May 282018
 

“Do you think I should LiveBlog the parade? Hello? Why is no one answering me?”

“Ugh, why would you want to, nothing ever happens?! I mean I guess you can—” Chooch groaned.

“Ok I’ll do it since you want me to!”

And that’s how this Memorial Day parade LiveBlog was born.

But first, before the parade starts, SHINee’s back!!! And here is their new video!! I’m trying not to be all doom and gloom because there’s obviously no Jonghyun, which is really weird and leaves a gaping hole in the heart, but this song is really great, I mean truly superb, and I mean, Taemin. Oh for the love of Taemin.

9:46am: Chooch has summoned the neighbor kid to sit on our porch and Henry just looked out the door and said, “I hope they’re going to sit somewhere else” because neighbor kid has a very high-pitched cartoon voice and it drives Henry nuts. The parade starts at 10 but people have been set up since like 8, it’s so bizarre to me because this parade is the lamest and if I had to go any farther than my front porch to spectate…well, best believe that would never happen, so.

10:02am: Blake, Haley, and Calvin are here now (they walked really far across the front yard to get here) and we’re outside having a lovely conversation about Keds.

Calvin loves Chooch!

10:16am: Chooch kept saying this lady was walking around yelling at people. “Ha! She just yelled at Pita*!” Chooch scoffed. But then she got to our sidewalk and said, “Hey guys! Come down to the church down there after the parade! free hotdogs and a bouncy house! It’ll be a good time!”

Yeah, she really told us, Chooch!

*(Pita – Chooch’s frenemy down the street. Not his real name.)

10:18: Some lady somehow made it through the barricades and drove right into the parade. What a Janna thing to do.

10:20: Parade’s starting with a sound we know well here in Brookline – police sirens. See also: Henry’s favorite part of the parade. HE IS A COP SLUT.

“THEYRE NOT ALL BAD!” Henry yelled at me. And then under his breath, “Though, the motorcycle ones all seem to be dicks.”

10:22am: Candy’s being tossed at us but it’s getting mixed up with the glass and smashed car parts from that huge accident a few weeks ago, because NED came back yesterday to get his car which was a casualty of the accident so now all the debris beneath it is exposed. Oh Pioneer Ave.

10:24am: All these cars are parading past with In Memory of Donald James signs but we don’t know who that is. And Chooch just threw a melted Nestle Crunch at us.

10:26am: Sparky the Fire Dog came running over and Chooch got all excited until Sparky passed him up for Calvin lol.

10:34am All the little cars are my favorite part of the parade and now it’s over so what’s the point:

The only good part!

A post shared by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

Now one of the high school bands are oozing past and I’m reminded of a Memorial Day about 6 years ago when I was working and Henry texted me to say that one of the band people threw an empty water bottle in our yard and I was like OH NO THEY DIDNT and i sent the SUPERINTENDENT an email voicing my displeasure and you best believe I received an apology from him and the band director thank you. (Also I emailed them from my work email which is a Law Firm lol.)

10:39am: Chooch has little kids bringing him candy like they’re his bread shuttles. (THATS KOREAN SLANG FOR THE KIDS BULLIES USE AS THEIR LACKEYS. My blog is so educational.)

1048am: I guess I would be zealously clapping like my neighbor is if I gave a shit about this country. Sigh.

Henry has no comment regarding the parade at this time.

10:53am: Just saw my friend Elaina walk by with the local dance studio! I like knowing people in the parade. It makes me feel like I have worth.

10:54am: The Teen Outreach Center just walked by and they all screamed RILEY!!!! and pelted Chooch with candy lol. Chooch calls the teen outreach center “the cult” and says they’re all hooligans lol.

11:03am: Ok the parade is over. I didn’t get to see any children fall this time but Chooch collected the most candy he’s ever collected probably just because Blake was there to coach him this time. He always leaves half of the candy in the street!!

Well guys, happy Memorial Day if you’re an American and happy Monday to the rest of you. We’re going to go and melt in the ninety degree sun now.

Also, P.S. I want to start my own dance studio so next year we can be in the parade sashaying down the Boulevard to Kpop and by we I mean probably just me and Janna because who else will I ever be able to wrangle?

May 262018
 

Fun fact: every time I type Hongdae, my phone tries to change it to “bondage.”

I had dinner with Barb the other night and she asked me what my favorite part of Korea was, and right away I said it was our evening on Hongdae and I tried so hard to summarize that area for her, in between all of the INTERRUPTIONS FROM OUR SUPER ATTENTIVE WAITRESS, oh my god I wanted to scream, “STFU CAN’T YOU SEE SOMEONE IS FINALLY LETTING ME TALK ABOUT MY FUCKING TRIP TO KOREA?!”

God!!

Anyway, this post is about all of the things I wanted to tell Barb about Hongdae but Miss Mary Lynn Rajskub-doppelganger and her “REFILL?!” sidekick made it nearly impossible.

After our afternoon in Samcheondong, we walked back to the hotel, changed, and then set off for the subway that would take us to Hongdae. I refused to leave Korea without experiencing Hongdae at night. It’s not like we could go to bars or whatever (THANKS CHOOCH) but Hongdae is famous for its infinite wealth of street performers, especially being in such a youthful area (it’s right next to Hongik University).

Here we are, waiting for the subway, preparing to be dicks.

Gotta get one last map-check in.

Since it was still early in the evening, we made a pit-stop to Mangwon because I was like, “I WILL DIE IF I DON’T GET TO GO TO ZAPANGI.” And it wasn’t dramatic at all. I have a whole post just for this quirky Instagram-famous cafe, so see your way over there if you’d like to read more about it. But if you’re like, “Nah, mate, I’m good” then I’ll just quickly tell you that “zapangi” means “vending machine” in Korean and you literally walk through a vending machine door to get inside. Also, it’s pronounced “ja-pahng-ee” because there is no “z” sound in Korean so why “they” made the romanization of the word spelled this way is beyond me. Good job, “They.”

Mangwon also has a market so we of course had to peruse it. Henry bought a bottle of makgeolli (traditional Korean rice wine — don’t get it confused with sake though; makgeolli is more milky) and was straight-up giddy about it. “It only cost 1,000 won!” he cried, which is about a dollar. We drank it in the hotel room that night like losers who vacation with their kid and can’t go to bars.

THANKS CHOOCH.

J/K. It would have been weird being there without my partner in giddiness.

By the time we waded our way through the market, it was getting dark so we knew it would be a good time to head to Hongdae.

First, we had to lose Henry. Here’s his face when he realized we weren’t behind him anymore, lol. He was in the middle of chastising us. We just laughed and walked away.

And then we made it to where all of the action was. There were street performers lined up everywhere, each one with their own throng of oglers. We walked down the street and passed singers, dancers, magicians, comedians…there was something for everyone and the vibe was so positive and energetic. How can I even encapsulate something like this into words on a blog post?! It was a dream for any kpop fan for sure because there was no shortage of street dancers emulating beloved kpop choreo. (My favorite was the group of boys who danced to about 8374 BTS songs as well as Block B’s “Her” which I liked prior to this but there was something about seeing these local boys dancing to it in the middle of a street in Hongdae on a Saturday night in March that has really made me pull that song close into my heart.

Here’s a small compilation of videos that Chooch sent me:

We just don’t have anything here in Pittsburgh like Hongdae which is actually kind of strange because we have several college campuses right near each other in Oakland. But, unless things have changed since the last time I was out and about in Oakland at night, the streets aren’t poppin’ off with street performers and I was constantly looking over my shoulder walking back to my car because I didn’t want to get mugged or raped or organ-harvested. (I had a lot of night classes when I went to Pitt and constantly felt like prey walking through campus at night.)

In Hongdae, the party atmosphere felt joyful and not sleazy and date-rapey. I’m usually crowd-phobic, but no one was aggressive, no one was pushing and shoving, and you know, no one pulled out a gun and started firing at random because this wasn’t America. The people there were mostly in their 20s, but there were also kids with their families as well, so I didn’t feel like a shitty parent dragging their kid to some after-hours club.

Speaking of Chooch, I’mma let him jump in here and tell you about Block Burger.

Hey it’s Chooch, I’m just going to talk about the food that we ate while in Hongdae. We ate at Block Burger, a place we saw the first time we were in Hongdae. Block Burger is a burger place that is based on Lego’s and they had Lego head mugs, and buns in the shape of a Lego brick. The buns all had different flavors: squid ink, sweet pumpkin, and red velvet.

We decided to get sweet pumpkin because it was the only normal sounding one. [ERIN EDIT: I ordered that one because I like pumpkin, and I knew Chooch and his milquetoast palate wouldn’t eat the other two options, so…..] On the bun, we had chicken; our vegetarianism went on vacation, too… The burger was very savory and better than expected. But then, as I thought it couldn’t get any better, an amazing song started playing on the speaker. That song is a song that my cat, Bambi loves. The song is called, “Bambi,” by Jidenna.

The thing is, this restaurant actually had us full for the whole rest of the night! Usually we eat, walk for five to ten minutes, then eat again. This time was different, we ate, then walked around for the whole rest of the day without eating any street food, or any kind of snack.

Daddy didn’t get anything because there wasn’t any XL Unsweetened Teas he could order. That’s fine, though. I didn’t want to hear his loud crunching and chewing, (Especially not with chicken.)

Even the napkin holders were Lego built; you know Henry still didn’t see them, even with the colorful bricks the holder was built with.

This was the juicy, savory chicken we ate on our sweet pumpkin bun. I honestly miss this burger so much; I wish I could go back just to eat this burger. God I love Korean chicken.

OK, Erin back at the keyboard. Not pictured, but there were several carnival games set up and one of them, a balloon game, had GOBLIN DOLLS!! Chooch said he would try to win me one and technically he lost but the guy running it kept throwing darts in between Chooch’s throws so Chooch succeeded in winning me a Goblin through a joint effort. I was so happy!!

Goblin is one of my favorite korean dramas and this doll was won in Hongdae by Chooch so it’s doubly special to me!

