Our two primary goals have been to make the kids feel like they have a home, and the other goal has been to ensure Barry is ready to work. So far so good.
Barry can tell you about the university, but I'll sum it up incase it takes a day or two. He has an office, he's teaching two classes for sure and maybe a third (depending on registration). The school is a ten minute walk through the park away. He doesn't have to wear a tie at work, and he seems to be able to put together three syllabi fairly easily. He starts teaching on Thursday.
George's update would probably be very short. He got a PS4 yesterday, so nothing else really matters. We just need a new tv to hook it up to - that's Barry's job today. His room is nicely outfitted, though he still needs a shelf for books, etc.. He's been shopping a lot for clothes in Malaysia and in Seoul so he looks good too. He's been running several times a week with Barry in the park.
Molly has said at least ten times she likes her room now. The first day we arrived in the apartment she mistook our room for hers and went from thinking she was about to have a nice big room to knowing she was getting a rather small room. It wasn't a great start. She now has a bed with pretty bedding from IKEA, a new wardrobe, new desk and shelf. It's the nicest furniture she's ever had, I think. It doesn't look like much in the photo, but the room is too small to get a good photo in.
Her priority has been to set up a crafting space, and I think she feels that that is now accomplished. There's a store nearby that is kind of like a dollar store, but better quality that we've been able to get lots of little things for her to make her room pretty and organized.The one downside of the rooms here, is that the walls are all concrete covered with wallpaper so I don't see how we'll be able to hang pictures...I'm working on that.
The kitchen is coming along too. We have dishes, a few pots and the basics in the drawers. Our big purchase was a small oven. Traditionally Koreans haven't used ovens, and I'm sure most homes here still don't have them. But what you can buy is a small oven - kind of like a large toaster oven. I decided to buy one used from a New Zealander who's leaving soon. She gave me lessons on it and last night Molly baked a cake. We have yet to find flour, etc, so we'll have to rely on the few cake mixes we've seen for now. I'll be meeting the NZ lady in another two weeks to clean out the rest of the kitchen for her...good pots, pans, microwave, etc.
In addition to setting up a home we've been trying to get used to simple things like how to manage our garbage. The system is complicated here but so far so good. Recycling is serious business. They separate plastic, plastic wrap, metal, glass, paper and styrofoam into containers not far from home. Additionally, we have to buy bags for food waste, which is collected in small pails outside our door, and then there's just regular garbage that we also buy bags for too. I spent a few minutes with a collector trying to learn through hand signals what to do with stuff on the street last night...I think I understand.
For fun, the kids and I have started attending art classes at the Global Cultural Centre. The programs are run by the city, usually free, and open to foreigners only. In our first class we made Hanji - a traditional paper craft. It was fun, simple and we'll be going back every Wednesday afternoon till we tire of it. We'll also take painting classes starting on Thursdays. Our hope is to learn some crafts, but also we hope to meet some other foreigners there.
Our big goal this weekend is to find a pool for Molly...and George too. She still resents us pulling her out of her synchro world, but she says she could make do with swim lessons. We could go to the pool in the more English neighbourhood for lessons, but it takes an hour on the subway to get there so we'll investigate closer options first. We're also investigating Taekwondo classes and other sports here. Most websites are only in Korean, so every place requires a visit which is time consuming. The school year starts here March 1, so I'm worried if we don't find things this weekend, we'll miss the start of sport seasons too.
We had hoped there would be more families in the 8 unit building we're in. So far three other people have moved in but they're all single men. There appears to be some little scooters on the roof patio, but we've yet to see signs of kids - perhaps families will return before classes start next week. In desperation to meet people, Molly and I knocked on a door yesterday. We'd heard two little kids speaking in English a few days ago, but we couldn't see a parent through the gate and door so we didn't approach them. Since we hadn't seen them again we decided to be bold. It turns out they're Pakistani and the husband is a graduate student at the university. They've lived here for 3 years and the kids are about 1 and 3. She suggested when the weather is warmer, Molly and the 3 year old girl could go to the park together....Molly was delighted!
The park still seems to be our big source of daily entertainment. The zoo is full of animals and this has inspired both kids to take a zoology class through homeschool website. As for the other classes....I've been trying to rework their programs, but I'm not happy with the math and English so I think we'll return to the textbooks we brought for those two subjects. We've started a Korean class to teach them the alphabet, but I'd like to get them registered for a real class with other kids too....so much to do!
I'm sure I have a lot more to say, but it's time to get on with the day, and I'll be surprised if many of you even make it to the end of all my ramblings.
We'll keep you posted.