Does anyone feel like those fleeting final days and weeks of summer are both racing and dragging by? Life lately in South Korea is one of mixed emotions; lots of challenges, lots of excitement, lots of hurdles, lots of wins. I thought I understood the nature of an OCONUS PCS, but I honestly didn’t. I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t know it would be quite this hard. I like to find the silver lining in most things, and life lately has been great – truly. But there have been challenges and setbacks, too.
I tend to focus on what we’re doing, where we’re going, and what we’ve seen and done, but I want to remember what we’re accomplishing, too. I want to remember the minutiae of day-to-day life as we adjust in a new country. We’ve been in Korea for almost seven weeks now, and this is where we are right now in the OCONUS PCS process.
Life Lately in South Korea
1. Porter Got a Modeling Job – We were reached out to asking whether Porter would be interested in a modeling job for a kids’ clothing company. So, we asked him, and he said yes! Porter and I spent last Sunday in Yongin shooting the fall/winter collection for a really beautiful kids’ line, and he says he loved it. We’ll see whether he wants to continue…we know Spence wants to try!
2. Our Visas and SOFA Passports Are in Limbo – You might remember that we successfully got our SOFA passports (also known as no-fee passports) back at JBLM. Well, there was a massive hurdle at the last-minute when requirements changed, and a memo was released stating we needed our Visas to travel, as well. So, we did a last-minute application for them at JBLM, thus turning in our SOFA passports to be sent to the embassy for the Visa stamp. Long story short, they reversed the memo, and it wasn’t required, but our SOFA passports are in limbo at the Korean embassy in the US whilst we wait for our A3 Visa stamp. We’re crossing our fingers something changes and we get them back sooner than later because we only have 90 days upon entry to procure that.
3. We Are Finally Close to Closing on Our Home at Fort Drum – We’ve been through the ringer on this one. We were under contract twice, and both times it fell through – not because of the house but because of different issues like buyers’ orders changing and not being able to procure contractor access for a potential buyer. This is the third time we’re under contract, and we’re officially pending – perhaps closing this week and finally selling our home in New York!
4. We’re Still Waiting on Our Household Goods – You might remember that we shipped our household goods (HHG) back on May 26. Last month, we received an email stating they wouldn’t meet our delivery date. It’s been almost three months since we’ve had our furniture, and it honestly feels like we’re squatting in our new apartment, which is hard. I miss my couch and my bed. I can’t wait to decorate our place. We’re hoping to hear some good news soon, but right now, we’re in limbo on this one, too.
5. Mieke Started Korean Preschool – A couple weeks ago, I found a really wonderful Korean preschool for Mieke a bit closer to Camp Humphreys than here in Sosabeol. We decided that, since the boys have to attend on-post school this year due to Covid, it made sense for her to be closer there, as well. She started on Monday, and we’ve had a few rough drop-offs, but her teachers have sent very happy photos throughout the day, which eases my mind!
6. The Boys Are Registered for School – Spencer starts school on the 23rd of August, and Porter starts on the 30th. They’ll be in first grade and Kindergarten, respectively. We went in person on Tuesday to finish the registration process, and they both seemed super excited by the playgrounds at school, as well as the prospect of being in the same school – even if in different grades.
7. Ryan Promoted to CW3 – Last Friday, Ryan was officially promoted to CW3 (or Chief Warrant Officer 3). He’s worked so hard for this, and we’re so proud of him! There was a small ceremony for him last week, and we were so excited to go celebrate him, but Mieke ended up throwing up in the car 10 minutes prior, so we didn’t get to go. Needless to say though, we’re so happy for him and so proud of all his hard work and accomplishments.
Through it all, I’ve been kind of bouncing from one thing to the next, trying to find both the time and energy to focus on different things on any given day. I knew it would take us a long time to get settled, and we absolutely love South Korea, but I’d be lying if I said this has been an easy few months. Life lately in South Korea is busy, fast-paced, and fun, but I’m looking forward to getting into a schedule and routine again – finally.
Tell me – what’s life like lately for you?