(I have to be honest, I didn’t think he would actually give it to me!)

Chooch is so good at impromptu posing. Where does he get that from? Certainly not me. I look the same in every picture: grotesque and surprised.

One of the things I wanted to do before we left was have Chooch’s caricature done. I think caricatures are so fun and I wanted to add a Korean one to the collection. We saw tons of caricature artists in nearly every neighborhood we explored, but when we walked past this guy in Hongdae, I knew he was the one and not just because he kind of looked like my favorite guy on Running Man (Ha-Ha!)

(No seriously, his name is Ha-Ha!)

(Ha-ha!)

(No, that was really me laughing that time.)

Related image

Oh Ha-Ha, BE MY LAST LOVE.

Surprisingly, Chooch LOVES having his caricature done and he is so good at diligently sitting there being stared at by the artist and everyone walking past. Not me. I’m like “DON’T LOOK AT ME” which is kind of going against everything a caricature is but if the artist is good, they should be able to figure out what I look like behind the hair-curtain I’m hiding under.

You guys, this was only 10,000 won (roughly $10) and beyond worth it. We have it framed and hanging on our Chooch wall in the living room and it makes me so happy to see it everyday.

This place is a walk-up cocktail window that serves its mixed drinks in IV bags Chooch wanted one and I was like, “Look, Korea is super progressive in a lot of ways but selling booze to a 6th grader is not one of them, buddy.”

Like I said before, just because I threw down over 1,000 words doesn’t mean I’ve even come close to doing it justice. The music was loud and good, the crowd was lively and friendly, and it felt like sneaking into a party that you thought you weren’t cool enough for but then no one makes you feel like you don’t belong there and what a wonderful fucking feeling that is.

Hongdae, more like HongBAE.

Yeah, I went there.

May 242018
 

OMG do you guys remember that song by Jodeci called “Lately“?! It’s been in my head ever since I titled this dumb post. But anyway, life has been going at a nice, slow pace lately and I’ve been enjoying that, because after the mania of the walking challenge, I can definitely stand to slow it down a bit. (Only getting 15,000 steps a day like a regular person!)

Here are just a few things I want to e-jot down for posterity. You know me and my sentimentality.

  • The biggest news right now is THE EMPTY HOUSE NEXT DOOR. So if you’re a Constant Reader (lol I always wanted to write that and I have no idea why), you know that we have had a string of Problem Neighbors living in the unit next to us and you also know that we live in a townhouse/duplex-type thing. So sharing a wall with assholes can pretty much make a life hell, you know? After the last ones left (on account of The Drug Raid), the landlord went in and cleaned it out; unlike Boots, they didn’t trash the place so he was able to plant the For Rent sign in the front yard with a quickness. I was not OK with this because it allowed the nightmares to start flowing in everynight like some sick Eli Roth rental property trilogy. I have no idea what I’m saying! But then Henry’s son Blake was like, “Hmm. Lemme look at this place” and so the landlord met Blake and Haley over there last week and it seemed like it was going to work out! They asked if there were other people interested and he was like, “Money talks” because that’s all that matters, background checks be damned. Anyway, B&H raced to get all the stuff together so that they could beat everyone else to the lease-signing while I dreamt of DUEL HOUSEHOLD DELUXE KPOPX NIGHTS and Henry and Haley starting a garden and all of us getting ice cream from the ice cream truck together even though the ice cream truck never comes down our street and when it does, it’s questionable and sketchy at best. Haley called him like a day later to see if it was still available because they were ready, and he was all, “Sorry, it’s taken” so we were all so pissed! “Blake and Haley are probably too upstanding, that’s why! They’re not ex-convicts!” I cried to Henry and then the nightmares came back even stronger because now I knew that I was getting neighbors in a week or two and I was a nervous wreck over it. But then! The landlord contacted Blake on Friday and was like, “So, are we meeting up or?” and Blake was like, “You literally just told my fiancee that the place was rented” and the landlord was all, “Oh, I guess I didn’t realize that’s who I was talking to.” Oh for God’s sake. Anyway, this is a lot of words just to say that BLAKE AND HALEY AND CALVIN ARE MOVING NEXT DOOR TO US THIS WEEKEND! And Chooch and I already left them a surprise:

Welcome home. 

  • Speaking of home, Henry and I have several fun (lol, for me, not for him) projects we’re working on (we’re re-doing the coffee table, for one!) and by that I mean he kind of started it and I keep nagging him about it everyday. #TerribleGirlfriend But I did get him to hang some stuff up over the weekend and I did that by using the strategy where I start small, like, “Can you hang this one thing on the wall just this one thing only. One. Uno. 하나.” And then when he’s done hanging that one thing, he turns around and I’m all, “Surprise here are 8 more things, might as well just do it while the hammer’s out” and then (after he predictably mimics hitting me with the hammer) 5 minutes later Chooch has a gallery wall that he completely won’t even notice. I call this story “Sunday.” Could I do this myself? SURE. Do I want to? NO.

I really needed that Wicker Man to be hung. I made it last October when I was decortating at work and I was going to toss it afterward but Chooch, who had recently become entralled with the Wicker Man, wanted to keep it, but then it was just leaning against his wall all these months and I’m sorry but TAKE BETTER CARE OF THAT THING says the broad who was just going to pitch it anyway. So now that’s hung, and the Where’s Negan print that Henry got for him two Christmases ago I think, and the adorable Red Velvet picture he had taken at SMTown in Korea:

Chooch likes art, which makes me happy.

  • OMG tomorrow something is going on with the  trolley where I have to take it the opposite direction to some other stop and then SWITCH and I am so distraught and nervous about this. I almost asked Lauren if she would switch with me so I can work late shift tomorrow from home and not have to worry about it but I have lunch plans that I would have to cancel and I don’t want to dooooooo thaaaaaaaat. I am so stressed out! You know how I am with the trolley.
    • Speaking of, today I’m on late shift so I took the trolley into town with the unsavories and immediately some broad sat behind and started shouting into her phone about her dog’s poop and how she can’t get him on a good schedule and she loves her roommates but they’re not fucking help. She had Yinzer Voice so I was not sympathetic to her plight.
  • I’m awful and haven’t started sending any Greetings from Erin’s Lunch Break post cards yet because right after I kickstarted that campaign again, the weather turned shitty and then I became consumed by the Walking Challenge. I vow to start next week for real! I’m going to buy postcards on Tuesday. YOU’LL SEE. But since I’m not starting yet, I can spare a lunch break tale for you today: WHILE ON MY LUNCH BREAK (that’s how Lunch Break Tales start), I was walking back toward my building when I heard super loud, Crimes of Passion-level cries and then before I could swivel, I was walking right into a domestic dispute. For a split second, I was caught up in it, the third wheel on the Jerry Springer Show, accidentally blocking their vicious insults about I GAVE UP MY PUSSY FOR YOU (??) and TELL YOUR GRANDMA I DON’T WANT YOU! (ok) with my unfortunately-placed body until I was finally able to hot-step it the fuck out of there. There was quite a crowd gathering at this point because nothing like a good ol’ rumble between scorned lovers to bring society together. Eventually, a cop moseyed his way over and was like, “OK, you can’t do this here” so then they were yelling AT HIM about EACH OTHER just as, I shit you not, a FUCKING SEGWAY TOUR ROLLED UP ON THE DRAMA like the whitest motherfucking mother duck and her white-ass chicks, and they all turned their dorky helmet-clad heads in unison toward the trashy quarrel, all these white middle-aged people in their Dockers and polos, and I just lost it. It was the funniest juxtaposition I’ve see in a while.
  • BTS is back in Korea which means all the GOOD comeback stages are happening so we can actually see the choreo. The MNET ones are on YouTube already and I feel so blessed to come home from work to this. I LOVE J-HOPE’S PURPLE HIGHLIGHTS.

I know I had more to say but now I’m distracted and need to watch BTS’s comeback show again. HEY, IT’S MY LIFE, OK.

May 222018
 

We needed lunch after our long morning of palace-prodding, and we needed it NOW. Luckily, the neighborhood of Samcheondong was a short walk from Gyeongbok Palace and like every other neighborhood in Seoul, its streets are lined with restaurants and cafes. And even with my blurry hunger-vision, I was able to find a place pretty quickly that had something we all wanted (well, at least what Chooch and I wanted; I never bothered to ask Henry HAHAHA).

Korea has a LOT of very trendy, Instagram-aesthetic eateries, and that was really fun when we were looking for cafes, but for the most part when it came to actual meals, we wanted authentic, ahjumma-run kitchens. And Samcheongdong Kimbap was perfect for that.

The menu outside was all in Korean (and some Chinese) so Henry was like, “Erin, please help. I need your help. I know everyone on the Internet thinks I am a Super Capable Man and that you are worthless in every capacity, but I can’t read this menu and you can so please help. Help.”

FUCK YES. Right away I was like, “They have kimchi jjigae*, we’re eating here.” Because I was craving kimchi jjigae all morning!

*(Kimchi stew. It comes in a small bubbling cauldron of Korean majesty and splendor.)

And Chooch really wanted ramyun, so this place was golden.

There was a self-ordering pad on all the tables and I was excited to put my basic hangeul skills to use. I was starting to fill it out by checking off Chooch’s ramyun, and marking down an order of cheese kimbap, when the waitress came over in a hurry and took the pad from me. Not in a rude or shitty way, though! Please don’t misunderstand – she was really friendly. But I think she thought I was struggling and she wanted to help by taking our orders herself. I appreciated that but I was also kind of deflated because I was having fun filling it out on my own!

I can’t remember what Henry ordered. Donkkaseu, maybe? But I got my cheesey kimbap and kimchi jjigae and guess what, no one stared at me and mocked me while I ate it like they did here IN AMERICA several days later. Fucking rednecks.

In a lot of the Korean restaurants, there are free water stations set up so don’t sit there and wait for the waitress to fetch that shit for you. You just go up, grab a metal cup, and fill it up yourself from a water cooler.

We made Henry do this for us, of course. Lol forever.

