Abby and I were awake before everyone else, so we went down for breakfast together. When we got back to the room, they were all up and Wayne said that Ben had woken up happy. Yay! They went to breakfast and I started packing for the trip home. Good thing we had brought an almost empty bag and several gifts, because it was a trick to get everything back in our 4 checked bags.
That’s right. I packed for five people in four bags. Look at me.
Later we went to the playground and walked to Popeye’s for lunch. Ben loves him some chicken and french fries!
I think this was the day he learned to play the Leapster, which was Emma’s until he learned how to use it. It’s definitely his now.
James wanted us to go to his English classes that afternoon, and we decided to go even though it was about an hour and a half away. He’s Wayne’s brother, he lives in Korea, we hadn’t seen him in three years, yada yada yada… I was dreading such a long travel time, though, especially after all the time we’d spent traveling on Saturday.
We rode the subway for…well, a very long time. Part of the problem was that we were trying to take the “fast train” (the one that doesn’t stop at every station) and we weren’t sure we were on it, so we would get off at a stop and try to figure it out. This may or may not have happened multiple times.
At one stop, Wayne told us to stay in place while he searched a little, to save us all some steps. (And stairs. Ohhh, those subway stairs…) The subway stations have shops underground, and while we were standing there, a lady working in one of the shops came over to talk to us. She figured out that Ben spoke Korean and we did not. I could tell she was completely puzzled by that. But then Wayne came back and we got to escape any further questioning. 🙂 I’m sure she had a story to tell her friends.
We took the subway to the correct stop and managed to find the right bus (although we doubted for awhile that we would). That was stressful enough, but the directions we were given said to “take the bus for five minutes.” He had also said if we saw [such and such] it meant we’d gone one stop too far.
Clear as mud.
Wayne somehow realized that we’d gone too far on the bus, so we got off and started walking. So we were hours from our hotel, in a completely different city, and though we had asked several taxi drivers and a policeman if they knew how to find the school where James teaches, they had all looked at us in confusion. I really thought we were going to have to turn around and go back. We didn’t have a way to contact James. We knew we were close, but really didn’t know where to go, so we just started walking. I was praying fervently that we would run into someone, anyone, who knew of the school and could direct us.
Just then, we looked up and saw James.
We had made it.
It took THREE HOURS.
But then it got better.
James’ boss, Judy, is a Korean lady, probably about my age, who grew up in the states and then came back to to live in Korea after college. She was super excited to meet us and just wanted to take care of us. Which was great, because by that point, we needed some taking care of!
We were standing in front of Baskin Robbins, so she took us in and bought ice cream for everyone. We had a really funny conversation there. It went something like this:
Judy: So, when did Ben join your family?
Judy, startled: No, I mean…when did he – Ben (pointing) – join your family?
Judy: I’m sorry, I…I mean…I don’t know if you understand…I am asking when Ben came to be part of your family.
Me, starting to doubt my answer: Um, today is…Monday…so…yeah, last Tuesday. We arrived in Korea on Monday and we met him on Tuesday.
She could not imagine that we had known him for such a short time. I think he looked so comfortable with us that she thought we must not be understanding each other.
Then we went in to visit James and his students. He teaches English to Korean children, and he wanted us to come because he said that most of them had never met an American. He put Abby and Emma up in front of the room with him and had the students talk to them. I thought the students had great English skills!
After a couple of classes, Judy and her husband took us all out to dinner. I was really glad, then, that we had gone to all the trouble to get there. It was our last night in Korea and we hadn’t been to a traditional Korean restaurant yet! I was happy that we got to experience that. They took us to a place nearby (we walked) that had a play area for the kids. It was really fun.
After dinner, we walked back to the academy and said goodbye to James. Judy and her husband took some pictures of the girls to use on their website! I think they felt like models. 🙂
Judy’s husband drove us to the subway station so we didn’t have to mess with the bus again. Judy also helped us buy tickets for the fast train; I think it only took an hour and a half to get home.
Day Nine: Homeward bound!