My Life in Denver So Far…

fotor_145420870375361.jpgI have been a terrible blogger! I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve posted a blog entry.

Life has been very up and down here for me so I’ve just been really focusing on trying to get settled, getting outside and into the mountains and reading more.20160124_105147.jpg

I also started my job, which has been exhausting! Running around after 3 year olds all day can be tough and I find that I’m exhausted in the evenings!

My state of mind has definitely been up and down a lot here in Denver. I have been having a hard time accepting that things definitely aren’t going the way we had hoped and then continuing to hope that it will get better.20160206_173645.jpg

We are both trying to figure out what career choices are the best for us, I think this current job that I have has helped me realize that I definitely don’t want to be teaching young children long term. The dream of getting a job in marketing is still there and it’s stronger than ever now, so fingers crossed that something will happen for me!img_20160123_181636.jpg

But every time that I’m feeling low or lost (which was happening quite frequently) I try to get lost in the beautiful outdoors of Colorado and remember why we moved here (which works…EVERY TIME!).fotor_145610044155979.jpgimg_20160130_145745.jpg

Road-tripping from Colorado to Washington…and back again

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As I mentioned in my previous post, our Christmas in Washington was awesome!
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On our drive up to Washington, we decided to take a different route than the one that we took when we first arrived in Colorado. We thought that it was too much of a risk to drive through Montana and northern Idaho with the snowy weather and mountain passes. So this time around we drove north in to Wyoming, then west into Utah, then into Idaho and Oregon and finally crossing north in to Washington.

It was a long 2 day drive, but the views were absolutely incredible!
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We’ve both decided that even from the small part of Utah that we got to see, that it looks like a beautiful state and we wouldn’t mind moving there! We also stopped in Boise Idaho for a short while and decided that it looked like a cool city with a beautiful backdrop of foothills.
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Below are some photos that we took during our road trip.

I hope you enjoy them 🙂
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Christmas 2015- A Family Affair

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This Christmas was truly the best Christmas that I’ve had in a long time! Living abroad is an amazing adventure but it’s always the hardest at Christmas time, not being able to spend it with your family.

This year both myself and Jason were feeling pretty down about not being able to be with our families, so we decided to risk the snowy roads and drive up to Washington to be with Jason’s family.
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Honestly, it was the BEST decision that we’ve made in a while!

Once we arrived at Jason’s sisters house it was like we had magically landed in Narnia! Snow was falling, there were beautiful evergreen trees everywhere and once inside her house it was so festive.
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She was making cookies and Christmas movies were playing while their beautiful Christmas tree lit up in the corner. It was perfect!
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We spent our first few days just playing in the snow with Jason’s niece and enjoying our time away from job searching and other frustrating things that happen when you move to a new city.
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Then on Christmas eve all of Jason’s family came to his sisters house to celebrate Christmas a day early. Jason’s mom and some of his siblings still didn’t know that we were going to be there so it was a lovely surprise for them, especially his mom, to see us and the Elliott siblings were all together for Christmas for the first time in five years!
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We had such a wonderful day, the snow was falling outside, the views from Ambers house were just magical.
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We ate so much food, I introduced the family to Christmas Crackers and we all exchanged secret santa gifts by the Christmas tree. I think I had a perma-smile on my face for the entire day because it was absolutely perfect.
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That evening we drove to Soap Lake, where Jason’s parents live, to spend Christmas day with them.

On Christmas morning we woke up and opened our presents in the guesthouse that we were staying in. Afterwards we went to Jason’s parents house to watch the kids open presents, cook an Irish breakfast, laze around, eat a great ham dinner and play board games.
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It was such a wonderful Christmas, definitely one to remember…even if it did take 2 days to get there and another 2 days to get back!
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My Top 5…Moments of 2015

IMG_7947Oops, I’m a bit late with creating this post since it’s already over a week into 2016, but I guess late is better than never!

 

2015 was an incredible year and one that I won’t forget anytime soon! Myself and Jason are, for the first time, heading in to a new year with so much uncertainty and a bit of fear. I hope that 2016 ends up being an amazing year, but for now I’m going to focus on how great 2015 was.

