Monday, October 8, 2012

On the road again.

In March of this year Kent and I spent a week in the Philippines followed by a return trip home. We had family and friends to surprise with our early arrival. We couldn't stay away when so much activity was to happen on the home front. Two brothers graduated, one brother and sister made it to high school and two other sisters had little baby boys. We made it home just in time. We didn't want to miss meeting these guys!

Oscar Steven Zitske
Kai Lanakila Gaspar
We enjoyed a great five months in Madison with family and friends, playing ultimate frisbee, going on a "brewery tourery," going to drive-in movies, among a huge smattering of other things. 2012 has proven to be a year of baby booming. Not only did we get two brand-new nephews this summer but also a few friends' babies to goo goo over too.

Now that Kenty and I have hit the road again (August 13th we started) we will try and vlog (video blog) along the way, our main intended audience being a 5 and 4 month old (WE LOVE YOU OSCAR AND KAI) but if anyone else happens to check in on our vlogs, that's cool too. We'll keep posting on this blog, but check out our YouTube account as well, just search "bearhutchu" in YouTube and find some quick videos we've put up. 

We started out on a roadtrip to see family living in the Pacific Northwest, up thorough the Columbia River Gorge. With the Hutchison's we stayed with 2 Bergerond's + 1 Stonestreet on a homestead we have already fallen in love with. After two weeks of a very cool and grounding time, we headed to Portland to stay with brother Sam, the same man who visited us last December in South Korea. We camped, we biked, we drank wine and then did it all over again. We got to visit together in the sort of way in which you get to know someone's daily life stuff. It's easy now to imagine just how life might be for the Mister Sam of PDX. 

Right now at this moment, we are at friend and brother-from-an-asian-mother's home in Singapore, Singapore. I think that's how you write a city-state. We've been living it up large and tomorrow we're on our way to Malaysia, for a minimum work stay for two weeks  at the Kahang Organic Rice Eco Farm. Where will we find ourselves next? The plan is to play it loose with a flexible outlook. We hope to touch soil in Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Indonesia.  

Holiday Break + Holiday Sam... part 2

Backdated: December 2011- Jiri Mountain Range

Well, it was our vacation week while Sam was visiting and I couldn't just stay in the city, so we planned a 2 night jaunt up to the east part of the Jiri mountain range. We took buses and transferred and transferred and transferred and finally we thought we must be there, but then we weren't so we stayed on the bus a little longer and got off on at a grocery store that sold overpriced Cheetos. We hadn't made any reservations for the night so we hiked up and down the valley asked for everyone's lowest price. Actually, Kent did the bargaining because low-balling makes me too uncomfortable. 

We finally found ourselves at the jimjibang hotel we made fun of when we first rolled into town. And by "town" I mean only 7 restaurants in one square mile, and since we were in the off-season we had our choice of two restaurants for the night. After we worked out with the hotel owner that "yes" we only want one room and "yes" we know there are two boys and one girl and "yes" I am married to one of them and "yes" we only want one room, we freshened up and went our for some mountain food. Sam found all of the food very satisfactory and we all took turns in front of the restaurant's sole heater. After that we figured out how to watch Contagion on the room computer. 

In the morning we headed out to tame a mountain top. We meandered up the path to Ssanggyesa (쌍곗아)Temple, Sam's first rural Buddhist temple experience. We decided on a path that looked traveled but not common and started the climb to the top. After of 15 min of hiking Kent and I noticed that we hadn't seen a single person yet, something totally uncommon in a country of 50 million, with a land mass the size three-fifths the size of Wisconsin (whose state population is approx. 5.7 million). Usually, if there's a trail out in nature, you'll find 50 other people enjoying it too and 10 of those humans will be riding the exercise equipment off on the side. Well... we climbed and hiked and crossed streams and finally we ran out of daylight so we, feeling only a little dejected, turned back in search for our next adventure. 

In the bottom of the valley was building with a giant cup of tea on top... Korea's Green Tea Museum. We read about traveling monks and tea ceremonies, and warmed up with a properly prepared cup of Korean green tea. Nearing dinner time and feeling a deep hungerwithin we found a geode decorated restaurant offering dolsot (hot, stone bowl) dishes we had never seen before. Five courses later, we were grinning the whole way back to our oncheon (hot spa) hotel for some sauna time. 

The next day we headed back to Busan, Kent's birthday, and proceeded to celebrate it up with giant burritos, a red velvet cake (accidentally purple) and more friends- Sam L. and Jesse (Jesse's a boy and Sam L's a girl). Mr. Sam's trip out to Korea made it possible for the boys to celebrate birthdays together again (Sam's is on the 19th and Kent's on the 28th), as is their usual party modus operandi. 

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Ten months later, looking back at our time with Sam we can see how totally lucky we are in these lives we lead. We have opportunities to work and travel all over the world and family and friends who are excited for us as we adventure forward. Sometimes, we're even lucky enough for a beloved Sam to make the trip out to join us. We love you, Sam.