i’ve been putting off this post. really, i’ve been putting off writing in general. it’s hard for me to collect and consolidate all the thoughts and experiences i’ve had in the past couple months and put them into words. writing also means reflecting, and i have to open up myself to feeling everything all over again – the overwhelming joy of reconnecting and the heavy sadness of goodbyes.
home was awesome. it was better than i thought it would be. i worried that i’d feel left out; an “other” to my friends and family. but the ease with which we slipped back into des moines life left me so grateful and at-peace with coming back to korea. i knew everyone would be there for us when we finally did land back in america for good. so many of those relationships were picked back up effortlessly, like we’d only been gone a few weeks and not a year.
i know i’ve said it before, but korea has simplified life for me. it has calmed me down, in a way. i used to be so inwardly-frantic about trying to be friends with everyone, and about trying to keep up with everyone. now, i am grateful to have my family and good friends who have stuck by us through this venture. i can’t wait to come home and be able to invest in all of that more fully.
all that being said, i think it will keep this post much shorter if i just make a list of all the things i loved. this list isn’t comprehensive, because i basically loved every moment. it’s just a few snapshots of our 3 weeks in the midwest.
iowalove top 20:
1. hanging out with my grandparents. staying overnight at their house, eating their wonderful cooking, doing yardwork, watching iowa state fair highlights on PBS, driving the lawnmower; the whole thing reminded me of my childhood. and the whole thing reminded me how blessed i am. my grandparents are very, very cool people. i like getting to hang out with them.
2. bugging my mom in the morning. well, i hope it didn’t bug her too much. i’d wake up earlier than david, grab a cup of coffee from the kitchen, and go sit in her room while she got ready for work. mostly, i’d just watch the today show and we’d chat. but it was a nice way to start the day.
3. spending time with kaylynn. drinking coffee, eating tasty tacos, wandering around the fair. it was so good to reconnect with her and hear about her life in georgia. she truly has such an artistic, beautiful spirit that i admire.
4. sitting outside around the fire pit at my parents’. the weather was such a gorgeous gift, i could’t get enough. really, i loved all the open spaces that make-up home. the endless sky, the wide roads, the expansive stretches of farmland.
5. the farmer’s market. and my dad’s joy at being at the farmer’s market. and the food at the farmer’s market (pupusas!!!). and all the dogs.
6. having a sissy afternoon w/jenalee. i love talking with her, and i am so amazed at the mature woman she’s become. she’s funny and thoughtful, and i loved getting to see her w/michael as well. he’s a cool guy. while i’m on the subject, i’ll add getting to know michael, and having a grill-out at his place. and watching him play w/his hilarious little dog.
7. the hammonds! oh man, it was so good hanging out with them, and getting to meet their new little doggie coda (sweetest puppy alive). we had some great chats with them while we were home (sorry if we kept you guys up too late!). we especially loved dinner at their house, watching bits from the wizard of oz musical and getting to chat w/grandpa howard. their place feels like a second home to me.
8. cousie game night at jenalee’s. and singing tunes at full-blast in the car.
9. extended family gathering at grandpa and grandma’s house. it was wonderful to see aunts, uncles, and cousins and catch up with everyone. the badminton tournament was entertaining as well.
10. food. we. ate. so. much. food. and we loved it all.
11. friends. we got to meet up with lots of people, and we were so grateful for everyone’s flexibility and willingness to try and see us! whew, i don’t think i can recall it all, but let’s just say we loved dinner & chillin’ w/abby at her cute place, emily’s classy/fun birthday party, lunch w/jon&tiff, quality chatting w/brent&kari, hanging w/anu&ryan and probably making them sleepy for work the next day, coffee w/shay&joseph, lunch at proof w/tracy&joe and rachel&aaron&esch, a quick pop-in at thad&stephs with kali&andy and liz, and a wonderful afternoon in marshalltown w/elizabeth. oh, and we loved seeing the severs girls (they are growing up so beautifully, but much too fast!) and the taylors girls (also looking so grown up)- 2 families david and i loved babysitting for back home. there were so many other people we wanted to see, but just ran out of time. once we’re home for good, we can certainly remedy that.
12. the iowa state fair. so awesome. and so greasy.
13. driving. especially driving up to minnesota to get some quality time in with reid and liz. man, they are the best cooks, and the best homebrewers we know. we love these guys lots, and it was so awesome to hang out with them.
14. we also got to see the one and only SARAH BOSCH in minnesota. that was surreal, and awesome. she’s a great tour guide of the Roch too.
15. cedar falls. david wrote more extensively about time w/his side of the family, but believe me, i loved every minute too. it was so special getting time w/the klontz’s and we loved that aunt lana and linda came to see us (and brought fabulous bagels and lox straight from chicago)! they are so much fun, we loved getting time with them. it was good getting in some solid time w/molly too, we had some great convos. and the cowgers of course are the most incredible hosts. we ate so much yummy food!
16. running. running on trails, or in the woods. and no one stared at me.
17. shopping. getting stuff that fit me like shoes and jeans. and going into an actual mall. i know, i know. doesn’t sound all that great. but it’d been a year.
18. watching the hunger games w/the family.
19. getting my dad to rub my shoulders! he’s great at it. it was great to be able to plop down next to him and hear about his day too. dad loves when the family is all together, and the happiness was so evident in his face (and in his loud, southern voices). you can’t help but smile around him. he was his classic goofy, loving self and it warmed my heart to be around him.
20. the simple reassurance that you can, in fact, go home again. and that we will. korea is not forever. it is a season. but it will pass quickly, so we should make the most of what we’ve been given. i’m always learning this, it seems.
check out our facebook album of pics from home, just click here.