Friday, 16 October 2015

Thursday 15th October

So I am here – finally – in Johannesburg – sitting in a Spur restaurant. 

Where to start… Luke and I set off from the villa at about 2.15 – pulling my bags up the hill to the Grand Hyatt to catch the airport shuttle. A good idea as it was very direct – about an hour and 40 mins – having a last sight see of Seoul. We thought of using the metro but then decided nope – too much and it would’ve saved about 15 mins or so.   I wanted to leave before Morgan came home – we had told her that I was leaving but I guess I never actually said goodbye as such – so be it….

So at the airport, Luke checked me in on line. We had then to go to the counter to get my boarding card. That was when the fun started – I had completely forgotten that I should also have my South African passport as well as my British passport – I left SA and entered Korea on my UK passport but to get back into SA needed my SA passport or else a visa on my UK passport! The lady was very sweet but kept on saying how can they let you back into the country of you don’t have a visa…. I have a letter dated 1997 in my UK passport from the Dept of Home Affairs giving me permission to have dual citizenship but that I needed to produce this letter and my passport to re-enter the country (SA). Anyway when I told her I had my SA passport number she finally said I could go – the other thing was that my UK passport did not have an entry stamp in it as I guess with so many people coming in together – it didn’t get stamped!! Anyway she wrote the entry date in and said good luck – she was sure that they would let me in….. 

Luke had a burger while I went off to find a plug for my computer so that I could find a document that might have my SA passport number in it!!! I found it on my Volunteering in Nepal documents!! YAY!! All very tense. 

Luke caught the metro back home and I checked through customs and bought a book – in fact one set in Seoul – that I started while waiting to board.

The flight was great – a 3 hour flight to Hong Kong – the lady wisely booked me an aisle seat as close to the exit as she could, with no one next to me – the transit time was bit tight but the airline met the Jhb passengers off the plane and took us through customs with crew and staff so all was fine.  I ended up in an aisle seat again with two empty sets next to me and a big guy from Senegal on the other aisle seat. He invited me to use all the seats so I managed to spread out and get some shut eye. Quite a different experience from our (Business class!) flights to Korea but nevertheless just fine!   I even got to watch “Far from the madding Crowd” and literally squeezed in seeing the ending as we landed at ORT.  I was caught completely by surprise as we touched down – was dozing I think and thought oh my these are pretty bad rumble strips/speed humps we are driving over when I looked up and out the window and saw the land flashing past and suddenly felt the tears welling up – I was really choked – it felt so wonderful to be back on SA soil… Then of course I started worrying about how I was going to go through passport control without a passport!!! So I handed in the UK passport at the SA passport holders point of entry – of course she wanted to know if I was a SA citizen – I then showed her the letter and off she went and came back with a large chap who said I would have to go with her – Pindile – to get my fingerprints checked. Off we went - I felt sooo foolish. I heard them talking and said in Zulu that I had forgotten it and then one said, in Zulu as well, did she lose it or forget it and I said no I had forgotten it and that it was in my son’s home in a drawer!!! That reassured them as they were concerned that I had lost it! They asked me for my ID which I think I have also left in Seoul!! I showed them my SA drivers licence. They asked for my ID number, then the SA passport number and date of issue and expiry. I then had my thumb print taken and all matched what they had on their system.  Anyway I was given a section 22 or something warning which was a first warning. I could get another warning and on the 3rd time. I would lose my passport and not be allowed to leave the country every again!!  It felt so weird to be asked how long I planned on staying in SA ……!!! 

When we traveled to Korea, Mel had all the documents together and handled all the airline check ins so it just made sense for me to give her mine as well. The problem is that I never got them back from her. I had my UK passport as I needed it to get into the tour of the palace that I did in Seoul. I completely forgot about the other documents!!!!

Once through, I called John tell him all was well – I was in floods of tears by this time – I guess I hadn’t realised how stressed I was by it all!!!  Besides all the other stuff probably (no, definitely!) going on – being back in SA again, leaving Luke and Mel and the children…..

I must say it feels wonderful to be here - to hear the accents, to see the familiar looking people, to see so many black faces again, to see the usual restaurants. My friend Sheila, who was going to chill with me until my CT flight, was not able to be here after all. So I tried to get an earlier flight as I had a 4 hour wait, but there was nothing available so I checked through my bags and have been sitting here in Spur – had two cups of hot tea and cold milk, an enormous breakfast – eggs, steak, bacon, wors, tomato, chips, mushrooms and toast, all for the princely sum of R 79.50!!! I have just loved listening to the chatter around me - and sitting here with all the different races and languages that make up the people of home!! Am now enjoying a rooibos cappachino so I really feel that I have landed! 

