“Good-day sunlight, I’d like to say how truly bright you are. You don’t know me, but I know you, you’re my favorite star.” – Jason Mraz

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This has been the best week in Korea, so far; it’s about time we have something good to smile about. The sun is shining, the roses are blooming, and we are welcoming our first visitors on Sunday, my mother-in-law and brother-in-law.

Only about 5 1/2 months left here and then back home to the land of the free. I can smell Chic-fil-a and Target already.

Check out this video to make your day just as happy as mine! How can you not smile with The Beatles?

It’s the rule of life that everything you have always wanted comes the very second you stop looking for it.Sex and the City

 

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Book Review: I’ll Be Seeing You by Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan

I'll be seeing youI’ll Be Seeing You by Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan is set during WWII. The story is told through a series of letters between two women waiting for their husbands to come home from war. Glory, who lives in Rockport, Massachusetts, is a young bride who is pregnant at the start of her correspondence with Rita, and also has a son who is a toddler. Rita, who lives in Iowa City, Iowa, not only has a husband who is fighting in the war, but also a son, Toby, who is only 18 years old. The women, who became pen pals through the 4-H club, write about love, friendships, good days, and bad days. They share the most intimate details of their lives with each other, as well as war recipes. The women go years without meeting, but that doesn’t keep their friendship from growing deeper and stronger, just like their victory gardens.

I really enjoyed this novel. As a military wife myself, I was able to relate to many of the struggles the women were facing, even though their struggles occurred more than 65 years ago. Glory and Rita are strong military wives. Not only do they hold up the home front, but they also get out into society and work for what they believe in, instead of just staying at home and moping. I think that’s one of the hardest things to do while your Soldier is away: stop crying, get out of the house, and do something worth doing. It’s definitely easier said than done. Glory and Rita both have those days full of tears and worry, but that doesn’t stop them from picking themselves up off the floor and embracing a new day after a difficult one. Their friendship, molded through letters, gives both of them something to look forward to.

Letters are special, and we don’t really write them anymore. While Jim was at BCT, we wrote letters back and forth for ten weeks and four days. There is a special thrill that you get when a letter comes in the mail, it’s so different from the feeling you get when you see an email in your inbox. Glory and Rita live for letters from not only each other, but also from their loved ones stationed overseas. Unlike today, email was not available and letter writing was the only option. The women would go weeks not hearing from their husbands (and son in Rita’s case) and could only hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

I didn’t cry too much throughout this book, although it is an emotional read, but I did cry as soon as I opened the book and read this quote, “To all the women who have waited…and to those who continue to wait.” Maybe it was because I was sitting in the airport about to start my 13 hour flight back to Korea, or maybe it was because I fear the unknown, but it really hit home. I knew that this was going to be a wonderful book and it certainly lived up to my expectations.

At times, the letters between the ladies seemed a bit repetitive, but I’m sure that happens in real life letters as well. I didn’t like the love affair that Glory has with her childhood friend and husband’s best friend, Levi. I wouldn’t consider this a spoiler because it is stated early on about how Levi, Glory, and her husband, Robert, have always been best friends and how there were always unsettled feelings between Glory and Levi. I hated this storyline because many military wives are portrayed as floozies when their husbands go off to war. I always see on TV shows and movies how women are going into bars and flirting with other guys while their husbands are deployed. Sure, that happens, but not as much as society may think. Most of us are loyal to their husbands through thick and thin; after all, we signed up for this life, just like they did.

I would highly recommend this book to all military wives.  I would also recommend this book to anyone interested in reading a historical fiction novel about military wives during WWII. I’ll Be Seeing You by Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan goes on sale on May 28. You can pre-order your copy today!

I was given an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Memorial Day Weekend

freedom is not free

Every year, Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer. This year, while you’re at a BBQ, drinking a beer, and eating a hot dog, take a moment to remember why this day even exists and that freedom isn’t free. Thank someone who has served in the military this weekend, and thank their families as well.

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Happy Belated Birthday, Buddha!

temple6Since Buddha’s Birthday has just past, I wanted to share with you a website I found through a magazine yesterday.

The website began as just a blog for family and friends; the author was facing a difficult time in her life and writing helped her cope. Eventually, she decided that her quotes and words of wisdom could potentially help others. She then created the website Tiny Buddha. Check it out for motivation, hope, and peace.

Military Discount: Please Touch Children’s Museum in Philadelphia, PA

From Memorial Day to Labor Day the Please Touch Museum, as well as many other museums across the country, are taking part in the Blue Stars Program. Any active military member (or spouse of an active military member) can visit for free plus up to five other family members. Read more about the program here. Updated July 2015.

While I was back visiting my family, I wanted to do something really fun with my nephew. There are a lot of kid friendly places to go in the Philadelphia area, and since we went to the zoo and aquarium last time I was home,  I thought the Please Touch Museum was a perfect place to go this time around.

