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Asian Werther's

We’ve been spending our Saturdays hiking across South Korea - one trail at a time. I’m not someone who would classify myself as an avid hiker…or any sort of hiker at all for that matter. Growing up I have memories of traipsing after my oldest sister in the woods behind our house in Germany. I was always ready to turn back. I preferred playing with Playmobil or my American Girl doll. The only time I can remember enjoying hiking is when my Uncle would come and take us on adventures in the woods, and we would return late at night exhausted and with wet shoes. I remember the wet shoes part because my Mom was usually irritated the next morning when none of us had clean shoes for school. Tim and I hiked a bit in New England and if we were on vacation - but never on the regular. However, here I am in Korea planning our hikes for the weekends.

Somehow, the Korean hikes always feel like one is being pulled over on us. We expect an easy to moderate hike, and by the end of it even Baby Olive is sweating—and she’s being carried. I feel like I’m never prepared for it. On the way back I’m usually grasping at sturdy-looking trees for extra support and wondering how much a helicopter evacuation will set us back. The Koreans however are very prepared and always have snacks, which they graciously share. Back home in the US if an elderly couple offered me trail mix on a hike I’d politely decline. That’s not an option here. One, because I don’t speak the language and two, because I’m hungry. A few weekends ago we hiked at a place called Elephant Rock. By the time we had made it to the beach to see the Elephant Rock, the girls are ready for snacks and naps. Unfortunately, there's another 90 minute hike back to the car. On our way back we stop to catch our breath. and this lovely Korean couple starts to dig around in their fanny pack as soon as they get sight of us. This happens so regularly I know what they are searching for -- something to offer us. They produced what I can only describe as the Asian version of a Werther’s Original and offer them to us. Since we don’t speak any Korean, Tim and I just continually bowed our heads and say thank you. We looked like bobbleheads on a car dashboard. The candies are exactly what I needed, and I made a mental note to buy Werther's next time I'm on Base. The Koreans continue to ask us questions about the girls in Korean, and I just answer what I can only imagine they're asking: she’s two, she’s one, yes, yes very close in age. They completely ignored that we don’t speak their language. We go on like this for a little while and then the two go on their way, smiling back at us on their way up the mountain. They don’t look fatigued at all. It must be the Asian Werther’s. In all honestly, the girls do great! Myself, included.

This past weekend we did a shorter hike near a honey bee farm and cafe. We hadn't checked the forecast and once we reached the peak it started to pour. It rained the entire hike back. Looks like my shoes will be wet again, sorry Mom!





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