Patience

Sometimes my husband’s patience annoys the hell out of me.

When I ask him questions about Big Life Decisions, he talks, listens, but basically tells me whatever I want is fine. Then he waits until I talk myself into his position. It could be minutes, weeks, or months later. When I finally completely change my mind 180 degrees, he just smiles.

I’m on to him, though.

167 Thoughtful Forks

Good Man brought me a half a piece of cake.

“Thank you, can I have a fork?”

“Why?”

“How should I eat this without a fork?”

Good Man stared at me. “Thoughtfully.” He left the room, “You are not like MacGyver. You are not really American.”

***

We had a really nice weekend. Yesterday we met Diana and Min Gi for lunch. We attempted to go bowling but the place near Diana’s place is always running leagues and nothing was open. We ended up relaxing at their place, the menfolk watching some Korean documentary, the womenfolk bitching about No Child Left Behind and the plight of education in America.

In the evening, we had dinner with Diana’s parents. Diana’s parents have sort of adopted us. We spent Christmas Eve at their house, for example. One day, Good Man and Min Gi went sailing with Diana’s Dad. Diana’s Mom gave me quilting hints when I told her I was making Dad a denim quilt.

Anyhow, Diana’s Mom called it a Valentine’s Day dinner, and Diana’s sister and boyfriend came as well. We had food at a great Korean restaurant (which Good Man loved, since he’s been craving Korean lately) and shared first date stories. A very nice day and evening.

***

Today, Good Man and I tried bowling again. Although we had coupons for AMF, we went to the Bowl America. Since we are league bowlers ($1 discount per game) and we were wearing red (one free game each, for Valentine’s Day) the total cost of eight games came in at under $18. Not a bad price at all.

I won three out of four games and beat last week’s personal high score! My new personal high is 167!

Now. Why can’t I do that at league??

Master and Marriage (Again!)

Marriage, Again…
Yesterday, we went to register our marriage at the gov’t office. Good Man wasn’t sure that we had to do it, but I thought we should. In fact, before our legal wedding in America, I argued that I was sure there was something he needed to do at the Korean Embassy and he (and I!) searched the Korean Embassy website, as well as others, but couldn’t find any information.

Well, it’s a good thing we decided to register the marriage because it was supposed to be done within 90 days of marriage! Obviously we’re way past that, so he has to pay a 50,000 won fine. If he pays it before the 14th, he gets a discount and it’s only 40,000 won. Minor problem: we can’t transfer funds because both of us left our bank cards at home. Oh well. His parents will pay it for us.

We filled out the Korean form, using the sample instructions they gave us. The sample instructions were intended for Koreans marrying foreigners in Korea, and in their sample, the groom was automatically the foreigner. An American, in fact. Good Man needed his father’s birth address and he was supposed to be able to write the birth city of his father in Hanja. What? Is that like the Korean version of “Mother’s maiden name?”

It took forever to get the marriage registered because he needed to translate the entire American wedding certificate. By hand. On A4 paper. Poor guy.

When we finally finished, the clerk was concerned that the wedding certificate wasn’t valid because it said “copy.” Yeah, it says copy from the court and has the county clerk’s signature and a raised, embossed seal on it. I made that clear and luckily, the clerk’s boss agreed.

They had a sign up that they do “Traditional Korean Wedding Photograping.” (Yes.) The sign said they only did it on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It was Wednesday, but I asked if we could do it, since I’d seen two foreigners have it done twenty minutes earlier.

Then we were told that it’s only for marriages where both people are foreigners, because there are too many Korean-Non-Korean marriages.

I patted Good Man’s chest and said, “하지만 제 남편의 마음 속에서 미국 사람이에요.” But in my husband’s heart, he is an American.

She laughed and said since it wasn’t busy, she’d do it. So they took us over to a corner with a traditional Korean screen and put traditional Korean wedding hanbok costumes on us (one size fits all!) and took our picture.

I was thankful. A gov’t official bending on two rules? Taking a photo of a Korean and American on a Wednesday? Thanks, lady!

So now we have legal wedding photos where I’m in a cotton dress and Good Man is in jeans, family wedding photos where we’re wearing hanboks, and Korean registration photos where we’re wearing traditional wedding costumes. All that’s missing is a white dress and tux photo, which you can get done at photo studios in Korea. Maybe for our anniversary. ^^

Good Man asked if I would be put on his family registry. Nope. Because I’m foreign. So I’m not family.

Sigh.

Korea.

Master!
Good Man and I met Master’s family last night. Of course, on all counts, it was great.

On the way to the studio I passed two of my studiomates. They walked by, not immediately recognizing me, and I turned. They turned their heads, too, and sort of slowed down. “Hey! Do you remember me?” I called out in Korean.

They looked surprised and starting hitting each other. I said, “It’s Amanda!” They nodded quickly, bowed deeply and said hello and we chatted for a few minutes. It was cute. They’re in middle school now.

We brought some small gifts for Master and his wife and some for the kids. I decided to put them in three separate gift bags. We gave the kids their gifts (a pajama set and top for each). In Korean culture it’s rude to open gifts in front of the giver so they ran into their bedroom, opened them, and brought them back out.

