Monday, January 28, 2013

Visiting Home

For the past two weeks, we had the wonderful opportunity to visit family and friends back home for our winter vacation. I spent the first five days in Seattle and then joined Tyler in San Diego for the remainder of our trip. We spent our time relaxing, savoring American food we missed, shopping, recounting funny Korean anecdotes, laughing with those we love, and relaxing some more. Due to the sheer volume of relaxing that took place, we didn't focus on taking too many pictures, so I apologize in advance for the lack of photos. 
Before we actually arrived home, we had a grueling trek from our apartment in Busan to the doors of our homes. Read below to follow in our footsteps: 
  1. Taxi to the train station 
  2. Bus to Incheon International Airport in Seoul 
  3. Airplane ride to Guanzhou, China 
  4. Five hour layover 
  5. Airplane ride to Los Angeles
  6. Four hour layover 
  7. Airplane ride to San Diego
  8. Tyler takes a 30 minute car ride home, I spend 8 hours at the airport overnight
  9. I take a plane back to Los Angeles
  10. Forty minute layover
  11. Three hour plane ride to Seattle
  12. Thirty minute drive home
For me, the total travel time was about 45 hours. That's roughly two days without bed, bath, and beyond. It goes without saying that I took a nice, long soak in the tub and a solid nap as soon as I got home. 

I spent the first couple of days with my brother, Daniel, and my dad. Seeing them and catching up with them was a time well spent. My brother is my height now, which blows me away. 

My dad, Daniel, and I went to Pike Place Market for flowers and fish on one of our days together. Even in the dead of winter, Pike Place never fails to disappoint. It hasn't changed much over the past ten years, either. The street performers are still out, the fishermen are still throwing salmon, and the waterfront is still enriched with the aroma of marijuana. As tradition would have it, I got a small container of Turkish Delights and some coffee from the first Starbucks. 

After visiting with my dad, I spent the next two and a half days with my mom. My mom, Ken, Joshua, Jessica, and Oma welcomed me home to with a raclette dinner. A raclette is a leveled grill that goes on the table for cooking meat, veggies, and cheese. Actually, it reminded me quite a bit of Korean barbecue. It was delicious and I slept very, very soundly that night. 

The next day, my mom and I went to the Tulalip Casino with Oma. We had a delicious brunch at the casino buffet before we started on the slots. As we slowly lost (all of) our money on the penny machines, night rolled in and brought with it the colorful Tuesday night Tulalip crowd. We left before long after meeting with a most questionable character at the poker table who kept telling me, "Yo mom is a couga!" 

After spending the night at Oma's house, my mom and I went shopping. I purchased several pairs of shoes since my size is not carried in Korea. Following a successful afternoon at the mall, I met up with Ben in the early evening. We headed to a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in the U-District for some delicious Indian food. Then, we met up with the gang at Third Place Pub. I haven't laughed as hard as I did that night in a long time ("Two ciders!"). We drank in honor of Tyler not being there, then shared stories of what we'd been up to since the summer. 

And just because it must be done: 

The next day, my mom, Ken, and Daniel took me to brunch in Bothell. We said a fond farewell before I was reunited with my dad for a nice afternoon and sushi for dinner. I flew to San Diego that night, surprising Ty with Oma's pound cake. 

The next week was spent sleeping and spending quality time with our other parents. First, we visited Tyler's grandmother in Borrego Springs. The desert sun felt incredible given that we'd just spent several months shivering in freezing Busan. We rode around in a golf cart, went to the driving range, relaxed poolside, and spent time with extended family. 

The rest of the week was spent relaxing, fine dining, spending time at home, and exploring Encinitas in 70+ degree weather. Being with family was truly rejuvenating. Highlights included our whale watching trip, eating Bananas Foster at The Melting Pot, and enjoying sashimi at an adorable sushi restaurant. 

After another wearying journey back home, we landed in Busan safe and sound. We are so grateful to our generous family members for hosting us and lavishing us with their hospitality and generosity. We miss home every day and were glad to have a taste of it in the middle of our travels. With our batteries recharged with all of the love we got, I think we'll be able to make it through until we're back home for good. Much love to everyone we visited with. We're counting the days until we can see you all again! 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ringing in 2013

Happy New Year! We wish everyone a beautiful, adventure-filled 2013. Carpe diem.