Our daughter Jordan is in her fourth year teaching in the Land of Far Far Away.
Her tenure began in Chile where worked for a company that sent teachers into businesses to teach English to employees. After hours, she traveled to private homes to teach children.
Jordan’s second year in the Land of Far Far Away took her to the southern most tip of South Korea where she taught K-6th graders. From there, she moved to Seoul where she teaches at a Kindergarten Academy.
Your read right—a school devoted to kindergarten-aged students. All subjects are taught in English. Total immersion.
School is year-round in South Korea. Kids get a little over a couple of weeks off over the course of those 12 months plus a few one-day holidays that make long weekends.
Travel time from there to here averages between 20-24 hours and airfare is pricey. Our daughter doesn’t get home much—maybe once a year.
I wish I had a dollar or five or twenty for every time someone asks Gary and me, “Do you have plans to visit Jordan?” or “When are you going to South Korea?”
“We don’t know,” is our standard answer because, well, we don’t know.
When friends take time to stop and hug those children who live in the Land of Far Away and far, far away, it infuses absent parents with everlasting warmth and gratitude. It is the next best most fabulous thing to a parent being there.
We are fortunate to have such friends. A great many of them contact our children—Kristen and Trey—when they travel to the southern United States.
Not many, as in zero, have ventured near South Korea—until now.
The couple in question is stopping by Seoul on their way to Japan. They’ve already made plans with Jordan to spend a day with her. They also offered to transport any items she may need.
The email read, “…If there is anything we can take to her for you, we would be delighted.”
I wanted to say, “Me! Take me!”
Alas, I cannot fit in a suitcase. Not even close.
I can read your mind. I can.
You’re thinking, “Why not just box up whatever she needs and mail it?”
Airfare is not the only expensive ticket item in the land of far, far away. Postage is crazy outrageous and it takes for-ev-er for a parcel to reach its destination.
People fly to Korea faster than packages. After they arrive, hopping over to Vietnam, the Philippines, and Japan is cheap, particularly for those like Jordan who know a thing or two about travel.
What does Jordan need?
Seoul is the fourth largest city in the world. It has a reputation for cutting edge technology—not toothpaste.
“I can get toothpaste, but nothing with fluoride,” said Jordan. “And it comes in weird flavors like bamboo—tastes like wood.”
Like most of us, she prefers what works for her, which happens to be what she cannot get. She can pick up Tylenol, not Advil. Stores carry Theraflu, not Nyquil.
I packed up a small pharmacy: Toothpaste and Advil and Nyquil and Tums and Italian dressing packets and more.
OK. Italian dressing packets don’t fit the theme, but she can’t get them where she lives. Difficult to believe, I know.
Also, not in-theme is the letter I wrote to my daughter. She’ll receive it, hand-delivered, in a record six days.
Tums, Advil, toothpaste, and even the letter will pale in comparison to the day Jordan will share with longtime and much-loved friends.
I may be there in spirit only, but I’ll enjoy every minute.