Something else just occurred to me – I am enjoying seeing people interacting and not sitting next to each other having conversations with some one else or with their heads buried in an e book or more likely a game!!

Josh called me soon after I landed – that was also a bit of a tearful call – then I chatted to Beulah who is fine but very tired after having chemo and steroids yesterday. So there it is – I am here and happily so – of course I am already thinking about Morgan and how she was when she got off the bus yesterday but I know she is fine. I will come back to get up to date on the last few days in Seoul – was fun. Now the last leg to CT and mister John – YAY!! 

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Wednesday 14th October

So it is here finally - DEE day!! Thought I could get a wee blog in but Seren is stirring so guess it will be very wee!! Luke and Memory have gone off to the embassy for Memory's alien registration interview or maybe to just collect her AR card which is the final bit of paperwork they need to do - YAY!!

I bid a tearful goodbye to Morgan this morning - me tearful - altho she didn't see them because that was my last time with Morgan for a while and her because "I don't want to go to school nana!!" She knows I am going on an aeroplane to see John today - didn't quite spell it out to the extent of  - so I won't be here when you return from school.... but her comment when I mentioned that I was catching a plane tomorrow (last night) was "And I am going on the plane next week!" So I said she would fly next year but before that nana Sue and Bampi were coming to see her and next year John and I will come back again - she then added "and Loqi" (our 15 year old kitty!!)  We then had a long discussion about why Loqi would not be coming - with many why's after each answer!!

Luke, Morgan and I played school last night. She suddenly said we had to go into her playroom (bedroom) for a lesson. We were told where to sit and how to sit with crossed legs - much discussion and concessions because I can't sit with crossed legs!!   More later as Seren is now chatting in her cot and is definitely awake!!!

Friday, 9 October 2015

Friday 9th October

So we didn't get to the supermarket yesterday and instead set off after Seren's nap this morning - very comfortably in the wagon!!

Here it is fresh off the assembly line!! This how people park their cars here - always reversed in, ready to drive out

Proof - 39 k's on the clock!

Not much space for shopping et al once Seren's pram is in place!! Seats 8 and 9 are jump seats here in the back 

View from the front passenger seat past 2 car seats in 2nd row, to 3rd row, passenger seats, to back - boot area or jump seats

The madams in the carriages awaiting lift off....
Memory and Seren in the Lotte market - the big supermarket where we do all the food shopping. Between the two of them they created quite a stir....just curious on lookers, most of whom ignored Memory in their preoccupation with Seren's  blue eyes!!

After a mammoth shop - we went to an American pub type steak house called Benningan's where
Seren had her first restaurant food - she loved the chippies!! After she had had her own lunch brought with us!!

The family sitting down to lunch!
 A super outing - after the shop Memory and I went off to get her a tracksuit at the pop up shops outside the mall. We found a top and bottom that looked good together. Thereafter we set off home.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Thursday 8th October

So yesterday when Morgan arrived from school, we went straight from her bus to the Swing park - Memory pushing Seren and Luke, Morgan and me on shank's pony!! The days are lovely at the moment - a definite chill in the air though, hinting at what lies around the corner. Will continue later as I need to get Morgan's lunch started.

So this is now later - we had a lot of fun at the park with Morgan climbing all over the jungle gym and monkey ropes - Memory will have her hands full watching both of them when she is on her own but I have no doubt she is up to it - she was often at the park in Rondebosch with the two of them and once Morgan has something explained to her she is usually happy to follow what she is told, so in thus case - not that high, I can't manage you  - I always say - "Morgan that is something you will have to wait to do with daddy!!" - usually climbing into the upper branches of the tree here in the garden.. Seren is so close to crawling - I am very glad that that will be Memory's challenge and not mine!!!

Last night was lovely - to hear the peels of laughter from Morgan and Memory while Morgan took her bath - they were singing 'Shosalosa' but a so-called naughty version that Morgan learnt at her old school.

