May 202024

Hi I’m over here feeling sorry for myself and panicking about how Chooch is about to be a high school graduate and college freshman and OMG apparently he posted a story today on IG and Henry can see it but I can’t!!?!?! And now he’s denying that I’m not filtered out of his inner circle?!?!

Anyway as I was saying, some of these photos came up in my ON THIS DAY memories and I felt inspired to reshare the blog post from May 2017 because this was still when he was sort of letting me style him for photoshoots and apparently he even let me interview for this one. Ow. Owowowowowowowow. He better let me do one more of these before he leaves my nestttttttttttt.

Well, I might do this several more times from now until the end of my days so bear with me or x out or something, it’s fine. *ANGUISH*



Oh hey, today I woke up and decided that I wanted to boss around Henry and Chooch some, and the best way I know to do that is to find some schmancy get-up to stuff Chooch in and then yell at Henry to hand me whatever lens I need. I DON’T KNOW THEIR NAMES. I AM A FAKE PHOTOGRAPHER.

We went to Buttermilk Falls, which was the location of the picnic we had once in celebration of me not dying on a carnival ride in 2013. (I just made the sign of the cross, because I’m religious when I feel like it.) Instead of just dumping these so-so pictures here, I thought it would be fun to ask Chooch some questions about his life currently.


Me: I’m going to ask you some questions now. Isn’t this fun?

Chooch: *heavy sigh*


Me: What’s your favorite thing about 5th grade?

Chooch: I don’t know. Why do you make me do this.

Me: Was the grilled cheese Wesley’s mom made you better than my grilled cheeses?

Chooch: You don’t even make grilled cheese… you?

Me: No…

Chooch: Exactly.


Me: What is your current favorite Kpop song?

Chooch: Ugh. No. Um, “Signal” I guess?

Me: What is your current favorite food?

Chooch: Veggie burger.

Me: Talk about being a vegetarian.

Chooch: It’s amazing.


Me: What is your favorite TV show?

Chooch: Um, hard to say. I have a lot that I watch on Netflix.

Me: Well, just recommend three of them.

Chooch: They’re all kids shows! No one cares!



Me: What was it like to crowd-surf at the Emarosa show?

Chooch: Spooky, and scary…skeletons.

Me: You’re wearing a Cardboard Swords shirt in these pictures. Would you recommend them to people?

Chooch: Sure. You recommend every band you like to people, so why not.

(I think what he means is that I shove my music faves in everyone’s face constantly.)


Me: Talk about Spencer.

Chooch, in his weird Corgi Mania voice: Spencer!! *throaty giggles* Spencer’s awesome! Spencer’s a Corgi! No, not a Corgi. An amazing Corgi. A Corgi who walks past my house everyday and I pet him and he loves me!

(Chooch honestly gets delirious in Spencer’s presence. He was excited yesterday because now Spencer rolls over when he sees him and I was like “Yeah probably so you’ll think he’s dead and leave him alone!”)


Me: Why do you reject Korean food?

Chooch: Because YOU like it.

(Oh that little fucker better wait. His birthday cake next year is going to be one giant chapssal-tteok.)


Me: Why don’t you have a hand in this picture?

Chooch: I went to a bar and someone stabbed it off of me.

Me: Any big plans for when Grandma Judy watches you alllllll summer long? Family Feud marathons? Go Fish for money?

Chooch: I’ll be going to Wesley’s all day.

Me: What if Wesley goes to camp?

Chooch: Well then I go to camp.



Me: If you started a band, what would you call it?

Chooch: The Bambi Penises.

(He’s been calling Drew “Bambi” lately, and we call Penelope “Penis” sometimes, so there’s that.)


Me: what’s so great about those dumb spinners that every kid has suddenly?

Chooch: They come in a whole bunch of different varieties!



Me: If you were a tour guide in Pittsburgh, where would you take your tourists?

Chooch: Spencer’s house. *erupts in giggles.



Me: Do you think the Penguins will win the Stanley Cup?

Chooch, with that cheery monotone enthusiasm of Today’s Youth: Yeah. Hopefully.


Me, bothering Chooch while he’s trying to concentrate on some adult connect the dots book he got today, and not “adult” as in connect the STDs to each porn star, but as in each page has hundreds of numbers: Quick do a haiku.

