Whit and I are relaxing after a fun Saturday in Gwangju. I started off the day with a fun conversation with Mom and Dad and learned that Jessica is expected to have her baby ANY day!!! How exciting!
We then headed off to Korean class, where we are learning how to form sentences. About 80 percent of it goes over our heads. We are the newest people to Korea in the class so everyone is impressed that we are getting involved so early. So far, we have learned how to sing “BINGO” and “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” (actually, you say feet in Korean).
Not sure exactly how much that will help us get by in a taxi or at a restaurant, but it was fun to practice in the shower this morning!
After our two-hour class, Whit and I had lunch with new friends and classmates, Catie and Joy. They have been here much longer than us and it’s so nice to have people who can tell us up from down.
We also went to an art show at the convention center with Catie and her boyfriend, Jim, as well as our Black Mountain friends, Ethan and Maria. We had a great time. Though to be honest, it was too beautiful outside to be inside.
But it was our trip to a Gwangju girls’ orphanage earlier in the afternoon that we enjoyed the most today. There is a Canadian here who has set up a volunteer program with a local orphanage. Every Saturday, he leads a group there to play with the girls.
Whit and I have been wanting to go since we heard about it, so today we finally made it happen. We showed up to a nice, large brick complex just off the main streets of downtown to find a group of girls running wildly through the playground, jumping off their swings and jungle gym to climb on Michael, the Canadian, when we arrived.
They were shy with Whit and me at first. But by the time we walked a block to a nearby park, Whit and I were swinging them around and around through the air, giving piggy-back rides and playing Paddycakes.
The girls laughed and laughed in pure elated joy, flying through the air, never getting dizzy, never tiring of the game. Though our backs sang a different tune. We know we will wake up tomorrow to aching muscles we didn’t know we had.
It was so much fun to be with them, to put aside our teacher faces for a little while and just play like little children. It was also very sad to think someone wouldn’t want these beautiful little girls, for whatever reason. Michael said most of the girls are there for economical reasons. Their parents couldn’t afford another child, especially a girl.
It seemed that they were treated well and loved here at this particular orphanage. They look like any other Korean girl. Barrettes in their shiny black hair, purses hanging off their small shoulders, and easy smiles and giggles in the face of a stranger.
We had such a fun time, and we know we’ll go back soon. Who knows, they might have already forgotten us by now. But their innocent laughter was so contagious, I have a feeling it might have been more rewarding to us than it was to them.