I am now sleeping on the huge loft sofa in Luke and Mel's room - it was the best option and is working fine. Seren is back in their room and Luke has now put a nail in the ceiling to hang Seren's mosquito net from - shame she has been badly chowed by the dam mossies, and has three inflamed bites on the left side of her forehead.  They don't seem to bother her though.

So last night Mel arrived home n the monster!! - their huge black 9 seater car. It had 39 kms on the clock and was covered in plastic. Morgan and Mel had a great time ripping it all off this morning. Luke then drove the three of them off to Morgan's school as Mel did not have to go into work today and decided to use the opportunity to spend some time at Morgan's school. Morgan was very happy in her new spot as she is quite a bit higher than in the other car and so can see a lot more. The windows in all the cars here are tinted so its impossible to see her from the outside. Luke fetched them just before the children had lunch and nap so right now they are both having a nap together before Morgan goes off to Georgia's for a play date and the rest of us go shopping - mainly to find food supplies for the house and Memory so she can prepare her own meals and also to look for winter clothes for her.  I spent some time with Memory and Luke this morning while Seren was napping, looking at some of the  Montessori material that we bought for the children and explaining the how and why and when of playing / working with them with both children. Seren astonished me yesterday by picking and placing a ball inside the round hole in the roof of a wooden box. The ball then slides down the base of the box which has a ramped floor and out an arch in the side of the box where it is caught in a pen like space with low ridges on the sides.  She repeated the action 21 times - this adoring granny was observing her and counting. The genius of Montessori to create an activity that a child Seren's age can manage and succeed at, as well as allow for the child's need to repeat the action so many times.  It is wonderful to see how dextrous Seren is becoming as she makes her choices of what she wants to hold and what she wants to reach out and grasp and by any means get to .......  We have sorted out the two sets of shelves on the two play mats so that it is safe for Seren to have access to the bottom two shelves.  I have really enjoyed getting the play areas organised. It works very well for them to be part of the lounge / dining room area. Morgan has her train set in her bedroom so it is fine for her tracks to be set up permanently. I now know all about Thomas and Gordon and their mates!!

Nancy is here today so all is looking pretty spruce!!!

So this time next week I will have just landed in CT - how exciting is that. The only thing is of course, I am already placing more value on the little hugs and times of closeness I have with Morgan and Seren as the day of departure gets closer!!  Nope, don't lets even go there!!

One of Morgan and Seren's favourite games is for Morgan to throw her beach ball covered in as Luke said "A whole lot of different Disney princesses!!" at Seren - it usually bounces off her face or head and then Morgan throws it again amidst peals of laughter from Seren - see the short video below - Morgan pushed off once she spotted the camera!!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Wednesday 7th October

So today we have Memory's hands to help us! It was so sweet to see Seren and Memory together again this morning - as if no time had passed since they were last hanging out!!

This morning in the play area - Seren wearing Morgan's 12 - 18 month baby grow pyjams!! -
we have a tall gal here that's for sure!! Seren turned 10 months old on the 2nd Oct.
After Seren's nap this morning, the three of us took a stroll up the 90 degree slope to Namsan Park!! Memory pushing Seren's pram. The park is really very close, just up this impossibly steep hill but nothing that someone who has been around for less time than me, cannot manage!!!  We hung out in the rest tent at the Children's Forest playground where Seren sat happily playing with her toys while Memory told me all about her trip. The only hiccups were at the Korean embassy in Harare where she was told she had to come back in 4 days rather than the next day as we had been told. She immediately phoned Mel and while she was on the phone to her, a Korean woman appeared who confirmed that memory was correct - she then took Memory's papers and asked memory to fill in forms and told her to come back the next day. Memory and I agreed that this is exactly what so often happens in government offices - certainly in South Africa - where people just accept what they are told - that they must come back another time - power and control mentality!!

The second hiccup was at check in at ORT airport where she was asked for the letter of introduction and her work contract - these were in her case as she thought that she had only needed them to get the visa number and that all should be OK there after. So once again she got onto the phone to Mel who emailed a letter of introduction and Memory's contract straight to the person at the desk. 10 minutes later Memory was given the go ahead to board! The wonders of this techno age!!

Tuesday 6th October

So wondrous news - Memory had arrived and is fast asleep in her room! What a star to have made it all the way - quite a journey which started a week ago on a bus from Bulawayo.Morgan was still awake when she walked in with Mel - when she heard Memory was here she came out of her room and ran into Memory's open arms - wonderful....

