East Meets West: Home Again

Fifteen months, twenty countries and traveling eastwards all the way around the world, we finally landed in the good ol’ US of A. Judy Garland as Dorothy may think there’s no place like home, but LAX felt like a foreign country to me. We may be in for some culture shock! 

Now what? 

Hang on, I’ll tell you all about that, but first, here are some final photos from our time visiting our son in Busan, South Korea.

My son posing with some of the cast of musicians from a concert we attended of Traditional Korean Music and dance. The traditional dresses are gorgeous. They are called a hanbok.

You’re on Candid Camera! Signs that cameras are in use are on buses, the metro, stores, streets – everywhere – in Busan.

The Red Face is an appropriate name for a knockoff North Face clothing line.

I felt a bit of anxiety and claustrophobia during my hour- long Robotic Chair Massage. It squeezes, stretches and massages but lacks the personal touch.

Eun Jeong and I enjoyed a girls’ night out at an Enzyme Spa, a therapeutic treatment from Japan. It was a totally new and unusual  experience for me!

“Your entire body is immersed in a fermenting mixture of soft and fragrant ground cedar and rice bran that stimulate metabolic activity inside and out. This warm and fragrant treatment offers myriad health benefits, from improving circulation to relieving joint and muscle pain, and the living enzymes deeply and thoroughly clean your skin resulting in a your entire body exuding a radiant glow.”

First, we changed into the spa outfit, then spent an hour drinking tea, laying on the Jjimjilbang (heated sauna floor) profusely sweating . After a oooling down period we climbed into a “sandbox” and an attendant buried us in the mulch. My heels and toes were burning from the steam. I asked how the boxes of mulch were heated and they said it was from my own body detoxing.

Religion in South Korea

 “…almost half (46.5%) of South Koreans have no religion; among those that follow a formal religion, there is a dominance of Buddhism, Protestantism, and Roman Catholicism. According to the census of the year 2005, 22.8% of the population identifies as Buddhist, 18.3% as Protestant and 10.9% as Roman Catholic, totaling a 29.2% Christian population.” Wikipedia

Christians churches are more evident than Buddhist temples. The churches at night have illiminated red crosses.

Beautiful children at church.

High Tech Korean Plumbing 

Toilet seats like this one may be heated. They are not user friendly if one can’t read Korean. Once I couldn’t identify how to “flush” and pressed a button which turned out to be a “rinse” button instead. I quickly exited the stall when a water fountain started erupting up and over. Ooops!

This sign is on the buses. Apparently neither kick boxing the driver nor blocking his line of vision is allowed.

There and Back Again

We have eaten well and loved the food almost everywhere we’ve been. Besides craving a thick juicy hamburger there has been one food I’ve missed the most and that’s Mexican!

I can’t get enough Mexican food.

The Big Announcement!


My daughter and son-in-law announce their journey into Parenthood.  This changes our lives too; we’re going to be grandparents!

Our return trip home was scheduled last year while we were in Croatia. We knew we had to return to take care of some things, but while in Thailand earlier this year we had begun to think about returning to Thailand for an extended stay and inviting family to come and visit over the holidays. One day my daughter said we should FaceTime and they invited us to come spend Thanksgiving with them. I was disappointed that they didn’t want to come to Thailand and asked why? They replied that we might want to come meet our new grandchild! It was a totally unexpected surprise.

That does change things – a lot!

This is the beginning of a exciting new chapter in our adventurous life. Meet You in the Morning is going to be a gramma!   


We were thrilled to be accepted for a Portland dog/housesit through TrustedHousesitters.com.  Meet Watson – a beautiful, affectionate, active, smart, well-trained Border Collie/New Zealand Sheepherder.


Like Bilbo Baggins I wonder…”How do you pick up the threads of an old life?”

I’m so glad we did what we did when we did it! Travel weary, my body feels worn out and I’m having pain in my knees. New shoes may help.

Starting out I packed 3 pairs of shoes, a pair of water shoes, plus flip flops but have returned with only one pair of worn out Naot sandals. My clothes all have small holes, and yet I’m not anxious to part with them. The days of having all my possessions fit in one suitcase may be over and that makes me sad. I liked stepping away from materialism and being responsible for only what I could carry.

After a jet lagged first week home, I am back in high gear. I cooked my first home-cooked meal of 2016. Taxes have been paid, apartment application submitted, a car purchased, a job arranged, and vacuum, recliners and dining set purchased. Once I have a mailing address I can register to vote, get an Oregon drivers license and make address changes. And that’s picking up the threads of an old life.

We purchased a 2014 Nissan Versa – a great gas saver!

In order to be involved in our grand-daughter’s life we may have to give up retirement and put down roots in Portland, Oregon. It is important to keep the following in mind:

1) Stay flexible…don’t plan too far in advance
2) Nothing is permanent
3) “Bloom where you’re planted”
4) Have a vision

My traveling days may have changed, but I don’t believe they are over. For starters, I return to my old stomping grounds, and plan on guiding groups to Mt. Hood, Multnomah Falls, Mt. St. Helens, Portland and beyond. 

Learn why we are so fond of Chiang Mai, Thailand next week when I Meet You in the Morning with the Thailand Expense Report.

Thanks for reading!

2 responses to “East Meets West: Home Again

  1. Congratulations! Your round the world trip was 15 months and ours was 14 months. We also use Portland as a base so maybe when we’re back from our 7 month trip to South America in December we can get together? It would be fun to meet and compare notes.


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