Thursday's events

We woke up Thursday morning at 4:45 a.m. wide awake. It was a strange night. Actually, they've all been strange. I can't seem to keep my eyes open past 8:30, and I'll sleep like the dead but wake up ready to go at midnight. I take a sleeping pill, go back to bed and then wake up again about 4:00 a.m. Brian has had a similar schedule, although he's somehow been able to stay up later than me. It's actually a bit strange since when we're at home, Brian can barely make it past 8:00!

So, anyway, we woke up and were at the computer reading all the blog posts from those who had seen Rory's pictures and videos. We loved reading all your comments! We really look forward to the emails. While we're having alot of fun here, it's hard not to be able to share such a huge event in person with our friends and family. I don't know what we would have done if I couldn't blog and share pictures! We walked to the corner market about 5:30 a.m. to buy a calling card and called my mom. It was so good to talk to her! We were also able to talk to Camden and Brian's parents for a little while. They say that he is pretty fascinated with the videos. Talking to him made us really miss him, but he sounds as if he is having a great time. We debated long and hard about bringing him with us this trip, and I really think we made the right decision by not bringing him. It is way too crazy here; we're way too tired; and we'd prefer to bring both of them back when they're a bit older.

We hit Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast about 10:00, and then took the subway. Several different lines and 40 minutes later we arrived at Itaewon, another shopping market. This one was much more westernized, and the sales people were very aggressive. We did not enjoy it nearly as much as Insadong, although we bought several items. (Melissa, we got your necklace and the name scroll. Terrah, you've got a name scroll as well.) We were looking for a very specific artist to draw our name scrolls, and he was not in the area we thought he would be. After wandering the streets, I looked up and there he was! I was so glad that we had seen pictures of him before. We got small name scrolls for Camden and Rory with their Korean names (Shin, SaRang and Kim, Min Shik - for those of you who don't know their Korean identity LOL). We also got a large name scroll with "Our Chosen Family"in hangul. We plan to have it matted and framed for the living room. We also got name scrolls for two of our friends who had requested them. We ate lunch at a Paris Baguette. (Becky and Micah, it really did remind us of a French bakery.) It was absolutely delicious! We were able to sit at the bar that looked out onto the street and we thoroughly enjoyed watching the people. We also had a great view of the Coldstone Creamery. Yes, there is a Coldstone Creamery in Seoul!

After several hours of walking the streets, our feet and legs were killing us, but we took yet another subway to Eastern, which is the Korean agency that Camden was placed through. We took lots of pictures for his file that they keep. We wanted there to be current pictures in case his birth mother ever checks. We were able to find out that his birth mother asked for updates in 2007. Honestly, I cannot begin to process the emotion that invokes right now. I'll just have to deal with it later.

By the time we made it back to the guesthouse at 4:30, we were just exhausted. The amount of walking we have done here is incredible, and the mental effort it takes to find our way through the city and dealing with all the people and the language barrier takes up alot of energy!

Oh, and we had a little adventure on the subway on the way home. We were on our last subway line and just had to sit tight through about 15 stops so we thought we were home free. Well, we noticed that the speed of the train kept changing between stops. It would speed up, then slow down, then really take off, then slam on the brakes at the stop. Someone came over the speaker and was talking, but no one seemed to pay any attention. This happened for two more stops, then all of a sudden everyone got up and got off. We just looked at each other. A very nice man stepped back onto the subway and motioned for us to get off. He then helped us figure out how we were going to get back home since that train stop was out of commission for a while. It was a bit disconcerting. So, we finally find a working train, get back on, and then the fun really started. We were packed in there like sardines. And every stop, more and more people would get on. They push and shove and almost knock you over trying to find some space to stand. We had to ride like this for about 20 minutes. My hand hurt so hard from gripping the handle up above my head (the train really jerks when it takes off and stops because it's going so fast, and you'll fall if you're not holding on). I was so glad to finally be free from all the people, until we got above ground and realized we'd gotten off 2 stops too early, which mean that we had another 15 minute walk uphill.

We came back to the room and just crashed! There is an American couple in the room across from us (the only other ones here that we know of), and they received their 9 month old baby yesterday afternoon. We were supposed to try to go out for dinner with them, but the baby was very sad, and so they decided they should stay in the room. Honestly, we were thrilled! We headed out once again (you have no idea how much I wanted it to be like home where I walk a few steps to the car and go through a drive-thru for supper) and picked up sandwiches for me and for them, while Brian decided he really needed some bulgogi (a Korean dish). Our room now stinks even more than it did before!

And speaking of smell, we smell like Korea. Our clothes still smell like home, but the smell seems to just be seeping out of our pores. The longer we're here, the more the smell is bothering me. So, those of you coming to the airport, if you hug us and we smell weird -that's why! I actually think it might help Rory a bit since we'll at least smell a little bit familiar. But I do hope it doesn't last too long!

We're suppose to get SaRang at 2:00 today. As much as I'm looking forward to it, I absolutely dread the moment Mrs. Park has to say goodbye to her. I'm sure it will be one of the most emotional moments of my life. We may not be able to post again until we're home. Hopefully, we can, but we'll have to see how life in a hotel with a 17 month old is going.

Here are a few pictures. I haven't taken nearly as many as I wanted to (Chris, I might need to "borrow" some of your Korea pictures for lifebooks).

Starbucks in Korean. Most of them just have the
regular Starbucks logo, but this one didn't.

The artist who does the hangul paintings. He was amazing.
Melissa, I think this one is yours.

Eastern Social Welfare Society. Camden actually stayed in the baby
home here for several weeks before being placed with his foster family.

The only church we've seen in Korea. We must not be looking in the right places
because I know there are more. The largest church in the world is in Seoul; we just haven't seen it.

And more SaRang pictures - these were all taken in February by her foster mother.

A baby treadmill??


Anonymous said…
Melissa, I love reading your updates--you guys have so many memories that you will be able to share with both of your children! And, the pictures of Rory.....let me just agree with you that she is the sweetest little girl I have ever seen!!!! We showed Xavier and William the video yesterday and they just watched and said "baby". They both also do a decent job of saying Rory, so I am quite proud! Can't wait to see you in Atlanta!
M :-) said…
Melissa, I sent you a note, so that I wouldn't write a book on your blog. ;) I just watched our videos from the day that we received Molly. It's such an emotional day ~ I'm thinking about you guys. Many (((((hugs)))))
Anonymous said…
hey melissa and one is saying hi to brian so make sure you tell him his favorite sis in law says hi! :) rory is beautiful! i can't wait to meet her! i've loved reading all of your descriptions of everything. love you guys and can't wait to see you saturday night!
Erin said…
I have really enjoyed reading your updates! I am so happy for you guys! Have a great first night with Rory!! Erin (NCgirl)
Anonymous said…
Wow! Rory is just gorgeous!! As anticipated, I couldn't help myself and cried lots of happy tears upon viewing the meeting Rory video. I'm also loving reading about the details of your adventure :)
Helena said…
There are tons of churches all over the place in Korea! They have red neon crosses on them.

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