Some pictures from our winter journey to Korea.
And our last days in Athens. Overall, I enjoyed Athens, and yet it wasn't hard to leave. For the most part, I should say. There were a couple of close bonds with people I had met academically and it was harder than I thought to leave the Korean youth group (and really, the families as well--in the past 6 years, I've been blessed to be surrounded by such a tight community of Koreans, which was 95% of our social circle).
But moving to Harrisonburg was like coming home. Yes, I only lived here for 2 years, and it was a long time ago, but I probably couldn't pick a better place on earth where the culture and ethos match with who I am and what I believe. It also helps that almost all of my close childhood friends, some of my good college friends, and a chunk of extended relatives all live in the area.
Lots of changes nested inside the move. We went from homeowners to renters. ("Woohoo!" says the man who only touches tools when he absolutely needs to. Actually, in the right situation, it can be quite fun, but those "right situations" have been extremely rare now that we have our two lovely girls!) After 7 years of marriage, we have a dining table (mostly a positive because we can have more structured meals now).
Time feels more pressed than ever. Actually, there are two speeds. When I'm not watching the girls, I'm in super high gear--often quite productive and mostly doing stuff that I love to do professionally, but the flip side is that I can feel extreme guilt and regret if I don't manage a block of girl-less time well. When I'm with the girls (with or without JooYeon), time slows down and we can enjoy exploring our new home.
I'm fairly sure we've had more social events in the past 5 weeks in Harrisonburg than we did in the past 3 years (or so) in Athens. That's probably an exaggeration. But the rate is much higher, especially with my sister Heather living here too. We take walks almost every day and often stop to play with some neighbors or plan to meet someone at the Children's Museum or a playground. We've been showered with welcoming kindness with so many people in the area that it's almost overwhelming (in a good way).
Personally (i.e., outside of professional stuff), most of my time and energy has been into growing (or perhaps shrinking, as it often feels like) as a father. Patience seems to come fairly easily, replenishing energy has been harder, and perhaps my biggest struggle is that my locus of control seems much more external now. If Ellie (or Katie) has a tantrum when we're out in public, or if she doesn't play well with children of our friends, my emotions drop--most likely, because I feel it's a result of some parenting flaw in myself. On the other hand, there's lots of fun and exciting times, too, so part of it is just adjusting to my emotions being more out of my control than I'm used to.
I realize these words would be a lot cooler with some pictures. These days, we take most pictures on Joo's iPhone, and she has the girls out in Oregon visiting her sister, so it looks like we'll have to wait until the next blog entry...