Wednesday, September 29, 2010

it has been an eternity. i sincerely apologize. :/
there has been a lot going on...yet at the same time, nothing happening. does that even make sense? don't feel too bad about it...there hasn't been a lot to blog about. since moving into my new place and off of KNU campus, i've been taking much more down time to rest, relax, read, and study korean!

the biggest event of the last month or so was my parents coming to visit! last week, korea celebrated chuseok. the closest equivalent is american thanksgiving. families get together, eat a lot of food, and (unlike american thanksgiving) visit their ancestors' graves to offer sacrifices.

we covered 2 out of 3 (family + food), so...not bad!

chuseok runs for 3 days. this year, it happened to be tuesday through thursday. and praise God from whom all blessings flow - i got the entire week off of work. so there couldn't have been more perfect timing for a visit.

mom & dad were troopers, considering the short visit, jetlag, a 14 hour time difference, culture shock, and (can i say this?) their age. we covered a lot of ground in 5-6 days, and i know that i was EXHAUSTED by the time they headed back to the states. we visited a traditional folk village, saw a little of seoul, attended korean church, met a lot of my korean friends, checked out a few museums...among plenty of other things! besides their 20+ hour (one-way) plane trip, they also experienced korean public transportation via city bus, subway, and taxi. and did a lot of walking. recapping all of this makes me tired all over again...

they could better tell you about their experience here, but probably MY favorite part was taking them to their first traditional korean dinner. hahahaha. i laugh out loud every time i think about it.

we met my friend guemin to go out for a traditional galbi dinner, complete with all of the korean side dishes. the ordeal began as soon as we walked into the restaurant. guemin & i stepped in, took off our shoes, and walked right over to the table. i didn't think a thing about it. then i looked back and saw mom & dad still at the door. hahaha. i forgot that it's not normal in america to take off your shoes when you enter a restaurant.

once we got to the table, we encountered challenge #2. seating. again, i obviously have no foresight. in korea, we sit on the floor, cross-legged. this is terribly uncomfortable for non-koreans the first several times that you experience it. i even have short legs and remember the awful dead legs i suffered through the first month or so that i lived in korea. of course, now, i don't think anything of it and could sit on the floor all day. mom & dad started feeling it about...oh...maybe 4 minutes into the meal.

challenge #3. chopsticks. mom did well. dad didn't heed my advice to practice before arriving here. i'm honestly not sure that i've seen anyone struggle more. HAHAHA. it was hilarious. in the meantime, the restaurant manager is asking all kinds of questions of us. 2 young koreans with 2 older americans...the curiosity was just killing her. guemin & i explained the situation to her and she was amazed that my parents had traveled all the way from america to visit me. she treated us like royalty - giving us a bajillion free drinks & sides, and giving dad personal chopstick lessons. (which, by the way, didn't help. she finally gave up and brought out the sympathy forks).

mom & dad found some things they liked & some things they definitely didn't. (thank the Lord that guemin was there to answer their questions about the food. i was too busy stuffing my face the entire time. did i mention that i really, REALLY love korean food??) then came the next challenge - getting up from the table. as i mentioned, mom and dad made it a few short minutes into the meal before the dead legs reared their ugly heads. so after an hour & a half long meal, they could not physically stand up. i (and the entire restaurant) laughed awkwardly as we watched guemin physically pull each of my parents to their feet. i thought i was going to die.

the final challenge came when we were leaving the restaurant. again, i just slipped my shoes on & waltzed out the door. in korea, we don't really tie and untie shoes because we are constantly taking them on and off. when i got outside, i looked back and saw mom & dad struggling to bend over on their dead legs to tie their shoes. mom was a mess - tripping all over the place. finally she hollered for me to "be a good daughter" and tie her shoes for her. so guemin grabbed one and i manned the other. HAHAHAHA.

here are a few pictures from the week:(above) note mom w/the chopsticks and dad with the spoon...and an extremely dissatisfied look on his face. hahahaha. this was taken during the aforementioned galbi experience.(above) ahjumma giving dad chopstick lessons. note the korean ahjussi in the background...clearly not amused by the foreigners. ha!(above) yay! they had only been in korea for 24 hours.(above) mom & dad got to see my new 20th floor apartment & (below) new neighborhood. (above) mom & dad got to come experience korean church with me & meet my awesome church family.(above) enjoying the sights on a beautiful day at independence hall.(above) on a walk around my neighborhood.(above) at a traditional korean folk village.

well, that's the long & short of it. if you know my parents, ask them about their korean experience the next time you see them!