So here are my top 5 moments of 2015:

5. WWOOFing in Washington

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This was a great chance for both myself and Jason to firmly leave our comfort zones. We worked hard, learned a lot and most importantly had fun while working at Paradisos Del Sol Winery in Zillah Washington.

I highly recommend WWOOFing to anyone interested in getting off the beaten path and seeing the world in a unique way.wpid-img_20151003_084246.jpg

4. Weekend trip to Seattlewpid-img_20150910_074009.jpg

For Jasons birthday I got him tickets to see the Mariners play baseball. That, coupled with the gourmet food tour that our friend Ian gave us, created an awesome weekend full of fun memories that I’ll cherish for a long time to come!wpid-img_20150908_120110.jpg

3. Beomosa Temple Stay

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What an incredible experience! We got to live in a temple for the weekend, meditate, pray, eat and drink tea like monks. We also learned a lot about Buddhism and were able to clear our minds for that wonderful weekend. IMG_9292

2. Finally Spending Christmas with Family

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It had been 6 years since I’ve spent Christmas with any family. Both myself and Jason were getting down in Denver thinking about spending another Christmas alone, so we made the decision to load up the car, drive 2 days to Washington and spend the most incredible 2 weeks with his family! We even had a white Christmas…it was so perfect and gave our spirits a badly needed lift.
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1. Our honeymoon in Singapore and Bali

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Ever since myself and Jason got engaged we both knew that if we had to choose, we wanted our honeymoon to be the highlight instead of the wedding. At the end of the day, we care way more about travel and experiences than we do about dresses and place settings so we did exactly that, had a low key wedding and enjoyed the most wonderful 2 weeks in both Singapore and Bali. We splashed out and stayed in an amazing villa with a private pool in Ubud and the memories from our honeymoon are going to stay in my mind forever.wpid-img_20150224_073315.jpg

 

So there we have it, my top 5 moments of 2015. It was so nice to look back on them while writing this.

How about you? What are your favorite memories of 2015??

 

My First Trip To The Mountains

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We finally made it up to the mountains!

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the mountains weren’t a huge part of why we decided to move to Denver. Thoughts of snowshoeing during the winter and backpacking and camping during the summer get me all kinds of excited. (I must add that I’ve never even tried snowshoeing before, but I know that I’m going to love it)

A few days ago myself and Jason were looking for jobs and getting stressed about life. The weather was absolutely amazing out, so I decided to drop everything and get Jason to go on a little day trip with me.

We decided to go to Georgetown as it’s not very far away from Denver but it’s still far enough to be in the mountains.
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The drive was a nice 40 minutes with not a lot of traffic (the joys of being jobless and going on a random Tuesday). It was right off of the highway but felt like it could have been a million miles away. The historic part of town had the most beautiful victorian style houses and gorgeous Western style shop fronts.
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All of the stores seemed to be locally owned and sold local products (which is awesome). We stopped to get some delicious ice-cream that was made in the town next to Georgetown.
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After walking around for a while, we decided to drive up a pass next to the town. It was a beautiful drive and it brought us up high enough to where there was some snow on the ground…it got me pretty excited about wintertime.
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We were driving for about 30 minutes when we looked at our GPS and realized that there was still a long way to go so we decided to turn back.
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Once back in Georgetown we drove to the train station. The train in Georgetown is very famous and the ride is supposed to be absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately it was closed when we went there, but it’ll give us a reason to go back in the summer.
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Overall, I loved this little town and it has made me so excited and eager to visit many other small mountain towns in Colorado!

A WWOOFing Experience!

wpid-fotor_144570817906154.jpgMyself and Jason spent a week WWOOFing in Washington state recently. I guess before I go any further, I should explain what exactly WWOOF is. WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. You can work on an organic farm and learn all about farming in exchange for a place to stay and all of your meals.wpid-img_20150929_111024.jpg

It’s a great concept that allows people to work on farms all over the world. It is very popular in Australia and New Zealand but you can find it everywhere!

Myself and Jason had been wanting to do something like this for some time. We both really want to learn more about growing our own fruit and vegetables and hope to become more self sufficient over time.wpid-img_20151003_084246.jpg

So how does it work?

