Posted by Susan Colville-Hall on Apr 09, 2020
Elin Na (Hye Rim) from  Yeoju (city), Gyeonggi-do (province), S. Korea has spent this year with the Rotary Club of Akron.  Because of our Covid-19 pandemic, on April 16 she will be returning to her parents who are real estate agents, and her younger sister and younger brother. In case you are interested, Yeoju is located in the middle of the Korean Peninsula where many ginkgo trees grow and the temperature has extremes (very hot and very cold).
While in Akron, she attended Stow Munroe Falls High School where she enrolled in multiple classes and played the clarinet in the marching band and the concert band.  She especially enjoyed marching in the Brown’s Game in the fall when the SMFHS band played at halftime.  She now understands the NFL!!!  Elin easily made friends and was able to take advantage of many opportunities to experience American culture, both through Rotary and her host family. One of her favorite experiences was going to Disney World and spending time with Jill Flagg Lanzinger’s family during Winter Break.  Jill and her family had volunteered to host Elin in May and June.
Her host parents, Anita and Tom Gedelian, opened their doors and hearts to Elin.  She spent time with their grandchildren and celebrated her birthday Korean style at Seoul Gardens with the whole Gedelian gang in January.  She felt very comfortable at home with the Gedelians.
Elin had planned a trip  with Anita to visit another Gedelian daughter and her family in Texas in April, but that trip has been cancelled.
 Elin has also had the opportunity to spend time with the Nuñez family.  She and son, Manny shared an interest in band and were great friends at school.  Rachel and Jacinto have great welcoming expertise as they hosted Sotaro Yamasaki, our RYE student from Japan, for a good part of last year.
Elin has been a wonderful ambassador for her country and a delightful visitor to the U.S.  She was so looking forward to the Eastern trip to visit Boston, New York and Washington, D.C. in March, and to meet all the other RYE students but that trip was canceled a week before departure.   And now the summer Western Trip to Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Colorado and California has been canceled.  No luck for Elin!!  We are sorry Elin will miss so many of the spring cultural events such as Prom, our Rotary 6630 Conference, and graduation as well as summer prospects of fun in the sun.  But a decision to return is always best when personal safety is the focus.   It is certain that we will miss her delightful smile and her eagerness to help us learn more about and appreciate Korean culture.  Here’s a photo of Elin as we hiked the Bike Trail at Brust Park along the Cuyahoga River in Munroe Falls last week while maintaining good social distancing!