Monday, 15 August 2016

16th August

Well I am certainly a bugger for punishment!! I have just done it again - deleted a couple of hours of writing and loading pics. Luke keeps telling me to work in word and then paste it into the blog...... I did save as i went along but it seems I  must save and publish and then continue.....

So big breathe and here I go again!!! Today is my first day of  total home alone.... Morgan started school at her new premises - in K 1 now... Mel met the bus at the top of the hill at 7.55. She boarded quite happily with bunna and her back pack which means that Mle can get to work a little earlier now - certainly on time!! I put Seren on her bus which comes into the apartment complex garden. She had happily said good bye to daddeeee who walks to the underground.  I love it because of the heat - he (and the rest of the guys in the underground) wears a T shirt and carries his ironed long sleeved work shirt.  Missy whose daughter Sylvia is in Morgan's class  was at the school this morning to assist the children getting to their new classes etc and sent us this pic of Morgan in class - so all looks great. Its the first time that Morgan will be having school lunch and snack so hopefully all goes well - never underestimate the power of the group in times like communal eating though  even though the food is quite Korean.

Morgan finishes school at 4 ish. Seren will have been dropped by the bus at 2.55 or so. Today Luke is coming home to help me fetch Morgan as I am not sure how I will manage pushing seren up the hill to meet the bus on the main road at the top - also not sure how I will manage the two of then coming down again!! Hopefully in a couple of days, the other children in the complex who also attend this school will be back from Europe and will be met by their nanny who can also meet Morgan or help me..... we'll see.

I realise that I have not posted any photos of the new reshuffled home - so here goes. I will explain in the captions

Seren's first time in her bunk bed. Fortunately she can still stand up in it - not for long though!! 
Everyone on top of the newly arrived bunk beds which were the catalyst for so much change in the home!! Luke removed the doors of the cupboard on the left to make more room for their toys.
The bedroom taking shape - before Seren's cot was moved out and sold to a happy couple!! The white book shelf  in the photo below is where the cot used to be. 

The childrens bedroom which used to be Luke and Mels room - they all swopped bed rooms so that the play area could be moved from the dining room. in the children's bedroom. The white book shelf is the Language area. On the left near the bathroom door is the brown book shelf housing the Art activities. The new tables and chairs for the play area are just visible on the left. Berlita is playing wit the children. She is at home with her family in the Philippines. Thankfully all her paper work is sorted and she will be here in her room when the family return at the beginning of October, - hopefully having done the shopping and preparing the house!!

Playing hide and seek - Morgan behind the stool next to the bath. Don't you love the child size loo and Seren's bunches!!!!

15th August 2016

Hi everyone - well today was Independence Day so was a public holiday so we had a very chilled day at home. Quite different from last year when we went to Seoul Forest and took part in a whole lot of family activities - building homes out of cardboard...... and being amazed that everything  - stanley knives, tape, markers etc was given to be used and returned at the end of the activity!  Seoul is apparently after Singapore the safest place on the planet. I am constantly amazed at how people leave their things around - cell phones, I pads, wallets while going of with the children or to have a smoke....

So we have been very productive in the home. Its amazing how one thing can be the catalyst for so many other things happening - aka the ripple effect! The latest project is sorting out the cycling room - Mel now has a super desk and chair. Luke has added a fancy exercise treadmill they found someone selling. It took some transporting and lugging into the apartment but he spent hours last night getting it up and running.  So watch this space and lets see who makes best use of it.... The girls had a go on it this afternoon - with Luke holding Seren's hand and reminding her to keep walking so she didn't fall off the end!!!

There is no doubt it is going to be a really great space and a hideaway for Mel when she wants to work from home. My / Berlita's room is also taking shape - we moved the double bed out of it and put Morgans 3/4 bed in its place.  Here are a couple of pics of my room which used to be Luke's cycling room.
So my Morgan's ex bed with the double bed mattress on it.Me and Michael Cane!!!

There are three sets of cupboards - will probably keep the one on the right for winter jackets which is what is in there presently.

