We are now completely at Horyon's parents' home. Well, completely if you don't count our stuff that is in a warehouse waiting for me to go to America so it can come, anyway. Or my stuff that's been sitting in my parents' basement, some of it for multiple decades now. And you definitely don't count the stuff we have abandoned.
And we have bought tickets to move to America. We will be flying to Seoul, from Seoul to San Fransisco, San Fransisco to Dallas (I think), and from there to Kansas City Int'l Airport. I have no doubt that some of you who read this will have post-game-play suggestions as to how we could have done better on this. We know. Believe me, we know. One early option I looked into was traveling by ship. Believe it or not, not many people do that sort of thing nowadays. The only options are booking tickets on a cargo ship, or going on a cruise ship. The first is not an option for passengers under five years old, and the second is only an option if you can find cruises that connect the points you want to travel between. So travel by ship was ruled out on both counts. Horyon also gets sea-sick, but I think I could have drugged her up for the trip.
Between the stuff in transition and our plane tickets, we are spending something in the neighborhood of $8,000, almost evenly halved between the two. We decided to bring Maxine's car seat and buy a seat for her on the international flight. That costs 75% of the adult fare, with absolutely none of her fare going to the passengers seated around us who will no doubt enjoy her presence almost as much as we will. I'm figuring that for us it will be a lot like the other flights we've been on with crying babies, except that it will be our responsibility to get the baby to accept her lot in life.
We're thinking that this trip might be a good time to introduce Maxine to beer.
The moving of our stuff proved to be more expensive than we expected. The minimum price was about $1600, and we kind of figured that we'd be doing good to keep it under $2500. Turns out we didn't do so good. The moving people told us that we had made a common mistake: we figured that if we weren't bringing furniture our costs would be low, so we could afford to bring other stuff. Even now when I think about the stuff we've brought, it's hard to figure out how it ended up being so many boxes. Granted, two industrial sewing machines, including the tables they are set up on take up a lot of space. Multiple boxes of thread and cloth bought at much lower prices than we will be able to find in the States will be a huge advantage in kick-starting Horyon's sewing business. Multiple boxes of books should keep me from spending a lot of money on more books.
Right. Like having lots of books ever stopped anyone from buying more books. But I'll tell you what: I'd really appreciate it if you all could avoid mentioning this to Horyon.
We're also bringing a lot of our kitchen stuff. Nothing electric, of course, because in Korea the appliances mostly run on 220 volts, and American stuff is all 110. (It's been my experience here that anything needing a converter is more trouble than it's worth. Unless it's a really cool gadget, of course. And nowadays the coolest gadgets run on both voltages.) So I will be able to cook as soon as we get there. I'm just missing a few odd things that should be easy to acquire. Our big frying pan was due to be replaced anyway, and most of our wooden spoons were hosting bit's of the past several meals they had participated in.
On the other hand, we already have some kitchen supplies back in the States: an ice cream maker (a Christmas present I bought for Horyon, knowing how much we like ice cream), an electric knife (wedding present, hasn't left its box since 2001)... I guess that's pretty much it. Time to put together my wishlist:
I've got a crock pot here. I've used it once since moving in with the in-laws, to make chili again. This time I toned it down in the hopes that Maxine would eat it. Didn't work.
Today I made chicken in mushroom gravy, featuring our old friend, Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup. I also used some real mushrooms, just to liven things up a bit. I didn't have time to do it in the crock pot, as we were gone most of the afternoon. We drove an hour and a half to a meat restaurant, ate, bought more meat to bring home, then drove back. I thought it might be a good indication of how Maxine will do on our trip home. My conclusion is that she will do great if:
1. we can stop and get out of the plane to walk around every 45 minutes,
2. she can watch the scenery go by, and
3. it doesn't take more than about three hours to get from here to Kansas.
The meat was good. I'm not sure if it was worth driving that far, but I'm from Kansas. To me good beef is sort of a given, and you shouldn't have to drive that far for it. Now if you want it prepared specially, you can drive a bit. In that respect, this restaurant was a bit ironic: we cooked the meat on a grill in the middle of the table. It may sound like work, but believe me, it is a good kind of work. You get the meat cooked exactly the way you like it, and every bite comes to you piping hot, right off the grill. This is one thing I will very much miss in America.
And now Horyon's mother is cooking gom-guk. (rhymes with "home juke") Gom-guk is made by boiling beef back or tail bones and other cuts for a long time. This is a kind of going away food for Horyon and me. It's one of the few non-spicy soups that Koreans like. It's very rich, though if you don't add salt it doesn't taste like much.
A quick Maxine update: she is adding a few more words to her spoken vocabulary. Somehow the word "ball" has gotten in there. We're not sure why, as she doesn't really enjoy playing with her ball that much, but there's a picture of a ball in one of her books, and she always homes right in on it. She does a pretty good approximation of "dah-het-dah", Korean for "all finished." It's very cute, and sometimes even comes at an appropriate time.
She also enjoys dancing. She doesn't need music, just a suggestion and a little encouragement. She has taken to mimicking the way I shake a finger at her when she does something bad. She knows that grabbing my glasses is a spanking offense. I try to be fair about it. The first time she grabs them I tell her "No" and remind her that the next time will get a spanking. One time I gave this reminder in front of Horyon, and Maxine swatted her own thigh to demonstrate that she knew what I was talking about. We demonstrated that we need to exercise more self-control to avoid laughing while talking about serious topics.
She loves living in Grandpa (Harabuhji) and Grandma (Halmony)'s home. Grandpa Kang finds it impossible to say no to Maxine, and will give her almost anything she asks for. Grandma is more likely to say "no". This, I believe, is why Grandma and I are sort of in a tie for third place in Maxine's affections. Not that Horyon can't say "no", but she's the mommy, and still breastfeeds to put Maxine to sleep. I just can't compete with that. Not sure if I want to. It's going to be hard for her when we leave, but I suspect that she will adapt to life in America faster than either of us.
That's all for now.