit the gas when he was supposed to hit the brake. I am still conflicted about teaching him to drive, but ultimately, my business is a dangerous one, and I want to be the guy who taught him.
The drive was a road trip adventure, and reminded me why I love that particular dynamic. Daniel’s feet stank. Reeked. We had to roll the windows down, spray his shoes and feet, wipe his feet, and eventually throw away his shoes. I looked at him and said, “Say bye, bye to your old shoes.” He smiled and did so. Thankfully, Gina packed another pair.
“Dad, you have to shoot ‘chubby’ animals with shovel bullets.”
I asked, “What is a chubby animal?”
“You know, elephants. And hippos.”
We stopped at Rye Patch Dam. I have passed it twice on the same drive, and wanted to see it. I expected to see water spilling over the dam or something similar, but the dam had very little water in it. We were on a kind of bluff, and the kids loved throwing rocks over the edge. One rock at a time was too tedious, so Daniel started throwing handfuls. Oh, and Gina loved the display board that spelled out bird calls. I think she tried them all. Her owl call was convincing, but the others were... well, entertaining.
On the long open road, games become essential. I opt for the non-electric, communal type games, but they require so much more thought and interaction. They are mentally tiring. Thankfully, the kids know a few and are good at trying to keep them going.
Joseph made up a game called ‘The Crow Game”. When you see a crow, be the first to call it out, and you get one point. Person with the most points wins. Simple. Like avian Slug Bug. So, I made up a game called “The Dead Crow Game”. Same rules, but the crows don’t move as much. The next game I made up was “The Green Bush Game”. It lasted about 15 seconds, and made me laugh much longer. I saw a few; Joseph saw a million. I saw a million and one; Joseph saw a million and two. I saw whatever Joseph saw plus one; he saw whatever I saw plus two. I was about to up the ante when Gina put the Kibash on the game. Short lived, but fun.
Gina fell asleep and I quickly found out that the Toyota Highlander has a governor set at 112 mph. I also discovered that cruise control works at 110. Nice. Gina insisted on driving from the Utah/Nevada border the rest of the way. (She had been pulled over just short of Reno, so was nervous I think.) I didn’t tell her how fast I had gone till later.
We got in late, stopped at mom’s to get my bag, and went to Jason’s. We crashed.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
The flight was itself was ok, but my lack of sleep left me feeling terrible. I had a planned 4 hour layover in San Francisco. My pants and a T-shirt left me freezing in the terminal. I thought about going to the USO to wait, but didn’t want to go back through security again. In retrospect, it would have been better off.
I wandered around in the terminal, looking at each of the stores. On my third lap, I decided to spend some time in the book store, not based on the product they offered, but on the slight increase in warmth that I found in their store. I was in the real crime/ drama section. I don’t read real crime/ drama, but that section had the least amount of air blowing on it. I could only do it for so long, though. I was so tired that I felt more relaxed as I read, and more likely to fall asleep. I left the store.
I wandered around more because the Wifi was 9.99 per day, and I’d only use it for an hour or two. I kept moving, because I find it easier to feel lousy while I am moving rather than sit still and feel lousy.
I boarded my connecting flight, and have no idea how long it was. San Francisco to Salt Lake City. I don’t remember much of it. I awoke a couple of times to shift positions, and to get a coke. I awoke near the end of the flight, noticed my unopened coke, and tried to drink it all before they took it away. I got about half.
My mom was there to meet me in the airport. I am at her house now, and ready for bed.
Monday, September 15, 2008
This kind of thing w0uld be quite apparent and easily overcome in America. I am familiar with the payphones, the internet, and I know how to navigate to the sites I need. Here, such simple things can be a little more difficult. I think part of it goes back to my reluctance to bother Koreans.
On a brighter note, laziness on my part seems to have paid off. My cell phone wasn't turned off or suspended when I left to Korea the first time, so it'll still work while I am in America. When I return I will suspend the account, and maybe cancel.
I had a Korean meal for lunch, and loved it. Some sushi, rice, salad, soup... I think it's actually a Japanese meal, but that food is also common here. I am quite tired, having arrived very early due to unfamiliarity with the public transport that would get me to the airport. I erred on the very cautious side.
I am in Korea listening to the overhead talking in German for Lufthansa airlines. cool.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Today was a big Korean culture day. We had a bunch of language and culture familiarization classes in the morning. Cool. We also had a bus tour of various places in Gyeonggi-Do province. Since Seoul is in this province, I was very hopeful that we’d be going downtown. We didn’t. We went to a town just north of Seoul: Uijanbu (not sure of spelling).
Guy at welcome center who told jokes funny to him, but not to us. He sang a song at the end of his presentation. The funny part was when he told us his wife said, "don't sing to them, they'll all kill you" I was readily reminded of the Japanese humor that didn't translate well. We got spoons from the County building. I think they are trying to promote their place globally.
Went shopping. Saw a journal I should have bought, didn’t. The store was like a multi-level Kmart. Escalators were like ramps. I had to run up one because I had gone too far down and was worried about time.
Very tired on the bus... bus ride to Unification Tower. Built on site of a Key fortress in Joseon period. Sadness. Replicated elementary school classrooms, average house, and clothing, etc. from North Korea. Very decrepit, and saddening.
Movie: Deathrace. Good violent movie.