Chooch: Bambi is special / Peen Lop never gives a crap / She needs more friends quick.


Me: If you could be penpals with any celebrity in the world, who would it be?

Chooch: Dan & Phil.

Me: That’s two people, and they’re not even celebrities, they’re lame YouTubers.

Chooch: They live in the same place! Fine, just Dan.


Me: Do you want to go watch Running Man with me.

Chooch: NO.

May 192024

Saw this in the parking lot on the way in today and screamed “WHAT IS THAT?? Oh I thought it was a sweet potato” like I was so relieved to find out that someone hadn’t discarded a perfectly good tuber.

Happy Sunday from Sandusky!

UPDATE: leaving the park now and can confirm that the Cedar Park dildo is still in the lot:

Sleep well knowing this my friends.

May 172024

Hi real quick here are five of my favorite things that have happened so far in May that I would like to not forget.


This happened today. I tried to stay calm during the ticket-procuring process because I can’t handle much more stress currently – I know my threshold, and I kept saying, “You know, I saw them last year and I had a good seat so it doesn’t matter this time – just as long as I’m there.” And then it was “my turn” (fuck you, TicketMaster) to look for a ticket and I grabbed the first one that was not on the floor but decent and then that was it. No screaming in anger, no panicking. Just quietly added to the cart and purchased while Henry stood behind me and chanting, “Calm down, calm down” which – OK? I am? YOU CALM DOWN?

And then I started crying about 30 minutes later, a delayed reaction, and woke Henry up from his nap, wailing, “I’M JUST SO HAPPY THAT I GET TO SEE THEM AGAIN!” He looked alarmed, but it’s fine. I’m fine.

2. A $5 Brulee’d Ruby Red

Um, this was not worth it, but the rest of the brunch at 40North with my pals Megan, Debby, and Mar made up for it! (Don’t worry, that’s not all I got – I actually got one of the best omelets I’ve ever had, and now I know that next time I should forgo the “healthy” option and just get the smashed potatoes*.)

*(Which btw come with chimichurri which is how Marlene came to find out exactly what chimichurri is and while Debby was explaining it to her, Marlene interrupted to say, “Ok tell them I don’t need any of that.”)

We had the same server that Lindsey and I had when we met here last year who was, from what I remember, a chronic whisperer but I’m happy to report that he spoke much louder this time, upped the volume. Actually, all of the staff there was pretty freaking great and memorable even though we completely overstayed our welcome – we got nary a side-eye.

Anyway, that was last Saturday, and then the Sunday before that….

3. I Had Beers with My Sister!

I know it seems like I’m not doing anything but curling up in the fetal position in a dark corner, crying about Korea, and OK that is largely my life now. I admit it. But I have been getting out and socializing here and there too, lol.

Amy wanted to try Strange Roots in Millvale and I who knows nothing about breweries said YES LET’S DO THAT. I think it’s safe to say that I am still mid-at-best when it comes to liking beer, but it was still an excellent afternoon with Amy and Dick and fine, even Henry. We always have the best convo with Amy and Dick when we get together and I always leave there saying, “We need to do this more than just once or twice a year.” I mean, we do live a little over an hour away from each other but that’s no excuse. I grew up with such a small family and the fact that I was given the chance to have a relationship with a sister that I didn’t meet until I was an adult is actually a pretty big deal. (Especially since we like each other, even!)

I had a wheat beer which was ok, and then I got a “slamgria” which was 100% MY STYLE. I guess because, you know, it wasn’t beer. But shit, I could have sat around all afternoon slamming these OMG IS THAT WHY THEY’RE CALLED SLAMGRIAS??

I sat here for a solid three minutes wondering to myself what the fuck that Teletubby-shaped thing is at the bottom of this picture and then I realized it was the hand sanitizer that I had with me that day – the kind that is encased in the rubber carrier thing, lol.

