Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Leaf 1, Chapter 3, Volume 7 (March 1, 2007)

"Aaaaaaand.... we're here!"

We landed safely in Korea around eight in the evening. Singapore Air does its best to make a very long confinement in small quarters as pleasant as possible: between the twenty or so movies, various TV shows, video games, language learning programs, and other fare available instantly and individually on one's own personal seatback screen, or the ample and TASTY food, the many drink runs, the little snacks (fresh fruit, icecream sandwiches, Mars bars, peanuts, tuna buns, etc.) and amenities packages with socks and toothbrush, hot washcloths, an activity pack for Katherine (not to mention stewardesses who remembered her name and greeted her on every trip down the aisle) .... we were taken care of quite thoroughly. However, it was a long run, and we were pretty tired. Judy managed to forget her coat on the airplane, but the half-hour it took for it to be retrieved and sent up to the Singapore Air office was filled with picking up our many bags and hitting a real washroom.

We bought Katherine her last Mcburger for a while and stole her fries while waiting for the Yongin bus. Another forty minutes of travel, but in seats so generous that Kath and Judy both fell asleep until pulling into Yongin... just as the bus terminal was closing at ten-thirty at night. Bryan nobly slugged bag after bag through the terminal, then found a pay phone AND Dev's number.... and lo, our Head Teacher was awake and had our apartment keys! Commandeering two taxis to get us and our luggage up to the Faculty Guest House was thankfully not difficult, though our kisa-nim shook their heads over the amount of bags.

Home sweet... er... empty home. Glad though we were to see the bed, only a quilt and two pillows (caseless) bedecked it. The immaculate fridge was guiltless of even water (though a lingering kimchi smell spoke to its prior occupants) and the cupboards empty of cutlery and dishes. An octet of bamboo chopsticks lurked shyly in the top drawer, takeout hangul emblazoned across their paper wrappers. Our daughter, pint-sized trouper though she had been for the last forty hours, was beginning to fray at the edges - both hyper and hungry, her body confused by jetlag and enforced inactivity.

Dev took Bry in his car down to the little mart at the main gates and picked up some very basic supplies to get us through till morning, while Judy unpacked. In that female passion to stamp her environment as home, she went through every bag: the clothing into the huge empty closets (no hangers, she noted in passing), the few texts and papers on the coffee table's subshelf, Bry's laptop on the computer desk (hey, we have a computer desk!), the shoes on the hallway/landing outside the door, and even a few decorative touches (she'd packed a couple of square cloths and handkerchiefs - one on the coffee table, one on top of the microwave, a batik over the scarred kitchen table...) Katherine was assuaged with the remnants of the snack bag from home - er, from Canada - a few dinosaur cookies and a cup of applesauce, and settled down to play quite happily with her stuffed animals, which her mother unearthed from her suitcase first.

A quick meal of bread and strawberry jam when the men returned, a couple of t-shirts as pillowcases, the couch turned against the wall and a coat as a bed for Katherine (plus her Nana-pillow, unpacked from Mama's suitcase, and her Micio, the stuffed tiger that Liese made so long ago) ....

In the morning (Wednesday) things looked brighter. As they should at five in the morning. But at least there were now eggs, and bread, and the Cheez Whiz from the suitcase to keep body and soul together, and Katherine occupied. Dev came by at about nine-thirty, and put himself and car at our disposal for the day.


And since it was a full and adventuresome day, and Bry is waiting for me to finish, I'll have to post more about Wednesday later! Let me just put in a couple of 'spoilers': Katherine was accepted at "Sunrise Daycare", a local Korean facility; she has a new little Korean girlfriend just a month older than she is; we have met old friends at our favorite restaurants; a huge new E-mart has come in on the main street with lots of food choices and options; and my portable harddrive works marvelously. Oh, and Bry is so happy to be eating dosot pibimpap again!

Love to you all - please comment if you read this!



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