Small World, Big Love..and a Birdhouse.

Its a fact of life that living away from family means that you will inevitably miss out on life events and special occasions from time to time. Being there “virtually” has been a saving grace for Nicole and I. Skype, Kakao, Facebook, Twitter and our blogs offer us a direct connect with loved ones back home but there are still some things that just don’t quite make the journey through electronic media.

My youngest sister Katerina just celebrated her 7th birthday last week. Its hard to believe since I don’t see her as often as I like and it seems that she’s grown ten fold each and everytime I do. This makes me sad sometimes.  I think of what I am missing and knowing what those things are after seeing my younger brother Shawn and younger sister Shannon grow up beside me. Its becoming more common on skype that I have to shift gears with her just to keep up with her ever changing vocabulary.

I sat back and lamented for days over the perfect gift. You see Kata is really special and she certainly loves kids stuff but i’m her biggest brother and with that title comes the immense responsibility of delivering a gift that doesn’t disappoint. Dolls and make-up aren’t really her thing, unless they come from her older sister Shannon…then they rule. She’s more a bug, dino’s and dragons type. Her strongpoint however is her ability to create. From music to art and everything in between, she thinks in a way only she can and when you see some of what she has created its easy to see her talent. Being that her home on Long Island, NY still has some summer and a beautiful fall to look forward to, I opted for a birdhouse. Not just any birdhouse though….one she could decorate and make special for the backyard in only a way that she would know how. With Nicole’s “OK”, which is crucial and basically like a quality assurance checkpoint I run my ideas through… it went. With the help of trustworthy sites like, Nicole and I were able to gift wrap and personalize the house. Little additions like these help make it more special even when we can’t be there to deliver it ourselves in person.

As expected, Kata made the house beautiful and even wrote a super cool thank you to Nicole and I that her mom scanned and sent to us via email.

While I know that there will be other days we may miss, I also know that Kata and the rest of our family know that while we are away physically, that in our hearts and minds can never be that far off. I hope that in some way for Kata, she can look at our family and how distance can be overcome, especially in the most important relationships. One day she will want to travel, and when that day comes she won’t be afraid to take that step confidently knowing that family is always close….wherever your adventure takes you.

Happy Birthday Kata! Its gonna be an amazing year 😉


Adam and Nicole



  1. It was great talking to you guys tonight. We really got to do these conversations more often. I understood almost everything we discussed (yes, even with the doggone hearing aids). Looking forward to bringing mom home on Wednesday. I thing Sweetpea will go bananas!! Talk tomorrow. I love you two. Dad.


  2. Hi Adam and Nicole,

    Here is April who just moved to Busan from Hong Kong.

    We finally settled down in our nice apartment at Haeundae. Is it very far from where you live? It would be nice to meet some day and talk about adventures!

    My mobile number is 01067726112. Please sms if you have any time to meet up. :o)



  3. Wonderful! But what is kakao? I am on FB of course, if you just search with my full name: April Zhang-Autio. I haven’t started any blogging yet. I do have plans to start writing after I starts Korea language course.


  4. dear adam and nicole thank you for the beautiful leter. i wish you can spend my birthday with our family. i love and i miss you very

    your sister katerina


    • Hi Kata!

      You are sooooooo welcome! We miss you so much and think abut you all the time. We will see you sometime soon though I promise. Until then, we cant wait to talk with you on Skype! Love you and miss you times 10! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

      Adam and Nicole


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