Monday, May 16, 2016

Nancy and Michael's Visit

Do you remember how last year, as soon as Nancy and Michael left everything got really crazy, and it took me until the end of the month to finally post something about their trip? Yeah, I remember that, too. And things haven't really changed this year, except maybe (if it's possible?) we're even busier. Last year, we moved apartments and flew to Jeju for three days. This year, we're moving countries and Kennedy and I are flying to Japan for three days. Apparently, we don't learn our lessons!

But, I am going to try to get this post done before May 30th, and then it might be quiet again. Except for those weekly posts. I don't think I could ignore those if I tried. (Though I should probably see how I'm doing for this week and get some photos loaded!)

I spent my morning working on getting myself a little more organized. I've felt like I'm kind of at a standstill...can we live without that pan or pot for three weeks? Can I pack a few more books? Do we really need this many clothes for just three weeks? But, once I booked those tickets to Japan and realized that I need to have all of the bigger suitcases in "final pack" mode before I leave, it became clear that we're just going to have to live without that stuff. If I don't get started now, I'll never finish in time!

We still have some big jobs to do, and not a lot of free time in which to do them (some of them complicated by the fact that we no longer have a car), so things are a little tense around here. Emotions are high as we think about all of the changes to come and the people and things we're leaving behind. But, we're doing our best to end well.

This week, we have concerts for both kids, Kennedy's first swim meet, Cade has a field trip, and Eric has the 8th grade gala, as well as the regular stuff like swim lessons and Awana. The kids are really excited about field day on Thursday, too. With any luck, next week won't be quite as busy in the evenings, but it seems unlikely since there are still people we need to schedule final dinners with. We're got to give it our all right now, even though it doesn't always feel like we have much to give.

Our time with Michael and Nancy was really good, though, and it gave us a chance to get some major things checked off of our bucket lists. They arrived really late on Tuesday night after a delayed flight and an "express" train that blew right by Hannam-yok, making their trip much longer.

They hit the ground running on Wednesday, though, with Michael getting up early with Eric to go play basketball at school. He and the kids had school that day, and Kennedy had two tests, so we thought it best that they both just go, in spite of our guests. I took them to school in the late morning, and then they visited the kids and hung out with Eric for a bit before taking the "scenic route" home.

That night, we had big plans to go to the National Museum of Contemporary History for the night view of Gyeongbukgong Palace, so we picked up some Moroccan sandwiches at Casablanca (one of our favorites!) for a quick dinner before our neighbor came down to watch the kids (and by "watch," I mean be in the house with them while they all read or slept!), and then we were off!

I took my time getting the perfect shot (or the best I could do...I wish I could see some of the shots that the real pros up there were least I looked the part with my tripod and stuff!), so they had time to peruse the museum for a bit before we headed down to the Cheonggyecheon to see the lanterns that were not yet lit. (This is what they look like lit up.) Then, we began the trek to find a taxi and eventually made it home.

On Thursday, the kids were home from school but Eric had to work, so we played lots of cards and had a relaxing morning while Reece got in a 3 1/2 hour nap (because that's what toddlers do when you're all waiting on them to wake up!). Once he woke up, we took the van to school and walked through Itaewon to one of our very favorite restaurants--Petra Palace--for the last time. We had chicken and hummus, lamb and laban, tabbouleh, and of course, naan. The only thing I'm sad we skipped on was the falafel, since there's is delicious, and I probably won't get to go back. Oh boy. Now I'm hungry, and I already ate lunch.

After we stuffed ourselves with Lebanese food, we headed to a store right across the street that has been on Kennedy's bucket list ever since it opened in November. I have no idea what Line Friends is, and I don't care to put in the effort to Google it, but it is extremely popular among Koreans (what isn't?), and it would seem, 3rd grade girls. The store was not stroller-friendly, nor was the line of Koreans waiting to take their picture with an over-sized stuffed bear, so Reece and I hid in a corner while Nancy and Michael escorted the kids around the store. What a thrill it was!

By the time we were done, Eric was done with his meetings and he met us as we meandered through alleys on the way back to school. He put sincere effort into finding a restaurant that he went to years ago with friends but hasn't been able to find again since. The upside for us was walking by one of the touted "best coffee" shops in Seoul for a refreshing iced coffee. It was pretty delicious, but no doubt I won't make it back to Peer Coffee, either, in our limited time remaining.

For dinner, we continued our world food tour with a trip to Busan Galbi (and a return to Itaewon...we got lots of walking in!) for Korean food because no trip to Korea is complete without it! We had both pork and beef galbi, kimchi pancake, and dolsot bibimbap, as well as the many banchan. Probably another last for us as it's not a cheap meal, and we've got money to save (though it is much cheaper now that Reece is a picky eater; he definitely ate more than his fair share the last time we had galbi!).

Well, I still have tons to do this afternoon in order to get us all bathed, fed, and out the door for Cade's concert tonight, so I'd better get to it. Nancy and Michael still had three more long busy days after this, so I'll have to get back to it another time! I'm off to get Cade from the bus!

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