After church last Sunday we were at the local McDonald's when a familiar looking woman came up to me and asked if I remembered her. I am ashamed to admit that I wasn't sure who she was, but I was sure that I knew her. I introduced her to my wife as one of my students from the adult classes at Kyungsung University, and she quickly corrected me. (Sorry!)
She was Happy Girl, from back in my ELS days! I'm sure that a few of my readers will remember Happy Girl, and I know three people who will be pleased to see this picture. She was a perennial ELS student, who had worked her way up from the very basic level, with a Korean teacher, up to level 5 or 6 by the time I left, the level Horyon was at when I met her.
She was not exactly my friend, but she must have been my student half a dozen times during our mutual tenure at ELS. And she is the subject of one of my favorite stories about how we learn language:
We were in class one day talking about something when one student said or did something very rude. I can't remember what he did, but I remember Happy Girl's reaction. She shot him a killer look and said, "What the hell?"
Needless to say, "What the hell" is not found in any of the standard ELS curriculum, at least not while I was there. And I don't teach my students about swearing unless they ask about it. So I asked her where she had learned, "What the hell?"
Those of you who have either been teachers or raised children will not be surprised at the answer: "I learned it from you."
"But I never taught that!"
"But you use it all the time. Did I use it wrong?"
"No. Actually that was perfect. Well done."
The moral of the story is that students may or may not learn what you set out to teach, but they will learn something from you.
Anyway, I was happy to see Happy Girl, and Horyon took our picture with her youngest daughter, who is just under two years old. She wanted to wipe off the ice cream first, but I insisted that it would make a better picture. I was right.
And the three people who will be pleased to see this picture are Mike and Alaryce, who also taught Happy Girl. I believe that she and Alaryce were pretty friendly. The other happy person will be Earl, who now has photographic evidence that I wore his gift to church that Sunday. He was in Canada this summer, saw the t-shirt, and had to get it for me. I owe him big time.
As long as I'm making readers happy, here's one for Jay Gysler, who may have also known Happy Girl:
When he and his wife came to visit us last, Horyon was still pregnant. They gave us our first baby gift: a yoga block. He said that it was the ultimate gift, being safe, versatile, aesthetically pleasing, and enviornmentally friendly. Horyon used it after Maxine was born to rest her foot on while she breastfed. It was the perfect height for that, and we figured that maybe Jay wasn't a complete nutcase.
OK, time for honesty. We still figured he was a nutcase, just not in relation to purchasing this particular gift for Maxine.
Since then I have found that it makes a pretty decent headrest while I am laying on the floor taking care of Maxine. Not as comfy as a real pillow, but quite a bit comfier than those traditional ceramic pillows I've seen in the Korean history museums.
Now allow me to make someone else happy:
The people who make Huggies diapers!
As you can see, Maxine is in pretty urgent need, and can't get the box open fast enough. We order diapers on the internet, and they are delivered to our apartment, usually within a couple of days. No one in this house is obsessive enough (about diapers) to keep track of exactly how many she goes through, but Horyon figures it's probably 12-15 per day. I have no doubt that this number could be decreased. Very often we change Maxine's diapers not because she seems uncomfortable, but because we can't imagine being comfortable with slightly wet underwear.
But here's the thing: these diapers are some kind of technological wonder. I've taken diapers off of Maxine that were heavy enough to have had a cup or two of baby juice in them, and they don't drip at all! At that point the inside feels damp to the touch, but not wet like a washcloth or a sponge. They puff way up, giving her a serious bubble-butt, but she has been known to sleep with her diaper like this. It's almost enough to make me consider...
How about if I leave you with a choice. Our little model was feeling flirty in August, and she really worked the camera during one session. These are two of her best shots:
#1 Facing right
#2 Facing left
Which one do you prefer? #1 or #2?
I know. Shameless fishing for compliment on my baby. I can't help it.