Songtan Sammy to Seoul

20160817_105003I spent my first Monday in Osan, South Korea very lazily. After making Dan breakfast before work, I laid back down in true vacation fashion, rather than walking around Pyeongtaek with my backpack and laptop, doing homework in a coffee shop, and bartering with various street vendors, as I did the rest of my trip.

I knew Daniel wanted to take me to Seoul that night. Seoul is a pretty metropolitan area, so I asked what to wear. He told me to wear a dress. So I played dress up 🙂

But I could tell he was exhausted when he got home from work.

Another night is fine. You’re tired.

But he was insistent we go that night.

So we got ready and walked a few blocks to the local hot spot. They called it the SED, the Songtan Entertainment District.

We grabbed sushi at his favorite local spot then caught a cab to the metro station. There, we grabbed the train for the hour trip to Seoul.

From the train… a cab. The cab dropped us off at a bus stop. Turns out the place Dan was taking me can only be accessed by bus.

So on our, hopefully, final mode of transportation to our destination, we met a local girl. She was taking g selfie with her friend, who apparently hated selfies… haha. I had offered to take a picture of them. She misunderstood and took a selfie… with me. Naturally, I too wanted one.

It’s not a pertinent part of this story, but one that puts a smile on my face, nonetheless.

We were dropped off at the stop, where the local girl tells me I look beautiful and wishes me well on my visit to the country. (See, smiles!)

The next mode of transportation? Our feet. Up and up and up…. First a long pavement hill then endless flights of stairs…

It’s was neat when we had arrived to top pavilion, though. I had heard about that bridge in France where couples attach padlocks to the fence. It was like that. They called them “love locks” and couples had written what I assumed were their names on them. I had never seen so many pad locks!

Daniel had taken me to Seoul Tower, the highest point in the city. From the pavilion, we could see the various skylines of Seoul. After we checked out a few different views, I heard Dan say my name. As I looked over, I could see this look on his face… a combination of “don’t screw this up” and “nervous”and “shit, what’s my next line.”

As he began to quickly say what he had memorized, I noticed that everything he was saying reminded me of The Beatles. I wasn’t following what he was saying because I was too busy, in my head, trying to figure out why everything was reminding me of The Beatles.

20160815_231438Daniel had carefully strung together titles of songs from the Beatles… all to end on the one sentence without a Beatles reference: “Will you marry me?”

While I had suspected this was happening based on his insistence earlier in the evening, I decided to respond with the following:

“You made me go through all of that, walk up all those stairs in heels?! I’ve got boo-boos on my toes from tonight!”

As he is holding out a ring in his hand and down on one knee, he replies, “Is that a ‘no’?”

“I’m just fucking with you, of course I will!”

It wouldn’t be a proposal to Sammy Bundo without some sort of ball-busting.

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The rest of the night was a race against the clock to get back to base on time (they have a curfew). It turns out the metro shuts down at midnight. We wound up catching a taxi at the last stop of the metro.

This taxi was like a roller coaster. I swear, I will never drive in South Korea! Move over Tokyo Drift, because Korean taxi drivers could teach you a lesson!

The GPS in the taxi kept announcing every speed bump, to the point where its annoyance actually became humorous (or maybe I was just deliriously tired). I laid down in the back seat because, like I said, it was a roller coaster, and I was getting car sick.

20160816_004853The second we entered Dan’s apartment, I threw off my dress and threw on a hoodie. Before I could stumble my dazed self into bed, Daniel called me into the kitchen, where I spotted his prized bottle of triple distilled 12-year old single malt, “only touched on special occasions” Yellow Spot whiskey (I know, that’s a mouthful) open on the counter and two shot glasses next to it. “Just a little cheers before bed,” he says.

Initially, I couldn’t believe that, a night that was supposed to be the most wonderful in my life, turned  so hectic. (Actually, we never once had good luck with the metro my whole trip, time-wise. I blame Dan. When he used the metro after I left, he said it was the same way. Other than that, the Korean metro system was the most efficient mode of transportation I had ever been on. So yeah, I blame Dan. What a jinx!)

We laugh about that night, now. I remember the adorable girl on the bus, enjoying sushi (and rice!) with Dan, how nervous he looked when he was saying his speech… It makes me smile.

So, was it worth blisters? And the panic of the clock? And the taxi money and roller coaster queasy feeling?

Hell yeah! I ate some banging sushi!

Oh yeah, and I gained a fiance in a man who could not have been more perfectly made by God for me.

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Does eHarmony Really Work?

So, after a long-term relationship, I let lose a bit. I decided that instead of moping, I was going to be confident and put myself out there. Well, I did. I attracted trouble. Trouble that I willingly accepted.

Why?

Reflecting on that time, I now know it was because of insecurities, once again- the complete opposite of what I wanted to embody.

I had accepted any guy into my life because I wasn’t sure if I would ever get a relationship, again.

Who wants to deal with this mess of a mind? The eating disorders? The emotional roller coaster? Who would willingly subject themselves to that sort of punishment?

After a bad break-up (your typical cheating, lying, bad boy), I wanted to give up. I stayed in bed all day, cried myself to sleep, and only woke to pee, grab a drink, or because my sleeping pill wore off. I did a little google-ing, one day, and decided to give eHarmony a shot.

Straight up– that’s how I’m playing this.

I followed the prompts to set up my profile, but I made sure to lay it all out there. This is me. Take it or Bye, boy, bye.

I wound up on and off the site for a few months. I met nice guys, but never felt the “spark.” I went on two second dates, but that’s it. I found a lot of guys that where just like the users I could find down the road.  I found a few really wonderful guys, but there was always something missing.