Also, all the sides (banchan) come with the meal and if one of them runs out, don’t be afraid to ask for more! Sometimes the waitress will already be coming over to refill it for you. Korean restaurants are the best.

Chooch, god love him, was trying to be adventurous with spicy dishes. This kid prefers everything to be bland and plain here at home, so he really took us by surprise by climbing out of his comfort zone and reaching for the gochujang.

A YouTuber probably told him to do it.

Sigh.

But yeah, look at his ramyun-stung lips! For as painful as his face makes it seem, he is still talking about how much he misses that ramyun. Nearly two months later.

Yes, it’s been nearly two months since we’ve been back (and exactly two months since we left Pittsburgh!) and I am still recapping this. SUE ME.

🍜

A post shared by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

After stuffing ourselves with Korean homecookin’, we set off for Bukchon Hanok Village, which required us to embark on yet another urban hike. Seoul is like the SanFran of Asia! If you want to read more about Bukchon Hanok Village and eyeball some photos, see your way to this post.

I didn’t take these views for granted, not even for a second. I wanted to just sear the images into my mind in case I never get to go back.

After tooling around the labyrinthine Bukchon streets, we came back down to Samcheondong because of all things there is a Gentle Monster location there and I was on a mission to explore as many as possible.

However, on our way there, we took a wrong turn as usual and wound up on a side street. There were some vintage stores there, one of which was a quirky vintage toy store. Chooch and I left after taking a quick walk aroundandf eventually realized that Henry wasn’t following us.

“Maybe he’s pooping,” I shrugged, because that’s my explanation always whenever Henry can’t be found. So we went back inside and found him in a small back room.

Pooping.

J/K. He was in this small back room, pointing to something on a high shelf, and once Chooch saw what it was, he lost his shit so then it was Chooch in a small back room.

Pooping.

The poop-inducing object was a vintage set of Bambi figures, still in the box. Yes, Bambi, the dumb Disney cartoon that Chooch is oddly obsessed with.

It was only 30,000 won (a little less than $30) so…happy early bithday, sonny boy.

Whoever thought Chooch would find so much Bambi shit in Korea.

Oh, and in case you were wondering if you should load up on street food before visiting Samcheondong, don’t bother because their streets are just as fooded as the best of them! Chooch got tteokkochi which is the same kind of spicy rice cake in tteokbokki, but fried and skewered. Chooch going for the spice again!

I got a green tea hotteok and wanted to cry, not only because the searing, molten filling oozed out and burnt my hand, but because it was such a delicious variation of those delicious little dough pockets and I was so happy that I didn’t have to give Henry a bite because he’s weird and doesn’t like green tea.

You could easily go to Korea and do nothing but eat. Eschew all the sight-seeing and shopping and surgery (hey, people take medical vacations to Seoul!) and just camp out in the markets and I guarantee you will still have the best vacation ever. I’m not a foodie so much, but goddamn Korea, you’re doing it right.

And then finally it was time to enter Gentle Monster and spin around like Julie Andrews on a hilltop. This particular location is known as Bathhouse because, well, it’s literally inside an old Korean bathhouse.

Chooch, crying over those damn sunglasses again. Also, look at his dumb Bambi play set. What a baby.

I told him I liked the blue ones better and then he got all hopeful because he thought that meant I was going to buy him the blue pair instead and I was like, “HAHAH DREAM ON, PRETEEN.” He made some mouthy comment about how my pappap probably would have bought me $250 sunglasses and I laughed and said, “Yeah I got a pair of Versace sunglasses in Italy one year on vacation. I think they cost more than $250 though” and he was so disgusted.

So was Henry!

LOLOL I love rubbing my rich kid childhood in their faces.

(But I mean really though, look how far that got me in life.)

No, this is still Gentle Monster. Can’t you see the sunglasses in the background? Haha.

I was obsessed with how they left some of the old foundation intact. What a genius use of space!

This crank-thing was on the first floor, and when we went upstairs, we saw that it was moving this thing up and down….

Whatever “this thing” is.

This the view from GM’s balcony. I love this picture SO MUCH. I put it on our department’s wiki page and in one of our meetings someone dryly said, “Wow, nice…roofs” and I was like, “YEAH THEY ARE NICE ROOFS. BECAUSE THEY FREAKING KOREAN HANOK ROOFS. GOD!!!!” Ugh, really!!!!

One of my work friends is Korean and HE likes this picture so that’s all that matters. He gets it. He was born with aesthetic.

Chooch, drowning his Gentle Monster tears into his ttkeokochi. He was faking the sad-face for the sake of this photo but he really did want those damn sunglasses, lol.

The sign to the right up there says “mok-yok-tang” which means “baths” in Korean. It’s really cool that they kept the original bathhouse sign DON’T YOU THINK. Also, look how freaking small “Gentle Monster” is. The only way I was able to find it so quickly was because I’ve seen so many YouTube videos (#loser) of it that I knew exactly what to look for, so when I saw thet Bath sign, I yelled a little and scared Henry.

Korea had him on edge.

It was just too extra and his basic blood couldn’t handle it.

If I lived in Seoul, I could see myself spending a lot of time in Samcheondong. It was quaint, maybe less overtly exciting than Myeongdong and Hongdae, but certainly no less charming.

I just want you to know that I started to cry while writing this. Korea, you stole my stupid heart.

May 202018
 

Might as well do this because I’m going to be bored waiting for BTS.

  • I just turned this on for BTS but now here I am with face-rain because of Kelly Clarkson saying fuck moments of silence. That was some real fucking shit right there. Thanks Kelly Clarkson for not giving us that thoughts and prayers bullshit.
  • Ariana Grande always looks the same. She can SANG tho.
  • LOL at Kelly Clarkson mentioning BTS and then trying to talk over all the animalistic screams.
  • sorry but I want to punch Taylor Swift in the face I don’t like her at all and she seems like such a backstabbing bitch.
  • I’m glad Cardi B didn’t win that best new artist award because Cardi B. Am I old? Or just tasteful?
  • 18 minutes in and I was inspired by nothing to bring up police brutality so now henry and I are arguing about that.
  • OH NICE TRY WITH THAT COMMERCIAL FACEBOOK.
  • So far what I’m learning is that I haven’t missed much since the last time I listened to American pop radio.
  • But now I want a giant flamingo in my house. Thanks, Dua Lipa. By the way I recently learned that that’s her actual name and not some other language for “Two Lips” or something.
  • I appreciate that a song that’s mostly Spanish won an award in a country full of “SPEAK ENGLISH OR GTFO” motherfuckers. #hope
  • Me: “don’t you feel so proud of BTS?” Henry: “….I guess.”
  • Shawn Mendes (whom I really do like!) is performing in the middle of a bunch of lit-up white roses and I wonder if it reminds Bts of the LED roses at the DDP because it does for me. (Also, Shawn Mendes, you should stay away from Taylor Swift! She’s toxic.)

  • You fake, Tay Tay. Take your award and go home.
  • I didn’t know Ciara was still relevant. I used to LOVE her.
  • Khalid reminds me of a black Blake and now I’m arguing with Henry because he doesn’t see it BECAUSE HE DOESNT HAVE EYES. I’m currently worried that his pants are going to split. (Khalid’s not Blake’s.)
  • I don’t like that John Legend is wearing a white T-shirt under that cream-colored leather jacket. Look I watch a lot of kdramas and Kpop videos so I KNOW SOME THINGS ABOUT FASHION.
  • I love that the Chainsmokers hugged BTS on their way to the stage (THEY COLLAB’d ON BTS’S LAST ALBUM IF U DID NOT KNOW NOW U KNOW. I’M HERE FOR U.)
  • “This is really boring,” – Chooch during Christina Aguilera, who I’m not even going to trash-talk because my Taylor-disdain has used up all my negative energy. Demi Lovato is a queen though. “they have a backing track,” Henry just said because he’s a pro at that.
  • I never finished watching the second season of This Is Us. No spoilers please.
  • FUCK YES GET IT BTS. OUR BABIES. I couldn’t hear what Jimin said, JFC.
  • Ed Sheeran always looks a mess.

“How much more do I have to watch?”

  • I love NEYO! I remember one time back in the day I asked Christina “who do you think is better NEYO or Chris Brown the answer is NEYO but go ‘head.”
  • Can’t take DJ Khalid seriously not for one second.
  • Henry just came downstairs bitching because he could smell my burnt popcorn in the shower lol sorry I like my popcorn smoky.
  • now all the NRA rejects are gonna start with their JUST PLAY MUSIC AND LEAVE THE POLITICS OUT OF IT” bullshit. Thanks for being diligent with including gun control in tonight’s narrative, BBMAs. This performance is fucking touching. Henry wasn’t even watching. You know what that means. HENRY LIKES GUNS
  • guys I love Zedd so much, always have, please please please collab with BTS. (I still think it will be hard for to top “Clarity” with Foxes and “Stay the Night” with Hayley Williams. Those songs are tops for me.
  • hurry up Tay Tay act so surprised that you won Best Album. Fake ass.
  • Henry and Chooch both just thought that Bruno Mars called Janet Jackson autistic. Also Bruno Mars’ outfit is dumb.
  • Now Chooch and Henry are arguing over how old Janet Jackson is. Henry thought she was in her 40s but she’s HENRYS AGE (52). Chooch won.
  • they should let BTS dance with Janet.
  • Chooch waits until now to thrust his gifted school yearbook at me and I’m like really because there were like 11 hours today where I wasn’t watching the BBMAs where you could have had me look at this. Ugh kids amirite.
  • I was with Janet until she name-dropped God.
  • top country song and we all look at our phones.
  • OH FUCK THAT BODY LIKE A BACKROAD SONG. I almost broke my wrist one time being in such a hurry to turn this shit off the radio. I’ve ranted about this song on here before SO I WILL SPARE YOU THE REPRISE.
  • There should be classes that backup singers can take to teach them to look less cheesy. Maybe Phoenix or Devry can whip something up online?
  • Me: “This has to be almost over right?” Henry: “45 more mi—” Me: “Shut your face.”
  • Please don’t let BTS be last I just want to see their precious faces and swoon over their choreo.
  • that one blond backup singer of Kelly Clarkson’s can be the instructor of the backup singer anti-cheese course.
  • I wonder if BTS is out there thinking “aw these westerners look so cute when they try to dance.”
  • YOU GUYS IM CRYING. It’s unreal that BTS’s comeback stage was IN AMERICA at the BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS. This is so fucking huge. Kpop forever. But I guess I’ll just wait for their Korea comeback stages to actually see the choreo since NBC focused on the crowd 75% of the time because it’s important for America to see reactions.
  • Also at one point I mistook a cop siren outside for a girl screaming in the audience lol.
  • also part 2: when Jungkook pulled up his shirt and half the crowd had babies.
  • Also part 3 Kelly Clarkson putting on ear muffs before she announced them lol.
  • ok I don’t care about the rest of this. You’re dismissed.

