And now we're all alone again. Joash and me. Dan is in Thailand. I am jealous of the food, but not the weather. He said it's 95. I'm struggling to go out in all 73 degrees of heat on a fine spring day. What will I do when summer is here? So Dan is gone this week, back Sunday, and gone the next week to Japan. I am becoming more and more thankful for this time alone with my firstborn before that time is gone forever. I'm feeling sad about losing that between the two of us. I know, though, that all pre-baby fears are immediately allayed once the baby arrives, if only so they can be replaced by new baby fears. Hopefully some of those will be curtailed this time by that friend called experience.
Our visitors who've now gone were our friend Crystal from FCC and our friends Kenny and Korie from Cincinnati. They tag-teamed and kept us company for the better part of April, during which I had the most celebratory birthday since moving to Korea. Birthdays feel more like birthdays when people you know are around. I'm 30 now, and everybody keeps telling me how I'm "finally" 30, just because I said I was almost 30 when I turned 24 (24 is almost 25, which is round uppable to 30. Who does that not make sense to? Meanwhile, I do my 9 times tables on my fingers.). At some point between 24 and now, I decided to stop wasting my youth feeling old. Take that, you guys!
Well, we did some activities with Crystal, Kenny, and Korie. I have pictures of so few of them, but I have pictures in my heart of so many more of them. Those kinds of pictures are called memories.
I don't think we set out to have this happily impromptu birthday party, but it worked out so well. We went to a board game cafe with Greg and Karmen and Crystal to play Rummikub, watch tv, and eat and drink ice and cream in varied forms. It was actually what the Koreans call a multi bang, a multi use (multi) rentable room (bang).
Joash mingled his way around the party.
Karmen experienced what I think of as my brother's Rummikub curse: a vast collection of unlayable tiles. I think Jeff is usually stockpiling in order to cheat and win in one turn, though. Somehow my parents raised a bunch of board game cheaters.
Speaking of cheaters, obviously Crystal is using my baby as a diversion.
We had my birthday lunch the next day at a little pasta restaurant that just happened to be next door to this kid's hair cuttery. Joash is the boy who cried "potty" these days, so, after booking him to the bathroom so he could fake like he needed to make some, he took an interest in this curious shop full of baby-sized vehicles (including this here Lamborghini) and tons of toys. He more or less asked to go, so we took him in for his first professional hair cut. Here's the before and after.
He did not appreciate the fancy hanbok hair gown, but he very much did appreciate the police car, whom we have taught him to call the popo.
He really didn't mind the haircut. The hair dresser worked with astounding speed and urgency. He got really upset, though, when we wrested him from the corner full of trucks so that we could move along with the day's errands. He cried the whole way to E-Mart (just across the street).
Dan found Kenny and Korie, hurray! We took them to Myeongdong to sample much of the street's best fare.
Including kyeran bbang (egg bread), which Dan loves and I do not. It is basically an egg cooked into pancake batter.
Here is one of the last remaining tiled subway murals. I don't know, I guess I'd rather see walls emblazoned with the indistinguishable faces of the victims of Korea's rampant plastic surgery scheme.
On the night I outlasted everyone with my incredible ability to stay awake past 7pm (I made it to my usual 10pm), my baby and my babe slept in the exact same way.
Old friends at the Seoul Grand Park Zoo. That's a giant tiger back there.
Kids play with the weirdest, non-toys, and so happily. Next stop, the white baby exhibit.
We have been to several zoos with Joash, but this time he knows what animals are! He called this creature by its name (in toddler anyway), and he showed interest in more than just the pigeons pecking around the trash cans. Luckily the Seoul Zoo is super cheap, so there's no pressure for fun, but this time I think he actually did have some. The way he just knows things these days is blowing my mind. Today he said his name, and he thought it was the funniest joke. He did what even that ol' dope Bastian couldn't do.
Spring is a pretty thing.
Gorillas in their natural habitat - the photo op.
I opted out of the monkey house, as I needed to sit my 28 weeks pregnant and ailing self down for a while. I used that time to take pictures of trees and plants. Luckily I found a spot right under a speaker playing classical music. It was not a bad way to spend an afternoon.
Because it was afternoon, though, all the animals were asleep. Just like a zoo.
Our last stop was the botanical garden. Joash loves fiiiiiishuh these days, and his mean daddy won't let him have one of his own. An ajumma thumped one of these orange guys on the head and then somehow still reacted in surprise when the child in her care attempted to do the same.
I will never not think of Biodome in these situations, and why should I?
Kenny and I pre-arranged an exchange of goods. He designed and created an amazing bag for me, and I committed to a knit beanie for him. They went to Dongdaemun on Tuesday to pick out the yarn, which ended up being branded as Samsung, and I knit from Tuesday night until Thursday night to hold up my end of the deal. More details at the hat's Ravelry page.