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7 Mar 2017

Twenty years – The day before yesterday, HJ and I celebrated our twentieth anniversary. This is weird, because I could swear it wasn’t that long ago that we celebrated our tenth anniversary. The calendar (and a look in the mirror) tells me that twenty years have passed, though, so I guess it has.

“The more time passes, the less adequate words seem to be in describing how I feel.”

We had quite a full day. It was Sunday, which meant we had church in the morning. There was also a very interesting forum after church where we heard a Harvard Divinity School student from Syria talk about his experiences. Then we went home to rest for a few hours before heading back out to what has become our “local” here, the Red House, for dinner. Our anniversary happened to coincide with the beginning of their “Dine Out Boston” special, a three-course twin lobster dinner. We decided to splurge a bit and get this, thinking that if they were giving us two lobsters, they probably weren’t going to be that big. Well, we were wrong.

Here we are, still relatively clean, before diving into our main course (the appetizer was a nice crab cake). It took us quite a while to crack our way through our two lobsters each, but it was well worth it—the lobsters were full of juicy, tasty meat. When we had finished our desserts of lemon sorbet, the waiter asked us if we wanted any more dessert, but we declined. Not that we had any room for more dessert anyway, but we also wanted to get back to church for the “Night Song” concert they have every Sunday evening. We were a little late, but we got to hear about a half hour of beautiful singing in the quiet, dimly lit church. It was a very relaxing way to end the day.

I’m not sure what I could say about the occasion of our anniversary that wouldn’t sound clichéd. That twenty years seems like it has just flown by? That I would do it all again in a heartbeat? That I feel incredibly lucky and blessed to have found someone so amazing who is willing to put up with me? All these things are true. The more time passes, though, the less adequate words seem to be in describing how I feel.

For our tenth anniversary, I went through our old photographs and chose a selection of photos we had taken together over the years. I decided to do the same for this anniversary. In one way it was easier, as I did not have to scan any physical photographs. On the other hand, there were a lot more photographs to look through. I noticed that the number of photographs we have taken together with my camera has dropped off in the past couple of years; most of our recent selfies have been taken with HJ’s smartphone, and I suspect the next time I do this I’m going to have to raid her photographs for material. Anyway, we start back in 2007, sometime after March.

This was our visit to Mt. Songni in the fall of 2007. Unintentional forced perspective make HJ look like a hobbit here compared to me. (October 2007)

This was taken later the same month, at the top of Mt. Cheonggye in Seoul. I noticed that a lot of the early photographs were taken on mountains around Korea; apparently we used to do a lot more hiking than we have done in recent years. I think that is a habit we are going to have to get back into. (October 2007)

This is a beach in Gangneung, June 2008. We were there as guests of the local government, for a festival they have there every year (if you were wondering about the somewhat more formal attire than usual).

Another beach pic, taken less than a month after the previous one, but this one is in Guam. It was beautiful there and we had a lot of fun, but there was a lot of seaweed on the beach! (June 2008)

Here we are at the Seoul city wall in November 2008.

This is outside Seonun Temple, March 2009.

This may seem like an odd photo to include, but it struck me as I was going through my photographs. This is from our old apartment when I was teaching at HUFS, and it is the only photograph that we have of the two of us in that apartment. If I remember correctly, we took it because that couch we are sitting on is brand new, and we took this to show to family members. But I also like that it is a recursive photo, containing other photographs of us: on the bookshelf to the far left is a photograph of us on an elephant in Thailand and a photograph of us in Sukhbataar Square in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. (October 2009)

Another mountain photo—this is Mt. Jiri in May 2010.

As you may be able to tell from the flag flying in the background, we are in the Philippines here, in December 2010.

Here we are at Jogye Temple in Seoul on Buddha’s birthday, 2011. (May 2011)

That summer we visited China, and the Great Wall was of course one of our stops. (August 2011)

This photo was taken in Rye Playland, in the States. We went to the park because my brother Brian had set up a booth to sell his candles there. (June 2012)

This is from the same trip to the States, a month later, when we were visiting Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Kevin took this photo of us at the end of a short hike we did. (July 2012)

The following winter saw us in Cambodia, where we visited Angkor Wat, among many other sites. (February 2013)

HJ likes to call this our “brochure photo.” It was taken in Hampstead Heath in London in early summer 2013. We set up the tripod as usual, but rather than doing the typical thing and face the camera, we decided to act more or less normal, as if we were just sitting there and talking. I like how it came out, if only because I am not making an awkward face at the camera. (June 2013)

At the end of that summer, we went paragliding in Yangpyeong; this was taken shortly after we landed. Yes, it was awesome. (August 2013)

For our anniversary in 2014 we went to a place called Buzza Pizza in Itaewon. Believe it or not, that plate sitting on the table is supposed to be a pizza. It was good, but it wasn’t a pizza—it was a salad on flatbread. (March 2014)

That summer, we visited the States again, and we spent some time in Hawaii; here we are on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, with Diamond Head in the background. (July 2014)

The next winter we visited Japan, where we had a really great time. This photograph was taken by our host, Hiro, at a ryokan in Kinosaki, a famous onsen (hot spring) village. (January 2015)

That summer we were in Europe for two conferences, between which we were able to do some sightseeing. Here we are on the hillside above the beautiful city of Dubrovnik in Croatia. (June 2015)

We chose a nice day in early spring of the following year to go to park in Seoul famous for its cherry blossoms. (April 2016)

This last photograph is from our trip to Scotland last summer; here we are at a whisky tasting event in Dufftown, feeling very happy. (August 2016)

And that more or less brings us back to today. Sometimes it’s scary how time whips by. Looking back through our photographs like this reminds me what a great time we’ve had together over the years, but it also reminds me that time is a finite commodity. I will definitely be cherishing it over the next ten years.

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