Oh! I also want to give a shoutout to whoever at Strange Roots played an entire Neutral Milk Hotel album while we there, transporting me back to high school so fast I almost got whiplash. <3

4. This Stray Kids Song That I Want to Curl Up Inside and Live In Forever

First of all, I truly love Charlie Puth’s music don’t @ me, and second of all I IMPRINTED ON HAN JISUNG ALL OVER AGAIN WITH THIS ONE. SKZ just announced a world tour too, dates TBA, so I am going to be in Kpop debt this year. (Because Seventeen too I think!?!?) I think if I ever don’t get completely consumed by music, that’s when you know that I’m officially dead inside because I’m almost 45 and music is still the one thing that never fails to make me feel like my full, complete self. Kpop especially really changed my life for the better though. <3

5. HNC Has a Friend!

The other day I was dying because HNC had a friend over and I was crawling on the floor, trying to get a covert picture through the dining room window without being seen. I’m not posting it here because I’m wildly paranoid about everything these days, but this guy had some type of modified ginger mullet – it was straight and flowed like a river of Schlitz to his shoulders. He was wearing bitchin’ Lennon shades and a fitted t-shirt and jeans, looking like he could be in Bread or Ambrosia or some other food-named 70s band.

I woke Henry up from his nap, totally giddy, and asked him if he was jealous. He said NO and I said, “Wow, not even that HNC invited him to his CAMP??”

Henry just frowned, which means I was right – he’s jel.

OK, I’m going now.


May 162024

Sunday morning was school picture day! Honestly, one of the non-negotiable things on my itinerary was getting some nice snaps of our high school senior with the “good camera.” You can see those portraits here! I’m pretty sure I mentioned this in the post with Chooch’s portraits, but if you want to get some nice shots with a palatial background sans clusters of undulating tourists, skip the most popular palace (Gyeongbokgung is a must-see but it is the most famous of all the main palaces in Seoul and it gets packed) and check out Changgyeonggung Palace instead. You are still going to get that signature Joseon Dynasty architecture, the serene nature, and the feeling of stepping back into another time – just without as many people!

We arrived minutes before the ticket booth opened and were among the first people to go inside. Literally no one around! It was really nice to just have a slow morning walking around the grounds, looking at nature-y things, and actually not fighting now that I think about it?! Even though PICTURES were involved!

Hahaha I hate myself, honestly but this is the best depiction of how I was feeling and I can tell you that right now I am feeling the exact opposite, like instead of jumping for joy, I am crumbling from depression. It’s fine. I’ll be fine. Henry keeps giving me gentle reminders that we will be back and even though I cry, “YEAH RIGHT YOU DON’T KNOW THAT!” every time, at least I know he is willing to go back??

We had been there for about fifteen minutes and no one had come into this courtyard yet! They were all still right inside the gate taking pictures of the blossoms, lol.

LOL I married that guy. Wow.


Seriously. Korea. You’re my one true love.

Chooch didn’t mention that our faces were obscured by shadows BUT OK.

Ahhh OMG you guys, then we finally saw our first Korean squirrel!! I wasn’t squirrel’bsessed in 2018 and 2019 when we were there so maybe we saw some then and I just don’t remember, but this time I was ON THE HUNT. I mean, not actually THE HUNT because I’m a vegetarian and would never harm an animal or even most bugs – I shed real tears last night when I thought that I actually dumped my ant friend who had been hanging out on my work desk down the drain because when I poured out the dregs of my coffee cup, it looked like an ant fell out with it but maybe it was just a coffee ground?!!? Regardless, I had a quiet moment where I stood and looked solemnly out the front door, thinking about how for the last two days I had gently moved him away from my keyboard so he wouldn’t get smashed, complained about my job to him, asked him when he thought the mailman was going to come. We really spent a lot of quality time together and I haven’t seen him since, is what I’m trying to tell you. Anyway, when I turned away from the door, Henry was sitting on the couch and I blurted out I HAVE TO TELL YOU SOMETHING and then I started crying but also laughing because I was near-hysteria and he was so scared, like bracing himself, and then I blurted out in a high-pitched wail, “THERE WAS AN ANT THAT I BECAME FRIENDS WITH THE OTHER DAY ON MY DESK AND I THINK I ACCIDENTALLY DROWNED HIM IN THE SINK” and of course Henry the Heartless was like, “How do you know it was the same one?”

Fuck off, Henry.