The base of my bed with the all important fan keeping me cool. The windows look onto the area leading from the kitchen to a large broom cupboard.
The two hanging wires are what the TV will be hung from as one cannot put nails or shelves on the walls.
into it rather - Berlita is so tiny that she will be fine in the smaller bed. For the moment I have got the double bed matress on the bed as I find it quite comfortable - it's not the right size but it works fine!

I will take pics of the cycling / study/ running / ironing area once the space has been sorted.

Morgan starts school tomorrow - Mel will meet the school bus with her at 7.55 at the top of the hill and then go off to work. It'll be a very long day for er but she has not had midday naps for the last four days so should be fine. She is very excited especially to get back into the play area!!!  So I will meet Seren's bus as usual at 8.45 and then I will be home alone until Seren gets back at 2.55!! Seems quite incomprehendable at this stage!! So will let you know how I spend my precious time ......... reading a novel, picking up around the apartment, skyping, catching up on some tennis viewing... having a long overdue concentrated quiet time ..... sleeping...... ah the wonder of choices.

Last night new friends dropped in for a beer - they live close by - Missy and Simon, Sylvia's parents - so nice to socialise and just hang out. We are going away with them in two weeks time - to spend Friday and Saturday at a resort about two hours drive from Seoul - hopefully we will get to a beach and maybe take a walk in the forest. They are American and have three daughters. I am also going to look into Museums and galleries and temples I can get to during these few weeks while I am free in the morning.  There are also monasteries where one can stay overnight and be a part of the practice during the day.  So let's see - time to be a bit of a tourist!!

Friday, 12 August 2016

11th August 2016

What a wonderful day we had today! It was already sweltering hot at 8.30 when Seren and I went outside for her morning play time in the garden of the complex before she catches the school bus. In fact today was the hottest day - with the 'feel' temperature sitting at 40 degrees!!! Anyway off she went in her Friday gym togs!!! She is now eating the school lunch so on the menu today was sweat (sweet!!) potatoes amongst other things!!! It has certainly made life much easier for Mel who now doesn't have to prepare Seren's lunch and snack before school each day!

Mel worked from home this morning while Morgan and I hung out - she watched some TV and then we did a bit of tracing the sand paper letters in her name - not a big hit though!! I then showered and washed my hair before the three of us set off in the car to have a treat at the Green Turtle to have our nails done!!! Pedicure and nail painting for Mel and me, and toe and finger nail painting for Morgan!! I love the way she is so decisive about the colours she wants - much like Luke was as a littley - not about the colour of his nails but about which shoes he wanted as in had to have....!!!!

Below are various shots from the Green Turtle!! Do notice Morgan's bunna watching her having her nails painted ...

Keeping an eye of the TV in the corner

My toes being pampered1

Finger nails drying while toe nails are painted 

Fingernails drying, note the separators on the toes

After this we went of to have lunch with Morgans friend Sylvia and her mum Missy. From there we went to see the new school. In typical Seoul fashion it is very urban and takes up three floors of an  office block. The pictures say it all - quite stunning and what a warm and friendly feel to it. The whole school is of course air conditioned.

They are a little out of order but the captions will explain....

The art room - also the supplies area 

Storage / supply - Montessori number rods 

Morgan greeting one of her teachers from last year 

Big hug from Andy the head master - love it - none of this "we're not allowed to touch the children" UK nonsense!

Huge love and reunion with Nicky her last year teacher who is South African 

Showing Nicky her toe nails!! While Sylvia looks on 

Morgan's class room - the Sensorial and maths area, with sand paper land and water globe in the back ground

The huge indoor play area - with  foofie slides, trampoline and climbing frames

Riding inside her cab...

Wash area and water  in the passage that leads to a huge open gym and games area.

Climbing wall

Stairs leading down to play area - with child height hand rail

Toddler class that Seren will be in in December when she turns two 

The second room of the toddler area connected by the wash area and tiny loos

The very well equipped Music room 

The beautiful library 

Lesson area in the library with black boards 
Reading area in the library - the walls are glass so in the back ground is a separate area for fantasy play 

Another view of the reading area 

The stairs from the ground entrance and admin level to the classrooms and library - I love the arrows on the hand rail
So there you have it - she was sooo excited - Monday is a public holiday so school starts at Tuesday. She has to be at her pick up point at the top of the road at 7.55. Mel will take her on her way to school. She gets dropped off again just after 4 pm which is a really long day especially as they don't officially nap at midday - her teacher did say that they can lie down if they are tired though. It was wonderful chatting to her teacher who is Montessori trained. I showed her a picture of Morgan;s bedroom - she commented - of it looks like a class room!!! which if course it does.... She was thrilled to meet me, well a montessorian, and said - ah maybe you should come and do a workshop for our teachers .....we'll see!! 

