Chase came home from camp July 20th. This gave me about 8 days to re-acclimate Chase to civilization and prepare him and the house for our friends from Tokyo arriving June 29th. Packing for camp is definitely better than un-packing from camp. The day after Chase came home, I decided to take him to the primary care clinic because he was covered in strange rashes and complained of an earache. This resulted in a prescription for 10 days of antibiotics and various creams and ointments requiring applications 3 times a day. He’s all good now, but even though Chase swears he showered, this is what I found while I was unpacking his bag:
July 29th arrived and Chase was on the mend. We picked up Ryosuke and his mom (Mami) from the airport in the evening. Up to this point, Mami-San was my son’s Japanese friend’s mom. So far, I simply thought of her as very nice and very Japanese. Being sensitive to their jet-lag, I scheduled a few things but tried to be flexible as well. After we dropped off bags at the house, we went to Sweet Hut Café off Buford Highway.
It’s my new favorite place. Even if they don’t serve Pot Bing-soo, they do sell amazing green tea frappes and milk teas with jellies and bubbles. If you have no idea what I am talking about, definitely give it a try. You will be instantly addicted. This place also reminds me so much of the bakeries in Korea and Japan.
I had forewarned Mami, that Chase and I needed to spend a little time each day reviewing some math because he had a placement exam for school on Friday. She was fine with that and we set aside a little time each morning for the boys to get yelled at. Just kidding, we were only “speaking with emphasis”. The first full day we ended up going to CNN headquarters and rock climbing. It was a blast. When you live somewhere, you rarely get the motivation to be an actual tourist in your own town unless you have guests and this was one of those times. The tour was terrific and our guide was funny, and you know me, it’s all about the photo-op:
After the tour, I had arranged for us to go indoor rock-climbing. I love to do outdoor things, but because I hate the sun, bugs, and mosquitoes, it really limits me. Indoor-anything works. Again, something I had never done, but thought would be fun and physical. We all strapped on our gear and started climbing with our guide. Chase started out strong having just come back from camp, but ended up losing steam towards the end. On the last wall, I was aghast watching him actually throw his body against the base of the wall just hoping he would stick to it. As a mother, it was a little mortifying. Ryosuke ran out of steam about the same time and I blame that on his refusal to eat from being “so excited.” Mami and I were little monkeys. For a woman who doesn’t work out at all, she was doing great. The last wall was the only one she couldn’t complete and it wasn’t for lack of trying. That last wall, had us climbing upside down on a very steep face. The only people in our group who managed to make it to the top were me and a U.S. Marine. He muscled his way through and you could just tell he was trying hard from his all-over sweat and trembling muscles. I took the climb one blob at a time and just kept “hanging in there” (pun intended). Getting to the top completely took me by surprise. I think I was “in the zone”. When I came down off the side, I felt such a mix of relief and accomplishment and amazement, I almost started to cry. I suddenly thought about my mom. It’s funny how it doesn’t matter how old you are, sometimes, you just wish your mom or dad just saw you do that.
The next day was Wednesday and I promised the boys they could spend the day at the house doing whatever instead of being dragged around shopping with us. That evening Cliff was taking the boys to see the Braves play the Rockies and it turned out to be a perfect day.
Thursday, we drove to Lake Lanier to go zip-lining. We were in a group with another family from North Georgia. It was Mami’s first time listening to people with real thick Georgia accents. She was so funny, because she thought I actually knew another language because I was communicating with them! Then she realized all my responses were in Engrish I just explained that this was an example of the Southern Dialect. One of the sons (who is in college) actually told me he was interested in going to Thailand to teach English. Being the adult, I was able to quickly don the Korean mask-of-no-expression, Chase unfortunately just stood there with his eyes like buttons and his mouth agape.
Chase and I had to spend half of Friday at Woodward getting testing and orientation. We came home as soon as possible so Ryosuke and Chase could spend their last day together and I could take Mami out for one last shopping opportunity. That evening, my girlfriends: Holly, Debra, and Mia came over to eat ribs a la Cliff and meet my guests. I told the boys, since it was their last night, we wouldn’t be bothering them to go to bed and they could do whatever they wanted. This was interpreted as the classic all-nighter. Chase didn’t go to sleep until Saturday morning at 6:30am as we were leaving to take Ryosuke and his mom back to the airport. He woke up just long enough to say good-bye and then collapsed in the back seat.
Tomorrow is Chase’s first day of School. It is officially the end of summer for us. It has been terrific. Yesterday, he and I went on one of our lunch “adventures” and tried a new dim sum restaurant. He noticed I seemed a bit melancholy and asked me what was on my mind. I guess it hit me that my summer buddy was not going to be around. As each year passes, I have this growing anxiety about my relationship with Chase. I don’t know when I will no longer seem cool in his eyes. I guess the important thing is he will always be cool in mine.
Until next time…