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The Please Touch Museum is located in Philadelphia near Fairmount Park. Children under one are free and everyone over one are $16. Prior to going to the museum, I checked on their website to see if they had a military discount. I didn’t find one on the site, but I decided to ask before purchasing tickets, just in case. I’m really glad I asked because I was able to get myself and one other person in for FREE. Each active duty military card holder (dependent card holder included) is able to get themselves and one other person in for free, so if my husband was there too he would have been free, as well as and one other person. (Parking is not included in this discount and costs $8 per car.)

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The museum itself is awesome. There were eight interactive exhibits for children of all ages to play in. Children from ages six months (there isn’t too much to do for this age group but they could still crawl around and explore in some areas if they have older siblings ) to about eight years old would enjoy themselves at the Please Touch Children’s Museum.

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My nephew is almost a year and a half and he had a blast. He loved playing in the water area as well as the musical instrument area; the whole museum was his playground, a playground without a ton of rules. He was able to push a shopping cart in a make-believe grocery store, dress up as a knight, and play doctor .

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I personally loved the Alice in Wonderland section the best. There you can have a tea party with the mad hatter, paint the roses red, and get lost in a maze full of magic.

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Check out other military discounts in Philadelphia here. Looks like we’ll be visiting the Art Museum and the Battleship New Jersey in November. Even though we still go to places that do not offer military discounts, it’s always nice to save a little here and there.

Less than 6 months left in Korea!

summerMy journey back to Korea started this past Thursday morning and ended Friday afternoon. Door to door, it was about 24 hours. I must say, coming back to Korea felt WAY longer than going to America. Even though I was (and still am) excited to be back with Jim and Toby, I miss America, my family and friends, and Target, a lot.

Coming back to Korea was so different than the last time I came back in September. When we came back in September, Jim was with me, and I was full of dread; we had over a year left here and I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now, we have LESS THAN 6 months and the light is getting brighter and brighter every day. I am ready to move on from this country and get back to our home land, it doesn’t get any better than America, FACT. We still don’t know where we are heading, but we have hopes for anywhere closer to “home.”

I never thought summer would arrive and our countdown would officially begin, but here we are, in May, counting down and looking forward to a summer full of adventure (and packing!!) Here’s to the last 6 months in Korea, thank goodness this day has finally come!

Book Review: Animal Farm by George Orwell

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Animal Farm by George Orwell is set in England. The novel begins with hardworking animals complaining about their lives on a farm. But instead of being told from the farmers perspective, the novel is told from the animals perspective. The animals have grown tired of being told what to do and when to do it. They are also tired of not having enough food to eat. In an effort to gain ownership and responsibility of the farm, the animals stage a rebellion and run Mr. Jones right out of his own farm.

Once the animals take over the farm, they create their own rules and a new way of life. At first, all animals are equal and follow a set of commandments that are posted clearly on the barn wall for all to see. Eventually, democracy ends and the pigs of the farm begin to make their own rules. The animals on the farm notice the small changes here and there but continue to believe that they are better off without their “two-legged” leader, Mr. Jones.

Animal Farm is a clear example of  how destructive  brainwashing can be.  The leader of the pact, Napoleon the pig, easily persuades the other animals that what he says is always right and convinces them that he is the smartest animal on the farm. He eventually elects himself president and becomes as close to a human as a pig could possibly get. Animal Farm becomes a dictatorship with horrible consequences. Even the hardest worker, Boxer, who believes in Napoleon and supports his every desire, is punished without due-cause.

Eventually, the Animal Farm commandments start to change right before the farm animals’ eyes. The pigs and their guard dogs take over Mr. Jones’ house, drink in excess, and create an unstable and unhealthy environment for the rest of the farm occupants. The entire story is disturbing. I was shocked at the actions of the pigs and the destruction that they caused to their once happy lives. Once their rebellion took place, all of the animals lived in harmony. Once greed took over and the pigs realized that they could take advantage of the rest of the farm, just as humans do, they decided to make the best of their own situation and become supervisors instead of hard-workers themselves.

I can’t say I disliked this novel because it is a classic, but I didn’t love it. It was a quick read, even though it took me a while to make time to actually read it, but I could have banged it out in a few hours if I didn’t have a ton of distractions on my vacation. My dad suggested that I read it so I dug through my book boxes at their house and found my copy; he always reads the books I suggest, so I owed him as much to read one of his suggestions. I thought the ending was very flat. I wouldn’t even had known it was the end except for the fact that it was the last page before the back cover.

In the end, if you have to read Animal Farm by George Orwell for school, just read it. It’s an easy book to understand and it’s an interesting way to look at the way businesses are ran and how even if humans were not around, another form of life would figure out a way to take over. If you want to read this novel for fun, go for it. It’s not much of a beach read, but it’s a quick read for a rainy day.