So we are now looking at my return flight - in all likelihood I will fly out on the 14th - it will be good to have some hand over time with Memory. It feels really good to be going home but the thought of not seeing the children is not good but I knew that all along ..... will clock in again tomorrow

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Saturday 3rd October

So things are certainly moving right along here...... the best and big news is that Memory is en route!! She did all she had to do - quite a daunting task - organise family affairs on her home front, bus from Bulawayo to Harare, check into a hotel, find the Korean embassy and get all the paper work and interview process slotted, then catch a bus to Jhb from Harare.  Well done Memory we are delighted and can't wait for her to get here on Tuesday evening.

Today I woke up feeling pretty rotten - no doubt a combination of too much wine last night and a bit of a googly tum! Anyway I handed Seren over to Luke at about 7 am and went back to sleep. I then slept while Seren had her morning nap. Everyone went out for lunch while I pottered around feeling much better. We then achieved the much desired trivector!! Seren and Morgan asleep at the same time! Luke and Mel got stuck into the store rooms downstairs and sorted out the remaining boxes - much excitement as we rediscovered the last of the toys and the winter clothes Mel had ordered from the UK for the girls, plus Memory's box. So we are feeling pretty satisfied after a productive day. Luke is out with the cycling guys and Mel and I are chilling at home.

Yesterday Morgan and I went to an amazing place called the Teddy bear Zoo, with Georgia her friend from school and Katie, her mom. It is on the second floor of a VERY upmarket mall - quite expensive - about R 300 entry for me and Morgan so not somewhere one would go every day!! It was Disneyland on steroids!! Everything was artificial - there were life size teddy bears dressed in parks board type uniforms dotted all over the place. As we walked in there were surfaces - like wooden planks with tree logs to sit on where the children worked in their own space that had a virtual book with different animals on each page. They chose the animal they wanted to colour in, which they did by choosing colours to then draw in the outlines of the animals with their fingers.  They then had to touch the scissor icon to "cut out" their drawing. After this they swept their hand over it(threw it away!) and it suddenly appeared on a screen where it joined the other animals in the jungle!! So Morgan was able to watch the fox she had coloured in, walking around under the trees in the jungle!!! They could also email it to themselves and print it out at home!!! There were enormous animals for them to ride on, steering along the track - Morgan chose to ride on a rhino but lasted all of a minute before she wanted to get off. Georgia was on her lion for rather longer! Then there were foofi slides which they called monkey slides and a kangaroo trampoline and a place where they could play with large construction vehicles - see the pics - need less to say they had a ball.

Geogia and Morgan in the wide walk ways of the mall
A couple of the life size animals for the children to ride on
The farm yard animals
The shopping centre was something else - so luxurious - all the fittings and finishes - with many western ranges and English everywhere!

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Wednesday 30th September

So today has been a case of "a woman;s work is never done...!!"The upside of course is how holier than thou one feels... certainly I do as I sit here with my feet up enjoying a cup of tea. Seren is asleep, Luke has just finished his cycling and has gone off to collect Morgan from her play date with Georgie. They are off school the whole week - Monday and Tuesday were pubic holidays but their school took the rest of the week.  We got a text from Katie, Georgia's mom to say that Morgan had taken herself off for an afternoon nap after lunch time - excellent as we were wondering if we should fetch her and she showed (again) that she can figure it out!!! Quite significant as Georgia does not have a nap in the afternoon.  Tomorrow Georgia (and her nanny) are coming here for the day (its the first time she has been here) and in fact Morgan's first official play date at home...and on Friday they are going out with Katie somewhere. I shall probably go as well. We'll see.

So Seren had a great nights sleep - I watched a movie last night. We had such fun. After I bathed Seren, Luke, Morgan and I went out for a pizza and pasta at hte bottom of the road at a place called Serious Deli. It was wonderful - lots of activity a with many pedestrians enjoying the evening. While we were sitting at our pavement table, Max, Oscar and Greta and their mom Julia came passed - big greetings...I really enjoyed my clam spaghetti - memories of being introduced to clam spags in the 70's by Richard, Kathleen's husband when John and I traveled in  California in a friend's camper van!!  Luke and Morgan shared a pizza, then off for ice cream at the 7 / 11 - they actually have magnums!! And then we ended up at Luke's favourite coffee shop where he had his coffee and Morgan had foam milk and sprinkles - see the pics!

