Friday, November 4, 2011

It's a Small World After All....

I have said we aren't alone in our apartments, there are other families living here, American military families. We have come to learn not only in our building do we have our immediate neighbors on the same floor but we have neighbors on the 18th floor & the 6th floor (or 4th or 5th...I can't remember what Daric said!) Akira was the first to encounter Kelly, our neighbor on the 18th floor. The other morning I got to at least see her with her Italian Mastiff & Dachsund (Akira told me that was Kelly). Daric got to meet & talk to her a bit in the elevator the other day too & he encountered the people on the 6th (5th or 4th) floor in the elevator also. So there are at least 4 families in our building. We know in each building there are at least 3-4 families so our small little community is growing rather quickly! The reason I bring this up is because I suffered from an EXTREME blonde moment after meeting 1 of our neighbors in the building next to ours. Let me give a little back story so you understand where this is going....

Last year, on Fort Leonard Wood, we had a tornado come through & do some major damage on New Year's Eve. An entire street was taken out! A friend of mine, who lived on that street but in the area where the tornado decided to veer away from, told me how she thought it was amazing that there was 1 single house that was completely untouched in the middle of all the devastation. It was incredible to see houses reduced to rubble & there like a beacon was 1 solitary house completely unscathed. My friend told me that house belonged to a Chaplain (military version of a minister more or less) & some of the neighbors & her joked about finding out what religion he practiced because they were converting!
Don't worry...I DID NOT take this picture!!

an overhead shot of the path of the tornado


so unbelievable

all of this happened on the street behind the kid's school


We met the West family & the wife, Christine, told me they were from Fort Leonard Wood also, cool! Then she told me her husband is a Chaplain. Then she told me they lived on Goethels Street & their house was the only 1 on the entire block not damaged from the New Year's Eve tornado last year. Can anyone else see where this is going? I won't lie....it took me a good week before all the pieces lined up in my head & I had my "OH!!!" moment. I was sitting having lunch with Ezzio when the lightbulb went off & I almost yelled "holy crap! He's the chaplain!" Ezz was a bit startled by my outburst but he knows mommy is a bit koo koo sometimes. What a small, small world! Just wanted to share how you never know who you're going to meet, when or why!

On another note, since my ramblings tend to be random & follow no particular order, we took Ezz yesterday to finally get his hair cut. It took an American telling us he was "pretty like a girl" to finally take him. All of the Koreans have confused him for a girl, we figured it was due to his long, blonde hair since the Americans could tell he's a boy but 1 woman asked how old "she" was & when we corrected her that's when she said "oh wow, he's pretty like a girl". Poor baby. So here's the before....


And here's the after...

He doesn't even look like the same kid!! But now there will be no mistaking my wonderful little boy for a girl.
I have a lovely little lock for his baby book

he just couldn't believe this was really happening

now he's handsome like a boy!!

Good afternoon (night or morning!) from Junghung S-Class building 103, apartment 2001!

Parties, Pumpkins & Puppies...Oh My!!


So Akira had a birthday, September 30, and instead of the usual bowling alley birthday party he decided he wanted to go ice skating. The above pictures are outside the rink. I don't think he was fully aware what goes along with ice skating (think cold, hard ice meeting skinny, little behind!) He invited the Brown family since their son is about his age & their daughter is about Riley's age so it all worked out where both kids had a friend to hang with instead of just mom & dad. The kids had a good time, well Riley WAS NOT having a good time at all but then brightened up once he saw how bad Lizzie was at skating too. Ezzio was VERY angry about being left out. He wanted to be out there with the rest of them...poor little guy! Daric let him walk out on the ice with him but the 'rink guardian' started yelling at Daric in Korean. We can only imagine what he was saying! There were a bunch of teenage girls at the rink, they were super fun. We had pizza but couldn't eat it all so we shared & they were so grateful. Apparently pizza is a treat so us just handing it out meant a lot. It was a good day.