Well every country has their own country specific website. For the WWOOF USA website, you must pay a year subscription of $40. This allows you to see all of the farms that are looking for WWOOFers throughout America, gives a description of them all and allows you to contact them.

While searching for farms, it was exciting to see all of the opportunities that were available to us, goat farms, fruit and vegetable farms, animal farms, ranches and wineries.

We ended up choosing to WWOOF at a winery. Why? well they actually called themselves a farmery as they had animals, vegetables and grapevines on their farm so we figured that it would be a great learning opportunity.

After making contact and introducing ourselves, we agreed on a date that we would work for them. We would work a 20 day work week (about 4 hours a day) but if we wanted to work any hours over that then we would be paid a bottle of wine an hour…it sounded great to us! Also, they love dogs and Willy was more than welcome to join us.

So the winery that we worked for was called Paradisos Del Sol and it was located in Zillah in Washington State. It was owned by a great couple, Paul and Barbara. Paul taught us so much about the winemaking process, including how to properly taste wine.

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When our workdays were over we spent our days tasting wine at the other nearby wineries (there were about 15 on their road alone!).wpid-fotor_14457084315716.jpg

wpid-fotor_144570813949491.jpgWhat did our days look like?

Every morning and evening we “punched down” the red grapes that were busy fermenting.

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wpid-fotor_144570797468982.jpgOn our first day we did the final harvest of grapes, so it involved a long day of picking grapes, but it was fun to see the different types of grapes that make different types of wines and to taste them all.wpid-fotor_14457082214857.jpg

Day two, we took the grapes that we had picked and brought them to a bigger winery to use a machine that detaches the grapes from the stems and gets the juice out of them.wpid-fotor_144570826420837.jpg

Day three, we spent the day picking hops. Jason makes beer so it was fun for him to see some fresh hops, Paul even gave us a box full of them to bring home with us!wpid-img_20150930_092656.jpg

wpid-fotor_144570837645052.jpgDay four and five were spent taking bird netting off of the vines. Because they are organic, they can’t use any pesticides or chemicals on their grapes so the netting helps to keep animals out.wpid-img_20151003_183347.jpg

Before we knew it, it was time to leave. We loved our time on the farm, it taught me that I actually quite enjoy repetitive tasks. Willy loved being a farm dog for the week and we loved the tranquility of the area…will we WWOOF again??wpid-fotor_144570805648812.jpg

ABSOLUTELY!

Applying For My Green Card In Seoul (part 1)

20130429074513dualThe time has finally come for myself and Jason to start planning our departure from Korea. One of the most important things that we have to do is to secure a green card visa for me. I am applying for a spousal immigrant visa, which is basically a visa through marriage.

We finally started the process a couple of weeks ago and I want to try to help others that will be going through this process in Korea too.

There are two main parts involved with applying for your green card. The first (which is what we did a few weeks ago) Is starting your application and going to the American Embassy to file the application. Then the waiting game begins until you get an e-mail to explain what to do for the second part of the application.

So when you begin the process you will need to download and print two forms. These are the I-130 form which you can find here. This form is to be filled out by the petitioner (the American citizen). The second form is the G-325A which you can find here. Both the petitioner and the applicant have to fill out this form, so you’ll need two. You must also include:

  • Your birth certificate (the non-America),
  • Marriage certificate,
  • Passports,
  • Alien Registration cards
  • passport photos of both of you (we decided to use the services of a shop by the embassy but got grossly overcharged so try to get them done beforehand).
  • If the person that is applying for the visa is Korean they will need their family certificate and they need to get anything that is in Korean translated in to English.

Jason scheduled our appointment online and we both secured the day off work. You can enter the embassy 15 minutes before your appointment. For immigrant visas you go to the 3rd floor where you give in all of your documents, then go down to the 2nd floor to pay the $420 application fee (480,000w when we were there) then back up to the third floor to fill in your e-mail address and get your ARC cards and Passports back and you are finished.

It was a very easy process and only took about 15 minutes to complete.

Now we must wait for an e-mail from the embassy with all of the documents that we need for the interview stage. This stage requires many more documents such as Jasons tax returns, health and police checks for me and much more.

We will probably be waiting up to 6 weeks for this e-mail so there is nothing more that we can do for now other than sit and wait.