Helping friends in Seoul

Today we had dinner with some new friends and colleagues who just arrived from Beijing.  They will be in Seoul for a few years.  A family of three, they arrived last Sunday and are starting to settle into their new life here.  On Monday, I helped them check in, and we went out for lunch.  Tonight we had them over for dinner.  They’re a very nice family.  We’re glad they’re here.  Their arrival reminds me of when we arrived ourselves about five months ago.  Our own arrival seems so long ago now.  It’s hard to believe that our time here is almost one-quarter finished.  This family will be here for about four years, giving them plenty of time to settle in and enjoy Korea.  They appreciated our invitation and had a great time enjoying Chinese and Korean food that my wife prepared.  It was delicious.  We had a great time talking about Seoul and about their experience in China.  Their Mandarin Chinese is fabulous; in fact, my new colleague’s Chinese is almost flawless.  He speaks several languages, including Chinese, Japanese, French, Portuguese, and Spanish.  I can tell that he is very gifted at languages.  He will soon add Korean to his repetoire as he spends one year learning Korean before starting his new job.
I also had the privilege today of helping an old friend who’s working in Chennai, India.  He’s been there since late last year.  We met in Washington, D.C., before we left for our respective assignments.  He and his wife, who’s Korean American, came to Seoul in June so she could give birth to their first child in Korea (Chennai is not equipped to handle a western-style birth).  I’m very happy I ran into them today and was able to document their child as an American.  We may work together in the future in another location, and I am privileged to have the opportunity to play a small part in their child’s life.  We will also hopefully meet up soon for dinner before he departs for Chennai.  He has to head back to work, while his wife will remain in Korea with family until the baby is ready to travel to Chennai.

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