We took Akira to Baskin Robbins to pick out his cake since we weren't thinking too far ahead & semi forgot to get the cake earlier...whoops! He picked out an ice cream cake that looked like a Jack-o-lantern. Now we were all thinking this cake would be like the ice cream cakes you buy in the states but no, of course not! It was a literal ice cream 'cake', no actual cake in it just ice cream. There was like an orange sherbet flavored glaze on the outside, the mouth, teeth, stem & happy birthday sign were all made out of chocolate (yum!) & the ice cream inside the glaze was vanilla with chocolate covered peanuts & fudge ribbons. It was an odd combo with the glaze but it totally worked!
everything in Korea is a gift!!


And now on to the fun part....
Ever since we got here Daric has been whining about giving up Ollie (a friend of ours took him which made me happy since she has 3 kids about the same ages as our 3 & Ollie would be with people he knows & who would love him like we did). He discovered we could have brought Ollie with us, I still think it would have been very unfair to the poor dog especially since he's used to having endless grass to run in. Of course I miss him too, he's a good boy! Daric has been "guilt tripping" me about how "boys need a dog" & then of course Ezzio has his stuffed 'Ollie' & he cuddles it & carries it around the house so that doesn't exactly help me keep my foot down on the matter. We've seen plenty of cute puppies around but puppy mills are really bad out here so I've been wary.

super cute but a puppy mill pup being sold in a realtor's office

I did find a woman who had a puppy, not a puppy mill puppy either! She rescued her 2 dogs from the meat market...yes, meat market. She said their 1st dog was rescued from a box full of puppies on their way to a meat market (gross!) & their 2nd dog was rescued from the actual meat market! They were waiting to get their dogs in to get spayed/neutered but nature ran it's course & they ended up with a pregnant dog by appointment time. Luckily they only had 2 puppies, a boy & girl. The girl went fast & by the time I found the woman she only had the little boy left. Her 2 dogs are both Korean Jindo's. I've googled a whole lot to find out what I can about the breed since I've never heard of a Jindo. Apparently they are a dog native to the island of Jindo & have been made a national treasure. The dogs almost went extinct so the island has been super strict about Jindo breeding & apparently exportation. From what I've read it's illegal to take a purebred Jindo out of the country BUT people have smuggled them out & if the dog is labeled as a 'mix' or 'mutt' then it's a-ok! There's a Jindo Research Institute that will do basically a DNA test on your dog to determine if it's purebred or not & if it's found to be purebred they microchip it & then it's not allowed to leave Jindo island!! (They're doing their best Darwin impression out there & ensuring they have the 'fittest' to survive!) I've read some interesting things about them like they're highly intelligent, they're extremely loyal (they love their master & will tolerate guests in their home unless they get to know them as family or friends. Anyone else is an intruder & will be regarded as such), they can remember & recognize something like 30,000 different scents (amazing!!), they have a high prey drive meaning they're the ideal hunting dog (locals tell stories of a pack of Jindos taking down a deer & the pack stayed with the kill while 1 dog went to fetch the master & show him where the deer was), they are like marathon runners, stamina, stamina, stamina!, they have an excellent sense of direction & will never lead their master astray (more stories talk of an elderly lady who had to give up her Jindo she couldn't care for anymore only to have the dog escape the new owner's home & travel over 200 miles to get back home. The elderly lady ended up keeping her Jindo after that, who wouldn't!) So much interesting stuff I've been finding out about the breed.

So to make a long story even longer...I've finally caved & 2 weekends ago we picked up our new puppy. Daric insisted we give him a Korean name, a Korean food name to be exact (like kulgogi! Kulgogi on a restaurant menu means dog meat. I didn't find that as funny as he did) so we met in the middle & have named the pup Gogi, meaning "meat". So far what I read about Jindos is true, this little bugger is super smart! We had him for 2 days before he started to whine to let us know he needed to be let out to the bathroom, potty training has been super easy with this guy! Time will tell if the rest of what I've read is true as well. So here he is...our Korean puppy Gogi.

Ezzio's new best friend

he insists Gogi is MY dog...sure looks like my dog!


I'll admit he's super cute



Hopefully from now on the rest of our Korean souvenirs will be furniture & trinkets!! Good night (morning or afternoon depending on where you are!) from our apartment in the clouds!