We left Seoul on friday and took a bullet train down to daegu, which was just about the best day of evie's life. She was so excited to go on a choo choo train and cried when we had to get off. The veterinary unit in Seoul sent two soldiers with cars to help get us and all of our stuff to the train station, thank goodness, because we had a lot of stuff. One of the soldiers was a katusa.
The katusa are a branch of the army here that are Korean soldiers. They have to go through some pretty rigorous testing about the English language and stuff to become one, so it's pretty prestigious. They aren't American citizens, they're more like a companion, for lack of a better word, to the army. So they work alongside our soldiers and help out in a big big way. Apparently, Koreans in the Korean army strive to be katusa because its much easier than being in the rock army (not sure if that's spelled right), which is the Korean army.
So anyways. One of the soldiers was katusa and he made sure we got on the right train since we don't speak or read Korean. These trains aren't really built to haul people with a lot of stuff, so it took a while to cram all of our suitcases, stroller, and car seats in the overhead thing. Pretty funny. The poor people who came in after us didn't know where to put their briefcases cause I swear we took up the whole compartment with our stuff.
Going on the train was our first real experience with Korea and the culture here, and I was pretty intimidated. Koreans don't talk when they're on public transportation, so you can imagine my embarrassment when evie and Emmett were both being kind of loud. Oh well. Hopefully they knew we were American and didn't get too offended.
Luckily, the announcements for stops were in Korean and English, so we found the right stop and got off in time. The veterinary unit here had another 2 soldiers meet him at the station in daegu to help us unload, which was super helpful because the train only stays in the station for a couple minutes and we had a lot of stuff, like I said already.
After we got into the cars, the nice soldier drove us around from base to base and to the px and commissary so that we could get a place to live, cell phones, and the bare necessities, like sheets, towels,and toilet paper. These nice guys drove us around all day long helping us get stuff done, bless their hearts. They also took us over to the vtf (veterinary treatment facility) so we could meet everyone and Dan could see where he will be working. That place was so so nice. I think Dan is going to love it there, especially considering that the last place he was at was just a double wide trailer acting as a vtf. The captain that Dan is taking over for has been super helpful and super nice, and I think that's been good for Dan because it gives him a bit of a leg up in running the clinic after she's gone.
The people at the vtf are incredible. I seriously cannot say enough about how kind and generous they have been already in the short time that we have been here. Mrs Farley, the receptionist, took me around on Saturday to the px and commissary and helped me get a lot of things to make our apartment more homey, like a rug and a shower curtain. She was also the one who called around and had someone bring us a pack n play and some blankets. The guy who brought those to us also lives in camp George and is one of dan's soldiers. He's also super nice.
After I was done running errands with Shanise, we were invited to go have lunch with captain waclowick, which is the cpt Dan is taking over for, and her husband. Let me tell you, it was incredible to finally have a home cooked meal that wasn't from a restaurant or fast food place. Incredible. They told us all the fun things they were able to do while they were here and gave us lots of advice about traveling and what to see. We couldn't be more excited to get out and do some of the things they mentioned.
Saturday night we just sort of relaxed and spent most of the evening trying to figure out where the church building was and how to get to it. While we were in Seoul, Dan met a major who was a veterinarian and also happened to be lds, so on Saturday he gave him a call and asked him where and when the branch met, and he gave Dan the branch president's number. So, we were able to talk to him and after a lot of confusion on our part, one of the guys in the branch presidency came and picked us up. So nice.
The branch here is incredible and incredibly tiny. I think there were 30 people there on Sunday, counting our family of 4. So, we can't hide in the back like we usually do and we will probably be giving lots of talks. That'll be good for us too, I think. In relief society, there were 5 of us and they told me that was actually a big number, and that just made me laugh. It'll take some getting used to, to be in a branch so small, because I'm crazy shy and not at all outspoken, so ill have to get over that I guess. After church we were going to walk with another family down to the subway so they cod show us how to do it, but its kind of a long walk and we didn't have a stroller or anything for the kiddies, so another nice person gave us a ride home instead. Her name is Abbi and she lives a couple buildings over from us. She has a son in nursery with evie and they love each other already.
On Sunday night, brother and sister Jenkins invited us over for dinner. He's the one who gave us a ride to church. We were just about to go outside and wait for him to pick us up, when Dan got a call and had to go into work. In Korea they do readiness tests,or something, where they will periodically make everyone come in and check that all the units are whole and ready in case North Korea decides to do something stupid. I understand the logic behind the drills, but we were super disappointed that Dan couldn't come to dinner with us.
So, me and the kids flew solo to dinner. It was a lot of fun to get to know them and have evie play with some new friends. What a nice family.
On Monday, Abbi invited me and the kids over to play, so we went over there and evie And Eli were able to play together for a little bit, and then we all got ready to leave because Abbi was going to show us this cool Korean store that was like a 20 min walk from here. We met up with some other moms, one of which is my neighbor who also happens to be lds! What are the odds? Her name is Aimee and she has 5 kids, the youngest of whole is also in nursery with evie. I'm so excited to have so many lds families around here, and especially excited to have a family one door down from us.
We were almost out the gate when Dan called and said he was going to come pick us up and take us to do some administrative things, so I didn't get to go to the cool Korean store. Oh well. maybe next time. So, we went and got registered, visa-ed, and finger printed. Even Emmett had to have his photo taken so that when they pull up our names his picture is in there. Something that's been a huge struggle since we've been here has been shopping because we don't have a rations card.
They do ration control here, so you can't buy anything from the px or commissary without one, so since we don't have one, we haven't been able to do any big grocery shopping yet. When Shanise took me around on Saturday, she just used hers so that I could get a few things. Nicest girl.
And that's one of the things Dan had to get for us on Monday while we were in processing, was our rations card. He will go pick that up today, so we will be able to go grocery shopping soon. Yay!
After we were done with all that in processing, we went to lunch, and then the nice soldier who was driving Dan around took us to the kt olleh building off post to help us get Internet. Nicest man. He's the one who gave us a pack n play and blankets. So they signed us up and had a guy come out the afternoon to install it.
Getting our Internet installed was kind of a fiasco because he couldn't get on base without me signing him in, but I was the only one at home with 2 children, one of whom was napping. Dan called and told me to go out to the gate and sign him in or he would leave, so I did. I put Emmett down, hoping he would go to sleep, and booked it down to the gate before he left. Worst mother ever. When we got back to the apartment, Emmett and evie were both crying. Awesome. Emmett never went to sleep and probably woke evie up by crying so much. Poor babies. I did finally get them both back to sleep, which was lucky because I had to go back out with him to sign him out. Phew. What a workout.
On Monday afternoon we went down and played at one of the play areas here on base with Abbi and her kids. Evie could not be more ecstatic about all of the playgrounds here. Heaven. While we were playing, Aimee, from the branch who lives one door down, called and told me she was bringing dinner over. I guess word got out that we don't have a ratio card and therefore have no groceries. We were so thankful to have something to eat, so that was so so nice of her.
After dinner, another lady from the branch, Jen, called me and wanted to make sure we were all doing okay and offered to take me to the commissary the next day so I can buy some things. So, hopefully I will be doing some grocery shopping soon.
Everyone we've met so far has been just amazing. They're all so kind and generous and we feel so lucky to be on the receiving end of it. Our experience so far with dan's unit and our branch here in daegu has been outstanding. Today Abbi is going to take me to some of the street vendors off base that sell fruits and vegetables! I'm so excited! Dan took some won out of the ATM, so I'm all set. After Evie's nap, Jen is going to take me to the commissary, so it should be a really fun day. Hope this update was long enough for you.;)