Sunday, August 17, 2014

Trip to Denver, New York and Atlanta (July and August 2014)

A Picture-perfect Day in Colorado... at Granby Ski Slope
Kristin took off first because I had to work on a consulting work from Access to Finance Rwanda and also receive a friend and missionary Min-Young Jung who was visiting his son in Rwanda.

Kristin spent a few days in New York and went to Denver first. I joined her on July 24th.

With Ted Yamamori
Sometimes, you get to have a pleasant surprise during your trip. I was pleasantly surprised to meet Dr. Ted Yamamori, who is a renowned theologian and a scholar in kingdom business, Business As Mission and mission through international development. Kristin and I attended an unscheduled gathering to learn about Pyongyang University of Science and Technology or PUST that is in the process of establishing PUMS or Pyongyang University of Medical Sciences, including five schools related to health. Dr. Yamamori is one of the board members for PUST and Yeonbyun University of Science and Technology located in China. Both schools were started and established by James Kim. As a practitioner of BAM, I was blessed to meet and talk to Dr. Ted Yamamori who was Global CEO for Food for the Hungry for several years.

The Lees together... sorry James but I do not have your photo
On Saturday, July 26th, we had a family reunion in several years. Amanda and James drove up from Albuquerque, NM and Joyce flew in from San Francisco. Joyce finished her service as a Peace Corps volunteer in May and got a job in San Francisco.

We used a timeshare condominium in Granby, Colorado. Colorado was a perfect place for our family reunion because our children all grew up in Colorado.

Live, Love and Laugh

Grand Lake Town... Perfect Weather

With Joyce, pedaling a boat at Grand Lake

Before the Ziplining... Yeah!

Isn't it pretty...?

At a mall in Winter Park

At Grand Lake Town

A Band Singing at a mall

Joyce and me riding horses through the trees...
Colorado mountains were just beautiful in the summer. Green trees on the mountain slopes, blue skies, white clouds, clear water in the lakes, clean and crisp air, and  friendly people were in perfect harmony. Besides, we were together as a family.

James had to fly out on Sunday after the Sunday worship service, but Amanda stayed with us for a couple more days. We attended the worship service together, dined together and giggled together. After Amanda left, Joyce and I did some outdoor activities, including Zipline between two mountain slopes, horseback riding in the meadows and woods, and pedal-boating in the Grand Lake. Kristin joined us for the pedal-boating, as a spectator.

We strolled the village street at Grand Lake Town, filled with shops.

We dined at several restaurants, but the most impressive place was Fish taco place with an Asian fusion flavor. They were delicious!

Beautiful setting for lunch invited by Bobby and Sammy

Bobby and Sammy with their son Preston

Elder Ham and Mrs. Ham with her paintings
During this trip, we also had gatherings with many friends, such as Chuck and Eunice, Mike and Hyungjoo, Tai Gil Ryu and his wife, Ki Bock Jang and his wife, Bobby and Sammy, Keya, Dong Kuk, Won Hyung Ham and his wife. Specially noteworthy was the visit to the house of Bobby and Sammy. They had spent several years to upgrade the house little by little and the entire house was decorated with artifacts on every wall and in every corner. Their son, Preston, was an adoring boy who loved to play with us.

Mrs. Choi, Kristin and Mrs. Yoon at Yamagata

Me, Mr. Yoon and Mr. Choi, the travel friends
In New York, most of the time was spent seeing old friends as well as Kristin's siblings and their children. We also visited the nursing home where Kristin's mom is living, but she did not recognize us, sadly. I saw Mr. and Mrs. Yeunho Suk, Mr. and Mrs. Jay Yoon, Mr. and Mrs. Jaesup Choi, Mr. Soung-Eun Hong, Mr. Dae Keun Yoo, Ms. Dayoung Choi, Yeonhee Han, Tae Ok Park, Young Wook Yoo, Kwangho Cho. It was a short 4-day stay to see all these people. Particularly noteworthy was a golf round that I played with Mr. Yoon and Mr. Choi at Haworth Country Club and a wonderful dinner together with our wives at a Japanese restaurant, called Yamagata. A shaved ice covered with red beans and bean powder was a delightful finishing touch to the fantastic dinner.

Kristin went back to Rwanda from New York, but I traveled down to Atlanta for a few days. I stayed at Koomin's house for a couple of nights (August 9 and 10) but for the rest of the visit I stayed at Townplace Suites by Marriott in Alpharetta. The primary purpose of this short visit was to explore Atlanta to see if we want to live here when we become old.

Elder and Mrs. David Cho in Atlanta

Bibimbop in a humongous bowl... empied

Elder and Mrs. Sam Kim in Atlanta

St. Mario Country Club...

With Koomin Chung
I found Atlanta very attractive for a retirement living. Its warm climate without snow (almost) was one reason, but there are plenty of other reasons also. Atlanta is an important hub for transportation. Atlanta's Hartfields Jackson International Airport is home to Delta Airline, the largest airliner in the U.S. Besides, you can reach many surrounding cities and states by car, including Destin, FL, a 5-hour drive, where Amanda and James are planning to settle down when they are relocated to a base in the area. Also, Atlanta has easy access to the mountains, the ocean and beaches and entertainment cities, like Orlando.

Atlanta's cost of living, including housing, is still very low compared to other metropolitan cities. What was most surprising to me was that Atlanta is situated at an altitude of 1,000 feet. This lowers the humidity level in the air, resulting in less humid weather during the summer. I could feel the positive difference compared to the weather in Colorado, which was very dry, causing itching skins for me, particularly during the winter. Moreover, Atlanta had a quality water, another pleasant surprise, thanks to a river crossing and Lake Lanier that provides stable water supply. The water quality was not as good as New York where cool water was refreshing, but the quality of water was comparable.

So, Atlanta's low cost of living, mild weather, transportation hub, fertile soil, easy access to hiking trails, quality water, sufficient amenities, such as health care, restaurants, cultural attractions, education etc., all scored high for me.

I saw several friends to get their feedback and their feedbacks also validated my assessment. I saw Nack Paek, Mr. and Mrs. David Daewon Cho, Koomin Chung, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Sangeui Kim and Kristen Yeo.

On August 15th, Friday, I started flying back to Rwanda via three legs of flights: Atlanta to JFK, New York, JFK to Amsterdam and Amsterdam to Kigali. I left Atlanta at 11AM on August 15th, Friday and landed in Kigali at 7:20PM on August 16th. It was a long journey, but it was another memory-filled travel blessed with health and safety, thanks to the Lord! - Jeffrey

First Impression of Rwanda ... in Someone else's eyes

La Pallaise Hotel in Bugesera
Kristin and I have lived in Rwanda for five and a half years. We have traveled around the country and have posted several blogs about Rwanda.

Here is another view on Rwanda and I think it is well written with many great photos. So I am posting the link to this post below.

Please click here to see the article.