Its a toss up between posting pics and getting more words down before Seren wakes!! So the words take priority. John and I have decided that this is not the right time for him to avail himself of Luke and Mel's generous thank you offer so he is not coming over just yet. Hopefully Memory is at the Korean embassy in Harare as I write so she could well be here next week some time.... YAY!! Its an interesting thing - like when the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear - so now I find that as the time comes closer for Memory to arrive, I am more and more ready to return home and pick up my life again. Of course I will miss the children ad Luke and Mel as well. But I am ready for a rest and for some time again with John.  It feels very unreal to think of not being with the family full time and especially of course Seren as we have been joined at the hip for two months but this is what it is - I knew this day would come and am just so very grateful to have had this time - seeing where they live and who their friends are and what their neighbourhood is like. I am going to Morgan's school on Monday so will see that as well before I leave.

This morning Seren and I took out the garbage to the bins at the back of the complex and on the way back we spotted a huge, what I think was a type of bumble bee, drinking nectar from the wee purple flowers growing in the garden.It was astonishing and we watched it for a good few minutes. She definitely saw it and watched it- her whole body squirming with delight as it flew around. It was extraordinary - in fact very like a humming bird - with its wings flapping at an incredible rate as it suspended itself near each stem.I couldn't figure out how it was getting any nectar as it didn't go close enough to the flower and the I spotted a long black spindly probiscus - amazing - it was able to direct it into the flower centre and get what it needed and it did this for ages without tiring. What a special moment to share with the animal and with Seren! We certainly live in a wondrous universe on an even more wondrous planet....  

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Saturday 26th September

Well what a great Pru day!! I set off at just after 11 am to catch the train from the Itaewon station - got there just in time after the up and down and I mean steeeeeeep up and down from the house to Itaewon smain road where the station is.  Luke loaded a subway app onto my phone so I was able to track where I was and where i was headed as he had punched in the departure and destination points. So organised with exact times it will take to get from A to B and the number of transfers plus when the next rain is due!!

So I went off to watch the WTA tennis held at the Olympic Park where the games were held in 1988. It was absolutely thrilling. I was in my element watching these women beat the shit out of each other!!!! I could not believe the pace of the ball and the strength of the shots - back and forth. I was close enough to hear them muttering - about 4 metres I guess and a couple of rows above the court surface level. The were not top seeds which made me even more awestruck as heaven knows what the pace is like when Seren and Sharapova play!! The top seeded player to enter was Sloane Stephens who was knocked out by Aliakzandra Sasanowich ( I think her name is) - anyway I watched Aliak knock out the number 2 seed in the tournament - Anna Karolina something!! What a slinging match - anyway I had such a good time that I am going back on Sunday for the finals. I then watched the other semifinals in which the number 1 seeded player soundly beat the Belgium girl, Alison vanutyk. (sp) So its set up what looks like a super final.
Proof that I was here!!!! Not that well attended  though - not a great shakes sport here!!

I remain fascinated by the dependency on the electronic devises - a random shot in the subway on the way home.
 I reckon at least two thirds of people one sees are busy on some electronic devise!!!

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Friday 25th September

Wow I can't believe that it is 9 days since I last blogged!! Not at all surprising given what we have been going through - no kidding, its been a tough time for everyone with me experiencing some cabin fever interspersed with will this ever end type feelings!! But as we well know - this too shall pass - what a great homily to repeat as one faces the drudgery and sameness of how one's days can be if one dwells on these aspects - life is such a mental path I find - not what the circumstances are so much as how we deal with the circumstances.....

So to the status quo on this rather hazy but still very pleasantly warm morning...Seren is asleep. We moved her cot into my room after Luke's accident as he couldn't tend to her at night - difficult then for him to get out of bed unassisted!! And Mel was not well on top of having to spend very long days at work.  Very thankfully Seren is back to being her wonderfully sunny and contented self - we saw the pead (sp!!) on Monday again - he gave us more medication - which is an absolute nightmare to get into her, but told us we could stop giving it to her if she was better. So Tuesday evening Luke and I made the call to stop as we felt it better that she took her bottle which she would do if there was no mooti slipped into it!!!  Morgan is also much better, with very little coughing. What a difference - one forgets how nasty being sick and on anti biotics can make little ones behave!!  Luke finds he gets tired and waks up feeling pretty sore but he has been able to get back on his exercise bike in his bike room so that has helped keep his spirits up. Mel has been away on business in Singapore all week but thankfully arrived home laste last night feeling s lot better - she left on Monday full of cold and feverish again but there was no question of her not going!!

