This year our family racked up a record number of travel miles.
The Pilot went TDY to the states so many times in the last eight months that it became somewhat of a joke, with varying levels of levity and bitterness depending on my mood, to tell everyone that we moved all the way out here so that the Pilot could spend half his time in the states.
On a positive note, his trips kept me stocked in cookie butter, my favorite coffee, and dry vermouth.
I'm not going to write that the TDYs to the states are over. I never make statements like that. But I'm out of cookie butter, dry vermouth cannot be conveniently purchased, and the Pilot has kept me stocked in my favorite coffee by asking coworkers who visit Tucson a very special favor.
But we found a studio that looked unpromising, abandoned even, but I insisted. There was something there. I knew it. Then, we saw a group of Westerners and heard some Midwest accents. I practically pointed and yelled, "Look! I think they're from Kansas or something!"
We wandered around and looked appropriately lost until we were asked to join the group, about half a dozen members of a Methodist Church in Kansas visiting another minister and his wife near Seoul. The couple very generously offered to take their friends to the studio of a famous artist, Lim Hang Taek, designated master artist of pottery by the Korean government.
Even more generously, they asked us to join them, kids and all. We walked into a studio where we took off our shoes and were offered watermelon and tea. We watched a documentary about the artist while he decorated a plate.
It was fascinating. And we bought some tea cups and plates of our own. This is what happens when you wander, when you just follow your instinct and let things happen. I'm often a victim of over planning, but I don't ignore my instincts and this time they led me right where we needed to be.
I plan to write a couple of posts devoted entirely to food, but I have to report that the day trip ended with a satisfying palace meal that could accommodate our children. Don't be alarmed by the amount of dishes (though, I admit, I still am)--so much of it is kimchi and vegetables. We love Korean food.
While on the beach a hornet stung the hell out of Cora. I had her under a very large umbrella and while telling a very well meaning ajumma that I had smothered my baby in sunscreen (She burn! She burn!), I heard a friend yell, "Lee Anne, bee! Up Cora's leg!"
There was nothing I could do. She was screaming before I or anyone could reach her. A very resourceful airman handed me a cup of ice and instructed me to cool my hand down with a handful of ice and then cup her leg. She ran to get the flight doc who happened to be on the beach at that time, and we determined that she did not have the stinger embedded in her leg. We watched for a reaction (there was none), and I fed her three apple crushers. (Or, I plied her with sugar in the form of fruit mush until she stopped crying.)
In general, the brief vacation went very well, but travel from the train station to the hotel was a bit of a challenge as Busan is quite a bit larger and harder to get to the beach front resorts than one would think. On the way back to the bus station, Gus endured a violent, hour-long cab drive in rush hour traffic only to throw up in his hat about two minutes from the train station. Once his hat was filled, my lap sufficed. Awesome.