Part 2: A Summer Retreat to Wherever and Nowhere Expected

The second leg of our brave summer family retreat brought us to the Land of the Morning Calm, South Korea!

Daraenamu Tree in Changdeokgung Palace

The Daraenamu Tree in Changdeok Palace is approximately 600 years old. The Changdeok Palace is one of the five grand palaces built in 1405 by the kings of the Joseon Dynasty. It is a UNESCO world heritage site and tells a lot of the Korean history.

After doing 14 PCS moves plus countless TDYs in between as family, despite their gratitude and sense of pride of the life we lived in the Navy, it’s not surprising that our military-connected youths have mixed feelings about the active military service life we lived. After all, they too, alongside their dad, sacrificed a significant part of their being to the Navy and the country.

My daughter wrote an essay about her military youth experience when she was 15.

Nonetheless, it can’t be denied that our sacrifices opened opportunities and privileges for our children. And although the PCS lifestyle brought them the wonders and excitement of living in new places, it also exposed them to the unpleasant consequences of being the new kid. For instance, the level of playing field regarding education and continuing an extracurricular activity had not always been fair to them, and then they also had to worry every time their dad deployed. On top of that, there’s also the pressure to adjust as soon as possible to their new normal. There wasn’t always support available in the community we were for military families. And yes, having a father who serves their country did not spare them from subtle or obvious biases be it of race, creed, economic or cultural background, or rank of the active duty.

Starting a military family awareness advocacy in a local charter school.

One of the many affirmatives we pushed to our kids and that we also lived by is to keep pressing forward regardless of circumstances. Press forward with persevering hope and faith.

And so, we made it a mission to close the active military book of our life journey on an upbeat note for the sake of our four fantastic children who gave their heart and soul to the only lifestyle they’ve known, and we’ve chosen for them.

Not rushing through anything, except perhaps when we were trying to catch the next flight, we led our tribe to a vacation of “let’s travel light and see what’s out there,” and appreciate the blessings that come with pride, service, sacrifice, honor, and perceived losses and gains. Through this experience, we hoped that we’re able to once again reposition gratitude front and center where it belongs. And that, we all would choose resilience over a fight for control. That, we rediscovered the power of unity through embracing our unique gifts and see that there can’t be peace without magnanimity and forgiveness. And that, we embraced joy by choosing happiness even through disappointments. Above all, we also hoped that we committed enough grace to stay in love through every point of the journey.

The second leg of our AMC summer vacation took us to South Korea. The unexpected non-stop flight from Hickam to Osan came as an exciting surprise for us. Although we prepared the family to be open to everything that came our way, we still wished that we’d visit South Korea. Our desire to see this beautiful country was no doubt influenced by my husband’s fascination with Korea-telenovelas. HA!

Our four-day adventure to the Land of the Morning Calm revolved around street and food walks. We learned a small segment of its history through a palace tour of Changdeok. We experienced a glimpse of its contemporary culture and way of life through our street walks and many food trippings. We were fascinated by how the street of Myong-dong remained enviably clean despite hordes of people and probably a ton of foods served during the whole time it was open for the food walk. And to think that we didn’t even see any security or clean up patrol in the area. Granting there were recyclable and garbage bins everywhere, I was still awed by the discipline exemplified by the residents so much so that the tourists were compelled to take heed of their example.



Just like in the recent posts, I would like to ask for your help. I Started a small travel home based online business not long ago. It was my way of slowly easing into a brand new life of a retired military family. With children to raise and a highly dedicated active duty husband to support, filling the role of a stay-at-home military spouse for most of the previous 20 years of my life was a necessary choice. I hadn’t been able to work for a vast majority of my family’s 14 permanent change of station moves (PCS) plus numerous temporary duty assignments (TDY) in between a PCS, not just because of the transitions involved but also due to frequent deployments and work related travels of my husband. Now that I have the opportunity, albeit in a small capacity to do so, I hope you all will support my effort to earn a little as I transition to a life of a retired Navy wife.

So please book your next travel requirements through my Priceline powered booking engine, TIA!


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