A few months ago, we were delighted to discover that a new family had moved into our apartment complex. They are from Russia and Ukraine, and they have two children: Mirek (a 2 1/2 year old boy) and Sasha (a 5 year old girl).
I first met Ilya (like Elijah) on the street, and his eyes lit up like a kid in a candy shop when I asked him if he plays soccer. We've been playing soccer at Cheonan Stadium fairly regularly on Sunday nights for more than a month. Ilya's a goal keeper, so that's a big bonus for us. People who actually want to play goalie are hard to come by.
Emma and Sasha have become fast friends. Sasha goes to the same preschool as Emma, so they get to play together there and occasionally at the park near our house.
Wednesday night we finally invited the whole family over for dinner. The kids quickly spread toys all over Emma's room and our room. We had a great time talking and learning about recent Russian politics.
Language doesn't seem to be much of a problem for the kids. They talk in a mixture of English, Russian, and Korean. Emma has even started saying "stop" with a Russian accent: "shtope." English definitely dominates though. It's Emma's strongest language, and Sasha has studied English some before. It seems like her dormant English is finally finding the motivation for lots of expression.
Wednesday night when everyone was leaving, I asked Sasha if she had a good time. She responded in Russian, and then her parents started laughing. She said, "Yes, I had fun, but it would have been better if my parents had not been here."
I said that was easy enough to take care of. Today (Monday) is a national holiday (Children's Day), so all of the schools are closed. So we invited Sasha to spend the night last night for Emma's first ever sleep over.
The night started beautifully when Ilya brought some homemade cottage cheese. That might make it into a lovely lasagna!
When Ilya and I returned from playing soccer, I found Emma and Sasha freshly bathed and in matching pajamas. Then, the girls wanted to play and to rough house with me. Sasha kept asking for me to do the game when I made them do flips. Unfortunately, I was too tired for all of that stuff last night.
We put the girls to bed about 10:30 (very late for Emma). After a host of books (close to 10), we turned out the lights and said goodnight. But the girls were not ready to sleep. We heard them walking around and going to the bathroom. Sarah went in to lay down with them for a little while about 11:00. Then around 11:30, Emma knocked on our door and said, "Um, I have a question. Sasha fell down."
The girls had been playing with their cups of water. They spilled water on the floor, and Sasha fell on the water and somehow cut her chin pretty good. For a little while, I thought Emma's first sleepover might end with a teary-eyed trip to the emergency room.
But Sasha was a real trooper. She didn't cry at all, and surprisingly, there wasn't much blood even though the cut was fairly deep. We cleaned her up and put on a band-aid. After talking to us on the phone, her parents decided to let her stay. Both girls were asleep by midnight. Tragedy averted.
This morning, they woke us up at what felt like the pre-dawn hour of 7:30. They've already had breakfast and TV, and now they're "feeding" Emma's lovies and playing on the piano.
All and all, a good sleep over. And definitely a memorable one.