Getting ready to embarrass Henry on the hotel elevator: A Korean Tradition
Can we do a side-bar for a second and get kind of uncharacteristically mushy? OK great.
Not everyone thought it was a great idea for us to take Chooch with us to Korea (“it’s too expensive;” “he’s too young;” “it’s dangerous over there!”*). And believe me, it would have saved us a lot of money if it was just Henry and me, and we could have gone to G-Dragon’s pension and Kpop countdown shows and, you know, bars — all of the things an 11-year-old is too young for. (Seriously, GD’s pension and all the countdown shows have age restrictions, so lame!)
*(Dangerous in South Korea? We’d all have a better chance of getting shot in America than getting nuked in South Korea, sorry.)
But I couldn’t leave him behind. He has been just as much a part of this journey as Henry has, so how is that fair? And ever since I became a mom, it’s been my dream to be able to do for him what my Pappap did for me, and that was opening up the world for me when I was an impressionable child. He took me to Europe every summer and that’s something that really shaped who I am—it made me appreciate other cultures, it opened my mind, and it made me cherish travel in general even if it’s just a two-hour road trip to some small town with quirky roadside attractions. I have the best childhood memories because of my Pappap and the adventures he took me on, and I have always wanted so much for my own kid to grow up and have veritable tomes of fond memories to flip through. (For me, it’s tangible tomes because I wrote in vacation journals with fervor back then and still leaf through them every now and then!)
At the Alive Museum in Insadong, which I didn’t want to do but Henry was like WE HAVE TO THROW CHOOCH A BONE ONCE IN AWHILE.
So we had to work a little harder (read: a lot harder) to make sure that Chooch could come with us.
I was nervous because if you have ever been around the two of us, Chooch and me, you have probably at some point seen us viciously snipe at each other like siblings. This is because we are essentially the same person. I had visions of us fighting the entire time we were in Korea, and having my experience completely tainted by resentment.
But then the exact opposite happened.
KOREA MADE US BFFS!
Yeouido Hangang Park selfie
We ended up bro’ing up against Henry for some reason and collected so many inside jokes in our pockets that there were times we’d be in the middle of the street (or the aforementioned elevator) and just totally lose our minds at the mere thought of Henry looking at a map. And then there was this one time in Busan when Henry was talking about the high-speed trains and how he saw one go “rippin’ past” which made us double-over in laugh-pain and spend the next two days mercilessly reenacting Henry’s “rippin'” amazement. Henry was not as amused about this as we were, surprisingly, and kept storming off, dismissing us with a flick of his hand, telling us to go to hell, and “good luck getting back to the hotel” and “have fun finding something to eat tonight.”
Gyeongbokgung selfie because the picture Henry took of us sucked
Getting ready for a night at Hongdae / bad hotel room lighting selfie
I think I will always associate our pilgrimage to Korea with side-splitting laughter, mean girl shenanigans, and just pure undulterated joy (even though our joy was nearly Henryerated from time to time – he apparently hates the sound of our laughter because it’s “embarrassing”).
Didn’t even bother wiping the ice cream from my lip for this Gamcheon selfie because I WAS A KID AGAIN AND IT WAS FANTASTIC!
At one point I said to Henry, “When did Chooch become so funny? Was he always this funny?” and Henry just sneered at me like I was delirious because Henry was not impressed with our humor AT ALL. This just made it even funnier!
Henry should feel blessed that he was the source of so much of our laughter though. There was another time in Busan where we were at a beach and he was like, “I bet this place is rockin’ in the summer” which made Chooch and I wheeze, “ROCKIN’!!!!!!!” So the laughter started all over again and before we knew it, Henry was like three blocks ahead of us while we were still collapsing into each other and trying not to pee our pants (I came super close multiple times, not apologizing for the TMI because if you’re here, you should expect that!).
Songdo Cable Car selfie!
Even when we were shopping, there wasn’t a single time that Chooch did the “kid sigh” or suddenly “didn’t feel good” — you know, the things that kids do on vacation when the grown-ups have the audacity to do a thing that they want to do? I think this was a good age to start taking him on big trips.
The “Henry has us on a bus in Busan, will we survive?” selfie
Subway reflection selfie!
Every time Henry would say something to us, we would repeat it using an Eeyore-esque voice and I think he was really considering back-handing us several times. We were out of control! I honestly can’t remember the last time I have ever laughed that hard and consistently; it was honestly an everyday occurrence. Korea is just the best!
Busan Station slaphappiness
So that last picture isn’t a selfie but I wanted to include it because it involves another source of our pants-peeing hilarity. Chooch took a picture of Henry squatting and putting something in my pink backpack and for some reason, we latched on to this picture and cracked up to the point where I am certain there appeared to be something wrong with us. Chooch made so many different edits of this picture and it wil never not be funny to us. I actually was walking down the hall at work on Wednesday and started thinking about it and then the giggles visited me straight from Busan Station and there I was, laughing alone at work, because some things never change. I texted Henry to tell him I couldn’t stop laughing and when he asked why, I responded by texting him that picture and he was like, “go fuck yourself.”
Our relationship became almost symbiotic in Korea, and I will always cherish that! We were on the same wavelength, didn’t grate on each other like we do at home (lol), and just honestly enjoyed each others’ company. Thank you, Korea! What a life-changing experience.
(We love you, Henry!)
ETA: Henry just now said, “All you had to write was ‘Me and Chooch were assholes in Korea’ and be done with it.” Ok but I would have said “Chooch and I” instead.