Ten Things I Didn’t Know on my Last Birthday

Today is my birthday.  I am shameless about it.  Always have been, and I hope to always be.  I L-O-V-E my birthday. A little bit of that is because I am an attention addict and my birthday really feeds that, especially since FaceBook nets me tons of birthday love.  Hey, at least I’m honest about it.

But mostly the reason I love my birthday is because it brings back memories of the year past, and reminds me of my blessings.  So much has happened since my last birthday that I thought it would be fun to list some of the things I didn’t know then that I know now.

Ten Things I Didn’t Know on my Last Birthday…

1. One Single Word in Korean.  That’s right, folks.  Not one word.  I don’t exactly know how many Korean words I know now, but if I had to estimate, I’d put myself at some late-infancy stage.  Which is a little weird considering I don’t know the word for puppy or ball, but I do know how to direct a taxi driver and order take-out.  So, I would be a rather unusual baby, I guess.  Nothing surprising there.

2. How Crucial Skype and FaceTime Would Become to My Life. I honestly don’t know what I would do without my weekly or bi-weekly dose of family and friends from home.  As my friend Faith said when I told her we were moving here, “Thank God for technology.  It’s not like it’s the nineties.”  I’d hazard a guess that my parents and in-laws feel the same way.

3. How Many Acronyms a Federal Government Employee Needs to Know.  The first time I laid eyes on a form we had to fill out for Kevin’s new job, I couldn’t believe it didn’t come with a key.  As with most things, it has become second nature now.  PCS, LES, RAT, MCCW, TDY…  I could go on and on, and on and on, and on and on… but really it is wasted space in your brain unless you work over here.  I wouldn’t want to do that to any of you.

4. How Long a 12.5 Hour Flight Really Is.  It is long.  Why is the word long so short?  I need something that really expresses how long a 12.5 hour flight with 4 children feels.  How about: loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong.  Something like that.

5. How Little I Would Miss French Fries.  There is plenty of American food here, but we end up eating most of our meals at home.  Oddly enough, the most delectable fries I’ve ever tasted were here at a bar called Travelers.  Bacon and Cheddar melted on top of extra-crispy fries.  Um, yeah.  Hands Down.

6. What Urban Living is Like.  You see a lot of people on a daily basis.  You worry about apartment  noise (although living on the first floor helps).  You know the noises above you are neighbors and not potential rodents in your attic. (OK, maybe we are lucky in that respect.)  It is different than anything I’ve ever experienced, though.  Walk 2 minutes to a coffee shop, catch a taxi, buy take-out, pick up dry cleaning.

7. How to Trust My Kids Alone Outside.  I know I’ve mentioned before how safe it is here.  It is so liberating to allow the older 2 to ride their scooters outside while the little ones nap.  Or I nap.  Just kidding!  I almost never nap while they are outside.

8. Much of Anything About the Korean War. I am still working on this.  I can say that being here makes the reality of a relatively recent war much more palpable.  There are people all around my neighborhood that lived through it.  Powerful.

9. How Hard it is to Move Away from the People You Love.  It is heart-breakingly, chest-achingly, mind-bogglingly hard.  I knew it would be hard in an abstract way.  It takes really doing it, really feeling the lonesomeness, the isolation, the newness of a new place to really understand it.  It helps that I have some great new friends here, and family living across the street,  Don’t ever doubt, my home friends and family, just how much you mean to me.

10. How to Really Depend on God.  There have been times this past year when I thought things couldn’t possibly get any harder.  And then they did.  And then, as it happens, they were easier again.  And I have God to thank for all of that.  The difficulty, and then the easing of a burden.  Both blessings in their own way.

What have you learned since your last birthday?


  1. This is a beautiful list. I love it!
    Happy, happy birthday! And yes, thank God it’s not the nineties. Shoot, in college, all we had was TelNet and muds.

  2. “Why is the word long so short?” 🙂 Ha! A great way to describe the flight to Korea.