Friday, June 28, 2013

The adventures continue

Before we went to Seoul, it was really cold here in Cape Town, and Eli was learning to bake rolls.

Not really learning- more just throwing flour everywhere.

The greatest thing about winter is marshmallows over the fire. Noah would have fires in summer if he could. Winter in Cape Town is very mild compared to Boston or Seoul, but- like many- our only source of heat is the fireplace so the temperature inside the house is about the same as outside much of the time.

Then suddenly we were in an airplane and 24 hours later, summer:

The kids are not used the noise of the city, so any time we could get away they seemed to really benefit.

We fought jetlag and Noah stayed up watching youtube videos on our ipod. It was pretty hard because the sun woke him up in the morning. I think I tend to underestimate the physical strain of such a long trip. The airplane was geared to squeeze as many passengers as possible into a small space to get us to our destination quickly- it felt like an exercise in endurance. It was jarring to suddenly be in a totally different world with the kids, and wrong to expect them to adjust (we tried to keep expectations of them to a minimum). I think the trip was right for us for my mom-in-law's sake, but Eug and I would love to explore ways to travel more gently- more gently on us and on the earth.

One of our first adventures in Seoul was to the aquarium. We navigated complicated underground tunnels to finally reach it, and it was filled with remarkable creatures.

On our trip it was clear that Eli was suddenly his own, independent person. He decided that the busy streets of Seoul were just the right place to try out his freedom. Uh. 

Eug's mom's place had this beautiful orchid. Every day that we stayed lowered that poor plant's chances of survival
People occasionally gave Noah candy randomly, which I usually just let him eat. I remember once bracing myself for some unsolicited advice (Eli was sitting in the dirt somewhere, and one gets a lot of unsolicited advice in Korea) when two women just came up and gave us chocolate. It felt like grace (because I stole the chocolate).

The kids liked the excitement of the underground train system.

This is my mom-in-law's train stop, at a quiet time of day. She lives almost at the end of the train line, and it still looks like this! After getting used to Cape Town, the consumerism and advertising was sometimes overwhelming. Then sometimes the advertising got to us and we were seduced by how much was available. 
My favourite thing about this trip was that we tried to be tourists, just a little bit of the time. On our previous trip we were just with relatives, whereas this time we tried to also introduce the kids to a couple of new experiences.
My other favourite thing was that apricot and plum trees were everywhere. I was just really sad I didn't have some jars, a big pot and time to make jam.

Some of the places we visited had really great children's exhibits

We managed to snack on some apricots at a palace.

This fountain in downtown Seoul was heaven for the kids.

For Eli, we went to museum consisting entirely of balls.

I'm so happy to be back in Cape Town, which feels more like home for having left for a little while. Hope you are all doing well, and I also hope to post something more about what we're doing with our lives, soon!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Adventures in Seoul

Noah and Eli have adjusted to the time difference, more or less, and to living in a Korean apartment block in Bundang.

I've started to write about our time here a bunch of times, but for some reason I tend to descend into some generalisms about Korean society, about which I tend to be a judgmental jerk. I figure no-one, least of all me, needs that. So here are some pictures, which I hope show that our adventures have been good, and that we're looking forward to being home next week. These are just from James, my bro-in-law's phone, which shows how amazing phones have become!!?

There's a playground at the bottom of my mom-in-law's building. Strange because there's no dirt. But Our Kids still manage to get dirty.

On the train. It's amazing that you can spend 90 minutes in the train and still be within Seoul.

The kids favourite thing in Seoul has been this fountain, in the center of the city. It's been hot and this has been the best place to cool off.

It would be funny if they were joking, but it's even funnier because I'm pretty sure they're not.

eating in a box (Eli is just happy he was invited). You can see the high-rise apartment blocks in front of my mom-in-laws: they're clusters of 20-30 of the same apartments all together. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

From Winter to summer

We're in Korea, where it's really hot at the moment (which made me want to share a video of Noah feeding Eli in front of the fire in Cape Town, last week. Please excuse the Josh Groban. Or if you like Josh, please excuse me excusing him). We haven't travelled much during Eli's life, and we don't take it lightly. Last week, we suddenly felt like we were in a good enough space (getting more sleep, fewer tantrums, had enough money and time) to make the trip to Eug's mom, who has been missing the children a lot. There were cheap tickets leaving Wednesday so we went ahead and booked.

Before we left, this is what life looked like:

We got Noah a 1/8 size violin for his birthday, because violin was a good part of my growing up and I wanted to see if he would like it to be part of his.  
Our sourdough bread is going better and better- this is 100% whole wheat and I've been experimenting with different ways of getting better taste and rise.
Noah likes putting all these numbers on him, with Eli cheering him on.
Anyway, the trip went pretty well, considering we had two small children and not a lot of space for over 24 hours. 2 trains, 2 planes, one bus ride later, we're safely in Seoul with Eug's family. I noticed that it went well because we were expecting it to be horrific, because we asked for prayer, because we knew we wouldn't sleep, and because Eug and I were trying really hard to make jokes and take care of eachother. Here's to a really good stay!