A pause to reminisce


This week passed by very quickly.  Here it is Friday night, and I am still writing about what happened last week.  Before I plunge back into our trip to Gyeongju, let me recap the week’s highlights.  On Tuesday we left Gyeongju and visited nearby Daegu, Korea’s third-largest city, for a few days.  I was there on business, and my wife and son waited at a mall while I went to visit an American there.  The city is nice, clean, and lain out more logically than Seoul, but it is also somewhat nondescript and lacks character.  The city is a sea of byways and 20-story apartment buildings situated in a large valley.  Daegu features a television tower on a mountain suspiciously reminiscent of Seoul Tower, and it has a beautiful showcase soccer stadium built for the 2002 World Cup.  Other than that, the city did not leave me with a strong impression during my brief visit.  On Wednesday, I went back into the office for the first time since last Friday.  I dined with a Canadian counterpart and visited two Americans in Seoul.  My Canadian counterpart mentioned that he learned French in Ottawa to before heading to Seoul.  While I understand the need to master both English and French, Canada’s two official languages, I’m not sure why he did not receive Korean language training prior to his tour in Seoul.  Je ne sais pas pourquoi. 

On Thursday, I spent a productive day at work, and that night I attended a critical community association board meeting.  Quiznos Sub will open in our facility soon, and we need to make sure that everything is set for the grand opening in two weeks.  We also put together a plan for a new vendor to run our employee cafeteria.  Our cafeteria has been vacant for months following a two-month renovation, and our association has been tasked with arranging a new vendor.  Our colleagues are very eager for a cafeteria.  Until now, not much progress has been made in finding a viable vendor, but we now have four interested parties.  I’m heading up the group in charge of assessing vendor bids and getting a new vendor in place.  I believe it’s critical that our employees have a cafeteria and have pushed hard to bring this home. 

Today is our tenth wedding anniversary.  Ten years ago today, my blushing bride and I officially married in a small Idaho church, and we never looked back.  My wife was so sweet ordering dinner for us tonight.  We were hoping for a nice family dinner together.  Unfortunately, our son is in his “terrible two’s” phase right now and ruined a potentially wonderful evening.  He refused to take his nap today, and he was absolutely awful this evening.  He’s generally been testy since he was taken out of his comfort zone and hauled off to a strange place (Gyeongju) for a few days.  I think he experienced flashbacks from his six-week trip to China in April and has been very insecure ever since we left Seoul.  He has been especially close to his mom and very hard on his dad, probably because he went to China with his mom while dad stayed in Korea.  These difficult episodes are bound to happen with young children.  We thought that his mood would improve once he could do more for himself and started to verbally communicate with us.  We were wrong.  Our theory is that the “terrible two’s,” a phase all kids seem to go through, is caused by the fact that children at that age find it difficult to communicate their wants and needs, and they use temper tantrums to get their way.  I don’t know if that’s true, but I hope this phase passes soon.  It’s a terrible feeling when your child pushes you away.  You swallow your pride and do your best to cope until the phase passes.  In the meantime, my wife and I will officially celebrate our anniversary tomorrow night at a Korean baseball game.  It’s an odd way to celebrate an anniversary, I know.  Hot dogs, beer, and soda watching men in white uniforms on a grassy field isn’t very romantic.  I promised that we will have a nice, romantic Italian dinner soon.  I found a great little Italian bistro in Seoul that serves excellent pasta dishes.

Note to Wade3016:  You know me so well.  Of course you do; we’ve known each other for years.  I hope all is well at the “Evil Empire.”  Your feedback on Steve Ballmer graduating from Harvard is duly noted.  Regarding the comment on “The Grillmeister,” I have to set the record straight on three myths:  1) No, I didn’t drop any burgers into the grill, although my colleagues did.  148 burgers grilled without dropping a single one!  Two patties sunk into the flames.  We gave them a proper burial.  2) I am always on time now.  I have to be; I’m too busy to be late.  If you come to Korea for a visit, I promise to pick you up from Incheon airport on time.  All bets are off if your aunt comes for a visit, though.  3) I no longer have any difficulties with combination locks!

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