It cost W2,000 for the three of us – Chooch was free. That’s less than $1!!!! There is no reason to NOT come into any and all of these palaces if you’re in Seoul.

We also went into a beautiful greenhouse that was on the grounds. Here’s pictures that Chooch took of some palace cats that were lounging around in there like the royalty that they are:

More pictures that Chooch took because I just remembered he made a shared album! (Most of his pictures are dumb inside jokes with his friends though, so – worthless to me.)

I swear to god you can always see Namsan Tower in the background, and it’s so comforting, like seeing an old friend.

That last picture is MINE, thank you.

And this was just the start of our day!

May 152024

If I was making an itinerary for someone visiting Seoul, I would 100% include a walk along the Seoul City Wall, starting in Dongdaemun. Henry will roll his eyes, but before our first trip to Korea, I used to watch Joan Kim’s “Joan Day” YouTube channel. She vlogged every single day for a year (maybe 2 actually) and I owe so much to her videos because it gave us “insider tips” into the best neighborhoods, shops, cafes, etc. It’s how I learned about Gentle Monster, Ader Error, Mil Toast, Onion…

But what I also am so thankful for is her one vlog where she was taking some visiting friends around Seoul and how she stressed that some of the best views of Seoul could be found at Naksan Park at sunset, accessed either through the Ihwa Mural Village or by hiking alongside the Seoul Fortress Wall in Dongdaemun.

We did this in 2018, opting to go through the mural village. It was spectacular. Even Henry couldn’t deny it.

This time, we decided to go up the other way, by following the wall. It’s a lot of Up Hill. Many Steep. But so worth it. We got a later start than I had anticipated, but it ended up being in our favor because GODDAMN that night view, those city lights, the absolute bonkers vibe of that area at night. The couples on dates. The families. The dogs! It wasn’t crowded at all, the weather was perfect, we were all in a good mood. I loved this night a lot, is what I’m trying to say. Let’s look at piccccccs.

You can see that there’s a pretty nice trail, you’re not like, scaling a mountain or anything. It’s not that kind of hike. I mean, I did this in slip-on Vans. And look at all the benches! There are plenty of rest areas along the way. You can do this!

See? Just a Broad and Her Vans (Slip-Ons).

I kept turning around to take more pictures, as if the view was going to have drastically changed. You can see the DDP down there! And Heunginjimun Gate!

Through one of the wall openings.

Chooch literally Pokemon Go’d all through Seoul. Also, those are the sweatpants he bought in Namdaemun Market and had regertz for not buying more.


Chooch, hurry up and graduate and get rich and then buy me a house here.

My eyes are so awful and I couldn’t tell that portrait mode was taking some really mid shots. But I just loved how the farther up we walked, the more little neighborhoods started popping up. The alleys were breakneck steep. I think that’s what I was trying to capture here. Well, ya FAILED, hon.

This was from one of the first overlooks we came upon. There was a small walking tour happening too and I was trying to snoop but then then guide namedropped BTS and I lost interest.

Ew, Henry took this, lol.

That Hollywood-esque sign down there says Naksan Park. YES I CAN READ HANGEUL BACKWARDS, I AM THE BEST.

Here you can see the fortress wall as it goes back down the other side.

Asking Chooch to take our picture is so scary. I had to delete a series of ZOOM-INS on Henry’s face once we got back to the hotel.

Henry took these with his idiot phone and thought he was so cool. I’m only including them because it was an actual miracle that he was taking pictures at all.

If you follow the other side of the wall down to the bottom of the mountain, it spills you out into I guess what it is Ihwa-dong. This area is kind of nuts at night because it’s essentially a college campus so there are young people out and about in droves, tons of bars and clubs – let’s just say that even I felt a bit too old being here, lol.

We stopped at a super cool stationary / gift shop though and I bought some fun journals and a pencil pouch which made Henry roll his eyes. Chooch was on a hunt for “a pencil” and bought the plainest one there.

Here are some pictures Chooch took after we came back down into town:  

This ad was in pretty much every subway station, which was fine by me because I love that actor!

Anyway, after this it was BINGSU time so we took the subway back to Dongdaemun and found a Sulbing on the second floor of some random building. It was PACKED and we just barely snagged a table.

