Working in the boarding house at the school in South Korea I assumed the time I’d spend with people significantly younger than me would be mainly with the students, however then I met Amélie (4) and Simeon (less than a year) - the children of the assistant house master Johan, and his wife Anél. Amélie and Simeon are probably the young children I’ve spent the most time with, even more so than family members and it’s safe say Simeon became my best friend over the year.
On the night I first met Amélie, she had been travelling for about 36 hours and was understandably completely shattered. This, plus the fact that she had been back home in South Africa for a few months meant that she had almost completely forgotten how to speak English. It took her a few days to get back into her English and even longer to stop being shy and learn that I was going to be a new friend. She spent the first few weeks accidentally calling me ‘Ben’ (the person who had the job in my boarding house before me) and then when she finally got used to me, she began to call me Ben deliberately to tease me.
It never ceased to amaze me that at 4 years old, Amélie could already speak Afrikaans and English fluently. Not just conversationally but to tell jokes and make up stories and songs. On top of this at school she began learning Korean and Spanish.
EDIT: Having filmed a few of these by the time I edited and uploaded Amélie's, it's safe to say she was the easiest to film. I asked her if I could film her playing and instead of asking why, or getting self conscious she said yes and then ran off and started playing immediately. The only complaint she has was that I was spending too long filming and not long enough playing with her.
Filmed in Seogwipo-si, Jeju, South Korea.
Known for 9 months at the point of filming.