Eight days in America is a whirlwind. I’m actually shocked that I’m sitting back here on my couch in Busan, surrounded by a whole bunch of crap we bought in America. I look at it and feel frustrated that we spent so much money while we were there. Don’t get me wrong – I am psyched to have some delicious snacks (thanks mom!), some new clothes and shoes (definitely was in a bit of need), and a shitton of soaps and candles (simply for comfort). But we really didn’t pay any attention at all to the money we were spending while we were home. We wined and dined ourselves silly, went shopping, and drove all over Iowa. Yeah… it was a true vacation.

I mean, a vacation in which we spent more of it than not prepping for a very beautiful and fun wedding, trying to squeeze enough time in for each family member, and last but not least, checking some of our own America desires off our list (PSL, PSL, PSL!).

Here are some of the trip highlights:

  • Seeing my grandparents, my brother, and my mom. I haven’t seen my grandparents since before we moved here, and I only saw my mom and brother for about 2 days last time I was home.
  • Meeting Carissa and Camdyn – FINALLY!
  • Spending time with Kacee and our new brother-in-law Mike, as well as Janine and Floyd. I love my in-laws. Also meeting Mike’s family – they were so fun!
  • Seeing all of our lovely friends! Kate and Chaz, Amy and Jake (finally meeting Jake!), Mackenzie, Elizabeth, Diane and Sarah, Evie and the kids, Mike Tomlinson, Ian and Chelsea, Christelle and Martha… hope I’m not forgetting someone right now…
  • Pumpkin Spice Lattes – they were our first purchase in Chicago O’Hare Airport – we beelined for the Starbucks immediately after getting through customs.
  • The following restaurants: Great Plains, The Cafe, Dutch Oven Bakery – I missed you.
  • Driving my grandma’s VW bug – LOVE THAT CAR.
  • A fabulous Election Day – O-BA-MAAAAA!
  • Seeing Kate and Chaz’s house, finally – and our new subterranean dwelling?

Lows of the trip:

  • Spending way too much money.
  • Struggling to meet everyone’s time expectations – and sometimes demands – to be at certain places at certain times. We weren’t there long, and it was nearly impossible to balance everyone. I want to apologize for not being able to spend more time with EVERYONE, but we’ll be home in 8 months… just be patient. Trust me, your patience is nothing compared to my own.
  • Probably gaining 10 pounds.
  • Lots of food we were kind of forced to eat that we wouldn’t have otherwise – restaurants that we didn’t really want to waste our time and money on, but had to because it’s where the people we were with wanted to go to. It’s snobby and silly, but it’s true.
  • Never got any Iowa wine. 😦 Aw well.

Other things that came up:

I finally met with my DMACC advisor. I’d kind of decided on studying to get certified to be an addictions counselor. However, after speaking with my advisor, she strongly encouraged me to change course and go straight for a Masters in Social Work. I was shocked, but as soon as she said it, I was totally in. I’d been wondering if a Master’s wasn’t a better course, but I didn’t really know what direction to go in. I also wasn’t sure if investing in a Masters was practical in our economy. However, she convinced me that it’s something I’d probably have to get later on if I wanted to continue up in the career goals I have. So… now I’m back to searching for schools – and I have to meet deadlines that are coming up very quickly!

Well, we’re back, we have about 8 months left, and our goal is to pay off all of my debt, leaving Steven’s to be paid by our pension. Or at least to pay off part of his with pension, and leave part of the pension to pay for our lives until we get jobs again when we get back.

Ugh… job searching. Vomit. At least I can put it off for a while.

Oh, one last thing – sometime in July, we’re having a HUGE garage sale in Le Mars. Prep yo’selves.