Bingsu is one of most favoritest things about Korea! It’s such a fun dessert.

Chooch got strawberry (and was angry when he discovered a hidden center of red bean, lol – Henry and I love red bean but Chooch refuses to let him like it) and Henry and I split a classic injeolmi (soy bean powder – it’s hard to describe but it’s subtly sweet, nutty, and soft).

FML I miss this. Why didn’t we get bingsu every night?!!?

And then I spent a solid 10 minutes trying to record the screen back there because Astro was in the ad and Henry’s ULT BIAS, THE FACE GENIUS CHA EUN WOO, was eating the same bingsu we ordered. The people behind me probably thought I was the biggest fucking Kpopper because I really did spend an absurd amount of time trying to capture this – the first time idiot Henry moved into the shot and took a monstrous spoonful of bingsu into his gaping maw, he looked prehistoric. I think I actually saved that clip, WHICH YOU CAN SEE IF YOU WATCH MY RECAP VIDEO OF THIS WHOLE DAY!!!!!

May 142024

In continuing with our unofficial and undeclared vegan tour of Seoul, and after collecting Chooch from the hotel (he bought his own lunch at 7-Eleven that day, he definitely doesn’t need us lol). we went to Cafe Siva for dinner that Saturday evening. This place had popped up several times on various “vegan Seoul” videos I had watched on YouTube and I was especially interested in the “supreme yangnyeom chicken.”

Once we were done taking in the protest that was making its way down the road (we were there during election season and the city was lit up with protests – we even saw one of the candidates at the Seoul Forest subway station, shaking hands with commuters while being filmed for the news), we went inside and I immediately loved the cozy vibe. The colors were so soothing and the space itself just felt very calm and slow. I guess that makes sense because Cafe Siva is apparently affiliated with the yoga studio next door.

I was looking at some reviews on Happy Cow and someone was complaining because they have an electronic ordering kiosk there, and they do, but like…so? We still had interactions with the staff there so it wasn’t like it was completely impersonal, it just greatly reduced the ordering anxiety.

Henry is supposed to be helping me write this but he is currently doing the same thing he’s doing in this picture – WILING AWAY HIS LIFE, MINDLESSLY SCROLLING THROUGH HIS NEWSFEED. I swear to god, talk about someone ADDICTED to his phone. It’s actually disturbing.

Chooch’s drink with the cutie cat stirrer, and Henry in the background not knowing what to do because I probably told him to put his phone away (you know, being a NAG since we are MARRIED now).

YOU GUYS. The owner’s dog was there. A good sign that we were in a safe space.

This dog reminded me of my childhood BFF Wally <3

Chooch’s veggie burger nearly gave me ordering remorse.

Henry can’t remember what he got. “It was….chicken. It was like….some kind of chicken.” If this was something that had come up in his newsfeed, he might remember…Maybe if it was an Instagram reel.

Speaking of IG, now he’s cruising Cafe Siva’s page looking for what he ordered and turns out it was vegan dak-kalbi.

“Did you like it?”

“YEAH!” he exclaimed, in between murmuring, “Wow, I would have got that instead,” at all of the dishes he’s seeing on Instagram that he doesn’t remember being on the menu.

Wow, he’s so cool.

But no, you guys. The star of the show was my SUPREME YANGNYEOM CHICKEN. Holy mother of all that is moly, this could have been the best thing I ate the whole time we were in Korea?!!! I housed nearly this whole tower on my own and I am not ashamed to tell you this. Chooch didn’t dare try one because they were made of mushrooms and, even though his current self-improvement goal is to force himself to add mushrooms into his diet, this was certainly not a thing yet when we were in Korea. So he didn’t even glance at my ‘shroom pyramid. I did let Henry have three (maybe just two) and then I diligently toppled the tower into my gut all on my own.

I could have easily eaten the WHOLE thing on my own, I’m confident.

In fact, some girl came in after us and sat at a table alone with a book and ordered the same thing. I watched as she methodically ate it one by one, never taking her eyes off her book.

That is the life I want to live.

I mean, not here though.

In Korea.

The best part is that this didn’t even hurt my stomach!! It was so satisfying.