Master’s Son in His New PJs

Master’s Daughter in Her New PJs

He gave me a gift and asked me to open it. I did and it was another gorgeous box made out of hanji (traditional Korean paper). His mother made it. Inside? Korean socks!

We went out for samgyupsal and had soju (of course). Master hasn’t had soju in ten days because he’s been so busy. He told me that and I said, “I don’t believe it!” (I really didn’t believe it because I misheard him and thought it was ten months!)

Then we went out for patbingsoo (Korean shaved ice) and had coffee at his house.

His son didn’t remember me (of course, I wasn’t expecting him to) but apparently his daughter checks out my Cyworld all the time, so she remembered me (which was a nice suprise). At first they were both sort of shy, but they warmed up really quickly.

In fact, his daughter was hilarious. When we were eating patbingsoo, she wanted the exact same spoon I had. She looked at my spoons, looked at the rest of the spoons, and chose the one with the same handle decoration. Then she took both spoons and compared them very carefully to make sure they matched.

When I ordered a chocolate banana patbingoo, she whispered, “Amanda, we will share, OK?” (Of course…it’s Korean culture!) She wanted to sit next to me (and made me switch seats with her since she’s left handed and I’m right handed), she wanted to hold my hand, she wanted to chat and chat. She learned (sort of) how to use my camera and wanted us to take photos of each other taking photos of each other.

It was wonderful. It was like nothing had changed and I’d never been gone.

Nothing except Son and Daughter are so tall! And Daughter can write in Korean! (She wrote me a little Christmas card telling me she loves me.)

We spoke a ton of Korean (and a little English) and reminisced about different things. I was finally able to tell him how much I hated the octopus (squid?) I ate really early on in Korea after mountain climbing. He laughed and asked why I ate it. I said I didn’t want to be rude. He said he and his brother kept giving me the biggest pieces because they didn’t want to be rude. We all got a good laugh out of it.

He told me that my Korean was really good and he could tell I’d been studying in America. When random Koreans tell me my Korean is good, I know they’re just being polite. But I trust it coming from him. And in traditional form, the more soju we drank, the less Korean I spoke and the more English he spoke! I really enjoy speaking Korean with Master and his family. It’s so easy with them.

We also talked about my studio in America and I told him why I’d been refusing to test. (Too expensive, owner makes up tests to make money, not in any hurry to get another belt, etc.) He said as long as I plan on testing in Korea again one day, I can put it off. I sort of needed to hear that. Despite being at my new studio for a year and a half, still feel, in my heart, that Master is my instructor and Tongil is my home. I don’t want to disappoint him, so getting permission to put off testing was nice.

I found out some bad news. A new studio moved into the neighborhood—right at the end of the block. That’s why he hasn’t been drinking. He’s been spending his time renovating the front of the studio to compete.

We spent about four hours together and it just reaffirmed that I will always be friends with Master and his family, no matter where we all live and how long it is before we meet again.

Medeltidshotellet (Medieval Hotel), Visby, Sweden

So I don’t tend to splurge when traveling. I stay at hostels. I eat with the locals. I do it on the cheap. And, in fact, when Good Man and I go to Stockholm, we’re staying in a hostel (with a private double-bed room but no bath).

But we decided to splurge on our honeymoon, when we go to Gotland.

Using Gotland’s tourism website we found a hotel called Medeltidshotellet (Medieval Hotel). Gotland’s website has even more photos of the hotel.

I wanted to stay here but worried about the cost. My new co-worker asked about our honeymoon plans and I mentioned this place, as well as how I wasn’t sure that we were going to stay there. She said, “You know, Amanda, I know you aren’t going to have kids and I know you’re going to live all over. I get that. But this is your honeymoon. And you’re only going to be honeymooning once and I tell you, the years go by fast. If you can afford it, go for it, just one night. We went to St. John’s and ate peanut butter sandwiches every day for lunch and let me tell you, I would never do that again.”

And you know what? She’s right. I’m cheap. I hate spending money unnecessarily. But being frugal isn’t just about saving money; it’s also about learning how to spend it at the right time, on the right things. I think this is one of those times and one of those things (and Good Man agrees). I wouldn’t drop the money to stay at a Hilton, but a 14th century building which has housed nuns, been a hospital, been a hotel, and an office space and then a hotel again? A 14th century building with a house ghost? Oh yeah.

We’re going to be spending our first full three days in Sweden using the Stockholm Card and go-go-going in Stockholm. And then we’re going to relax in Gotland, in a medieval hotel. We might rent a car or a bike. And we’re going to just enjoy ourselves and each other. And it’s going to be worth it.

We’re spending three nights in one of the Knight’s Chambers rooms and I am so excited!

Group Shot!

At the July 4th party a week before the wedding I realized that we could probably do a group shot on the lawn. The photographer agreed, and I’m so happy he did!

Everyone at the Wedding I

Everyone at the Wedding II

Mother and I were comparing our thick, traditional socks.

