Friday, June 3, 2016

Saturday, Day 29: Headed Home

Last day before we head home. I’m going to miss this little guy who when asked who is going to help him get ready for bed, passes an “arrow” from one to the next several times before stopping at Grammie. I’m going to miss his crawling into bed with me of a morning or begging to see pictures of himself or his cousins on my computer. I’m going to miss his eagerness to race when challenged to see who can go to the bathroom quickest or get their shoes on fastest. (Don’t knock it; this alternative to a defiant “no” or tearful “I don’t want to”, is hard to beat.)

Next time I see him I know he will be taller. His vocabulary will be bigger, and he'll probably get those Ls that he is working so conscientiously to pronounce. The things that send him into temper tantrums will be fewer (I hope). He will recognize more printed words or at least be able to sound them out. Hopefully, he will still love sharing stories and cuddles and talking to Jesus.

I am grateful that I can spend this time with him. My parents had far less time with their grandchildren when my kids were his age and we lived far away in Brazil. Next week I will be able to hear his voice and see his smiling face via Skype if I want to (and if he can pull himself away from play long enough). Skype didn’t exist when my mother would have loved to see my little ones and interact with them as they became more and more themselves.

I will miss hanging out with my daughter and crossing paths with her very busy husband. I’ll miss meeting their friends and seeing them interact with the people in their everyday lives. But at least when Erika mentions someone, there is a good chance that I will know who she is talking about. When she says what a good time they had at [fill in the blank], I might have been there and be able to picture it.

I look forward to my own bed, my own kitchen, my own routine, but mostly I’m very grateful to have had this opportunity.

Friday, Day 28: Seoul Forest

The day started with breakfast at the Original Pancake House, not far from the base. We were meeting friends from the distant past. Mark and Sherri Harrington's daughter Tamar is marrying a Korean she has known since college days. Sherri was at Oberlin College with Steve. Mark was his housemate in Ann Arbor before we got married. They were both at our wedding, but didn't meet until later. We have all wanted Erika and Tamar to connect since both will be living here in Seoul. It was a fun talk fest. Great omelets.

 We were on our way to Seoul Forest for the day.  It was a short jaunt by subway. Simeon is an old hand at lining up to let other passengers get off first.

We had heard Seoul Forest was the Korean equivelent of New York's Central Park. Beautiful spot for a relaxing day.

Erika and I were coveteous of these apartments that open directly onto one of the plazas next to an area of hip restaurants.

Simeon (and a bunch of other kids) loved the water park. Now that it is summer, the fountains, which come and go at a variety of heights, always surprising, come on for half an hour out of every hour. We arrived in time for the last five minutes or so of one segment. A soaking wet Simeon waited patiently for 30 minutes for the next water time. He had a half dozen wet Korean teens trying to practice their English with him while they waited.

Here's a still in case you have trouble with the video.  I was sorely tempted to join him.

When we left at the end of the day, we had to be sure we passed this area during one of the off times, or we never would have gotten away.  

The other favorite activity at the park was this slide that he went down at least a dozen times. Mom and Grammie did join him on the slide.

When we visited Nami Island on a previous trip, I was impressed with the mini-libraries everywhere. They were here too, including at this sand area where Simeon played for about half an hour while we sat in the shade. I read my e-book; Steve did crossword puzzles; and Erika identified with Korean culture by catching up with Facebook on her phone.

Very relaxing day. Lots of fun for Simeon, who survived without a nap and stayed cheerful most of the time.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Thursday, Day 27: at home

Another relaxig day between outings. Plenty of time for silliness with grandpa.

And playing on the playground. Why is climbing up the slide so much more fun than coming down?

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Wednesday, Day 26: Korean Folk Village

We visited the Korean Folk Village the last time I was in Korea, but Steve had never been there, so we were eager for him to see it.  Erika looked up the route on the computer last night. We could spend an hour on the subway to connect to a half hour shuttle bus that goes every half hour, plus needing to get to the subway, for a total of probably two hours. Mapquest said the Korean Folk Village was half an hour away, but that didn't take into acocunt Seoul traffic. It really was a debate, but in the end we decided that the car would allow us to take the stroller more easily. In fact, the drive took a little over an hour, and the return during rush hour, just under an hour and a half, so driving was the right decision although at one point as we sat totally stopped in traffic we wondered.

Unlike our previous visit, there were not 10,000 children on school outings. It was easy to see the shows and traditional houses. Front row seats for the farmers dance that I still find awesome.

Simeon wanted his picture taken with one of the guys with a "string," the ribbon on his hat.

He also enjoyed helping "make food" with a mortar and pestle not unlike the ones we used in Africa. Erika is carrying a water jar in a kind of backpack. African style on the head looks simpler to me.

There was also a baby carrying back pack, but we didn't figure out how you could do that without the baby falling out. There weren't re-inactors and English signage didn't answer all our questions. There were sometimes manikins in the houses like these in the nobleman's house where the traditional wedding ceremony took place.

I loved this garden in the middle of the scholar's house.

 And even more this scent garden.

Midday I saw teens sprawled in one of the gazebos, sleeping or on their phones. That looked like a good way to avoid pooping out mid afternoon. 

We left at 4. Simeon was asleep before we reached the highway. Steve and I sat in the car with him while his mom went into the commissary to buy vegies for supper. Then I sat in the car and read my e-book in the parking lot in front of the apartment while he continued to sleep. Pretty tiring day.

Last night we watched Planes. Tonight we watched Planes 2: Fire and Rescue, "Red Dusty" as Simeon calls it.  He has watched the first Planes movie at least a hundred times, and is well on the way with the second. He watched it at least five times on the iPad over the weekend. I saw the ending multiple times in the car as he kept rewinding to see Dusty turn red (as he becomes certified as a fire fighter), but we had never actually seen the movie start to finish until tonight. His favorite Wii Resort game is the flying one. I wonder how many little boys will grow up to be pilots thanks to Disney.