Tonight’s entry features a variety of tidbits and observations. First of all, many thanks to those who submitted great anniversary gift ideas. I still have not decided what to do. If you have a gift idea to share, please let me know! Ideas welcome.
Yesterday was not a good day at work. Fortunately, today was much better. Two cases I worked on yesterday did not go as planned, and it was extremely nerve-wracking for me as I wrapped them up as best I could. It is really tough doing as much as you can and then letting it slip out of your control. You hope that the outcome will be a positive one, especially when a negative outcome could be disastrous. Even when you have no control over the situation, you still feel like you are personally responsible for what happens. In these situations, the risks and rewards are immense. Today I was very much relieved and elated when the cases were resolved without incident. I am usually not a moody person, but yesterday I was very subdued and withdrawn, and today I was much happier. It’s hard to smile when you feel like you’re Atlas shouldering a very heavy burden. My colleague (and good friend) gave me a large bottle of Portuguese port wine to congratulate me on a job well done. I also finished my monthly operations management update for my boss, something that always takes longer than I would like. We’ll discuss it on Monday.
Our nanny, who hails from the Phillippines, started working full time yesterday. She will work for us weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fortunately, in Korea hiring a full-time Filipina nanny is very affordable–much cheaper than daycare is in the United States. Next month, my wife will begin working full time as a manager at an accounting firm in Seoul, so we brought the nanny on board a couple weeks early to help ease my son into the transition period from full-time mommy to full-time nanny. Nannies in Seoul usually live with the families who hire them, but we all agreed that she would live out with her family and commute. Some people agree with my wife’s decision to go back to work, while others think she should stay home with our young son. We decided that while we live in a place like Seoul, where jobs are readily available, my wife should take advantage of the opportunity. Plus, my son may soon go to school part time. Tomorrow my wife will take my son to a Montessori school here in Seoul to check it out. As soon as he is potty trained, he will probably start pre-school. I wondered whether our two-and-a-half year old son is too young to go to school (he will probably start closer to three years old). However, my wife assured me that many parents here take their children to pre-school at a very tender age. I remember heading to pre-school when I was about four years old. It seems that schoolchildren start school earlier and earlier, even in the womb when expecting mothers read to their unborn children and play soothing child development music. Baby Einstein and Leap Frog have built major franchises around early child education. I’m not convinced that a child will be inherently smarter if they start school at a very early age.
Earlier this week we spent time with some good friends. As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, we spent Chuseok with a family who treated us to Georgian food, great wine and mixed drinks. The wife is from Tbilisi, Georgia. We feasted on mchadi and Georgian potato salad. Unfortunately, because she could not find cilantro in Korean supermarkets, she could not make some of the dishes she wanted to prepare. (Fresh cilantro, a spice, a key ingredient in Georgian cuisine.) Her husband, a Texan, improvised by cooking Texas-style chicken. The eclectic meal was delicious. They have two young children, a daughter and newborn son. My son and her daughter played well together, even giving each other "kisses." (I guess I’ll have to start keeping a closer eye on my son! He’s going to be a heartbreaker.) On Monday, also a holiday, we spent both lunch and dinner with more friends, eating lunch at Ho Lee Chow, an American-style Chinese restaurant in Itaewon, and dinner at their home. I’m not sure why our wives decided to have dinner together too, but I was more than happy to oblige.
I am sorry to hear that Hurricane Rita has become a Category 5 hurricane and could be the strongest hurricane in Texas’ history, even stronger than the 1900 hurricane that killed 6,000 people in Galveston, Texas. Hurricane Katrina, for better and for worse, served as a big wake-up call to take these kinds of storms very seriously. The news is reporting that 1.3 million people have fled from the Gulf Coast. I really hope for the sake of the people in the hurricane’s path that the fears are overblown. My thoughts go out to the thousands who fled New Orleans for Houston and are now staying at the Houston Astrodome, as well as everyone who survived Katrina and now must brace for Rita. They went through hell once and may do so again if they have not fled from Rita’s path. Last year’s hurricane season was devastating to the Carribbean nations, particularly Jamaica and Haiti. Friends of mine there told me stories of how bad the devastation was in those areas. Although just as brutal as this season’s hurricanes, the hurricanes last season did not hit as close to home as Katrina and Rita. The Carribbean is breathing a collective sigh of relief.