Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Korean Dinner

One of the families from our church invited us over for a traditional Korean dinner. It was wonderful. Sojung enjoyed the comfort food and we enjoyed the experience.
After dinner Sojung played Guitar Hero and Wii for the first time. She was a pro at both. Marcus was excited to find out she loves video games.

Washington DC


Sojung has been in school for two days (there was no school on Monday for teachers' workday)and is starting to adjust to American high school. She said the school she attends in Korea has over 1000 students. NVCA has around 170, K-12. She changed her schedule and is now taking Creative Writing instead of Chemistry. Can you blame her?

Here is a picture of Marcus helping Sojung with her Bible homework.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Jamestown and Yorktown Part 1

It has been a busy couple of days! I wanted to post some pictures from the weekend. I promise to post pictures from Sojung's trip to Washington DC and the rest of the pictures at Jamestown and Yorktown. Until then, enjoy two of the pictures taken at Yorktown.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sojung goes to Washington

Here is the link to the school Sojung attends. It is also where I work. She has enrolled in US History, English, Chemistry, Geometry, Algebra II, Bible, and Art.

Tonight she is spending the night at her PIE (Pacific Intercultural Exchange) rep's house. There will be several other exchange students staying the night. Tomorrow they are getting up early and going into Washington DC. The will tour the White House, the United States Capitol and the Pentagon If they have time and the weather permits they will visit Arlington Cemetery. We plan to take her to visit the monuments when the weather is warmer. Marcus gives the best night tour of the monuments.

This week has been exam week at school so the high school only had a half day of school all week. Sojung has been spending the afternoon with me in Kindergarten. The kids LOVE her! Nobody is accepting as five year olds. They had a lot of questions for her and she taught them to say "hello" and count 1-5 in Korean. They were surprised to find out that several words in Korean are the same in English (pizza, chicken). Sojung must have made quite an impression on my students because at the end of the day yesterday one little girl announced, "When I grow up I want to be Korean!" Too cute!

Sojung promised to take lots of pictures and we will post them when time permits.

Saturday will be another full day. Marcus and I will be going with Sojung and the other exchange students to Jamestown and Yorktown for the day. It is 2 1/2 hours from our house and neither Marcus or I have been there before. We are really looking forward to it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Do these come with training wheels?

Marcus had his first lesson in Chopsticks 101. I think he may need to talk to Sojung about extra lessons! At least you tried, honey!!

On another note, Sojung has a computer in her room now and couldn't be happier! She is able to instant message with her family and friends.
Today was her first day of school and she has a full load! She is taking chemistry, geometry, algebra 2, world history, creative writing, English, art and Bible. I am going to find out tomorrow if we can drop a math class and get a study hall. I have no doubt she is a bright girl, but the girl needs a study hall!
The first day of school was very tiring for her. On top of that the students are all taking exams so it wasn't a normal day. All week is exam week and every day is a half day of school. Unfortunately for her host mom she has to stay all day because it is not half day for elementary.
She is watching American Idol with us. That show is funny no matter what language you speak.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Where is the kimchi?

Those are words I have never spoken until today. Sojung ate her first meal today. Not her first American meal. That will have to wait. She ate her first meal in America. She didn't eat when we stopped for lunch yesterday on the way home from the airport. We went to friends for dinner and had wonderful Italian food. She ate nothing. We went to church and I was hoping she would finally be ready to eat breakfast in the cafe but no such luck. Luckly we attend a very diverse church and there were several Korean women in the cafe. One sweetly greeted Sojung and helped us translate. After finding out that Sojung has not "aquired her American stomach", Marcus took her to a Korean restaurant to eat. When they got back I asked him what she ate. He said, "The number 11." Whatever it was she came back with some color in her cheeks and a bounce in her step.

After church we went to Super H, a local Aisian market that has everything you can imagine and then some. Sunday is a good day to go because of SAMPLES!! We spent some time walking up and down the aisles finding comfort food for her. I know in time (at least I hope) she will develop a taste for our food. She did try some of the food I had for lunch. That is a start.
This is really turning out to be a learning experience on both sides, which is very fun.
I think she really enjoys her room. Marcus has a computer for her room and after he does a few more things on it we will move it in her room. Her face lit up when I told her she would have her own computer.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Korean Air Flight 93 is now in Customs

She is here! After waiting for almost two hours she made it through customs and found us at the airport. We weren't too hard to miss. We were holding a sign, flowers and a camera. Oh yes, I was the only blonde in sight. We stopped for a bite to eat and then brought her to her new home.
We are looking forward to a fun six months.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Markers and Poster Board

I think we are ready. As ready as we can be since we started this adventure less that a week ago. We had a snow storm last night and were unable to go out and run the errands we had planned because the roads were terrible.

Marcus gets most of the credit for getting the room ready. He put a different bed in the room which meant he had two beds to take apart and put back together. And in true Marcus fashion he did it without complaint.

We made a run to Kohl's for towels, picture frames and a rice cooker. Sojung emailed several pictures and we wanted to frame a few family pictures for her to keep in her room. We also framed one of her to keep in the family room. I hope this makes her feel at home. The reason for the rice cooker goes without saying. I was planning to get one eventually and after all of this it seemed like the right time. Now the last thing to do is to create a welcome sign. I have markers, poster board and limited artistic talent. I may have been better off letting my kindergarteners do this.

Sojung left Korea 1/19 at 10 AM. That seems impossible since it is 10 PM on 1/18 as I am typing this. Korea is 13 hours ahead of us. She arrives in the good ole USA on 1/19 at 9:20.

Safe travels, my American daughter. See you in the morning, which is really evening for you. You are going to be so tired...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

It All Begins Saturday!

After much talk, discussion, weighing of options and debate, it is official. We will be hosting a Korean exchange student for six months. She arrives Saturday morning. I can only imagine what she is thinking. I know the things running through my head...things like, "will she like us? will she be bond with us right away? have we lost our minds?"

We will soon find out Saturday morning. Her name is So Jung Shin and she is 15 years old. I cannot fathom living in a foreign country at that age, with complete strangers. And if you think about it, we have a huge responsibility. Not only are responsible for her, we are also responsible for her leaving 6 months down the road with a good impression of Americans and our crazy habits. You know what I mean. Why we are able to consume brick like burritos that could feed small Central American village in one sitting. Why we become impatient at the drive in because it took three minutes to get our food instead of two. Why we have a Starbucks, dry cleaners, Chinese take out and a dance studio on every corner. Or on the other hand, why Americans are generally good people. Why we get a little teary eyed when the National Anthem is played. Why we are passionate about our sports, music, traditions and political views. And why so many people risk everything they have to move and make a new start in this great country.

I guess time will tell. They say that 90% of what you worry about never happens. I am convinced that means I am not worrying about the right stuff. Until then, enjoy one of the pictures she sent us.