Monday, July 1, 2013

Korean Camp - All Things Korean

Thank you all so much for your love and prayers for my boy and the rest of us. You'ns are the pea pods to my beef.

Or something.

The good news is, he's coming off the 'roids starting today so we're hoping to have our vivacious, yakkity-yak boy back soon. The not-great news is that he's coming off because they weren't working. So keep praying. We start a different med tonight and it MUST work. If you're interested in more updates, you can always friend me on the FB. I like you guys. I like having you around.

The fantastic news is, I just got back from piloxing where I punched Satan's lights out and called him some unholy names a bunch of times. I highly recommend it.

But we're not here to talk about my rogue street-fighting tendencies.

This is Calvin's class at Korean Culture Camp. I want him to marry the entire first row and it has nothing to do with my most recent read. I just can't. I can't handle their faces. Some of the kids were adopted but most weren't. It was a good and fascinating mix and interesting to see the way Calvin was obsessed with his Korean name while the other kids from Korean families were all named Ryan.

Okay, only two. Still.

I volunteered a couple days at the camp and here's what I learned that shall stay with me forever: Korean kids are just kids. Is it weird that I didn't know that? I always sort of assumed Korean kids walked through life with a certain reverence and grace missing from my Asians. I assumed it was some weird Western flaw I brought to the table.

These kids were wild and sweet and friendly and bratty and entitled and helpful and spazzy and shy and too loud. They potty talked and faked stomachaches when it was time to try new foods.

They were 2nd and 3rd graders, mostly boys. Bless them. Bless their families.
We can do this gig, after all.

Hi, Mr. Lee.

Love you so much.

Remember when I took this pic and took too long fiddling around with the dials and you said through your teeth, "Hurry up, Mom!" So I hurried and now? Blurry almond eyes. But they're still my favorite.

This was a typical lunch at Korean Camp. Full-on. Come to Mama. Get in my belly, bulgogi. Put a ring on it, kimchi.

Lunch was served by local Korean churches and restaurants. Seconds were welcomed, and Calvin did not ever disappoint. I was intrigued by the way they served saucy meat with their hands. They're no sissies, that's for sure.

The main problem was that Calvin also wanted Korean food every night for dinner. Korean restaurants were everywhere in East Lansing.

(One day we counted Asians/Non-Asians while we drove through campus. It's not weird, I promise.)
(Homeboy won, by the way.)
(He's now decided MSU is his fall-back if Korean University doesn't pan out.)

This place was the Korean equivalent to Subway.
I died.
I now want to hop in my mini van and drive back for a post-piloxing snack.

So yes, I was all over the Korean food.

Except after a while, I just needed some salsa. So we compromised one evening and I found a Cobb salad that made me rue the day I said I didn't want Korean food.

(If you ever travel with me, you'll see how seriously I take restaurant planning. There's just no room for error.)

The boys schooled the girls in jump rope.

Hi Sweetheart-in-pink-skirt. I'm your mother-in-law!
You'll love me, I promise.

David was a fellow adoptee and stole my heart a little. He had a Silas streak 10 miles wide.
That's all I have to say about that.

One day he held the door for everyone and Calvin hopped in and asked me to take a picture. It pinched my heart right up.

Milo has an adopted sibling? I think?
He and Calvin got on like old mates.

Just stop it, cuties.

Korean art, courtesy of Calvin and Jeung Woo, who spoke not a lick of English. Calvin realized he was probably lonely and starting hanging around him more on day 3.

(I just cried typing that last line, fyi. No biggie.)

He had a blast. It was a great success.
Dude got a little wistful tonight looking through his photos.
I think this filled something inside of him and I imagine we'll have no choice but to go back next year.

Although we might start saving now so we can opt out of the HoJo.
That's all I'll say about that.
Until tomorrow.


  1. this made me want to cry! your little korean dudes are just the best!!

