Home made cinnamon rolls (thanks, roommate) and 7am breakfast with the early risers...
Gifts and greetings trickled in throughout the day.
The cards were hilarious.
"Kelly! Hi I'm Abby. Happy birthday. It's birthday card... It's so beautifal? I think I love you! Abby. "
Another favorite (from Youna) reads:
"Teacher Kelly Congratulation and Happy Birthday. And I wish this is your best birthday in Korea. Maybe because you got many gifts from students in Korean school. And teacher I am so glad that I meet beatufiul and kind teacher like you who teachess english and are class and that is you teacher Kelly. And ones again techer congratulation and Happy Birthday. And teacher I wish you and I will be a good, best partner. FROM: Youna"
By the end of the day, my desk was quite crowded.
A red wallet and yellow pencil case reading "Escape from your routine / And spread out your wings to fly away," compliments of Cathy, roses from Anica, a bicycle picture frame from Youna, and a potted cacti from Jane.
After school, my co-teacher Jennifer called me upstairs. I have a great video of a packed teachers lounge, the melodic efforts of my co-workers singing "Happy Birthday" in English, and five proud candles atop a decadent cake. Unfortunately the video won't load, but here's an "after party" picture...
Many of the teachers signed the most epic card I've received to date. Some comments include:
- "Happy birthday to you! I think you are good teacher. I want to be with you long time. I wish you are happy and healthy in Korea."
- "Happy birthday Kelly. You are so attractive person. I like you."
- "Happy Birthday to you! Always I bless you take care Body. Always I bless you take care Mind. You are happy face. I wish you well doing. I love you."
After school, they took me to dinner at an upscale Korean restaurant. I've eaten like this once before when Jennifer and I first met, and the food was equally delicious this time around.
Words will never describe what it meant to have these three women take time out of their busy lives, away from their demanding husbands and children, to have a meal with the intention of celebrating me, and the evening will forever be one of my top three favorite memories of my time in Korea.