We are safely in Paraguay!!!

We spent a very nice week with family and friends that felt way too short… but at the same time, good because it was short and rich, like a small but absolutely delicious meal**.

Among the notable social gatherings was my sister’s wedding*. In two words it was “exquisite” and “casual,” which I think express the characteristics of Jean and Steve. All the details were perfectly and elegantly planned. She got married in a white chapel near the beach with a bell and a steeple. Her fiance, Steve, and the groomsmen wore tuxes and black converse shoes. When they got to the ring exchange Steve nervously grabbed Jean’s right hand. The father-in-law gave a serious announcement about the support of family and friends, followed by an unforeseen, comic speech about his wife ranking as The Most Beautiful and Jean as Second Most Beautiful. They exited the chapel to the tune of  “As Time Goes By” and then the bell “boy” (a grown man) rang the bell ecstatically like a child.

 The reception was at Sage on the Coast a few miles down. My mom recited that the open bar area was reserved for the “young people” and the enclosed seated patio was for the “old people.” Shin, me, and a few friends, by default and later by election, stood near the exit to the kitchen. So we got continuous first dibs on delectable sea food hor’deuves and crispy egg rolls with an unforgettable sweet sour sauce…  There were high, circular bar tables without stools. People ate and drank while circulating and socializing. There was no seating arrangement. It was a very comfortable atmosphere powered by Apple. The music was supplied by an Ipod on shuffle and later there was a slideshow of the ceremony photos on a crisp white MacBook. The photographer was just awesome.

The Best Man, Steve’s brother gave the first toast with intriguing hints of Steve’s pre-marital adventures, and Anna, Jean’s Maid of Honor, delivered a nervous but clever speech about how the rules for the first day of Preschool(?) applied to the beginning of marriage. Rules like, “Share, Say you’re sorry, Put things back where they belong,” and “No hitting,” ending with “Remember to Hold Hands and Look Both Ways.”

 After the reception, my cousins, Shin and I, went to Laguna Beach because a few of them were visiting from Sacramento. The other married cousins eagerly embraced an evening free from their kids as this was politely “no children allowed”. I hadn’t been to the beach in years either. It was one place I had missed in Paraguay. Not just a view from a cliff, but to be on the sand in the afternoon and play volleyball and hear the cars passing and the ocean and… anyway enough daydreaming. 

Afterwards we went to a Chinese restaurant for noodles, and then the 11 of us watched Spiderman III. My mom totally wanted to hang but had some guests to entertain. I haven’t hung out with my cousins like that since before they were married and had kids! And I had more to talk about with them now that our life stages have caught up. Motherhood, pregnancy. (Girls, remember those days when you would asked married people how they met each other? I’m so beyond that now!)

The second notable social interaction would be the following day when Shin and I went to West Los Angeles Korean Church for service. Next to the wedding, this was the reason we had to come. I specifically asked the Missionaries to let us visit for two Sundays please, which they granted. We received the warmest, joyful welcome, not just as church members, but really like we were coming home to family and seeing aunts, uncles, brothers, and sisters.

The college and youth service were combined that day. The youth group was leading praise team. Aaron on guitar, Teddy on drums, Billy on bass, Tony, Nasim, and Sarah singing vocals. It was an amazing sight. It wasn’t like seeing something completely new but it was still marvelous in a puzzling happy way.

The third memorable meeting is two fold. First, it was eating with our fellow ministry workers on our second Korean barbecue excursion (out of 4). Second, was after the meal when we met the young woman who hit the bumper of Shin’s parents car.

The fourth, was a generous treat to an unforgettable dining experience** by Shin’s friend. He heightened our culture shock by taking us to an upscale restaurant where they serve bottled water from glass jars. We ate portions of the chef’s most creative and flavorful selections in a series of 5 entrees and 2 desserts. Each dish was about the size of an order of sushi. Shin and I actually got to try 10 entrees and 4 desserts by eating half and switching plates. The artistry of the chef was undeniable. I would be munching on a morsel and then, more than halfway through processing the flavor I would taste something completely new that enriched the flavor. The combination of flavors were extraordinary.

We also shopped a lot for food and other items to take back. All the Korean food we stocked could have comfortably fit into a suitcase if it weren’t for the weight distribution. We packed in almonds, canned seafood, soup, hot paste sauces, seaweed, fish, mushrooms, vitamins, curry. Just add the word, “instant” in front of most everything. Unfortunately, we couldn’t take the 6 POUNDS of RESTAURANT STANDARD tapioca pearls from our students. But that will shortly be en route to Paraguay via Fedex, courtesy of our parents 🙂 

The flight and the wait times were incredibly long, but part of the adventure. We visited the Chilean and Peruvian airports for a number of hours each. We heard and saw the general cultural artistry and music in front of their duty free shops. We saw the different topography from the plane. Chile was one long landscape of frappuccino mountains, creamy snow caps and whipped clouds, whereas Paraguay is all forest green with strings of brown rivers and areas of red soil.

Now we are back and the emotions I feel after leaving, experiencing the United States, and returning to Paraguay again are complex and best saved for another entry. There were many people we didn’t get to meet one on one and I am very sad about this. But I hope it will be an opportunity to begin a correspondence over email at annieykim@gmail.com

Thanks for reading. Updates from Paraguay will continue!

With love,
Annie

*My birthday was on the same day as the wedding. 26 years

** Hatfelds in LA. 

    

2 thoughts on “We are safely in Paraguay!!!

  1. hannah ,엄마.

    애니야, 잘 읽었어.

    짧은 시간이었지만 좋은 시간을 보내고
    돌아간것 같아 기쁘다.
    또 새로운 힘을 얻어서 열심히 일 하다가
    돌아 오기를 바래.
    너희들을 위해서 기도하는 사람들이 많다는걸
    기억하고 더욱 힘내기를 바랄게.
    지금은 어려운일 이지만 최선을 다해
    너희가 맡은일을 다 하고 나면
    기쁨의 열매가 되고 하나님을 기쁘시게
    하는일이니 용기를 잃지마.
    그럼 안녕.

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