ETA: the police siren I heard was apparently because something is going down at the halfway house* thing up the street. ALWAYS SOMETHING GOING ON HERE ON PIONEER.

*Chooch calls it the Problem House Lol.

May 202018
 

I’m skipping ahead a little because I want to keep these pictures in their own post, but after leaving Gyeongbok Palace, we ate lunch and then, GOD FORBID, embarked on another urban hike up into the hills of Samcheongdong where Bukchon Hanok Village is located. “Hanok” is the type of traditional Korean houses that have been around for centuries, and nobles once inhabited these villages. People still live there to this day, as evidenced by the many signs that remind tourists to  keep their jerkiness to a low roar so as not to disturb the residents.

And of course we got some beautiful peeks at the surrounding mountains.

If this looks familiar to you, it’s because it’s a pretty well-known area of Seoul and on pretty much every tourist list you’ll see for South Korea as a whole. It’s literally a maze of alleys with some restaurants and boutiques tucked away so you really have to keep your eyes peeled for the gems.

I just found out that Henry didn’t think Bukchon was “that great” and that maybe he’s “missing something.” YEAH, IT’S CALLED CULTURE AND EYESIGHT. I mean, we were quite literally surrounded by quintessential Korean imagery but OK Hank. I guess he didn’t think it was a good enough place to sit back with a can of Faygo, who knows.

Bukchon is located between Changdeok and Gyeongbok Palaces so you’ll see a lot of Hanbok-clad tourists milling about the streets here too.

I loved it because it literally felt like we were ensconced in history. Chooch thought it was “nice. The ice cream I got there was good. Strawberry something.”

Cool story, bro. Can’t wait to read your travel memoirs.

(Maybe I’m a little salty, but when I was his age, I had A LOT TO SAY about vacations.)

Chooch is smiling here because he was finally fed.

I had to wait patiently for a delivery van to slowly make its way down before I was clear to take this picture.

This street is super iconic and I’ve seen pictures where it’s just straight flooded with people fighting to get their selfies at the top. It wasn’t exactly dead on this Saturday in late March, but the crowds were pleasant and tolerable. That door off to the right held a small museum inside but we weren’t allowed to take photos.

I miss all of Seoul’s steep alleys. :(

In one of them, we stumbled upon Granhand which is a Korean fragrance company. I was really excited because I’ve seen this tiny shop on Joan Kim’s vlogs before and wanted to check it out. Chooch immediately got ejected from the premises because he was eating an ice cream cone, but then was conveniently allowed back in once the salesman realized I was primed and ready to make a purchase. My mom loves candles but I always hesitate to get her one because she literally has like dozens of them in a cabinet, so I was excited to get her a bottle of fragrance spray instead so now she can make her house smell beautiful like Korea (not the sewage-smelling parts of Korea, though). The face the salesman made at the end of the transaction when he told me to have a nice day looked strikingly similar to the face that Craig Owens has been known to make while particularly possessed by adrenaline on stage, so then I was obsessed with him for awhile.

But yeah, if you’re in the market for a candle alternatives, check out Granhand. And if you’re looking for the scent of an inner man, in particular, you’ll want to go with their Lumberjack scent. Sadly, they did not ask Henry for his input while concocting this blend in the lab.

Lumberjack inspo.

Anyway, even though Henry wouldn’t include Bukchon on his Must-Sees of Seoul list, I would certainly go back and recommend it to everyone! I mean shit Henry, Psy even filmed one of his MVs there, so you better get with it.

May 192018
 

For our second palace viewing of the day, we made the short walk to Gyeongbokgung Palace, which is the largest of the five grand palaces of Seoul. It was built in the 14th century during the Joseon Dynasty, but most of it was destroyed in the 20th century by Japan. There has been an on-going restoration project since 1989 and about 40% of the buildings have been reconstructed.

When I see places like  this in real life, it’s overwhelming to grasp just how much time has passed around these foundations and it makes me appreciate the efforts to keep it alive. Can you imagine if, say for instance, Italy was just like, “Fuck it” and let the Colosseum completely crumble?

It’s hard even for someone as unnecessarily verbose* as myself to put into words.

*(Just on here. I barely talk in real life at all anymore. Henry probably has other opinions on this though.)

I wanted to check out Gwanghwamun Plaza first though because the famous statue of King Sejong is there, and he is the creator of Hangeul. You guys know how obsessed I am with Hangeul, right? Oh my god, it’s such a beautiful alphabet system. On the way there, we got to see the changing of the guards on the side of Gwangbokdung!

King Sejong in all his glory!

In reality, King Sejong didn’t come up with Hangeul himself, but he was the one who decided that Korea needed their own language, their own alphabet, so he had his people do the rest. Basically, the only directive he gave them was, “Make it simple” and they did. Sure, Korean GRAMMAR is killer. For example, last night I sent Janna an example of the sentence I was able to craft on my own during one of my Korean lessons:

“What does it say?” she asked.

“‘Please give me a potato or sweet potato.’ I’ve finally reached Korean Baby level,” I said.

I’m much better at reading it but as soon as I have to write it myself, my mind has suddenly been erased. But yeah, my point is that learning how to at least pronounce Hangeul has unlocked some language barriers so thank you King Sejong for realizing that languages using 74083470912384b23498 symbols is kind of ridiculous.

At the base of this monument is the entrance to the Hanguel Museum, which I thought was just going to be a little one-room display of Hanguel and its history, but shit no — this museum was expansive! It took up a good bit of the underground layer of that plaza! There were several other exhibits in it too, and we spent at least an hour in there.

Chooch thought it was nice.

Literally, that’s all he just said right now when I asked him. But he did seem to have a lot of fun in there because it was very interactive, and he got to make a tracing of a ship in some kids activity room. Chooch LOVES ACTIVITIES. When we go to Pat Catan’s (craft store) on the weekend, he always heads right over to the kids craft table and makes whatever monstrosity is on the menu for that day.

There was some event going on in the plaza called “Do Dream.” I have no idea what was happening but everyone was happy and cheerful so I was too!

As always, this post is going to be a hodgepodge of photos from my phone and from my “real” camera. Sometimes, you just gotta use your phone, you know?

I found out after the fact the Seoul office of the law firm I work for was right by the plaza — can you imagine looking out your office window and seeing not only beautiful mountains but this handsome palace gate? All I see when I look out the window on my floor is stinky Pittsburgh streets, sometimes protests, derelicts, other crappy buildings. I mean, it’s Pittsburgh.

Chooch wore the right colors.

Henry is the WORST at taking pictures of us. It was so windy and dust was blowing in our faces. We look like we’re smiling here but what’s really happening is that we’re hissing, “TAKE THE FUCKING PICTURE” through our gritted teeth. Also, as expected, this palace was definitely starting to get crowded since it was a weekend, which is why I wanted to come here first but hey, Henry knows everything!

If you rent a Hanbok (traditional Korean dress) from one of the many hanbok rental shops nearby, you can enter all of the palaces for free. I didn’t do this (being accused of cultural appropriation scares me) but I really enjoyed looking at all of the other people flouncing by in all of their silken glory. I think I heard that wearing hanbok makes everyone 80% prettier.

(Maybe don’t quote me on that.)

(I just tried to picture Henry in hanbok and now my stomach hurts from laughing so that backfired.)

“This palace is nearly as old as me.”

I love the juxtaposition of old and new that you see everywhere in Seoul.

This is currently my desktop background on my work computer. I love this image so much!

We spent a lot of time strolling the grounds, taking it all in. These palaces are so quintessentially Korea, totally iconic landmarks, that I wanted to make sure we absorbed as much as we had time for. I would have liked to have toured all five of the palaces, but sight-seeing is exhausting and Chooch and I require regular feedings — we were already running late on one of those feedings and it was starting to show big-time. This is quite frankly the catalyst of 90% of our family brawls. That’s good I guess, though right? Because it means at least we like each other all of the other times when we’re not hungry.

Although, I’m hungry a lot. 

So.

Chooch had gone from, “THIS IS SO COOL I LOVE KOREA” to “IF YOU’VE SEEN ONE PALACE, YOU’VE SEEN ‘EM ALL, STOP TAKING MY PICTURE AND FUCKING FEED ME FOR CHRIST’S SAKE THIS IS CHILD ABUSE” faster than Henry could get the orphanage number locked and loaded on his phone.

THE FACE OF HUNGRY DISGUST.

“I was hungry in every single picture you took of me,” Chooch just said defensively when I accused him of looking like an ungrateful rich kid who is like, “Wow, Korea. Big whoop. I’d rather be playing tennis with Muffy.” Fine. I’ll believe it.

I was like, “We’ll eat after I take one more picture of these flowers…” while Chooch was standing off to the side willing himself to travel back in time to the morning when he was eating a Shiro & Maro breakfast pastry.

How fucking dreamy is this? Can you imagine being part of the royal family back then and being like, “BRB just gonna have my ginseng tea out by the pagoda while you guys talk about war stuff.”

Anyway, this area was under construction so this was as close we could get, so it’s a good thing I have an active imagination.

