My 2013

It’s the beginning of a year, and my first post on this new blog!  I thought to start things off, I would give a little recap of my 2013!

I celebrated my last New Year’s while living in Queenstown, New Zealand, one of the first places in the world to celebrate the new year!  Donghee (my fiance, now husband) and I had been living in NZ on working holiday visas since November 2011.  It’s a beautiful country!  We supported our travels by living in backpackers and working various jobs, including fruit picking/packing and hotel housekeeping.  What an adventure!  We enjoyed (almost) every minute of it.  We fell in love with Queenstown early on, and ended up spending most of our time in NZ’s adventure capitol.

Queenstown's Lake Wakatipu

Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu

Donghee and I were also just beginning the process of getting his K1 fiance visa.  Anyone who’s had to do this before will understand what a nightmare it is.  Moving around a lot, and even just the fact that neither one of us were living in our native countries seemed to make the process 10 times more difficult.  We weren’t sure how long it would take to get his visa, but we decided to go ahead and make a plan.  We would leave NZ in May, spend a little time in Australia, and then go to Korea.  We would have an unofficial wedding ceremony in Korea on June 29th, and hopefully get his visa in time for our US wedding, which we set for September 28th.

So, at the end of May, we said goodbye to NZ and set off on our Australian adventure.  Donghee had lived on the west coast of Australia before, and I had never been at all.  We decided to do the east coast.  We rented a campervan and started in Sydney and drove up to Brisbane.  I wasn’t a huge Sydney fan.  Just a big city that was difficult to navigate.  We got some beach time in at Byron Bay and Gold Coast.  My favorite part of our trip was going to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.  I GOT TO HOLD A KOALA!

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

If that was the only thing I got to do, I would have still been happy.  We also got to feed kangaroos and wallabies.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Leaving Australia after only 10 days was sad, but we were both excited to return to Korea.  We lived with Donghee’s grandma and aunty.  They were both very sweet and welcoming, but communication was not easy.  I’m trying to learn Korean, but my skills are lacking.  Our Korean wedding was only weeks away, so we were pretty busy.  One big thing we had to do before the wedding was take engagement photos.  In addition to the two wedding dresses, I also wore two other formal dresses, my hanbok, and several casual outfits for our engagement photos.  They redid my hair for almost every outfit.  It was an all day event.

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I had been to a few Korean weddings before, so I kind of knew what to expect.  There was a “western-style” ceremony followed by a Korean ceremony, which is only for the family.  The Korean part involved a lot of bowing, throwing of food, and piggyback rides around a table.  It was quite interesting.

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We went to Jeju Island for our honeymoon.  One of the highlights was going on a submarine ride.  That was pretty exciting!

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We ran into some issues with Donghee’s visa.  We tried to change our address with immigration when we left NZ, but it didn’t really work.  So all his stuff got sent to NZ.  We had to wait for his case to be sent to Korea.  Finally, he got his visa interview date, but it was for early September.  We had no choice but to change the wedding date.  We changed it to November 9th.

Donghee had his interview, and all went well.  He had one wrong form, but once it was replaced, his visa was issued!  By the end of September, we were in the US!

We moved into my parents house where they redid a room for us:)

Then came the stress of planning my US wedding.  My mom had already taken care of a lot of things, but I didn’t even have a dress.  Luckily, I found the perfect dress at David’s Bridal that didn’t need too many alterations.  It was a little more expensive than I had planned, but how many times do you get married?  Oh…wait.  Nevermind.

Shortly before our wedding, my grandmother got sick.  She died only 2 days before the wedding.  I’m grateful that Donghee and I got to see her while she was still doing well.  He was so good with her.  I got to see an even better picture of the man I married<3<3<3

The wedding was truly the wedding of my dreams.  We were a little worried about the weather since the ceremony was outdoors, but other than being a little cool, it was perfect!  We rented a beautiful lake house and had a small, intimate wedding.  Jen_and_Donghee_Wedding_Day-0718  Jen_and_Donghee_Wedding_Day-9860Jen_and_Donghee_Wedding_Day-0671-1  1457710_707931927313_1898743055_n

Donghee’s mom, her friend, and Donghee’s cousin came for the wedding.  We decided to take them to NYC and DC.  I had never been myself.  The trip was very fast, and we were constantly going, but we managed to cram quite a bit into only a few days!

Donghee got to experience his first American Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I think he enjoyed all the food:)  We had a pretty low key New Year’s Eve.  We were playing Yahtzee with my parents and actually missed the countdown!

So now Donghee and I are in a waiting period.  He’s waiting for his work permit and green card, and I’m applying for jobs and waiting to work as well.  We’re both hoping that the waiting will soon end and we will be able to move on to what 2014 has in store for us!

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About koreanbymarriage

My name is Jennifer. I love to travel. I taught English in Korea for two years, which is where I met my husband, Donghee. We also lived in New Zealand for over a year. Now we are back in the US ready to start adventures here!
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