Would you believe it that Friday – Christmas Eve, no less – marks six months in South Korea for us? I can scarcely believe it myself. It’s simultaneously been the hardest and most beautiful six months of our lives, and I’m forever grateful that we’ve had this incredible opportunity as a family. We’ve done more in six months than I could’ve ever imagined and, though COVID keeps throwing us curveballs, I’m hopeful the best is yet to come.
Through our six months in South Korea, I’ve learned a lot about myself, about my family, and about what we value the most. We’ve experienced a lot throughout these months, and now that we’re finally settled in our home for our time in Korea, I feel like I can finally call this beautiful country home. Here are some of our favorite adventures thus far:
- Goseong Dinosaur Museum
- Suwon Hwaseong Fortress
- Songnisan National Park
- Daejeon Expo Bridge
- Daechon Beach
In just six months, our boys have adapted to their new school on base, learned to navigate the bus line, and have learned to appropriately greet and recognize their Korean neighbors. They’re thriving, and they both will tell you how much they love it here. Similarly, Mieke has adapted beautifully to her Korean preschool, understands more of the spoken language than any of us, and is getting much better with all the sweet ajummas touching her hair and giving her money ( because yes, it’s a thing here!)
Ryan is navigating a pretty demanding work schedule and, though he’s definitely being stretched thin from time to time, he takes the work in stride, and we’re grateful to actually have him home for dinner most nights. It’s a far cry from the 7+ TDYs a year he did at JBLM, and it reminds us that, yes, we chose this duty station for a reason, and we chose well.
I’ve hit the lowest of lows (crying in a Lotte Market parking lot when my American card got declined whilst buying Chuseok gifts and I didn’t have enough cash) to the highest of highs (navigating the train system properly from Pyeongtaek to Seoul)…and everywhere in between. I’m freelancing steadily, building up my photography business in Korea, and while Korea has its pros and cons, I love it here, and I love the friends we’ve made.
Six months in South Korea has challenged us more than we could have anticipated, but from those challenges comes immeasurable growth. While changes like this aren’t for the faint of heart, I’ll say this; if you ever have the chance to step so fully out of your comfort zone that it scares you, do it. It’s more worth it than you’ll ever know.