From the back of the palace, you can see the Blue House, which is the residence of the South Korean president. (Shout out to President Moon Jae In and his strong efforts at achieving peace between the Koreas!) Chooch posted his own picture of the Blue House on his Instagram with the caption, “Hey Trump, the Blue House is better than the White House because you’re not there!” TOUCHE, YOUNG ADULT!

So by this point, we were knee-deep in the lunch hour and ready to start eating Henry’s face, so that was our cue to say farewell to beautiful Gyeongbokgung and set off for Bukchon Hanok Village, where our first priority was FOOD.

May 182018
 

I had a whole different thing that I planned on writing today since I had the morning off but then BTS released their new album and an MV so I’ve been up since like 5am obsessing over that (my cat Penelope woke me up at 5 by screaming at her cat carrier, and at first I was super pissed but then I squinted at my phone and screamed OOOOH BTS! So that’s been my day so far aside from, you know, working.

So here are 5 things, I guess.

  1. Um, BTS. Le Duh. Here is there new video for Fake Love but my favorite song so far is Paradise so I’m including that too. There’s also a song that has his subtle background jazz that reminds me of something I would have heard in the 80s eating at Blue Flame with my Pappap, like some Chuck Mangione vibes, like some backing track for Boz Scaggs, so the nostalgia claws hard at the heart on that one. Most importantly though: no Desiigner and no full-English songs so I’m content! I’m even more excited to see them in September now!

https://youtu.be/7C2z4GqqS5E

2. I had the dreaded wellness exam thing at work on Wednesday which I already mentioned on here because this blog is basically a junk drawer of scattered thoughts at this point but I didn’t tell you that the guy doing my exam was in town for this from Cleveland and I was like OH I LIKE CLEVELAND because I do and so this made me feel inspired to Small Talk. I asked him if he’s done anything fun while he’s been here and he stopped and looked at me. “Well, I’m talking to you,” he said and I was like OH WOW JEEZ DO U PUT CORN ON ALL YR JOKES. But then of course I spent the rest of the day wondering if this was actually an insult?! Like, he could be doing something fun but instead he’s talking to me while squeezing blood* out of my finger? Anyway, ambiguous pick-up line/insult aside, this was the first time since HAVING A BABY that my BMI was in the “normal” range. I still think BMI is bullshit though.

3. *Speaking of blood, here’s a Fun Fact: the word for blood in Korean in 피 – pee. It took some getting used to when I was watching dramas and they’re screaming PEE! PEE! at murder scenes.

4. Henry and I had a HUGE fight about Boyz II Men in the car the other day. I realized I had never listened to the new Charlie Puth album on account of his singing in English so I pulled it up on Spotify and said, “Oh, he has a song with Boyz II Men!” so I put it on and almost immediately made some joyful comment about how good Boyz II Men sound with Le Charles and Henry said something about how they weren’t even singing yet and I was like “THE SONG LITERALLY STARTS WITH THEM SINGING?!!!” and Henry was like, “Oh well how could anyone even tell that was them, they weren’t even singing words yet” and I was like, “BECAUSE THAT’S LITERALLY THEIR SIGNATURE HARMONIZING SOUND?!!?” Oh my god, get the fuck out of my car, boy.

5. Well, I guess I’ll conclude with an update on what you have all been waiting for (lol jk) – my team ended up finishing in 4th place Firmwide, which is actually a pretty big feat considering there were over 40 teams and we essentially only had 3 people on our team while everyone else had 4. Carrie and I were fuming though when it was finally revealed who was on the winning team because THERE IS NO WAY. Also, if I had registered as an individual, I’d have been in second place. BUT WHO’S KEEPING SCORE HAHAHAHAhahahahaha sob.

5.5 Here’s a REAL TIME bonus one for you. Right after posting this, I got up to walk away from the computer and SOMEONE (Henry) left the fucking tray open on the printer so I walked into it and it scraped my thigh which hurt because I’m wearing shorts so I went on a tirade about how Henry ruins my life and then I looked down and noticed that A WELT was forming on my thigh and so I said, “It looks just like the time I was holding a Sparkler and bent down to pick up a frog and—” at which point Henry cut me off and said, “I’m sorry, WHAT? How do those two words even go in the same sentence” and I was like, “Bitch let me finish and you’ll understand, it’s not that crazy” and I told him about the time I was a kid and I was holding a lit Sparkler and then saw a frog on the sidewalk and said “ooh frog” and bent over to pick it up, forgetting that I was holding a Sparkler and the Sparkler scraped into my thigh and since it was, you know, LIVE, it left a scar on my leg for quite some time, but sadly, it eventually faded, and it was here at this point that I realized Henry was doing the “laughing so hard nothing is coming out” laugh and I’m offended. He said it’s one of the best stories I’ve told him and I don’t think he means that in a nice way. :(

I’ll leave you with this adorbs picture of Calvin who is cultivating a love of clowns at a very young age, much to his mom’s chagrin! (Oh don’t worry, I’ll be back tomorrow with a zillion pictures of Korea.)

May 172018
 

Rue the day I learned about alliteration in elementary school, my friends. Rue the motherfucking day.

Anyway, I got caught in two crazy spring downpours this week and neither of them are that exciting, no one melted or anything, but it was still kind of fun in a carefree, forget-all-your-worries-and-pretend-you’re-a-kid kind of way. We all need a good run in the rain, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?

The first one happened on Mother’s Day. It had stormed really hard that morning but then the afternoon had shaped up to be a beautiful, sunny May day so I suggested (lol, j/k: demanded) that we take a family walk in Highland Park to honor my shitty mom-ness. There was little push-back from the guys of the house because they know better than to fuck with me on a holiday where I start out acting like I don’t care that they did nothing for me but then a quarter of the way through it, glass is shattering.

See also: Valentine’s Day, my birthday, Halloween, the other days in between.

Highland Park is really pretty but then there is a HUGE DISGUSTING WATER RESERVOIR THING in the middle of it and even though I know it’s there, it still catches me off guard every time and then Henry starts talking about filtering systems and other gross things and I’m like, “How many hobos piss in this tho, that’s why I don’t drink tap water” and he’s all, “Oh ho ho ho where do you think your bottled water comes from then” and I’m like THE FIJI FUCKING MOUNTAINS, DICKHEAD.

J/K, I drink the filtered tap water at work but sometimes we find like, silt in there and then we report it and the facilities lady is like, “THAT IS NORMAL. JUST DRINK IT. IT WON’T KILL YOU.”

Bitch then why am I typing this from my fucking coffin.

Halfway through our walk, the sky looked like this.

FOREBODING.

But Henry was all, “Don’t worry about it. My weatherman degree tells me that the storm is going to miss hitting us. We’re at the backend of it” and then all I could think about was the storm’s butt.

DISGUSTING WATER FILTERING HOUSE THING!!!!

*GAGBURP*

And then it started raining. Like RAINING. Like the hard pelting kind of rain that actually hurts your flesh. “Run!” Henry yelled and we turned and ran back to a nearby pavilion and you guys, it was so hilarious and fun and not just the fact that we were frolicking in the rain but WATCHING HENRY RUN! Oh god, Chooch and I were dying!

There were several joggers who passed by and Chooch kept yelling, “COME HERE WITH US! BE SAFE!” but then they would see Henry’s menacing and uninviting crossed-arm stance as he leaned against a picnic table, so they would be like, “Nah, it’s all good. We’d rather just drown out here, thanks.”

God, that was a fun Mother’s Day activity! Chooch thought it was hilarious because I was wearing a white shirt, but at least I had a cami on underneath it so I wasn’t trashing up the park with my obscene fashion.

****

On Wednesday, Henry and I dragged ourselves to the school for yet another one of those dumb concerts that Chooch insists on participating in. J/K, we do enjoy watching him sing with the chorus but the band, you guys. The band.

The theme was Sock Hop or something 1950s so all the girls had to wear poodle skirts or whatever. I think a bunch of moms got together and had poodle skirt craft night and I felt so blessed to have a son who only had to wear jeans and a white t-shirt, purchased an hour before the concert, thank you very much. Chooch was already at the school when we arrived, standing out front with his friend Sharyn, passing out the programs*. I noted immediately that Chooch was already sweating through his shirt, literally 20 minutes after putting it on, so that was cool.

*(The program is how I learned that my kid is secretary of the Chorus. “Did we know this?” I whispered to Henry. “I did,” he said with what might have been mistaken for…triumph? if Henry was actually capable of showing emotions. But he’s not, so maybe he has suppressing a burp or swallowing diamonds that he needed to hide from the Albanian mob.)

We sat down in the second row which was The Big Time for us because usually we hunker down in the very back. Actually, we had no choice but to sit there because it was the only two empty seats left. While Henry critiqued the poor program-printing (he always fixates on this), I eavesdropped on the family in front of us arguing about YANNY or LAUREL. I was obsessed with the mom (she was so pretty and cool and Asian) and realized that she’s my soul mate when I found out that she heard YANNY. (Henry heard LAUREL because he’s basic.)

There seemed to be A LOT of screaming babies in that cafeteria, more than usual, and they were FEEDING off each others’ wails. The baby behind me was doing this bizarre mogwai-gurgle that I was starting to suspect it had JUST BEEN BORN that day; it sounded so fresh from the womb.

I don’t know what’s worse though: crying babies or elementary school band?

This time  the show wasn’t so bad because the usual band director couldn’t be there and he is such a pompous jerk! The chorus teacher took over and did both parts of the spring program and sorry regular band teacher, but she did a much better job.

All the songs sounded like one long, drawn-out Christmas song to me though, until the very end when they played Love Me Tender and the lady behind me shouted, “OH, I KNOW THIS ONE!” Same, lady. Same.

Henry didn’t clap for them once.

And then the chorus came out and they all looked so cute! Chooch got to announce “Rock Around the Clock” and he enthusiastically said “Bill Haley and the Comets” with this weird hip-swivel and a bunch of people started laughing.

That’s my son, I whispered as I sunk down in my seat.