Mother-in-Law, Daughter-in-Law

Gotland?

Amanda: But honey, why don’t you give me an opinion about where you want to stay and go?

Good Man: Because you make good decisions and I don’t care where we stay.

Amanda: But traditionally the man plans the honeymoon.

Good Man: But it is OK for you to do, because you are more masculine than me. Don’t you get it, this whole marriage thing? Even though I am a man, I am not really a man in this relationship. You choose, I follow.

Amanda, laughs.

Later…

Amanda: We have enough time. We could go to Oslo, or Copenhagen, or Helsinki.

Good Man: I know! We should go to Gotland!

Amanda: Gotland? That island off the coast? Why? There’s nothing there but sheep.

Good Man: Well, you may know, you like knitting! And it is perfect. Who will say, ‘I went to honeymoon to Gotland, Sweden.’ Other person will say ‘What?'”

Amanda: But what will we—

Good Man: And look, Korean embassy says it is like Jejudo. We like Jejudo. You know what is wrong with Oslo, Copenhagen, Helsinki? Big city. Where do we live? Big city. Sometimes, you live in Seoul, you go to Jejudo. We will go Stockholm and then Gotland.

Amanda, speechless.

Good Man: What are the chances that I would find random island hanging off the coast of Stockholm on GoogleMaps, just…hanging there! And then I find blog and by accident it has knitting! It is perfect for you. And it looks nice, so it is perfect for me.

Amanda: OK. Stockholm and Gotland.

Good Man, sing-song: You wanted me to make decision!

Stockholm and Damn Good Liar

Stockholm

The day after the wedding, waiting for a bus in DC with 10 of our family members, exhausted and cranky, I said to nobody in particular, “This is not how I envisioned spending my honeymoon.”

Well, who cares? We’re going to Stockholm in October for eight nights!

Wha-hooooooo!

I’ve been to Sweden once before. It was my first international trip and I went alone in March 2002. I’ve done every international trip alone, in fact. (Actually, I wasn’t alone the whole time. After about a week in Stockholm, I met my pen-pal Stina in Skellefte? (and Ume?) and we spent a week together.)

It should be interesting to go to Sweden a) with Good Man and b) with more travel and life experience under my belt (read: I’m not afraid of the subway).

Now, we’re just assuming his interview on the 27th will go well. If it doesn’t, we can’t go to Stockholm. But if it doesn’t, I’m guessing Stockholm will be the last thing on our minds.

Damn Good Liar

At the yarn store, I held up a skein of purple yarn. It has bits of blue and red spun throughout it. “Do you see that? How would this be for a sweater for you?”

Good Man nodded, “OK.”

“But the flecks? Are those OK?”

He peered at the skein. “I can’t see what you are saying.”

I held up a skein of solid purple yarn. “See how this is plain and this one has flecks?”

He peered closer. “Yes, OK.”

“You’re lying, aren’t you?”

He nodded and smiled, “I’m a damn good liar!”

***

We got our wedding certificate back from the frame shop today. Total Framing did a great job. We put it on the wall across from the door—you can see it as soon as you enter our apartment. It’s almost 20 by 20 inches.

***

We received a crock pot from my aunt and uncle for our wedding. It has interchangeable crocks in two-, four-, and six-quarts. Tonight I used it for the first time to make cranberry-apple chicken. I served it with brown rice and it was delicious. The photo is bad, in large part because I was shooting JPG instead of RAW. Trust me, it was good.

Clicky Clacky Happy and Pro Shots

Good Man built me a computer. There’s something wrong with it (it needs a different fan or something?) but seems to be working right now. In any case, I am extremely happy because it’s fast, the screen is gorgeous and I have a new keyboard!

Good Man found a Korean keyboard online, so I don’t need any more keyboard stickers! Keyboard stickers peel off. They fall off. They leave sticky stuff behind. No more of that! I get Korean letters and English letters all on the same keyboard.

Oh, bliss.

And on top of it, this is one of those-old school normal keyboards. F-keys across the top. A numerical keyboard on the right. A few functional keys like “home” and “end.” Arrow keys. But no volume keys. No quick-launch internet keys. Crap key, as Good Man calls them. None of those. It does have the additional English/Korean switch key as well as a Hanja key.

Oh, bliss!

And! And! Even better! Best of all! The keyboard is loud and clacky. I adore loud keyboards. I don’t like soft, smooshy, quiet keyboards. I am on the computer—I want to hear myself working!

Oh, utter bliss!

The only problem is that it’s a standard-size board and I’ve been working on laptop keyboards exclusively for the last year, so my fingers aren’t used to the spread they need to cover. But with a little practice that will be taken care of. (On top of this, I got a new laptop at work because I’m awesome—only two of us rec’d new comps—and I need to get used to its new feeling and spread, too. It’s mooshy. I don’t really like it.)

Bliss! Bliss!

***

We got our pro shots from the wedding back. (Less than three weeks! Amazing turn-around time.) And we are very pleased. Strongly recommend Jeremy over at LifeLight Photography.