Morgan then went off to Sylvia's home to play which was great as it meant Mel could escape into the quiet room - the cycling room and work, while I hung out with Seren who arrived home shortly after we got home. 

So am off to bed now - its way past bed time and I'll surely regret staying up this ate - but I have been watching the Olympic tennis on u tube on my computer so I have no one else to blame by myself!!


Saturday, 6 August 2016

7th August

So a moment to ourselves!!! Its Sunday morning and Luke’s turn to have the foot balls – as we used to say when the boys were young….. He’s out at one the Lilliput Kids CafĂ©’s and Mel and I are chilling at home. It is still incredibly hot out – temperatures of 36 degrees so one certainly does not want to be out doors. It seems to be harder on Seren, as she really enjoys being outside, so we tend to take her out for a stroll in her pram for ten minutes or so and stick to the shade. Fortunately the slides and swings in the complex are in the shade most of the day so she can also have spells there.

Seren starts school again tomorrow. So she'll enjoy being back in her routine. The bus drops her off at about 3 pm. Morgan and I still have a week before she starts school again. It’s been a long summer break for her. She has really missed being with her friends and whenever we go out to children’s places I can see her trying to strike up friendships with the other children – usually with success and then she happiest when she has a mate to interact with. She usually chooses boys or older girls. Thankfully her best friend Georgie and her older sister Megan are back from their holiday in Cyprus so on Thursday Morgan went over to play with Georgie for a couple of hours in the afternoon – they made cupcakes which she iced when she got home. Then on Friday, we were all home for the morning – I started cleaning Morgan’s old bed and Seren’s cot which are going to be sold and suddenly this became the activity of the morning. All hands on deck with Morgan spraying the cleaning agent on the sides and Burlita and I cleaning and Seren pottering around on the periphery – sometimes getting intensely involved in cleaning. She is so sweet – very focussed and concentrated as she bends forward to have a good inspection of what she is going to do and then gets to work!!  

Burlita and Morgan also made a gingerbread mixture while Seren had her nap. In the afternoon Georgie’s mom, Katie dropped Georgie off after Morgan and Georgie (and Pru!) had had their naps. They then iced the gingerbread men which in fact were everything but gingerbread men as we don’t have cookie shapes for them – so a collection of dogs, bunnies, elephants and flat balls. Burlita then did nail painting, and sticking on jewels to make arm bands and earrings!! She also popped outside to get a couple of leaves which she did leaf rubbings with. I then showed her the leaf puzzle so she could show them the pats of the leaf! I had labelled the backs of all the parts when I was here last time so I pointed this out to her so she could tell them the names of the parts of the leaf.   

I plan to show Burlita everything in the playroom – teach her the three period lesson and hopefully how to use the Montessori maths and language materials although as Mel says Morgan will have been at school all day until 4 pm so she shouldn’t then be bombarded with more except of course if she expresses an interest.

So last night Luke and I went out for a really excellent steak. So easy – we walked down to the bus stop and hopped on a bus to the bottom of the hill. Then we walked through a shortcut alley to a lift that takes one up to the walkway over the main road. Then into the lift on the other side and back down to ground level and through another short cut to another road where there was an empty air conditioned bus waiting – we sat about five minutes as a few others got in, then finally the bus driver. We have travel cards which one swipes as one boards the bus and then again as one disembarks. The fare is then deducted from the card. So the bus took us up the hill to the restaurant – a small place called Knives, which serves only steak with roast vegetables and pasta. It has two high round tables which seat two people each and space at the bar for another eight people. We were told there was a 20 minute wait – so the guy took Luke’s phone number and said he would call us when he was ready. We then went off for a beer at a place nearby. All very civilised and oh so organised. We both ordered steak – me 200 grams and Luke 300 grams – it costs about W 11000 (approx. R110) for 100 grams so not that exorbitant. It was one of the best steaks I have ever had so definitely worth it. They serve beer, liquor and any cocktails you can dream up, but no white wine so we took a bottle of Chardonnay for me. What a really great evening – just sorry Mel was not with us. On the way home we passed a silver corvette which I posed next to - for John!! Luke reckons the owner came out looking very worried!!

