Sunday, April 25, 2010

Unexpected turns at every corner

A friend of mine recently reminded me that it has been awhile since I've updated our blog. And indeed, reading back through the last post I realise that it has been over 3 months. Wow how time flies when you're changing poopy diapers!

As many of you know, our expected little girl turned out to be a very spirited boy who we named Luke. The first couple of weeks were great - we schlepped him everywhere from day 4. Turns out he's a very social little boy which is a blessing because I'm not sure we'd know what to do if he was quiet and reserved!

Unfortunately, in his 3rd week, Luke turned out to have a very intense case of acid reflux. He was in so much pain that it was hard for him to sleep, but he's such a good baby that he'd hardly ever complain. Luckily, we've been able to see a GI pediatric specialist who's gotten Luke on medication twice a day and we've seen a huge improvement in the last few weeks. I think we're through the worst and look forward to the night he starts sleeping through.

Bruce's application for permanent residency is proceeding and we have an interview scheduled for mid-May. This is the last step before he's given his greencard, so fingers crossed. He's also looking for a teaching position so if you know of any leads, shout out! He's hoping to work towards his Colorado licensure or a Masters at the same time, so I'm thinking it will be years before he is ever bored again.

I'm hoping to take a year off from work to stay with Luke and we also want to buy a home in Denver before too long. Many, many changes in our lives and we look forward to many more. Knowing Luke, he's going to keep us guessing and jumping at every moment. I imagine it won't be too long before he's walking as he's already able to stand on his own at only 3 months. Lord have mercy!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Overseas Experiences to Baby Booties

Seeing as how I haven't updated the blog since last May, Bruce and I thought it would be a nice idea to have one post to review 2009 (and might I say what a crazy year it has been!)

We completed our training to be ESL teachers in December 2008 and were looking forward to spending 2009 in Taiwan, S. Korea or Vietnam. However, after finding out the airlines made a mistake with our tickets instead of going straight to Asia, we returned back to the lovely summertime in New Zealand.

We quickly realised that no Asian country would give me a visa from New Zealand and after 3 short weeks, I had to return to wintery Denver, while Bruce remained in Auckland.

Being true to our itchy feet, Bruce spent the next two months hiking and swimming in NZ while I took a trip to the Yucutan Penninsula of Mexico with my mother. I managed to convince her to snorkel in the ocean, swim in cenotes, climb ancient Mayan ruins and plaster herself with salty mud!

Finally, our visa's for South Korea came through in late March and by early April, we both headed to Incheon, eager for our reunion. Perhaps too eager as just a short while later, we discovered we were pregnant!!! Definitely a surprise to us, we decided to have the baby in Korea and ask the grandmothers to come out and help us while we finished our contracts. Course, things don't always work out how you plan and between 12 weeks of bronchitis, losing 10 pounds in 2 weeks and not receiving enough help from the Korean doctors to get better, Bruce and I decided in June that it would be best for me to return to Denver for medical care. It was a sad day when I got on that plane not knowing when I would next see Bruce.

We immediately applied for permanent residency for Bruce in the U.S. but thought it best he stay in Korea where he had employment until his greencard came through. True to US government style, it's now 2010 and we're still waiting.

Bruce was able to come out for a visit in October when we had the ultrasound and learned we were expecting a baby girl! After 2 weeks, he returned to Korea where he began working for a program called the Island Program. For 3 to 5 days a week, he would travel to remote islands on the Western coast of Korea to teach English in the villages. He has truly loved teaching and really excelled at connecting with the kids which is why he is looking forward to getting licensure here in Colorado.

Deciding we (meaning the arrival of the baby) could wait no longer for his greencard to be issued, Bruce resigned from his job in Korea in early December. He spent two weeks with his family in Auckland on his way to Denver and on 21st, I happily picked him up from the airport. None too soon either as doctors were convinced I could have the baby at any time with as many contractions as I've been having.