  2. Precious. Makes me sad I backed out of our BELL program. Yeah, I am sure you haven't heard of it, it's where all the cool kids hang out. Wink. (Braille enrichment for literacy and learning) yes. For the blind kids. We've decided that we just can't swing it this year.( we were gonnanstaybwith my folks but I wasn't thinking about the Atlanta rush hour traffic and the time zone difference.) neither Grace or ai are 5 am people. It runs from 9-3 each day and she just doesn't have the physical stamina. Sigh. Maybe next year. I'm hoping it will do the same thing for her that this camp did for your sweet boy, fill in a hole in her heart that she doesn't know exists. Interacting with other children that use Braille will be huge for her I am sure. I can't wait to hear more about the hojo.

  3. Three cheers for Korean camp! I can't even handle the cuteness. And the food. And the bonding. And that Mr. Lee. I'm smitten with him. He's secured a spot on my sweetest kiddos list. xo

  4. So happy that Calvin and you had a fun-filled-and yummy!!-week together! What a blessing! I am a fairly new reader and wonder if you have shared in any more detail about Calvin's health issues? Can you direct us newbies to a previous post or give a brief synopsis, if you're comfortable sharing, of course. Either way, praying for wisdom and peace and medication success! Happy July!

    1. Absolutely! Here's a link to a past post:

      And here's a link to more info about his illness:

  5. It looks like it was a fantastic week!
    I'm praying for Calvin. May he be blessed with improved health soon! I do hope that they find a medication that will help him. This must be so hard for him, and for you and your family. Praying for peace for all of you.

  6. Love that you have already picked out your future daughter in law! It is never to early to start building that relationship! ;-)

    Praying for rapid improvement for C!

  7. Oh the preciousness. I cannot wait for my Nathan to be old enough for Korean camp. Our agency runs one that starts at age 4. I will probably die from the cuteness. And that food. Yum! I'm glad God gifted you with a special week with Calvin since it was to be followed up by so much stress. Praying for you all!! Our little guy's medical issues are different, but I know what it is to have backseat worries suddenly jump into the front seat and threaten to take over.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing this adventure! We have a niece and nephew who are half Korean, and their parents made sure they were involved with programs like this all the time. Reading this makes me miss them so much. They're in TX and all grown up now :(

  9. Precious! I love reading about your family adventures. And Korean camp for your boy? You're a terrific mama!

  10. I have a bazillion favorite posts of yours, but this one is right up there!

  11. Oh good! I'm not the only weirdo who picks out my children's future husband and wife. I've been praying for Calvin and I'm tickled to see his experience at the camp was a good one. Do you have any local Korean churches in your area? I bet your littles would enjoy attending VBS there.

  12. Thanks so much for posting about the camp. My oldest daughter is Korean-American, adopted in the US at birth. We don't "fit into" Korean Adoptee groups since she's a US adoptee.. but she is definitely a 100% Korean-cutie. I would have guessed all kids at the camp were Korean adoptees... and we wouldn't fit in... I think Korean Camp is in our future in a few years!!

    PS- I work in the field of hematology/bone marrow transplant (with dnors) and I am following Calvin's story... and starting with lots of prayers.

    PSS- Calvin can't marry the front row because I have him already pinned for my sweet Mary Jane :) They'd make a cute couple!

  13. Hi Shannan! I'm a newer reader of your blog and I love your style and down-to-earthness. :) I have to give you a thumbs up for taking your boy to Korean Camp. Adoption is near to my heart as 9 of my nieces and nephews are adopted... i like reading your insight on that! Keep up the good work with your kiddos. Praying for Calvin, too!

  14. Such a great camp for Calvin. I hope he is feeling better. I know it isn't the answer. Hopefully they can decide on that someday soon. I know it breaks your heart. ER isn't fun at all. (((((HUGS))))

  15. Ho Jo!
    I love Calvin and his little loving heart.
    I love how excited you get about food choices.
    You are my favorite.

  16. My little brother (adopted from S Korea in 1987) would always go to a sleep away Korean Culture Camp in Michigan. It was called Sae Jong ( I think). He always enjoyed it. He made friend that he then joined up with again n College.

  17. Long-time reader (lurker) from Michigan here. My son did a week-long German language and culture camp at MSU (my alma mater) the same week you were there. I'm bummed that I didn't run into you on campus! Glad to hear Calvin enjoyed it - the camp sounds fabulous.