Well, where do I start today? What a day it has been! Nothing at all like I was expecting when I awoke this morning! Better, so much better! So once again, sleep eluded me for a couple of hours this morning. Hubby had put the phone ‘off the hook’, so to speak, but the battery had obviously died during the night, so it then came out of the base of the silly thing! I really could have hurt the person on the other end of that line at 0320! I guess it’s a good thing they weren’t nearby. To make matters worse I got cranky at the hubby thinking he hadn’t taken it off the hook and as the saying goes, misery loves company, and I wanted some at that time this morning. He wasn’t playing! 😜
I got the kiddos ready for school and knew hubby needed to be at work earlier than usual so thought I would save my workout for after I had dropped he and Hunter off. Hunter had a big sports day at school and my neighbours were going to volunteer to help out at it, so had asked them to take some photos (he’s only three after all, how big could it be?) I had my first spouse’s luncheon plans. I had been invited once before and couldn’t get there because I didn’t have childcare but this time, my boy was in school so it would all work out perfectly. Then we had Ally’s honour roll ceremony/presentation afterwards. It was going to be an exciting day. My throat hurt and I could feel the gunk accumulating in it, but nothing major, so it was big girl panties time. A couple of Tylenol (Panadol) and I was good to go. I also drank so much water yesterday and today and had the little Korean vitamin C drinks, drank orange juice, took vitamin C, had my lemon and honey tea last night and this morning, so think I’ve battled it with all I’ve got!
Off to school we go, “No, No. Hunter and Mummy stay.” Were the words I heard as I was kissing him goodbye. “What?”
“Yes, Hunter and Mummy stay til one o’clock.”
“Hunter can’t stay by himself?”
“No, Hunter needs Mummy to race.”
Oh crap, I thought. What am I going to do. My neighbour’s husband said he would look after him if I really needed to go, but how could I? This is my little boy. This was obviously a big deal at this school. I said I had to go home and get running shoes and a couple of other things and I would be back. I called the lady who had invited me to attend the luncheon and told her what had happened and she was very understanding. Then it was a race to get home and get some stuff together then get back to try and find a park at the school. As it turned out, I got the absolute prime parking, rock star parking even, , and everything else just fell into place.
It started out with a variety of Psy songs (the Korean singer best known for Gangnam Style) on these ginormous speaker, literally rocking the place to the ground! Had I not known better, I would have thought we were in a nightclub, we were literally yelling at some points to communicate! Then I realized there was actually a professional DJ! Whoa! Things quieted down when all the children went out onto the parade ground and stood listening to speeches. It was at this point in time a lady introduced herself to me as Hei-El’s Mum, Eun Mee. What a godsend she was! She spoke perfect English and was full of knowledge about everything we (my neighbours and I) wanted to know. I feel like I was supposed to stay at school not only to hang out with my son, but to meet her and understand Korean culture far more. It was such a wonderful experience today, made better by her explaining everything. Finally, I understood what was going on.
The Republic of Korea (the official name of South Korea also known as ROK) pledge of allegiance to the flag was the first thing to happen and like Americans, the South Koreans put their hand to their hearts with most of them knowing it by heart. Then it was the ROK national anthem. I found this to be less important than the pledge, as I stood for the pledge out of respect for my host nation, but Eun Mee told me to sit down for the anthem. Weird. The various people including the female principal (very unusual in this male dominated society) gave their speeches then it was time to start. This was a big deal. There were hundreds of prizes. I thought they must have been for the kids but she then told me they would be raffling most of them off. What? Yes, on the program, there was a number and throughout the day they would be calling numbers out to claim prizes. How cool. That would never happen at an Australian or American sports day. There were two teams, the whites and the blues and through some selection process that I will never know, they selected my son and his two German/American friends to be on team blue. I’m not going to give you an event play by play as I wasn’t really sure what was happening sometimes, given the loud music and all the craziness, but I can tell you there was a race where the kids put on fake bottom pants and had to use a hockey stick to roll a football up one end of the field and back again in a relay format. There was also another event where they brought in two of the biggest bags of balloons I have ever seen in my life. The object of the game was to let them both out at the same time and whichever team popped their balloons the fastest, won. Then there was our event.
So I went up holding Hunter’s hand and we went two by two with the teacher in the lead holding our neighbour’s daughter, Anna. Her Dad and her sister, Ava, were directly behind me. Their Mum had to work briefly in the morning so was coming a little bit later. We get up there and Eun Mee is trying to tell us there is some sort of swing and we will have to go in twos and carry each child up and around a pole and back to the start, again using the relay method. Ok, then the teacher says that I can help Jeff (Anna and Ava’s Dad) and she leaves! Help him do what? Why are you making the non-Korean speakers go first? We go over to where the starting line is and are looking at this contraption and I am thinking wth? Then I see the other people starting to connect everything and show Jeff what we need to do. There is literally a little swing hanging between us. They put a helmet on Anna that is miles too big and we squat down so she can get in. Next thing you know it is time to start and we are running down that field carrying Anna and looping around with a slight lead on the other team. Then it’s Hunter’s turn and would you believe it, that kid decides he’s not going to get in! We all do our best to coax him and I promise him it will be fun, eventually he hops in, the helmet falls off immediately and we are running down that field like there’s no tomorrow. He did enjoy himself though even with that trepidatious start! We get back and Ava is waiting so she jumps straight in and Jeff and I are off back down the field, this time trying to make up for some lost time and doing it, but just not enough to account for Hunter’s delay. I am exhausted. It is the most hilarious thing I’ve done/seen at a sports day.