Fuck it!

I threw my hands up.

When my subscription is up, I’m done.

Two weeks before my subscription expired, I was still checking my matches in the slight chance, with the minute bit of hope that remained in me, of someone being “the one.”

12/31/15- This guy seems interesting… travels a lot… Osan? Where is Osan? (South Korea, by the way)… military nerd… looks damn good in a suit… I’ll send him a “smile.” 

That “smile” was returned back to me with the initial conversation prompts eHarmony provides. We quickly exchanged questions and responses, likes and dislikes, until it was time to actually send a message to each other.

This dude was so inquisitive. He asked a million questions. Like paragraphs. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it.

Is he weird or just really interested? 

His curiosity caused me to be curious, too. We wound up sending paragraphs of conversation to each other, questioning everything from favorites foods and superheros, to family, religion, and card games…

In the first week, we transitioned from eHarmony messages to WhatsApp and Facebook messenger. And then Skype.

Everyday, we communicated. When we started Skyping, it was hours. Hours every night. Sometimes, not even talking. Each of us doing our own thing, just in the presence of the other.

Three weeks into exchanging messages and videos, I went and got a passport. Six weeks in, I applied for financial aid and re-enrolled on school to work on my next degree.

What was it about this guy that made me so… motivated?

April 2016- Mr. Military came back to the states on leave. His dad and great grandparents happen to live within 2 hours from me. Well, we met. I felt like a crazy person going to pick this guy I had never met in person before up from the airport.

This is insane in the membrane!

But there he was like. Like a bullshit scene in a romantic comedy, he dropped his bags at the terminal and swiftly walked up to me to hug me.

Well, he’s real… (I poked him just to make sure.)

We spent 3 1/2 weeks meeting each other’s families, and me showing him around Philly, introducing him to cheesesteaks and scrapple, local creameries, and some cool historic sites and Italian markets!

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To be honest, I would’ve married him. We joked continuously about driving to Atlantic City.

See, I told I was crazy…

I know I wear my heart on my sleeve, but this is excessive…

When he left, it felt like my heart had been crushed. It was like a physical separation without an actual break up, but with all the same excruciating pain.

August 2016- My first international flight. My first flight ever was Philly to Seattle. Go big or go home, I figured. If I’m going to fly, I might as well fly across the country. Well, if I’m going to take my first international flight, it might as well be on the opposite side of the world.

Together, we were able to buy the tickets. I left Philly 6:30am headed for an 8hr layover in Detroit. (Did I mention I was running on 2hrs of sleep?)

Next was the 13hr flight to Incheon Airport. I was so surprised that I got meals on the flight. And guess what… I ate all of them! Rice and all! (Stupid carbs. Why must you taste so good?)

I got my passport stamped, grabbed my luggage, and there he was in humid South Korea, flowers in hand, and wearing a big smile and his favorite Yoda shirt.

I spent 10 days playing house, cooking up a storm, experiencing a new culture, taking in some of the sites, and being introduced to his friends.

I already eluded to it in a previous post, but something else happened while I was in Osan… he asked me to marry him. (More about that, later).

We started talking about his new base and our future and decided a civil ceremony on his next leave to the US would be the smartest decision. (There is a lot involved when your get married and are overseas.)

Did I mention that his next leave was the following month?

Surprise, folks! Sammy Bundo got married!

So, yeah… I knew I loved this guy a month into talking with him. “You just know.” That’s what people tell you. “You just know.” What the hell does that even mean? How do you know ‘you just know’???

I was overwhelmed with this new feeling. I had loved before, but this was just different. I can’t really explain it any other way. My grandmother, my mom’s mom… she knew “it,” too, with my grandfather. She described it perfectly, “An inner peace.”

You know how they say, “There’s someone out there for everyone?” Well, my guy was in Osan, South Korea. The other side of the world.

It took a lot of users and abusers to realize what I really wanted in a life partner.All the hurt and heartache led me where I needed to go.

Don’t give up hope.

Where Have You Been?

Sorry, folks! I can promise you that despite my lapse in posts, I have been keeping track of my creations. I am laying in bed, right now, and you guys are on my mind. So here is a recipe that has actually become a wicked stand by for a meal or a side dish, so much so that dad made me make another batch the same week!

It is quite simply, yet hearty. Its a bit sweet, but you can add some heat (of course, I did).

Beans and Greens

Make 7 (1/2 cup) servings

  • 4 cups chopped collard greens, ribs removed
  • ¾ cup chopped onion20160728_151116
  • ½ Tbsp minced garlic
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 ½ cup chopped button mushrooms
  • ½ cup honey BBQ sauce (40 cal per 2 Tbsp)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • ¼ cup water
  • 15oz black beans, or any beans, drained and rinsed

Wisk together the tomato paste, BBQ sauce, and water. Set aside.

Combine greens, onions, garlic, water, salt and pepper (and optional red pepper flakes) in skillet, covered, over medium heat, for 10 minutes until greens wilt.

Add mushrooms, beans, and sauce to wilted greens. Recover the skillet and lower heat to low for about 5 minutes to warm the beans and sweat the mushrooms.

20160724_103454Grub as is or  add sausage, hot dogs, chicken, etc.

Per ½ cup:

Calories: 90, Fat: 0.4g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 246mg, Carbs: 18g, Fiber: 3.7g, Sugars: 6.5g, Protein: 4.4g

 

Where have you been, Sammy?

Well, I started an accelerated online program to get my next nursing degree. I am still working full time, I moved out of my moms (I really needed to, it became too toxic), a visited South Korea… Oh! and while I was there, this happened!

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Time to add wedding planning to the  To-Do List!