Sunday, June 30, 2013

June Overview

We have obviously been busy the last few weeks! We've been playing at the beach...

enjoying beautiful sunsets, paddle-boarding glassy waters...

frolicking with cousins, devouring delicious meals...

and relaxing in the sunshine with family and friends...

After our week at the beach, we headed to Great Wolf Lodge

where we spent two days splashing in the indoor water park, eating more good food...

and then we headed to Mt. St. Helens to take in the beautiful weather that had arrived

 and enjoy some of the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

We finished off our trip with dinner at a roadside place with an amazing view and some really delicious food! We've been so spoiled the last few weeks and have enjoyed every moment spent with our families!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Seoul Forest Field Trip

Kennedy's class went on a field trip to Seoul Forest a few weeks ago. Her last field trip of Kindergarten. I can't believe she's a first grader now!

There's something very awkward about going on field trips with a bunch of Korean moms. They all talk amongst themselves in Korean and then every once in a while look in my direction. One might ask me a question in English, and then they turn back to the others, speaking in Korean again. 

Thankfully, one or two of the other white, English-speaking moms usually come along, too. There are a couple of Embassy moms and another YISS mom that usually make it.

I'm also grateful that the Kinder teachers never mind that I have to bring Cade along because he loves these trips!

Kennedy hadn't been back to Seoul Forest since the first month that we were here. The first time we went one of the staff families took us. But, we were never able to figure out how to get back using public transportation. This time when we went, that same girl was a part of our "family," as the Kindergarteners wrapped up their family unit by going to the park for a picnic.

Sadly, Kellyn, who was one of the first kids Kennedy met here, is moving to Malaysia next year where her dad will be starting a new school. She has only lived in Korea, so she is a little nervous and not too excited for the move. Kennedy is not too excited to be losing one of her friends, either.

She already knows that she will probably never see Kellyn again, and I can't argue with her. Unless they come back here to visit, it is unlikely. Sometimes it's so hard to see her go through this again and again, especially when I see how hard she works to make and maintain friendships.

But then I see the way she deals with change. Change in countries, homes, and foods, and I know that in spite of the struggles, she will be fine. She's a TCK, and she will adjust, and I'm so grateful for that!

We've had a great first few days in the States. The flights were good to us. Somehow, they keep getting easier. Even though, for this flight, I hadn't brought any of their normal "creature comforts," the kids still did a great job.

We didn't have any delays this trip, either, which made life much easier.

So far, we've seen Eric's mom and few aunts and uncles and cousins. I'm excited to see my dad and brother in a couple of days when we head north.

Of course, it's a little chilly here in Western WA; it's hard to believe that a week ago I was a bit relieved to be leaving the 85 degree weather of Seoul. But, it's warmer than it was this time last year when we arrived, so we're thankful for that, and we're having fun regardless of the weather!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Kindergarten Graduation

I had just a few (hundred) photos to edit after Kennedy's graduation. And then, of course, there was a flight across the world. We've been here for a couple of days now, though, and things are starting to slow down. I think we're finally able to relax now! Which means I finally got a few pictures edited!

As I've told you, we had a busy day the day of her graduation, so it was a struggle to get out the door on time. Thankfully, Kennedy and I made it to school with just enough time to take a few pictures before she needed to be inside.

Of course, she was embarrassed by the fact that her mother kept taking pictures of her, even though every other parent was taking pictures of their child, as well.

We got a few shots of the staff kids together as a group. They're so cute!

The ceremony, itself, was amazing. These kids had been practicing for months, and they had songs to sing and dances to perform. They were so cute and did such a good job!

They even did a flash mob (a surprise dance in the middle of something else) that was a copycat version of one that the staff did in the middle of one of the assemblies the elementary school did this past spring. They had little shirts on under their gowns and everything. It was the cutest thing!

After the ceremony, we took several more pictures. The one below is of Kennedy with her teacher this year.

The above picture is of Kennedy with her TCK "aunties." The day before her graduation, Kennedy realized what I feared that she would--that she didn't have any family coming to her graduation. After a few text messages, Kennedy was happy to hear that she had a couple of people coming just to see her. Growing up as TCKs themselves, they understood her meltdown perfectly, and were more than happy to step in. I was so happy, I cried again!
Eric wanted a shot with the other dads and their daughters. The one in the middle is moving to Malaysia this summer, and the one on the right is one of Eric's good friends who plays baseball with him. 

I managed to hand off my camera, so that I could get one shot of the four of us. The automatic settings didn't work perfectly, but it's better than nothing!

