Sunday, May 1, 2011

TaeGeom comes to Town

Looking a bit like Michelangelo's Adam (but with more success), TaeGeom was welcomed by an overeager aunt and uncle (Joo and me) when he rolled into Athens. SangOk and Jusu were gearing up to leave Los Angeles and head across the sea to South Korea to live and so they blessed us with a goodbye visit for a couple weeks.

Jusu must have been working quite hard taking care of TaeGeom as the picture below shows her confusion in remembering which mouth to feed. (Just kidding!)

TaeGeom certainly seems to be a happy boy and we were delighted to see him start crawling during their stay (of course, getting away from Uncle Daniel and "the Big Black Bear" would have motivated any baby to crawl). He had also grown considerably from when he was born (he was a premie baby, but is now in the 99th percentile for weight among babies his age).

As this was the first time either Joo or I had seen our nephew, he certainly received his share of pampering ranging from personal fan attendants to massages and belly rides.

The first week of SangOk and Jusu's stay was deceptively pleasant for an Athenian April. Thankfully, we took full advantage of it and made it out on lots of walks and even a picnic.

I had just finished reading a book about a linguist who went to live with an Amazonian tribe for most of his life (Don't Sleep, there are Snakes). The author had started out as a missionary but ended up getting converted to their way of life instead. One of the interesting aspects of the tribe's culture was that they treated babies as adults, even allowing them to play with knives or crawl towards fires. The logic was that the Amazon is a tough place to survive and that allowing babies to make their own mistakes was sort of a survival of the fittest test. While we didn't give TaeGeom the Amazonian treatment, I did let him try on some of my clothes.

JooYeon and Jusu were delighted to spend some time together again. They chatted away non-stop whenever Jusu wasn't absorbed in the babycam (a video monitor to watch TaeGeom as he sleeps). JooYeon gave Jusu some cooking lessons and Jusu did some more of the lovely art that already decorates most corners of our house.

Having felt a bit hawjeonhae after Kiwi and Gyu left 9 months ago, I was glad to have another guy around the house for awhile to talk with, exercise with, and just hang out with. I had met SangOk twice before for brief periods of time, but this was my first opportunity to really spend some quality time together.

As SangOk is at a transitional time in his life (he hasn't been back to Korea ever since he left about 25 years ago), there was plenty of fodder for reflective discussions. As Joo helped him build his resume, it turned out that he has had a wide array of jobs and life experiences (medical field, coffee shop owner, and many more).

Since TaeGeom really should be choosing his own career path before long, JooYeon tried to recruit him to the culinary arts field. Although he looks like a natural in the chef's cap, he still hasn't made a final decision yet (obviously he's nothing like his Uncle Dan who knew precisely what he wanted to do all along).

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