During the concert, it began to downpour. Like, possibly harder than the one we were caught in on Sunday. Henry only brought one umbrella and no way a family of three was going to fit under it. He kept telling us to just hang back and wait it out, but I was like, “BITCH I’M HUNGRY I’M GOING HOME” because I had barely eaten anything all day since I had to fast for the dumb wellness exam at work and then didn’t have any Cream of Wheat for lunch and I know what you’re thinking CAN’T SHE GO TO A STORE why yes, yes, I can! BUT I DIDN’T FEEL LIKE IT SO I ATE RAINBOW GOLDFISH FOR LUNCH INSTEAD.

That’s the beauty of being an adult.

After a full minute of “waiting it out,” in the school lobby, Chooch & I were like SEEYA SUCKER & ran home with the only umbrella, leaving Henry there at the school umbrella-less, waiting out the rain, but joke’s on me because WHO WILL MAKE MY DINNER.

The best part is that the people at the school were probably like “Aw that’s nice, they must be coming back with the car to get their dad.” LOL NO.

We only live two-ish blocks from the school (I don’t understand how blocks work) but that rain was pelting down on us so hard that it was knocking us around! And the road was already flooding (seriously) so we were terrorized by cars flying through the road-lakes and I had white shoes on that are probably ruined now, j/k Henry will wash them haha.

The best part is that now it was Chooch’s turn to be the one in the white t-shirt.

Then Henry had the audacity to tell me to bring an umbrella up to him and I was like, “Are you kidding me? Put your big boy pants on and run home, tough guy!”

Then I told Henry to ask the vice principal for a ride home since they’re BBFs apparently (Henry had to talk to him a lot back when Chooch was the school menace in 4th grade, good riddance to THAT year) and then I got a FLOOD WARNING on my phone, so I told him to just float home like he’s on the Lazy River at Sandcastle (that’s a waterpark in Pittsburgh in case you don’t live here and think I’m getting lost in my dumb imagination again) and then Chooch and I were practically peeing our pants with laughter and it wouldn’t have mattered if we had because we were already drenched.

And then looked what washed ashore!

I was like, “ARE YOU MAD AT US” and he started to say something about how it’s just rain but I was already interrupting him to tell him to make our dinner.

And so he did. The end.

May 162018
 

We woke up early on a Saturday morning and set off for some palace-touring. As I mentioned previously, our hotel was in a great location and we were able to walk to several of the Five Grand Palaces of Seoul! Probably would have been a faster/easier walk if we weren’t following Henry’s lead, but….as Henry said, “WE GOT THERE, DIDN’T WE?!”

Wow, tough guy.

I wanted to start with Gyeongbokdung Palace first but Henry was all, “my way or the highway” or some other Dad-ism, so we went to Changdeokgung Palace first. I know, it’s hard to keep the names straight! But the one that starts with a G is like, the most popular one I guess.

In hindsight though, our crazy walks are something I look back on now and laugh about. I miss it! We saw a lot of crazy shit this way and it reaffirmed that we definitely were better suited sans itinerary. As much as I loved the European adventures I went on as a kid with my family, it was so much better not to be tied down to a group agenda and panicking everyday because you’re close to missing bus call. For this trip, we had a list of things we wanted to do and we played it by ear. Sometimes we didn’t know what we were doing until after we woke up that morning! It was slightly stressful for me at times because I’m an undercover control freak, but I quickly learned to just go with it and maybe that’s why we managed to make it through our Korea pilgrimage with minimal fighting.

Donhwamun Gate, the largest of all palace gates. Get on Donhwamun’s level, other gates. 

According to Wiki, this Palace literally translates to “Prospering Virtue Palace.” It was the second palace to be established after Gyeongbokgung, which is the one I wanted to see first but that’s OK Henry, fuck up the chronological order!

The original palace was built between 1405-1412 but burnt down during the Japanese invasion in 1592 and again in 1623 but each time it was rebuilt, and the reconstruction remained true to its original form. It’s incredibly humbling and sobering to be walking around grounds filled with so much history and tragedy.

Chooch might have a future as a Walmart greeter, you guys.

We got there early enough that it wasn’t flooded with tourists yet. Look at the mountain peeking out back there! I believe that’s part of Mt. Bugaksan. One of the things I didn’t know about Korea until I started marinating in a KOREA 101 bath is that Korea is like, 70% mountains! And almost everywhere you go in Seoul, you can see them. It’s one of the things I loved so much about this city, that no matter how urban and cosmopolitan it feels in one direction, if you pivot another way, you’ve got a mountain looming over you, or a Palace’s ancient presence behind you. Seoul has everything. Seoul IS everything.

Injeongjeon Hall

This is the throne hall, where all The Big Events took place back in the day, like coronations and poisonings probably.

This is the inside of Injeongjeon Hall. I bet lots of scary people have mingled under those chandeliers.

And now please enjoy some gratuitous spring flower shots:

The spring buds were like celebs, man. There were some cherry blossoms that you couldn’t get anywhere near because of the throng of older people with their tripods and huge lenses.

It was so deserted in this area that I was afraid we weren’t supposed to be there. Those trees though.

I was so glad that Chooch got to experience all this history! He was really into it.

This was before ancient Korean spirits possessed Chooch and me and gave us the ability to lacerate Henry’s feelings with our hunger-driven words.

Because, we would never normally be mean to Henry.

Lol.

I had to go for my annual wellness test this morning at work, and when the lab tech was getting ready to take my blood pressure, he said, “Just think about things that make you happy.” And immediately, in my mind, I was walking the peaceful grounds of Changdeokgung again.

May 142018
 

We’ll start this party with an obliggy keyboard kitty.

  • Henry and I took a leisurely stroll through Brookline Sunday morning which is the least he could do since I made my own breakfast on Mother’s Day (confetti waffles, bitches, and don’t get too excited because they were the toaster kind). Walking down the Boulevard almost always offers some form of entertainment, whether it’s the old man who totes his 1980s boombox around with him in a backpack and dances on the sidewalk1 or watching Yinzers yell at each other outside of Zippy’s and then you get closer and realize they’re not actually mad, their voices just sound that way from all the cigarettes and hard Pittsburgh-living. First, I pointed out the creepy Jesus picture that was a curious part of the window display at Jo’s Salon. “Isn’t that the same one we have in our bathroom?” Henry observed, trying to keep up with the word count I had already set for our walking conversation. “No! That’s SEXY Jesus! Duh.” And Henry mumbled, “Sorry.” Moment later, a fire truck was pulling out of the station, so traffic stopped to allow for this to happen, obviously. This is probably one of the things they teach in Drivers Ed. “Yield to Fire Trucks.” I don’t know. But of course there was that ONE CAR who was so pissed that no one was moving, so the driver just laid on the horn. Like, relentlessly. He could have actually had had a heart attack at the wheel and was slumped over, for all we knew, but instead everyone on the sidewalk was super pissed at this overzealous display of pushiness. One guy walked by and said, “The Jagoff2 Convention must have let out early” and I just started cracking up so bad because what a perfect representation of Pittsburgh, if ever there was.
    • SIDE BAR1: I was on my lunch break a few weeks ago, standing at the curb waiting for the light to change, when suddenly, “GLORIA! GLORIA! i THINK THEY GOT YOUR NUMBER! GLORIA!” was blasting in my ear. I looked to my right and sure enough, there was Brookline Dancer, dancing in place next to me on Liberty Avenue! What a joy to see him downtown!
    • SIDEBAR2: Jagoff is Pittsburghese for “jack off” or “douchebag.” I am such a teacher.
  • I got KCON tickets for Chooch and me on Friday!  It was yet another Ticketmaster clusterfuck and I really wish someone would find a way to destroy them because $50 service fees?! Go fuck yourself, Ticketmaster.  So, I’m going to be living That Cloistered Life for the next couple of months, but it will be worth it because I get to see Pentagon! I’ve been so obsessed with them lately and I even made Carrie watch one of their videos at work last week. I sit behind her now and I was holding my breath while she watched it because I half-expected her to be like THIS IS DUMMM like my OLD NEIGHBORS did. But instead, she said, “Not gonna lie, that was pretty cute. They are pretty adorable. And it has a good beat!” You know what I said? I very calmly and seriously said, “Thank you.” Because I wrote, directed, produced, and sang on that shit, obviously. And choreographed it too. I already posted the subject video on here, but here is an acoustic version of it that they just performed on a music countdown show last week! I LOVE THEM THEY’RE SUCH LITTLE ANGEL BABIES.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VV1L7AmEkcs

  • Henry recently found out that my mom still cooks for my brother even though he doesn’t live at home anymore, and I just started cracking up because it could not be any more clearer that my brother and I are related. In my mom’s defense for not forcing us to learn how to cook, I brought up the fact that my dad used to make me clean the house all of the time because I guess he thought it was going to make me turn into a good wife for someone someday, but instead it just made me hate cleaning so now I never do it because, again, I hate cleaning. “Maybe he was just trying to teach you how to live independently!” Henry cried in disbelief of my casual dismissal of this whole thing.
  • Last Friday on the trolley, some broad started clipping her nails. I know, right. Immediately, like even faster than I was able to realize that human bits were being clipped, the guy across from her said, in the most Kevin from The Office way, “That’s really gross.” So she said, “YEAH WELL I HAVE A MEETING” (bitch, ok, so?) and then HE said, “You couldn’t do that at home?” So SHE said, “NO I HAVE 3 JOBS AND IF YOU WOULD MIND YOUR BUSINESS I’D APPRECIATE IT” and he calmly monotoned, “OK” and then she continued to clip her nails. I ALMOST SAT IN FRONT OF HER TOO. I still think about that, to this day (three days later).
    • Also, I doubt she has three jobs but OK, I exaggerate a lot too when I’m in a public confrontation. BITCH WHATCHU LOOKING AT I JUST GOT OUTTA JAILLLLLLLL.

I call this “RIP My Feet.” Would you believe people used to buy my art?