We are so proud of our little girl as she makes the move into 1st grade! It was such a fun night to celebrate all that she accomplished this year!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Kennedy's Last Day of Kindergarten

Kennedy got a couple of extra days off because she is in Kindergarten, so her last day of school was Monday.

Just like last fall, I had to work on that day, so I took some shots of Kennedy on the day before. She wasn't really in the mood, as you can see from the expression on her face!

With her new love of photography, though, she does help me find good spots to get some shots, which is pretty hard around here!

She had Tuesday off, so that she could rest before graduation, but her mom didn't do such a good job of providing an opportunity for rest!

We took off early in the morning to go to the park with Cade's friend, Ezra, one last time. Then we went to school for the high school staff luncheon, and then a trip to the dentist before finally heading home to get ready for graduation.

Thankfully, I was able to finish all of my grading on Monday, so that we could play on Tuesday!

And now, it's Thursday. The laundry is done, the suitcases are packed, the refrigerator is cleaned out, classrooms are checked out.

Tomorrow morning, we spend a few hours at school for the final goodbyes and then we leave for the airport. We can't wait to spend the summer in Washington!!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Some days are rough

I recently read this article, "When She's not the Good Missionary," shared by friends on Facebook. I've read a few articles about the life of missionaries, expatriates, and TCKs lately, and since every one has caused me to break down in tears, I thought it was time for me to write a post of my own. I don't usually get too emotional here, but today is one of those days.

I think what really got me about this particular article was the reason that she wrote it. A friend dropping her kids off at preschool for the first time. Of course, that can be tough for anyone. I remember the first day I dropped Kennedy off at preschool in Conway. I cried like a baby, but I know that I was crying more about the memories I had at that preschool and how glad I was that she was there than any real concern. But, when we get back in August, we are going to send Cade to preschool. And I am going to cry like a baby. I'm going to cry because he's going to a school where the majority of the students will not be speaking English. I'm going to cry because they're going to serve him Korean for lunch, and I don't know whether or not he'll like it. And I'm going to cry because he isn't going to the little preschool in Conway where I went, Kennedy went, and my mom taught for ten years. Yup, it's going to be rough.

Some days are just rough. Those days when you realize that your daughter won't have any family here to see her "graduate" from Kindergarten. When you know that if you were "home," that your family would fill an entire row because they would be so excited to be a part of her big night. When you realize that it's your fault that you've taken that away from her and her grandparents. She is their only granddaughter after all. Those moments when you sit blubbering like an idiot and trying to hide it from your kids because you certainly don't want them to realize what you have just realized, are rough.

The days when you realize that once again, your daughter has to say goodbye to good friends. Friends that she may never see again. When you realize that she has already stopped talking about the girls that she once considered best friends. When you show her a picture of a girl on Facebook-sometimes your only connection to home-and she doesn't remember her name. When you realize how hard her future is going to be. Not only does she have to struggle with making good friends, but she has to do it every. single. year. because if she's not moving, then someone else is. That's the turnover rate here.

The days when you realize that it's been a month since you've talked or even emailed or texted someone in your family and you didn't even know it are rough. This blog is great, but it's terribly one-sided. You may know what's going on with us or what I'm thinking, but we still don't know anything about you. It's hard work to keep relationships going long distance. It's harder when you realize that you're working hard to keep them alive for those six weeks when you're actually in the same country. Some people you can keep up with all year, but then you don't even have time to fit them in the small window you have because they're lives don't stop just because you've finally flown in. Those days are rough.

In her article, Emily referred to cheddar cheese. I am so grateful to be able to easily get cheddar cheese--even if it is expensive. But the days when just a trip to the grocery store for a few things is a struggle, can be tough. We've been here nearly two years. Why does a trip to the grocery store still have to be so stressful at times? I just needed a few things, but the bag quickly gets heavy when you're walking up hill in the pouring down rain while holding an umbrella and your four-year-old's hand. And some days I ask myself why we can't just pick up a few groceries without being accosted by cameras.

Some days I simply can't handle my children being photographed and touched constantly. Thankfully, most of the time I don't mind it. But some days, it makes me want to scream. What are you doing with those pictures that you take of my kids? Why do you have to give them candy all the time?! Maybe they don't want to hold your hand or sit in your lap! How are they ever going to repatriate to a country where they fit in? Where they look like everyone else? Where no one gives them special attention? Where they don't get candy everywhere they go?

Thankfully, most days are good. Most days it's easy to see how far we've come since we got here. Most days it doesn't feel like an adventure any more; it just feels normal. Most days I'm incredibly grateful that we live in a place that is safe and so foreigner-friendly. Every day I know that we are where God wants us to be and He is going to get us through each and every one of those rough days, and I'm so thankful for that!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...