If (sigh) we ever go back, I will be returning to Cafe Siva, especially because all of the reviews I was reading today were spazzing out over how good the milkshakes are and now I of course need to research this for myself.

Afterward, we got back on the subway and went back to the DDP area because I really wanted to do the Seoul City Wall walk. But, that will be a post for another day!

I’d like to once again thank Henry for his hefty contributions to this recap, he basically carried the whole damn thing on his back with that one strong YEAH he gave me.

May 122024

Hi. Mothers Day was fine. Henry got me two Seventeen albums that I already have (granted one was just a different version) but Chooch spent his OWN MONEY IN FRONT OF FRIENDS on an NCT album for me and then bitched about it like it was the Great Plight of Spring 2024 for him, worse than waiting for college decisions. Jesus. Sorry for living!!

Dude the photos of Haechan was worth the price alone.

Then we got takeout from a vegan place on the South Side (Moodz). My buffalo chicken sandwich was fine but the oyster mushrooms were a bit too tough in parts. Chooch got the soul food platter which had really interesting eggplant “fish” and dirty rice – I thought it was really good but A LOT of food.

Henry didn’t get anything and I was so mad because I specifically told him to get either the po boy or the fish sandwich because I wanted to share and he came home with JUST A COOKIE for himself so this started a fight and then I was like I DONT WANT MY CHICKEN EITHER THEN U RUINED MOTHERS DAY YET AGAIN I HATE U but then I calmed down and ate and it was fine.

Then Henry and I went to the cemetery for a walk and some random tween boy was running away from his family (???) and have me a finger salute and said, “Happy Mothers Day” and for some reason this was the best part of the day, it was so weird and sort of cute I guess because his family was blowing the horn and SCREAMING-SCRAME-SCRUMMING from another part of the cem for him to get his ass back there.

(He obeyed.)

Later, we went to play tennis and I was relegated to the backseat :/

We were in really bad form though, just a total off day, sluggish, playing like amateurs so I threw a quiet tantrum and went back to the car even though Ball Boy was like “you guys didn’t even warm yet” – I was like THE FUCK U KNOW ABOUT WARMING UP BITCH STAY IN YOUR LANE.

But then we came home and Henry did yardwork and I exercised which made me feel a lot better.

Then Tamanna came over and gave me a rose for Mother’s Day! It was really sweet but the. LANGUAGE BARRIER so she said she would message me but when she went home she video called me on What’s App and I panicked and didn’t answer.

Then I made Henry take another walk with me (my third of the day because I am so fucking nervous and can’t sit still) and wow Brookline Blvd is a whole different vibe on Sunday nights. It was like every bar we walked past catered to a different ethnicity and it was pretty cool and WILDLY varied. We were like, “damn ok Brookline 2024, pop off.”

Came home and watched videos of people eating at vegan places in Korea and I was internally weeping.

And that was Mothers Day 2024. Fine but could have been better. I could have been riding the Wacky Worm at least.

May 112024

We last left off with Henry and I shipping Chooch off alone to Gangnam so he could Pokemon Go his face off without having to deal with us nags. I did forget to mention that in the subway station we used after the Ewha / Sinchon stuff, I bought two rings (one is a face and today at brunch Megan was ogling it so now I obviously have to go back to Korea ASAP and get her one) and a really cute pouch which knots perfectly around your wrist and is so convenient and also super cute.

Also quick disclaimer, I’m writing this while drinking my way thru a soju buffet with Henry so for once I have a legit excuse for any collateral typos.

OK OK, we said fare thee well to Chooch and got off at the DDP stop, where we IMMEDIATELY had a hell of a time finding the NCT exhibition. We *did* find the other Kpop thing that was happening, which was billed as a “history of Kpop” and it SORT OF was in the beginning in that you walked down a hallway that was a kpop timeline (BIGBANG did get their due props BUT Seungri was cut out of the photos that were used which was annoying) but this ended up being an SM artists extravaganza so we quickly realized that this was an SM-sanctioned pop-up.

Of-fucking-course but I’m not complaining because I love SM artists so much. You, Blog, do not care about this stuff I don’t think but here are some photos I took anyway, so look or scroll through until we leave the DDP and go to BUKCHON!

