Monday, July 07, 2008

Return to Gimpo aka Baby Reunion

I am going to warn everyone before I start- if you don't like pictures of adorable Korean children then you are going to have a hard time with this entry because there are A LOT. On Wednesday Margot called me up and asked if I would be interested in coming to Gimpo on Saturday to see my old kindergarten students. I have to say, dumbest question EVER! Of course I was interested! In fact, I just about peed my pants at the prospect.

This was all Paige's doing and I'm so glad she made the effort to call all the mommies. Everyone couldn't make it but I saw 7 out of my 10 babies (Kate stopped by really briefly at the beginning but I didn't get a picture of her). The only ones missing were Cathy, Alexa and Sara. So early Saturday morning Matt and I made the trek to Gimpo. We were pretty tired since we went out for John's birthday the night before and also because I was really excited to see the kids and couldn't sleep well.

We met up with Paige and helped her wrap presents for the kids in her car while we waited for Pizza Hut to open up. I've never been so anxious for a restaurant to open in my life. Then Grace and her mom arrived! Grace has gotten so much taller and she's totally lost her baby fat! I was amazed at how much older she looks in just a few months! Then Jake came barging in and I just about died. First words out of his mouth? "Amber Teacher! Long time, no see!" I kid you not. Elly must have taught him that.

Once the other kids had trickled in (Will, Andy, Janet, and Lily) we all sat down and ordered and the mommies slyly slipped away. It was so much fun eating pizza with them- it reminded me of lunch time at Little Brown except Andy was totally scarfing down his food instead of picking at it. It cracked me up that somehow Andy is still exactly the same size as when he started at school. Why are all Korean Andys short? Jake was hilarious and insisted that we share a drink together. He kept pointing at the pink straw and saying "This is YOUR straw and the yellow one is MY straw." His English is getting so good! We got a lot of interesting looks in Pizza Hut since we were so loud and we had a pack of Korean six year olds eating with a bunch of foreigners and speaking only in English.

After we finished eating the kids were getting pretty restless in the restaurant so we lined them up and marched them outside to this little park area. It was sweltering and we were all sweating buckets. It didn't stop us from playing a few rounds of the Monster game and the ever popular Sharks and Fish (basically both are tag derivatives). At one point Jake fell down and the waterworks started. He was fine (I actually expected a scraped knee or two since he fell on pavement but he just had a tiny cut on his hand) but it took awhile to convince him that he was fine. Some funny faces and a bandaid solved that and then it was playtime again.
Then it was time for Margot to go and Paige, Matt, the kids and I decided to move the party to a nearby indoor playground.

Apparently the kids came here on a field trip with Little Brown after Matt and I left. It was a really neat place actually, complete with comic books, computers, a climbing wall and an awesome jungle gym. We spent a couple hours chasing the kids around and playing with them and taking a million pictures. Will's sister Lisa showed up which was exciting for Matt since he used to teach her when she was in kindergarten. I also taught her elementary class. She seems to be growing up into a really lovely young girl and she got such a kick out of Matt saying Korean words. I was also surprised that we randomly ran into Edward who was Lion Brian's older brother. He was just in Canada for a few month and man his English is impeccable!

It occurred to me about halfway through our time at the indoor playground that the moms were getting an awesome deal here- free English babysitting! Hahah! It was so wonderful seeing the kids though. Janet's mom said that she was so excited the night before that she couldn't sleep. I really hope we get to do this again soon. I gave out my card to the moms and Lisa so hopefully we'll get some calls soon. I didn't want to say good bye. (T T)

Afterwards we had coffee and then dinner with Paige. It was great to catch up with her and it's been way too long since we hung out. We also had dinner at our favorite shabu shabu restaurant with Paige and it was so delicious. I'm sure Stephie and Alison remember the one I'm talking about. With full hearts and bellies Matt and I made our way back to Seoul. We both agree that we things were never perfect when we lived in Gimpo but we have so many fond memories of our time there. The relationships I made with my students are something I will never forget as long as I live. In case you missed the link for the pictures the first time, here it is again. Yes, I took almost 200 pictures but who knows when or if I will see these kids again!


Bybee said...

OK, OK...gotta grinchy heart grew three sizes this day...

Carole said...

You look like you are having an awesome time! I am happy for you! i also miss you guys, when are you coming home?

ambearo said...

My babies could melt the iciest heart Susan. I should have put a warning label on the post.

We miss you too Carole! We won't be back in Canada until January at the earliest I'm afraid. When are you coming to visit?

Carter said...

The cutest is too much to handle. Jake is freaking adorable!!! The picture of him kissing you---SOOOOO CUTE!!!