It's now 2010 and we eagerly anticipate her arrival (especially me!). Her official due date is 20 January, 2010 and we expect this coming year to full of milestones and adventures of a different sort. Don't get me wrong, I still want to travel, but as you can see we've changed the title of our blog from Itchy Feet to 6 Itchy Feet!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

One Step at a Time

Settling in here in Korea hasn’t been easy for us, but we’re happy to report that we’re actually able to sleep at night having moved into a new apartment with windows that close. Plus, we’re the happy owners of two chairs which means we’re really living in style now!
Bruce is finding new ways to entertain/teach his kids and loves the giant Legos he gets to play with during the day. I was asked to cover for a sick teacher who does an after-school program at a public school, so I’ve been taking the subway and a bus (1 ½ hours each way) to get to Shin Song school. I like the lesson planning and most of my kids are great, however, a few I could easily term as distracted monsters.

True to our hopes, we’ve been able to get out and about to explore a bit. Last weekend was the celebration for Buddha’s birthday and we met up with our friend Jin who lives in Seoul for a great lunch at a traditional Korean restaurant. Later, we attended the lotus lantern parade and festival which was definitely a colourful affair. We even brought some of the colour home, as a Buddhist monk was kind enough to give us his lantern. We soon found 4 more and you wouldn’t believe the stares we got on the one-hour subway ride home!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Definitely NOT ‘Land of the Morning Calm!’

I’m happy to say that after only two weeks, I can completely agree with the Korean government’s decision to change the country motto to ‘Dynamic Korea’ rather than ‘Land of the Morning Calm.’ I can say this with such force as I have routinely been awake at all hours of the morning thanks to the fun of jet lag and also because the window in our apartment doesn’t quite shut all the way and we’re only 5 floors up from a 6 lane street.

We’re still getting into the swing of things after our first full week of teaching at ICEV in Incheon, which is about an hour out of Seoul. We spent our first weekend getting acquainted with our surroundings (ie getting lost every time we left the apartment), found our way to a fish market selling manta rays and other indescribables, and wandered our way into hunger where we met bulgogi and bibimibap. Yum!

We met up with our friend Penny’s sister, Sarah, who has been living in Korea for the past few years and thankfully is fluent in Korean. She whisked us around Seoul one afternoon from a cherry blossom festival, downtown Gangnam, and a Buddhist temple, to the biggest mall in Korea. Yes, Koreans do love their shopping and as soon as our airfare is reimbursed, we’re planning on partaking of the pastime ourselves! First thing to buy? Something to sit on in our apartment. We’re getting tired of either sitting on the floor or getting crumbs on the bed!

Teaching has been a whole other experience: I've decided that it's probably not a good thing to take 35 kids who have just eaten chocolate rolls and juice and lock them in a room with one inexperienced and extremely naive teacher. I learn fast though and got straightjackets ordered right away. I wonder what next week will bring?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Really though, where to?

Merry/Happy Christmas everyone! I can't believe how long it's been since we've posted anything. With a dial-up connection, it's often a more enticing option to bang my head against the wall.

We've been in Denver almost two months now and are certified ESL teachers having completed our CELTA course on Dec 3rd. I won't bore you with the details, just suffice it to say that not even the neighbours knew we were here as we were in class from 9am-6pm and had 5 hours of homework every night. Since then, we've been leading a conversational English class with three Korean students from our CELTA course - they've been nice enough to put up with us every afternoon for several hours.

I wish we could give you more details about where we're going to end up next year, but unfortunately the visa process is a bit more difficult when you're A) not married to someone from the same country. B) not living in your 'home' country. C) formerly known as 'Indian' and D) having to rely on government systems that shut down throughout December and January.
We do know that we'll be in NZ on the 8th of Jan until starting our new jobs as teachers in some Asian country in February.

Let's take a vote: were do you think we should go? South Korea, Taiwan or Vietnam? Let's hear your reasons (and getting rid of us isn't a valid one!) and you get extra points if you promise to visit!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Time for a laugh

With only 4 days left til we leave the country, we thought we'd comment on "the state of things." By this of course, I'm not meaning the panic that is starting to set in as we realise how much we have left to do and how short of time we have to do it. No, by "the state of things" I really mean the current condition of Bruce's pathetic wardrobe. Yes, we live in the bush and spend a lot of our weekends working, but come on - how long can a person go before they give in and get a new pair of jeans???

