Friday evening Bryan, Avi and I drove down to Paengseong for a special performance. Zoe’s Korean-American summer school graduation!
This whole week she has ridden the bus from the Osan front gate down to Pyeongtaek for the daily summer camp. It was ALL day every day – I dropped her at the bus stop at 830 and picked up at the bus stop at 1830. The ride is about a half hour each way, but she loves riding the bus. And she said it was a blast! The focus was art and music – both Korean traditional stuff and modern.
At the big graduation we were greeted with a reception area showcasing all the kids’ crafts. We searched for hers and found she was in class 1- the maroon shirts; all 200 kids were divided into 8 groups containing all ages within each. I really like that they kept it all-ages instead breaking down into peer groups; that meant she got to be in a class with kids up to 7th grade. She was the youngest allowed. This was also a mixed-nationalities group with half the kids local Koreans and half Americans from Camp Humphreys (that is the Army base down in the town where the camp was) or Osan AB.
Her crafts were fun to spot: a fan with peacocks, a pencil holder featuring “mom” “dad” “zoe” “avi”, a set of papercraft kimchi pots, a naturally dyed set of handkerchiefs, and a perler bead keychain with Arlo on it.
The 2 hour long showcase was interesting and varied. It started with a great montage video of the kids in their craft classes. We spotted Zoe in the video and it was funny she was filmed at her favorite class: lunch. “The best lunch ever” she said. It was a buffet of Korean foods / spaghetti / cupcakes as far as she told me.
After the video, the first 4 classes gathered on stage to show their traditional Korean drumming skills. Zoe was near the front playing the hand held cymbal / gong. She had been practicing her rhythm skills with this and it was apparent she was really focusing to get the 2-big, 3-little beat. It is so cute to watch her try at this; so focused, but the dear child just doesn’t have a natural musical talent…at least we haven’t found it yet. Regardless of her skill, she had fun learning a new instrument and was proud to do a performance.
After that, there were professional Korean drummers, the other 4 classes dancing a modern K-pop style dance number (thank GOD Zoe wasn’t showcased in that one), and then a string ensemble, words from the local uppity-ups, and a representative student from America and Korea to receive the graduation diploma. There were group pictures and ALL the kids came out to sing a special “We are the best friends ever” song. It was so adorable!!! I’ll put it on our youtube channel.
I got to meet the friends she made: Katie, William, and ‘Korean boy’. Also got to meet her counselors: most were from the local college, but the adult was one of the local Pyeongtaek tour guides. Funnily enough he did our tour back in the fall! We recognized each other. He was also spewing praise for Zoe being “so smaaaat for her age”. cute.
Starving, we hit the BK at Camp Humphreys before going home…. small price to pay for an amazing week of camp for Zoe AND a great show this evening. That’s right, it was a free camp!! Incredible.