We are having trouble achieving escape velocity from Korea. This is due, in part, to our destination. In spite of what you have heard about the hoards of people who walk to America across the southern border and eventually just sort of become citizens by default, it's not that easy for others.
If you are coming from Korea, you have to get your paperwork in order. And we had our paperwork almost in order. But as I tell my students, "almost" means "not". And so we are waiting.
We were sort of counting on the United States Postal Service to perform as they have in the past. Usually when my parents send us a letter, it takes around a week or ten days. Not this time. They sent it registered mail. We now have a clearer understanding of what "registered mail" means, and that meaning does not in any way include "faster".
We do have one bit of good news: the travel agent has told us that we can change our departure date from the day after tomorrow (impossible) to an indeterminate date. This is good news because changing the date costs $50 for each of our three tickets. So we're out $150, but we don't have to decide a specific date until we want to.
We've pretty much decided that once we have Horyon's visa in our hands we will give ourselves enough time to get Horyon's pension money, then hop on a plane and take off.
In the mean time, we are continuing to learn these lessons about humility and struggling to impose meaning on the whole situation. Last night Horyon's mother dreamed that I was struggling to cross a river that I wasn't supposed to cross. Interesting, because I also dreamed about being in water, but my dream was a bit creepier. I was swimming in a dark place that felt like a cave, with some other people. And there were things swimming in the water with us, things that wanted to get us. Creepy. But also bizarre. There were also pieces of soap in the water, and someone told me not to eat the soap, as though it were a dire warning. And somehow I knew that eating the soap would alter my perceptions, make the whole terrible situation seem just fine. I'm not sure whether I wanted to eat it or not, but I woke up with my heart beating furiously and wondering why my clothes weren't wet. Except for my pants.
On the other hand, Maxine is having fun. Lately she has retaken an interest in mimicking us. She says, "Abba" (the Korean word for "father", not exactly the same as the Greek) a lot, and I usually respond with the typical Korean, "Nay?" ("Yes?" or "What?"). Sometimes we go back and forth a dozen times. Sometimes I reply with "Baby?" instead, which is one of my main ways to address Maxine. The other day when I said "baby" she very clearly replied with "baby" a couple of times. Of course, there were no witnesses, and I couldn't get her to do it again with anyone watching. She never does our favorite tricks for audiences. No need to fear that we will sell her to the circus, because they don't buy kids who are just really cute.
But if you give her enough time to be comfortable with new people, she will come through with some things. She likes the little songs they sing at church, especially the ones with cute hand motions. On one song she does about a third of them, and sings along with the part that goes "Nay! Nay! Nay! Nay!" Adorable.
She truly keeps us sane.