Estar used to live just a few miles from us; we met her when she was asking around for someone who could help her with her English. I have quite a bit of experience teaching ESL / ELL: I taught English in Japan for a year, then I taught ESL at an American community college, then I tutored the children of various Korean families in Seattle. I volunteered to give Estar free English lessons, and in the process we became friends.
Estar is a professional photographer, and she loved the way that natural light came through the windows in our home at certain times of day.
After she'd been coming here for a while for English lessons, she asked if she could start bringing her camera with her. She would take pictures of whatever I would happen to be doing after our lessons.
Later she asked if she could come when Gabriel was here too, and take pictures of both of us. We would always ask if she wanted us to pose or do something special, and she always said she just wanted natural pictures of us.
Estar caught herself on her own time-set camera at the edges of these two photos in our parlor.
When Gabriel and I celebrated our eleventh wedding anniversary, Estar and her husband Matt took photos of us around Port Townsend as their very sweet anniversary gift to us.
Estar and Matt have been wonderful friends to us, and we are very lucky to have copies of their beautiful pictures. These photos have been published by media all over the world, including on Hello Giggles; as the backdrop for my story on The View; on Modes de Vie (French); and others. More than their pictures though, we really appreciate their friendship.
I showed her how to make bread and she showed me how to make kimchi!
Last year Estar and Matt moved back to South Korea. We were terribly sad to see them go, but we knew Estar wanted to see her parents more while her children are still small, so as their friends we were happy for them.
This August Estar and Matt came back to America for a visit, and it was wonderful to see them again! While they were here, they made dinner for us and a few of their other friends at our house.
They also had us to a traditional Korean barbecue with Matt's parents, who still live here in Port Townsend. In Seoul, Matt teaches a university class, and his whole class of students had come to America with him as a class trip. Naturally, they were at the barbecue too!
After the barbecue Gabriel gave the class a short riding demonstration, and the students toured our home. It was a wonderful experience and we'll never forget it!
We've been so lucky to have Estar and Matt as friends!
Estar runs a food blog in Korean, which focuses on how eating the right foods can improve people's health and especially how it can help people with skin conditions: http://blog.naver.com/leeyo711/220515942254