Yesterday Mel and I took the girls to the Seoul Science Museum – oh my, what a trip!!! It had everything – all these different halls with very interactive activities for the children to have fun on and obviously learn from.  From Einstein to Newton to electricity and water power and dinosaurs and evolution – Seren loved watching the apes as they were shown doing things very similar to human. She always acts out the sounds and movements of the animals she knows when she sees them so we got a lot of monkeys scratching and chattering, elephants trumpeting, lions roaring, tigers growling etc!!! She is absolutely captivating – and as I said last year – her startling blue eyes and now her fair curls evoke much interest and delight. She happily stares right back at people who stare at her and is very friendly when they want to touch her and shake her hand and say hi or bye!!!
Mel and Morgan went off a lot together – quite something as there is so much to interest and stimulate the children – there’s no way I could manage both of them on my own!!!

We have tended to go on an outing in the morning, to get back by about 12 in time for lunch and then naps. Seren is a really good eater and in fact will eat anything thats not tied down!! If you are eating she invariably wants to climb up onto your lap or next to you to eat what you are eating. Morgan is far more picky and it’s a case of getting her buy in first before you prepare something! She loves plain spaghetti on its own but it’s not something that is good to have too often!

So all in all, we, and I are settling into an easier time – particularly helped by the godsend of Burlita who pitched up ten days ago. The other two nannies we trialled were a disaster – quite a relief in fact that Emma, the Kenyan, wasn’t suitable as we had really thought she would be the one and were concerned about how to let Burlita know that she wouldn’t be needed but in fact it’s all worked out just fine and Emma has told Mel that if Mel ever needs extra help to get in touch with her. So Burlita will come in this week from 1 – 6 pm which will be great. Burlita leaves on the 14th for the Philipines where she will see her family and apply for her work visa. Once Morgan starts school we will look into having someone come in for a few hours a couple of days a week.

I am feeling fine again – the antibiotics did the trick although I woke up this morning with that frog in my throat again – weird so I have gargled –something I forgot to do last time and it feels better already. Luke has got me a quieter fan for my room as it doesn’t have AC which I am pleased about. So I have slept in my bed for the whole night for the last two nights, without having to trail through te Morgans bed under the AC.  He will continue to use the large noisier fan in his cycling room. Mel and Luke have found a desk for Mel to put in the cycling room – it’s a good size and will fit into the nook in the bay window. It is an awkward height though so Mel has spent a long time on line trying to find a suitable chair for it. Hopefully she has finally found something. It will make such a difference for her to have somewhere she can disappear to when she works from home – especially when she needs to take calls!!

Am off now as Luke is about to walk through the door with at least one sleeping child whom we will hopefully manage to get down. Looks like they’re home and both awake ….. Picked up a few minutes later - Seren actually climbed into her bed and happily took the bottle Mel had ready there. She is now thankfully fast asleep!

So finally some pictures!!
Morgan exerting pedal power to get the balls to rise up the conveyor belt at the Children's Museum
Seren sitting with me in the apartment on the carver covered with the Uk flag.

At the pools with Burlita - Seren's first time in the water 

Seren in the new bunk bed
 The rest of the pictures are at the Children's Museum
Burlita making kimbap for the children - seaweed and rice!

The family lounge where everyone eats their picnic lunches 
 These pictures are taken in Lilliputs Kids Cafe
The fruit and vegetable section

Close up of same

And again - the children can hold up fake x-rays of animals on the screen to see the bone structure 

Mels's Earl Grey tea served in the Alice in Wonderland type tea pot, plus my exotic fruit shake!

Morgan slurping down a fruit juice before disappearing 

Morgan having her nails painted!

My French toast!!!