Our first shipment of household effects from the U.S. arrived here today. Our new home is in shambles now that boxes are stacked everywhere. After work I spent some time opening up some of them and arranging our belongings in our new home. However, many still need to be emptied. This is the first of three shipments from the U.S., and it represents the bulk of our possessions. This shipment is full of our belongings from our former home in the Seattle area that I have not used since I left Seattle early last year. The other two shipments consist of everything we used while living temporarily in the Washington, D.C. area during training. I can’t believe how much…stuff…we have collected over the years. Moving abroad made me realize the value of living a simple, uncluttered life.
Our belongings are a very welcome addition to our new home. As is often the case with moves like these, we received several unanticipated items, including a sofa chair that we didn’t intend to ship to Korea. We also received some items that were already included with our home, including a microwave and ironing board. Many of the extra items will go into storage, but we need to figure out what to do with larger items such as the sofa chair. We also need to figure out how to tastefully combine our belongings with the ones provided to us. For example, our sofa pillows are lovely shades of green and white, but the furniture is blue and beige. There is just no way to tastefully combine these colors into something aesthetically pleasing. Consequently, the pillows and other mismatched items will probably go into storage here until our next move. Unfortunately, we don’t have much storage space and will have to get creative with our excess belongings.
I’ve spent the last few days at work meeting my new colleagues and getting to know my new job and new team. I also joined an hour-long Korean course for the first time. My Korean is really rusty. I thought that I would have ample opportunities to speak Korean in Seoul, but so far I haven’t been in too many situations yet where I needed to speak it. Now that I’m here I realize more and more just how much Korean I still need to learn. In the afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting some Korean youths and talking to them in English (and a smattering of Korean) about the U.S., Korea, U.S.-Korean relations, and Korea’s future. I encouraged them to continue promoting awareness of Korean culture and that Korea can be at the forefront of Asian political and economic cooperation, as witnessed by the rising popularity of Korean culture throughout East and Southeast Asia. I am glad that they were a receptive audience. It will likely be the first of many opportunities for me to interact with Koreans. I would like to speak more Korean, but I fear that I will not be able to explain technical terms such as "economic integration" adequately in Korean. For now I’ll focus on peppering my speaking with a few Korean sentences.