So things are certainly looking up - wonderfully through all of this - I have not succumbed to any of the lurgies doing the rounds. Nancy was in yesterday - quite expensive but as so worth it - it works out at about R 1000 for a full day (in this case 8 1/2 hrs). So I spent most of the day sorting out Morgan and Seren's play area. Very satisfying for me of course!! Heaven knows what is still lurking in the boxes downstairs in the store rooms! Luke took a huge pile of stuff off to an organisation Mel heard about - Unwed Korean moms - so that was good - he is now able to drive which has also made a difference to our mobility. All the clothes and shoes arrived back from the cleaners this week as well = more sorting out!! Fortunately they were able to remove all the mould. Of course, as we continued to unpack we have discovered more soiled clothes/shoes. They have a month to put in claims.

I had a fun time on Tuesday evening. Luke took one look at me and told me to go out for a drink (once the children were down of course)!!  So I took myself off up the hill and found what they call a 'hole in the wall' restaurant/cafe I guess. So tiny - about 2 meters wide and long which seats about 14 people. I sat at the table on the pavement and if I stretched my arm out I could've touched cars driving past!!!  It was wonderful and just what I needed - I polished off 3 beers and a very processed meal called cheesy toast while skyping a few friends. I then rolled back home down the hill - there was a beautiful half moon and all felt wonderful.

So the other excellent news is that Mel has received a visa registration number for Memory. So  Memory now needs to go into the Korean embassy in Harare for an interview and then there are a few days after which they can get her plan ticket!! Very exciting - I can't tell you how many times I thought during the last ten days or so - if only Memory were here!!!! The other great news is that we have found some one to kitty sit so John is on track to come out - hopefully in a couple of weeks. So much to look forward to while being mindful of staying in this moment and not being guilty of wishing one 's life away!!!!

I will see if I can add a few pics below but in the meantime will post this in case madam Seren wakes up before I have finished!! Morgan has a play date this afternoon so there should be time to get back to this later. Luke and Mel went off for an appointment this morning after which Luke will drop Mel back at work. Monday and Tuesday are public holidays. In fact Morgan has no school all next week. I am going into the school on the 5th October to spend time with her class at group time. It seems the school welcomes parents / grandparents to read, tell stories or do an activity with the children. I am going to do some grace and courtesy activities - how to carry a chair, a table, close the door, interrupt some one, hand scissors - who knows we'll see what pans out!!!

Thank you to those of you who have dropped me lines about the blog - it seems it is not possible to make comments??? Amazing to think that this time 2 months ago we had not left SA yet!!!  

I got quite excited when I saw all the stuff in these 2 pics -
I was looking for new bibs for Seren (and toys!) - no such luck - these are all for dogs!!!!

Luke's play station / sanity spot!! He cycles on the bike set up on a stand (see the handle bars on either side of the fan that cools him down while he watches where he is riding, e.g. some place in the States or  on the road from
Glen Cairn to Camps Bay!!!

Morgan and the ever patient 6 yr old Max from upstairs - climbing a tree in the garden. Some trees have a sign that reads
"Do not climb a tree" on them!!!

Funny faces - Morgan, Max and younger brother Oscar. They have a 3 yr old sister but the girls are so different -
Greta is into Princess Sylvia lipstick etc - Morgan into Thomas Train - so little love there!!!

The moment that our tower collapsed - just too high Nana!!!

Sisters forever....

My really healthy lunch - I love the smoked salmon, then added pineapple, rivc and black beans, tomatoes,
cheese and of course Nederberg Lyric which I stumbled across!!

Seren in front of the mouth watering display of desserts at the French Baguette where Luke and I
enjoyed a pre-lunch snack in Itaewon main road on Thursday. 

Morgan's side of the playroom in the area between the lounge and dining room areas.

Seren's space!

and again

Same again - watch this sapce I am about to launch myself!!

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Tuesday 16th September

So we continued to work very hard to bring order into the chaos that was now number D 1 Itaewan Villa!! It was particularly hard for Mel as she was not able to take any time off when the container arrived and the unpacking happened. We were doing pretty well - from fitting Korean plugs onto South African appliances to hanging paintings and figuring out which shelves should go where. We have been able to include a play area for Morgan and Seren between the dining room area and the lounge area. It was all beginning to take shape, with boxes being brought up from the store rooms downstairs as we could sort them and make decisions about where the contents would be placed or what should be turfed or stored for use later when the girls grew into what ever it was.