Duuuude. This room was VIBES. I got big ideas, man. Big fucking “Henry, hear me out” ideas. Sheeeeeesh.

I reallllly liked the (SM artists) art in this room!!


“Henry, stand there. No, don’t worry about what it says.”

(It says FOOL, hahaha. I was so giddy when I found the letters for this.)

I also need to have a telephone booth / decompressing room in my house now too.

I dunno, some random couch.

I was really pissed though because there was a giant screen in this big open room with a sitting area/bleachers sort of but the videos that were playing didn’t match the songs that were also playing in the room!? Like, we walked in and NCT127’s “Kick It” video was proudly playing but the song was definitely…not that. It was really weird and disorienting.

(Also, Kick It is Henry’s fave NCT song and I was extremely disappointed that he couldn’t tell that’s what the video was? Like, that iconic Kick It choreo didn’t give it away!?! What a fucking poser NCTzen.)

Next, we continued on with our search for the NCT exhibition. The DDP is massive, spread out amongst three of four gigantic structures and half the time it felt like we were somewhere we shouldn’t be without a badge or something, but no one ever said shit to us so we continued to act like we knew where we going.

We did make a brief pitstop in the DDP gift shop where I got some cutie postcards that I intend to frame but also wanted to buy so much more. That was a really nice gift shop. If you’re in Seoul looking for gifts/souvenirs that aren’t chopsticks with a design that will rub off within 3 washes, go here. You can tell them Oh Honestly Erin sent you but they’ll just be like, “Cool. Good for you.”


However, finding where to buy the tickets was another hassle altogether. I eventually found someone who looked like they worked there and they pointed us in the right direction.

But then we hit another wall, because we didn’t have our passports on us and since we hadn’t booked a ticket online (DID NOT KNOW THAT YOU COULD, KPOP SHIT IN KOREA FOR FOREIGNERS IS LIKE A CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE AND HALF THE TIME YOU CHOOSE INCORRECTLY AND HAVE TO START OVER). I was so pissed and Henry mumbled something about, “Oh well I guess we can just come back never” but when we got outside, I said, “Wait!!! Don’t you have pictures of our passports on your phone?!”

(Friendly reminder to have your passport on you always even though seems like the opposite of what you want to do because almost everywhere you shop, they will ask for your passport for tax refund purposes and sometimes just having a photo of it on your phone will suffice.)

So, we went BACK and they lady was like, “OK we can accept that,” because I guess they just needed to verify our names for the tickets because we got legit cards printed that had our names on it!!! But as she was about to process our info another worker came over and said,  in a slowed down “I’m addressing foreigners” tone, “This is for the Kpop NCT127.”

“Yes, we know,” I said, about to return my attention to the lady whose hand was out waiting for our credit card.

“Do you LIKE NCT127?” same girl asked, and again I said, “Yes.”

I just thought it was funny that she was trying to deter us from potentially purchasing tickets for something blindly, because we were clearly a good 20-30 years past the average NCTzen median.

Ticket secured!!

We got to go right in and I’ll spare you the details of it, but it was just a really fun walk-through of video footage of the NCT127 members talking to the fans, answering questions about their recent Great Unity concerts in Seoul (actually the last one for awhile probably because their leader Taeyong just enlisted in the military a few weeks after we came home, which 100% broke me but that’s OK, I’m fine, I’m 44-fucking-years-old, I can endure this haha), and then there was a really relaxing part where we got to chill out in REALLY cozy bean bags chairs and watch some clips from the concert.

Henry was snoozin’.

There was some more stuff after this that no one but me cares about, and then it spilled out into the GIFT SHOP where I bought this Haechan milk glass!!!! (Photo taken later in our hotel room.)

After that, Henry and I walked around the Cheonggyecheon stream for a bit.

Then we took the subway to the Bukchon Hanok Village area because we hadn’t been there yet on this trip and, yes, it’s touristy, but it’s also beautiful. There’s a bakery there called Layered that I wanted to try but when we got there, there was a pretty solid line out front for dine-in, so after standing there for a few minutes, I was like, “Look, we’re going to be here on Monday morning, let’s just do this then” and Henry was like WORKS FOR ME because if there is one thing he can NOT get behind, it’s queuing up for ANY type of food. He would rather just go and get the next best thing even if it’s like 8 tiers below what the line was for. His palate knows no difference.