  • Yesterday was the last day of the Walking Challenge, you guys! I managed to get 30,000 steps every day during the final week except for last Monday, where I only got 27,000 (as previously mentioned.) This morning, it felt so great to not immediately put myself in walking mode, and I quietly wept with joy as I ate my breakfast, in a seated position. But then things took a turn. Carrie was entering her steps for this last week and realized she missed a day earlier on in the competition. No, I don’t mean that she crashed out in a gin bath for an entire day and accumulated zero steps, I mean that she just “somehow” missed entering her steps for one day. I was internally fuming about this. WHAT A DUM-DUM! I was thinking in my head while concocting different ways to humiliate her when the results come in tomorrow and we’re even further down in the standings. Maybe I could start calling her Lou Jr.? New Lou? But then something inside me, some niggling sensation of paranoia, made me check my own steps and sure enough I MISSED A DAY TOO! 4/20 TO BE EXACT AND NO IT WASN’T BECAUSE I WAS TOO BUSY FLOATING ON A CLOUD WITH MILEY CYRUS. We have to manually type in our steps on some confusing firm-provided page thing and I guess I just didn’t go back far enough on the first week. And then I realized, “THE FIRST WEEK?!” That’s the week that the Top #25 Mini Challenge happened and I came in 4th overall for individual walkers, so I went back and looked at the numbers AND I WOULD HAVE BEEN IN 3RD. Motherfucker!! Carrie pointed out that it was moot because the prize was still the same regardless, and she’s right but UGH CITY! I wanted to fucking scream into a pillow! But then I started crazy-laughing because think about it — I missed entering a 20,000-step day AND STILL PLACED and MY TEAM WAS STILL IN 3RD THAT WEEK! So, I guess that’s kind of cool. I’m still mad at myself though. I was bitching about my snafu to another co-worker by the bathroom when Sandy walked by and just started laughing because I AM CONSUMED and she knows it and if we’re being honest here, SHE EGGS ME ON.  This challenge can fuck off. I’m going back into retirement.
    • Now that I think about it, really sounds like my team was sabotaged.
  • Today, I got a news alert that Margot Kidder died so I texted my brother Ryan and said, “Wasn’t it a Margot Kidder autobiography that you were holding in one of the Evil Bastard scenes?” and Ryan said, “Oh wow, I usually have a good memory for that kinda stuff but I have no idea lol. I forgot about the Evil Bastard videos” and I AM SO OFFENDED. NO SCRATCH THAT, I’M BETRAYED. “The Many Ways To Kill An Evil Bastard” was like, my crowning cinematic achievement in high school and Ryan was the main lead!  Um, let’s just say it’s a good thing YouTube wasn’t around in the 90s or my 11th grade English teacher would have been even more mad about that scene in my group’s Longfellow video presentation where I spoofed her getting thrown off her horse, which is a real thing that happened, she was thrown from a horse, and in one scene of our video, I wrapped bloody gauze around my head and knee, borrowed crutches from a friend, and hobbled down the hallway moaning about how all I wanted to do was read some Longfellow but then I got thrown off my horse instead AND SHE WAS SO MAD ABOUT IT!? Everyone in the class was all “hahahaha” and she was all “F F F F F F.”
    • See also: this is how I learned that I can’t walk with crutches.

And we’ll end with this quote that I jotted down in here last week because I didn’t want to forget and planned on elaborating, but now I can’t remember what Henry and I were talking about because all I can remember from the past several weeks is the sound of my feet hitting the floor.

“I’ll put an ad in the paper. ‘Must —‘”

“Be Korean?!” I interjected.

“‘–pay your own way‘,” Henry finished with a frown.

I think I wanted to go somewhere and he said he didn’t want to go? I mean, that could be anywhere, literally.

May 132018
 

Henry just made some disparaging remark about how we’ve been home for over a month and I’m still recapping this trip and I was like, “WELL MAYBE IF YOU WOULD HELP ME…” Sike, I don’t want him helping. His posts will be like, “We went on a train and then ate at a market and went to another market and then ate again and walked a lot. And I think I might have accidentally swore at someone when I was trying to say thank you in Korean.”

But, that would probably be preferable to anyone sick of the Seoul onslaught!

Too bad though because this is my post so there will be a lot more words but maybe I’ll try to keep it under 1,000 for once. 

*********************

Back in Seoul!

A post shared by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

We arrived back in Seoul from Busan on a Friday night around 7:30. Here are some photos from that evening!

Before we did anything, we went back to our hotel to drop off our bags before they became permanently affixed to Chooch’s and my backs. We realized that we had never checked out the rooftop garden yet so we did that real quick before heading out. Here’s what the view looked like:

I didn’t notice until now, but you can see the reflection our the hotel’s sign (Atrium) on those windows to the left. I AM SUCH A GOOD PHOTOGRAPHER.

I miss this view. I miss you, Jongno-gu. I’d highly recommend staying there to anyone who is thinking of traveling to Seoul because it’s centrally located, within walking distance from numerous palaces, the DDP, Gwangjang Market, and two really accessible subway stations. The Jongno stations also have a huge shopping mall in them. You could get lost in there, honestly, especially if you’re there with Henry. You can by everything from bread to shoes down there, guys. Get on Korea’s (subterranium) level.

Also, it’s an actual shelter because it’s so deep underground.

Our first stop was Gwangjang Market for a piece-meal dinner (something from this stall, something from that stall, something later from a sidewalk stall…).

The food stall cooks must be so accustomed to being recorded and photographed because so many travel and food shows have gone through and then the YouTube vlogging generation swept in and shoved even more cameras in their faces. I know it seems hypocritical as I’m typing this beneath pictures I took in Gwangjang Market! But I just don’t think I could ever be a vlogger. I’d feel like such an asshole walking around with a camera and talking to myself.

Our next Friday night stop was the DDP (we were obsessed with that place) because they were having a Bamdokkaebi Night Market, which was overflowing with food trucks and craft vendors. The vibes were so upbeat and carefree here! Even though it was crowded, everyone was so laidback and chill – it didn’t feel overwhelming or suffocating. There was even a marching band! So festive.

The DDP is crazy amazing to spectate during the day, but it is a must-see at night. I would definitely put it on the recommednation list if any of my imaginary friends were taking a fantasy trip to Seoul.

All the LED roses are stunning at night, obviously! Plus here’s Chooch with his signature “Korea daze” expression. We over-walked that kid, lol.

The one part of the night market that sticks out in my memory is the dog that Chooch was desperately trying to pet on the way out. Some older man had his dog off-leash and that dog was super social and lapping up all the attention he was getting, but he kept getting distracted by other people every time he would start to run to Chooch. Two younger guys were walking by and noticed Chooch’s plight, so they helped lure the dog over to him, and when Chooch was finally successfully in petting the dog, the guys & several other spectators cheered – it was such a heartwarming moment and definitely something that I will always remember.

This cool Last Supper-spoof was in the textile area of Gwangjang Market. I love that the disciples are actually designers!

We continued to stroll around, spectating all the drunken sidewalk revelry, stopping for third dinner at the above food stall, and just trying to take in as much as possible while we were still there. This was when the clock really started to tick for me, and I was hyper-aware that we only had two full days left. It was frustrating because I wanted to start grabbing at everything and clutching it close to my chest, you know? Like, let me double-fist all of these experiences that are still out there before I run out of time because who knows if I will ever get the opportunity to go back. Just, utter panic and behind-the-scenes sadness no matter how hard I tried to live in the moment, because the end was always looming around the corner. LE SIGH.

The next Korea post will be about Changdeokgung Palace! Get stoked for some traditional Korean snaps!

May 122018
 

Chooch: Did you write about how I found a dead crab?

Me: No, I didn’t know you found a dead crab.

Chooch, incredulous at my oversight: Yes! And then I buried it!!

God, maybe if he would share these tales on my blog like I’ve asked him to, I would know! And so would you!

After strolling along the Songdo cliffs for an hour or so, we made it to Ansan Park where one of the cable car loading stations was located. Guys, if you are ever in Busan, I highly recommend walking one way and taking the cable cars the other way—if you don’t like hills, then maybe take the cable cars up, though! That last bit was pretty laborious. We got the best of both worlds doing it this way and it was such an enjoyable way to spend a Friday morning! In fact, I don’t even think we argued at all?!

Before we boarded the cable car, Henry had to dispute the price with the ticket lady who overcharged us. I didn’t go with him because I was afraid he’d embarrass me. Aside from that little snafu, everything went smoothly! I read reviews online that said this place was not foreigner-friendly and I have no idea what they meant because this was Tourist Central.

Henry: “NAPTIME.”

Chooch was mad because he was trying to make an Instavid and Henry was junking it up with his booming voice so Chooch had to post it without sound, lol.

Spooky boi adventures. #busan #ocean

A post shared by Riley (@butt_jam) on

I’m generally terrified of cable cars but goddammit this was so worth it!

That fucking Peachy Boi. Did I mention that since we were leaving that day, we checked out of the hotel before setting off for Songdo, so once again Chooch and I had our entire Korean lives strapped to our backs while Henry carried nothing. Anyway, Chooch was hand-carrying Peachy Boi because there wasn’t enough room in either of backpacks and he made me hold him for a second when we climbing the hill to Ansan Park. I dramatically opened my hand and let Peach Boi fall to the ground and Chooch started screaming like I just kicked a Corgi and Henry was like WHAT ARE YOU TWO DOING BACK THERE?!!?!?

You had to be there.

You can see the walkway over there on the left. I miss it!

Obligatory “Out Here in Busan” selfie.

FAMILY PHOTO, LOL.

We wanted to explore more of the area near Busan Tower after this, so we had to take another bus back. I was nervous that I didn’t have enough funds left on my T-Money card, and I kept panicking about it. Henry was like, “DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT” and for some reason, this became another Henryism that Chooch and I latched on to and we were doubled-over in an alley near Songdo Beach, crying in laughter, while Henry stormed off without us.

But guess what guys great news! I had enough funds to get on the bus.

The following portion of this blog post will be photos from our afternoon in Yongdusan Park and the surrounding areas.