So our little jaunts came to a halt as we tried to sort out home. I find that it takes far more effort now to keep everything tidy as there is so much more stuff and of course so much more that has not yer found its home!!

During this time, Mel has been struggling with a strepp throat and finally had to resort to antibiotics. Then on Saturday, Luke went on a downhill mountain biking run and hit a rock and came hurtling over the handle bars, landing rather hard on his left shoulder. Long story short - he has at least 5 broken ribs, blood on the lung which has pretty much dissipated by now, bruised lungs and a dislocated shoulder. Really heavy as of course it had put an end to his cycling for a good 6 weeks. On the home front of course it means no more picture hanging, carrying of boxes, little sorting of boxes, lifting of children. He has amazed me with what he has been able to do - for example shower Morgan - a great relief as its quite exhausting to have to bath both Morgan and Seren each night!!

Then on Monday Morgan woke up feeling very poorly - so Luke took her off to the university hospital. She was put onto a 4 day course of antibiotics which together with the fever and sore throat has resulted in a very scratch and rather contrary and whiny Morgan!! Not helpful especially as Luke is not able to dress her or play madly with her as she is used to - they have a very physical relationship.

Then today, we thought Morgan would be ready to go back to school but it turned out that she woke up with rings under her eyes and "stoned" eyes!!  In the meantime little Seren started yesterday with a rasping cough, running nose and watery eyes. So today we took her off to the hospital that Morgan had been to on Monday and Luke had been to on Saturday and again on Monday!!  I went with him as he can't get Seren in her pram, in and out of the taxi on his own.  Anyway Seren saw a pedeatrician who spoke English. Her temperature was 38 degrees. She has a strepp throat and acute bronchitis. He did not want to put her on antibiotics as she is so young so we were very relieved. Poor little thing was not well by the end of the afternoon - it was quite scary knowing that er temp could spike to quickly. Anyway between Luke and me, we were able to sort out administering the meds and suppositories  so that now they are both asleep and hopefully will have a settled night!

So all in all - we have had a trying week - interesting though is how many times this week, we have made plans which at the last minute get derailed.

I have gone through a lot of introspecting and reflecting in this week - will elaborate on this later,

Luke in hospital before he checked himself out!

Luke wearing the correct brace after he had seen the professor on Monday

Tuesday 16th September - a la Tues 9th Sept

Well ... it feels a little like the honeymoon is over..... not that Seoul is not a good place for the Ramsey family to be. but this week has been tough with many demands and challenges - but I jump ahead!!

So I have started writing so many time since last week - in my head that is but have n't got thoughts to the key board!!! Used to be pen to paper. I was in the eye of the storm when I last signed in. So the eye passed by and the moving trucks arrived - three of them parked in the drive. They worked all day and then returned the next day to continue to unload and then unpack boxes. There was a woman dedicated to unpacking in the kitchen - she spoke no English but was quite accommodating, especially as she had to repack the pots and pans and casserole dishes in different cupboards the next day.

Once again the pics can tell the story!

Two of the trucks

So efficient - they lined the walls and covered the floors to protect them while moving everything in

Morgan unpacking in her room - a delight to see her reconnect with old friends!
 But here you see the problem - more boxes than space to unpack them into!!

Luke's work station - the moving company pasted the lists of all the boxes (2 they moved onto this long board and
Luke checked off the numbers as they came in. Many were redirected to the store room downstairs!!

Dining room table on site!

First pass at lounge arrangement - the movers graciously gave one three chances
 to re-position furniture - as in - to change one's mind!!

Some of the stuff that sadly got damaged or soiled in transit. A lot of Luke and Mels' clothing was also covered in mold.
They are now faced with the paper work of claiming.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Tuesday 9th September

Well today is DEE day!! - The furniture et all arrives this morning. Luke and I are sitting on the floor in my room - Mel is at work, Morgan at school and Seren thankfully asleep in her cot which is the only bit of furniture of their own that they had! So we are in the eye of the hurricane. The packers arrived promptly at 7 this morning and very efficiently packed up and took away all the furniture and household goods - kitchen, linen that Luke and Mel had hired in the meantime. They were finished by 9.30. Morgan and Seren had breakfast while the couches were still around. I then took the two of them upstairs to play with Jan until the school bus arrived. Jane. upstairs, had set up a travel cot for Seren to nap in but we decided to put her down in her own cot as she will probably wake up as the movers arrive at 10.30 - so here we are in a holding space for the moment!!!