On top of that, Eun Mee’s sister is there and I had asked her if she could take some photos of us, well for some reason she thought Anna was my daughter, so photos of us carrying Anna are the only photos I have of this event. Oh, well, it’s good that my neighbours have good photos.
Then they start doing the first raffle and the prizes are so funny, we are talking about ziplock bags, laundry detergent, paper towel, toilet paper. It was really cool to see practical stuff that people could use rather than rubbish no one wants. And all of them were wrapped up so beautifully. This guy walks up to Jeff, Rebecca (who has just arrived) & myself and tells us to come over, they want us at the microphone.”They want all foreigners at the microphone” we’re his exact words. I’m not sure why so we three head over there and they give us prizes and tell us to draw a number then announce it in English. I think we were either the celebrity guests or the monkeys at the circus, I’m not sure which, but it was fun nonetheless. Then they give us each a prize for announcing. I got a beautiful package of ziplock bags.
The events and raffle went on throughout the day and Eun Mee filled me in on so many things. I guess the public school system here is actually very hard to get into and this is a very small school that not many people are aware of. It is also a very good school with the teacher:student ratio at about 1:5! How amazing is that? People sign their kids up to go to a certain public school but there are only so many slots open; say there are 200 kids applying and they only have 40 slots. They do a lottery to decide who gets in. I asked Eun Mee what happens when you don’t get in and her response was they have to go to private school. My first thought on that was what about people who can’t afford private school, given that it’s about 1.6m ₩ (equivalent to US $1,600)!
“They have to find a way to afford it, there is no other answer.” Was her reply. Wow! I asked about home schooling and this didn’t seem to be an option. So now I sit here and feel very lucky to have found not only this wonderful school where there are so few students, but to have even gotten Hunter into a school in the first place. This is something very few outsiders get to experience and we were welcomed today as part of the community. I had so many adults and children walk up to me and say “Hi!” Eun Mee said they wanted to talk so much more with me but couldn’t speak enough English to do so, my thoughts were I wish I could converse with them in Korean but I’m too old to learn another language fluently in the time we’ve got here! But Rebecca and I have a plan to at least do a basic Korean course. We will find out what we can next week about what is on offer through the military before looking privately. I shall at least be able to ‘get by’!
The kids all did a race and Hunter came in 4th. Though I’m not sure what he was doing at the beginning of it, then it was time for a few more activities/raffles then lunch. They took the kindergarteners up to their room for lunch and Eun Mee and I chatted the entire time. Rebecca and Jeff then decided to leave as all of our kids’ events were done. I decided to stay and keep Eun Mee company as her car was parked smack bang in the middle of a whole lot of cars. And it was a good thing I did. They called out the last prize of the day and it just so happened to be my number! Yay. It was also a really nice first aid kit and I had just looked at buying one the other day, so it was perfect. They ended with a short ceremony and it truly capped off the entire day! I have never seen such a well-organized, high-end, music-filled sports day! They had rice cakes (nothing like what we call a rice cake in Australia) throughout the day (that were amazing mind you, filled with honey and just plain yummy) there was tea and coffee and water bottles supplied to all the parents. The kids got snacks and ice creams and yummy drinks as well. They also got a beautiful present from their teacher as their ‘Children’s Day’ gift. Children’s Day is a big celebration here, it is about honouring children and their need for love, care and respect. It is also a day to honour adults who have contributed to the greater good of the children. It is always celebrated on May 5th and is a Korean holiday. In fact, this next week is sort of like a Spring break for Hunter, as there are a few different holidays being celebrated. They are off on Friday in honour of Buddha’s birthday though his actual birthday is on May 14th. On May 8 it is Parent’s Day, another very important day to honour your family. Then on May 15 it is Teacher’s Day, and I am looking forward to giving Hunter’s teacher a lovely gift. Apparently it must be under ₩30,000 in order for them to accept it, which I find very interesting, but I already have some things in mind so I’m not too worried, just looking forward to seeing their happy faces.
From the school, it was a mad dash home to get changed into something more acceptable to wear to an honour roll ceremony. Then off to pick the hubs up and off we went. Well, what an unorganized disaster that was! Firstly, they ran out of programs. Then the certificates were not there, then the certificates arrived and were not in any recognizable order, after about 20 minutes of us sitting there whilst the principal, the vice principal and the 3 members of student council tried to organize it, they gave up and just started calling names in any order with no semblance of rhyme or reason. They brought kids up who were on the honour roll, with kids on the Principal’s honour roll, there was one boy who just went up by himself and stood there with nothing further going on and this was smack bang in the middle of the ceremony. It was ridiculous. We were embarrassed for them! Especially after I had just been at a school that had so meticulously planned their entire sports day. It was truly unorganized chaos. Anyway, our daughter eventually got her certificate and from there it was a mad dash home because we were now running late and I didn’t want Madison to get home and be by herself! Luckily, we made it with minutes to spare!
I somehow worked up the resolve to do today’s workout, Pure Cardio and Cardio Abs! OMG! I struggled. I think my body is fighting off this thing and I had such a big day, it was just plain hard. But, I did it. Not well, but I did it! I was finally able to have a shower tonight when I washed my face with the Rodan + Fields Redefine Daily Cleansing Mask, and oh, did it feel wonderful. I followed up with the Enhancements Micro-Dermabrasion paste and that too, felt amazing. The Pore-Minimizing toner and Overnight Restorative cream were only made better when I included some Redefine Multi-Function Eye Cream! Lovely. My hubby has once again returned to work for the evening, I am filled with a quiet household and this soon to be 21 x 2 lady is going to relax with a glass of vino for a minute.
I hope you have a wonderful day and/or night, wherever you are!
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