You could never go hungry in Korea, guys. We are notorious for arguing over restaurants when on vacation because Chooch and I are so picky and I’m one of those people who will say things like, “It has a bad vibe” or “I didn’t like how the hostess looked at me” or “I don’t feel right in here” so then we leave and Henry is like FML and then we roam around like zombies forever looking for somewhere that meets our specific qualifications and I’m not going to lie, there have been times when we eat from a vending machine and then go to bed angry.

But in Korea, there are freaking food stalls and carts EVERYWHERE!

We ate at one of those aforementioned food stalls because I heard that Busan’s ttkeokbokki is different from Seoul’s, and it really is! The sauce is a deeper color (and supposedly spicier but like I mentioned before, I think I burnt my mouth to the point of no return because I rarely taste spice anymore unless it’s like something deadly) and the ttkeok itself is longer. I loved it! And I appreciated that the old lady who served it to me made the universal “very spicy, hot hot” motion, but I slurped those motherfuckers down like the world was going to end in 2 minutes.

Chooch had a plate of twigum (fried foods) and he was so happy because one of the options was a hardboiled egg, and this was how I learned that my son loves hardboiled eggs which I guess I would know if I spent more time in the kitchen?

That lady was so sweet!

I don’t know what Henry got. Chicken maybe?

Chooch got strawberry rolled ice cream after but I was holding out for more ssiat hotteok.

We didn’t go up into the tower but it was still fun to explore the area around it.

I posted some pictures from this area while we were on the train back to Seoul that evening.

That “sorry I never told you all I wanted to say” heart lock, though… :(

We did some last minute shopping after this (I went into The Saem with the intent of buying one Choco Pie handcream, and then, $100 later….

It just happened that way.

They have really cute guys who stand outside of the beauty shops, holding signs, and yelling adorable things to lure you in, OK?! And the salesgirl who followed me around wasn’t just suggesting things for me, she was literally telling me what I was going to buy and I was so weak, so so so weak. JUST MAKE ME PRETTY! I’LL DO ANYTHING!

(Jeannie did say that I looked 10 years younger when I came back though, so thanks Korea!)

In line for some ssiat hotteok!

I didn’t buy these and I have regrets.

Chooch bought a knock-off Supreme shirt while we were here because apparently I was supposed to supervise his packing before we left Pittsburgh and I did not do this so he was running out of clean clothes to wear, lol.

By then it was around 4pm and we had to head back to Busan Station and catch our KTX back to Seoul.

We hung out at Pascucci Cafe so Chooch could charge his dumb phone because god forbid he couldn’t watch YouTube videos for the entire 2 and half hour train ride!

It was a whirlwind 24 hours in Busan and I really hope to make it back someday and give it a proper tour!

May 102018
 

I had all kinds of plans to write some more about our trip on here today, but I am surrounded by so many distractions! Mostly the walking challenge, which I swore I wouldn’t let get the best of me, yet here I am on the final stretch, exhausted and rarely settling for anything less than 30,000 steps.

Lou (see also: #ughlou) sent out an email to the department the other day because he brought in some cookies his wife made so I replied (held back and didn’t reply all) and said “Maybe you should hand deliver one to everyone so you can get some steps” and then he had some lame excuse about having pink eye and Wendy was like “Yeah. But your legs still work!” And Carrie said, “Pink eye. Not pink foot.”

When we came in fifth place again, Carrie pointed out that this is actually pretty impressive for a three-member team and you know what, she is RIGHT.

#ughlou

If I had registered as an individual, I’d be in second place but the person in first has nearly 100,000 steps more than me! (Total steps, not daily.) Bitch how?! They clearly work at home on a treadmill. I mean, if I didn’t have to go to work everyday, I’d have lots more steps! BUT I HAVE TO SIT AT MY DESK SOMETIMES.

The other distraction is, as always, Kpop videos. So many good ones have been coming out this spring but lately I am super-feeling this one by VIXX:

VIXX has such beautiful concepts for their music videos. I have watched this one over and over because it’s mesmerizing, plus the song is gold.

Also, I just found out last weekend that Henry apparently doesn’t like VIXX at all but he can give me nothing to back his claim. This is crazy to me because my #1 most played song of 2017 according to Spotify was VIXX’s Shangri-La so be must have been in major ear-hell every time I’d get in the car after work and fucking blast it.

It just goes to show how different we are because if he put on something I hated, I would probably start hissing in tongues and clawing upside crosses into his back.

While he was driving.

And then bring it up for the next 30 years.

“REMEMBER THAT TIME YOU PUT ON TED NUGENT IN THE CAR?!?!?!”

Anyway, I have accumulated my 30,000 steps for the day and I’m going to pass out in my bed now and hopefully buy KCON tickets tomorrow, wooooo!

May 082018
 

Friends, bear with me. This post will be short on words but heavy on photos.

Because: Songdo Beach.

When researching things to do in Busan, all the super-touristy hands withdrew from their fanny packs to point toward Haeundae Beach, which is apparently Busan’s summer hot spot, the party beach if you will. But, it wasn’t summer, and I was interested in doing nature-y things because sometimes I get like that, so we opted for Songdo Beach.

(I’d definitely like to go back in the summer sometime and check out Haeundae then.)

We set off early on Friday morning, taking the subway, walking forever because this was our Korean Ritual, and then hopping on a bus to the resort-y area of Songdo. We didn’t take any buses while in Seoul, but the ones in Busan were fairly easy and convenient so I briefly considered trying to take a bus somewhere when I got back to Pittsburgh but then abandoned that idea pretty quickly because ew, Pittsburgh buses.

Anyway, we managed to get to the beach without too much mishap, praise the lord! Our train back to Seoul departed at 4:50pm so we had to try and cram in as much as possible which gave us little room for Henry’s favorite pasttimes of Getting Lost and Looking at the Map Wrong and Storming Off in Anger.

But first! Here’s a quick Instavid of Busan, featuring one of the art installation from the day before at Gamcheon, Chooch imitating Henry With Map, a man selling eggs, and the beautiful view of Songdo Beach!

Busan clips.

A post shared by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

It was only about 60 degrees on this Friday so we didn’t frolic for too long, but it sure was nice to feel the sand under our feet. KOREAN SAND, AT THAT!

(If you ask Chooch, he’ll tell you that it was SO HOT in Korea, and I have no idea why he thinks this because every day was mild and perfect.)

One of the big attractions at Songdo Beach are the cable cars which go over the ocean. I’m a bit unclear as to which sea this was because there are like three that surround the peninsula. The East Sea maybe? (Otherwise known as the Sea of Japan outside of Korea.)

But to get to the cable cars, we decided to walk to Amnam Park via the cliffside paths that the nice ahjumma in the tourist center pointed out to us, and just take the cable cars one-way back down to the beach. Because what good is going to a beach if you’re not going to explore it?!

We stopped at Tom n Toms first to get snacks. The barista was on the phone when we got there, totally a personal call too and I wanted desperately to be more fluent in Korean at that moment because it sounded like a LOVERS QUARREL. Anyway, I was glad that he didn’t get off the phone when he saw us because it gave us time to actual look at the menu without feeling rushed, which is usually how this goes.

When the barista got off the phone, he was super pleasant which I wasn’t expecting, and I’m sure he gets this all the time, but he bore a strong resemblance to Namjoon from BTS. I was giddy over this and Henry and Chooch were just like, “Not really.”

I got a corn latte! I love Korea and their vegetable lattes! It was so freaking sweet, like drinking refreshingly frothy, freshly-churned cream corn. Sounds so disgusting but shit-goddamn it worked.

Chooch got something that he thought was a chocolate drink but it was coffee. He tried to drink it but the coffee was too much so I ended up drinking his drink too along the way to the cable cars and then felt like my whole body was turning into a sugar cube.

Meanwhile, Henry was so mad because the whole reason we stopped there was to get snacks for the walk but Chooch and I only got drinks and then ended up eating all of Henry’s cookies. LOL – that’s Henry’s role in this family dynamic, though.

Looking back, I wish I had spent more time admiring the barista because he was really cute. Ugh.

I was nice to see blue skies! The yellow dust was so high in Seoul that most days just looked overcast.

Fun fact: 바다 (ba-da) means sea in Korean and it was one of the first words I learned. The 바다 here in Busan was super blue and spectacular – I couldn’t take my eyes off it!

The walk along the cliffs was just breathtaking. Songdo means “Pine Island” was named for all the pine trees along the cliffs and they loomed over us to the right. It was like being in the mountains and on the beach at the same time.

Some areas of the walkway had steps that lead down to the shore below and this is how I learned that Chooch is apparently quite knowledgeable about tide pools.

And then I quickly learned right after that it’s because some YouTube asshole he likes is into exploring tide pools. Sigh. At least he gleans something useful here and there from the loudmouths he follows on YouTube.

I screamed every time we went down to the rocks because I had visions of getting swept away. The water was kind of rough down there!

 

But then I eventually realized that there was beach glass to be found, so then I was into it! I love beach glass, especially when it’s probably made from soju bottles, haha. I collected a nice little handful and I want to find a glass orb pendant-type thing to put it all in.

Chooch was looking for gross things.

Ugh, I could have stayed there all day…or at least until the tide swallowed me alive.

Henry was in his glory because he got to be a know-it-all about nature things. He probably knew a lot about those boats out there but I wasn’t listening.

This is what the path looked like that we took to the cable cars. I would say it was about an hour long walk, what with all the stopping we did to explore. The weather just right–in the low 60s–so it was a really great leisurely walk and not very many people were out. The people we did pass though were super nice and everyone exchanged happy 안녕하세요’s.

Ugh, this bridge was so scary, though!

My camera got splashed here and I didn’t realize it so the rest of the pictures I took that day have a big spot on them. You know, that Erin flair.

We eventually made it to the end of the path, but that just meant we had one final, steep hike up a hill and then we finally made it to the cable car station which we’ll get to in the next post but for now, let’s end with a video of these perfect pebbles!

It sounds like tiny 💥

A post shared by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on