Morgan feeling right at home upstairs with Jan and his dad Alex

Supper time with Jan and mom Jane!

Me writing this blog on the floor  in my room,while we wait for the eye of the hurricane to pass!!!
The guys packing up the rented stuff  - Luke is standing in the dining room area looking into the lounge

Sunday 6th September

Luke and I dropped Morgan off at a play date with Georgie who is the other South African child in her class. She lives in a lovely home not far from here - in fact walking distance away which is great as she could then get off the school bus with Georgie and Memory could walk over latre with Seren to fetch her. Luke said that the other day as he was walking home with her, he walked down a lane and then stopped and looked around. Morgan said - " are you lost daddy!!" He replied - I am not sure if this is the right way or if we must go that way. Morgan replied "that way daddy - silly daddy!!"" Much to the delight of a couple sitting on a tiny balcony above them who started laughing and told Luke "Best he listen to her...!!"

Morgan came home for a nap at lunch time then the four of them went back for a braai. I set off to meet up with mark who had tickets to a show at the national Museum. (see pics below). I was very proud of myself - I phoned 1330 the number one gets travel info from and did what I was told!! Caught the village bus from the Grande Hyatt up the road - Luke dropped me there - then  realised while onto the bus that I had not counted the number of bus stops. I asked them where the subway station was where I had to change buses. It turned out they were getting off there as well. They then headed me in the right direction to catch the city bus to the Museum - these are caught rather like our Mycity (sp??) buses in the middle of the road.  So all good and I arrived half an hour early and got chatting to a greeting guy at the festival who it turned out had spent four years from 1992 - 1996 with the Korean embassy in Pretoria!!

It was a delightful evening - once again I was astonished at the sounds that can be generated by the zither I think it is called - see the pic of the Mongolian musicians. The place was packed and once again - amazingly - the honoured guests present were mentioned and the firat was the Sought African ambassador - I think they said Gloria Parks - I caught a glimpse of her but did not go and introduce myslef as Mkrk was edging to leave at the end so we exited while everyone was still dancing on the stage. The participants invited members from the audience to join in the last number - exactly as had happened in Nepal when I attended a National dancing festival at the Chitwan national park last year!!
The pic says it all!! - the lady wearing the national dress of Koera at the entrance to the
Yong theatre at the National Museum 

The performance I enjoyed most - incredible sounds from what look like fairly crude instruments

The national Museum

View from the top of the steps seen in the photo above - once again the Seoul Tower and Itaewon
where we live to the 'right' of Namsan park 

Another view from the steps at the entrance to the Yong theatre - a golf driving range 

Friday, 4 September 2015

Saturday 5th September

So this time 34 years ago Mister and Missus Ramsey walked down the aisle together!!!  Actually we moved in together (skande!!)  6 years before that so that's a lot of time and much water under many bridges and we are still here and still happy to maintain the status quo!!

Talking about which - Luke and Mel have wondrously offered to bring John to visit as a way of saying thank you to us for my being here! So I am very excited - we have yet to work out the details about when and how - we have to find some one to look after the little back girl - Miss Loki - in SimonsTown first! Anyone want to kitty sit for a couple of weeks at the end of Sept or in Oct??

Luke and Mel's container arrives on Tuesday - much excitement and fear and trepidation - as they remember how much stuff is arriving!! So we have a busy week ahead of us.....

Today we planned to go out to the Botanical Gardens but it has been raining most of the day. Morgan got an invitation to play upstairs with Jan so thankfully has been hanging out there...

The other big news from here is that I might be able to get tickets for the finals of the Seoul womens tennis - WTA - it takes place at the end of September and looks like it has most of the big names -what a win - I am so excited. They are presently playing the tournament in NY city. - sorry no pics - am waiting for Luke's pics from last night!!!

So here they are....
Street scene - only pedestrians - 8.00 pm on a Friday night

The same street looking theo ther way!

Me and the coals before the grid was placed under the extractor - I thought it was a griller,
but am wrong - obviously the meat is cooked from underneath!!

Bath time with mum and dad

...... and again