March 21, 2007
Mr Shin is a security guard at our apartment complex (Hannam Village). It's a smaller community over here at Hannam than on the main military base (Yongsan). So we all get to know each other a bit more. We have nick names for all the guards based on the way they look, sound or act. And no, they really don't all look alike once you have been here a while. There is 'handsome one with the mole' or 'lots a lipstick woman with hairnet.' There's 'smiley bows a lot lady who has a crisp salute.' Then there is a man with a deep low voice who I like to call 'Count Dracula' because of the way he sounds when he says "good evening."
The one with the most personality and the best Korean accent when speaking English, is Mr Shin. He has picked up a few English phrases that will crack you up! One night on a Friday for instance, he said to me in his choppy harsh voice "TGIF!" He told Troy the other day to "Seize the day!" I loved it when Troy told me that as Mr Shin looked at his ID card when checking him in he told him "always you are handsome."(and I would agree I might add). We get such a kick out of him that the kids in the car will ask when we drive up "is it Mr Shin?"
I will really miss Mr Shin. Maybe he will pose for a photo with us before we leave.
We hope this isn't a glimpse of her future as a teenager with attitude. She is good as gold right now. Why can't they stay this way forever? It makes me appreciate the baby stage more when I have a teenager at home at the same time. Some of you may know what I mean here...
A and I were working in the kitchen the other day when I was under a lot of pressure with an upcoming primary activity that I was in charge of. I was expecting up to 100 kids from our district to arrive and be dropped off for 3 hours while their parents attended the Seoul temple. It was one crazy day as I was preparing and I had just washed and sectioned off enough grapes for 100 kids and had them on the counter to dry off. A wanted to help so I told her to pat them dry with a paper towell thinking that would keep her out of my hair for a while. I then went on to the next job of figuring out my new food processer to chop cabbage for a salad I was making for the leaders to eat the next day. I had just sliced my finger at the same time noticing that A had decided the paper towell was useless and started using a stinky washcloth from the sink instead all over my newly washed grapes. I snapped and got angry with her. Her face went all sad and confused as to why I was upset. It broke my heart. Patience is not my strong point I must say. I repent fast though, and I took her in my arms and told her I was sorry. I explained that it was a hard day for mommy because of all the things I had to do. I told her it wasn't her fault, but that I was to blame. About 10 minutes later while we were still working in the kitchen, she looks up at me and says "is it still your fault mama?" As if to say "are we still good?" or "are you gonna snap again?" It reminded me of N as a boy telling people that sometimes he pushed his mom 'over the side'(aka over the edge). She kept asking me if it was still my fault throughout the day. Mostly I said yes it was my fault, but finally I told her if she didn't stop asking me that it would soon be her fault. That put a stop to her asking. Doesn't it feel good to be loved and accepted? I hope I can make her feel that way more in the future. BTW I re washed the grapes, but I didn't eat any at the activity : )
March 20, 2007
Remember that song by Oscar the grouch? I do! He sings "I love trash! Anything dirty or dingy or dusty, anything rotten or ragged or rusty. Oh I love trash!" It's a classic Sesame Street sing along song in our family. On the way to church the other day we spotted this lucky guy. I wonder if he knows this song to sing at his workplace? Maybe there is a Korean version of the song. I wonder what kind of OSHA protection the Korean workers receive? It would appear none.
March 19, 2007
So one of the benefits of living here is that there is this awesome gift shop that sells items imported from countries in the area, and the prices are cheap. It's like Pier One to the max and way lower in cost. Things are constantly changing here which makes it very necessary to check it often (much to Troy's dismay). They tempt you by putting up signs all over saying there has been a new shipment from Japan or Vietnam, etc.
So I frequently find these tea sets for A to play with for like 3 dollars or so. She breaks them constantly, and I say "that's too bad- put it in the trash and Mom will get you another one some day soon." It's a real lesson in instant gratification that I like to teach her.
Despite my bad parenting though, A has come up with an answer to the problem -tape! I am finding things like this lately, that just make me smile. She served T and me some tea in this very cup yesterday. I must say it tasted just the same. A bit more sticky perhaps though.
So pretty much since the first week we were here in Korea (almost 2 years ago), we have wanted to see the ancient palace that we drive by on our way to church. By 'we' I mean T and I. The kids seem to have decided that it looks like a boring place to visit. Our oldest son N has a bad case of the homebodies. He never wants to get out of the house. I seem to recall a sense of this in his early childhood when he had the opportunity as a 2nd or 3rd grader to join the chess club at school. He and his dad had been playing at home and it was getting to be a joy of his. When I offered to sign him up I thought he would be thrilled to do so. To my surprise he claimed that he only wanted to play chess in the quiet of his own home with the smell of me making cookies in the background. I thought that was endearing at the time, but I have since come to realize that the kid just doesn't like to leave the house.... at all! N, would you like to go to the zoo? "nope" would be his reply. Anyhow it is somewhat frustrating that this tendency has rubbed off on his siblings. Our trip to China does not get mentioned much at home- too painful.
So I ramble. But I want to make the point that us getting to the palace was a big fat hairy deal. N didn't come, as he did not have a half day of school that day. I must say that while there was less complaining and contention. T and I both admitted to missing him there with us. The other big surprise was that the beards on these guards are not real! We have seen them as we drive by many, many times and wondered aloud just how hard it must be to get a job working there what with the facial hair requirements and all. Now we know the real truth of it all. Taped on mustaches and beards- what a rip!
PS Big Girl looks bothered in this photo of her alone by the pagoda. It could be because I told her this is where the king threw his parties and she didn't think it was a good place to have a parrrtee (said with Nacho Libre hispanic accent which she can do actually).