Saturday, October 4, 2008

To Do List

Just for kicks, we thought it would be entertaining to post our To Do List. These are those things that are vital to finish before we leave the country on 29 October (only 3 weeks left!). Plus, this way I'm guaranteed not to lose the list:
1. Rent house.
2. Sell car.
3. Damp proof basement for storage of extra stuff.
4. Clean awning plus South and North side of house.
5. Paint ceiling in sunroom and plaster/paint ceiling in bathroom.
6. Stain and hang 4th blind in sunroom.
7. Strip and paint wood on S side of house.
8. Massive works in the garden.
9. Finalise gardening/property management details.
10. Finish underfloor insulation.
11. Clean under sunroom.
12. Cancel internet, VOIP, Genesis, Telecom.
13. Buy tickets to Hong Kong.
14. Change insurance for tenants.
15. Get woodburner/flue cleaned.
16. Pack belongings.
17. Clean gutters.
18. Add more pages to passport.
19. Mail info for Bruce's visa to Kentucky.
20. Finish sending out invites for bbq.
21. Buy vacuum-sealed bags.
22. Get builder to look at joist.
23. Schedule skip hire for stuff to get rid of.
24. Change address for everything.
25. Mail SR booklets.
26. Fix garage door...
So, as you can see, we won't be getting bored any time soon. Wonder if we'll actually get it all completed?? Guess I should get started instead of procrastinating by making this list.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Relief for itchy feet!

Just when the weather and garden start getting good, we decide to uproot and move onwards! The hyacinth have had their day, the daffodils are in bloom and hundreds of tulips are on their way. It's finally hitting 15 degrees on a regular basis and summer is around the corner, but no, why would we be content to chill out in the beautiful NZ sun, having bbq's at the beach and swimming in the ocean?

Instead, we've finally made the decision to sell our car, rent out our house, go for a two month visit to Colorado and then move to Hong Kong for at least a year. While we don't have a job placement yet, we're hopeful that Hong Kong will be the location for us, but we've also put South Korea and Japan on our list as well. All we know is once we're there, we'll be teaching English and travelling through SE Asia (maybe even further!)

Why now, you may ask. Why not, I reply. Seriously though, we've been considering it for some time, and with our jobs ending in just over a month the timing seems perfect. And no, for all you real estate agents out there who are reading this, we're not selling our house! ;o) We love the privacy, sun, birds and bush that we can have here, and after a year in the most densly populated city in the world, we might just be ready for the R&R this place can provide.

Thanks to all our friends and family for your support, it really does mean the world to us. The only way to cure itchy feet though is to scratch and who knows, before the end of next year maybe one of our posts will be in Cantonese!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Our adorable nephew!

We finally have a photo to show everyone Keean (pronounced Ian with a K) Alan Fox who was born August 16 Colorado time at 9:17pm. We're so proud of you Lisa and hope that you're getting the massive rest that you deserve. Can't wait to meet the wee bugger!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hmmm, it's been awhile...

Well, I'd like to tell you about my new nephew, Keean Alan Fox born August 16 and weighing in at 8lbs 4oz. Alas, I don't have any photos to share yet so the next post I'll make sure to include his photos.

We've had a lot of ups and down the last few months. I'm sure you don't want to hear about our search for jobs or the rain that will never end. Seriously, we've had 42 inches of rain this year! No rain will stop a good party though and we had a great time celebrating Adrian's 'special' bithday in late July. We managed to have a big family dinner and David and Sandie flew down from Auckland to suprise the birthday boy. I will never forget the look of shock on his face when he walked into the lounge and saw them. I must admit though, inviting them down was actually motivated by a certain selfishness as we always have a great time visiting with them.

Spring is around the corner and that means the crocus and daffodils are blooming and our trip to the States is just around the corner. We're looking forward to our visit, but also thinking we'll need a break from our break as basically every day of the 5 weeks is planned. Between a TEFL course, photography course, wedding, 30th birthdays, 80th birthdays, and so much more - it's going to go way too fast!