We ended up at Machi Machi, which was fine!

Also quite crowded though. But first we had to select our treats and order our drinks. I was excited because there were two American-sounding guys in front of me who had no clue how this worked and I got to help them but saying, “Um, I think you need to take a tray from down there and also a pair of tongs….” but really I just wanted them to speed it the FUCK up because they were blocking the trays.

I mean, but also I was excited to help.

Let’s go with that.

We got salt bread (it was OK), an Earl Gray madeleine (delicioso), and whatever that pistachio croissant looking thing was (other then DELECTABLE).

It was a struggle to find somewhere to sit though. We ended up sitting in this super-low to the ground banquette right across from the restroom and it was so uncomfortable. I was like, “I cannot sit here and eat without hunching over like a fucking old hag” so when a couple abandoned their spot at a high-top bar table thing, I ran over and claimed it while Henry went back down to grab our drinks. Everything was much better after that. But yo, this cafe had two (large) floors of seating, a (large) outdoor balcony, and a bunch of tables outside on ground level. Almost completely at capacity!

I somehow didn’t know this was acceptable until recently, but it is perfectly fine to go into a cafe, claim an open table with your stuff, and THEN go back to order. In America, that is a huge etiquette strike, I feel like!?!? Akin to line-jumping?! But in Korea, go for it, I guess. I’m not sure how OK that is for foreigners, though, so DO IT AT YOUR OWN RISK.

And then report back to me because I want to know.

Precious Henry got a brown sugar boba. He is so goddamn cool.

Then we just strolled around. We came cross this C-list celebrity tree. Only like 5 people were waiting to get pictures under it.

This is another reallllly great area for gifts and non-chintzy souvenirs. Especially if you’re looking for local art, this is the spot. I bought an original watercolor off the sweetest ahjussi here.

He makes the paper himself that he paints on. It’s magical. I love art like this!!

Speaking of art….check out this perfectly placed bouquet that someone left behind.

Namsan Tower in the background.

When I say this area is ethereal…

And when I say this country has my whole heart….

Just look at these pictures and maybe you’ll understand.

I am in some type of agony right now, lol.

<3 <3 <3 Love you, Bukchon.

By this point, Independent Son was back at the hotel so we made our way there as well because it was almost DINNER TIME. Can’t live on pastries.

I mean, I could…

….but I shouldn’t.


May 102024

Saturday in Seoul! I have several photos that I could have used here but I want you, Blog, to see how PUT OUT Chooch looks in real life every time I suggest that it’s PHOTO TIME. I truly hope he ends up with a counterpart that is just as snap-happy as me so that his life will continue to be filled with demands of, “COME ON, JUST SMILE FOR FUCK’S SAKE!”

Anyway! The plan for the morning was to go to Ewha Womans University because it’s been on my Korea list since the first trip – the campus is beautiful and a very popular and tranquil tourist spot. We passed the stop for it on every trip we took to Hongdae over the years, but this time I made sure we actually stopped.

Also, it’s my friend Jiyong’s alma mater!

LOL ugh he hates being this close to me.

I took so many pictures of this because I’m obviously 12.

The way Korea tickles my obsessive personality…I was made to be in Korea.

FUN FACT: The first Starbucks in Korea was built in 1999 outside of the entrance to Ewha’s campus. I personally hate Starbucks so I didn’t care about this but Chooch did take a picture to send to Blake, who is a Starbucks…manager? Something?

This picture was taken right before we got to the campus, where I joked that the excuse I sent to Chooch’s school for his absences (he missed 3 days even though we tried hard to contain the whole trip to spring break, you can’t “do Korea” in ~7 days, sorry) wasn’t technically a lie now since I said he had to miss those days for campus tours.


Iconic! I have seen this in so many Seoul videos, it was so crazy to be there IRL.

I think they do allow a handful of men in and it *is* a prestigious private research university, which is definitely Chooch’s jam. Maybe semester abroad??


Afterward, we walked down the street to Dessert 39 because we were HUNGIE and I needed coffee bigly. I didn’t know this until days later when we saw another Dessert 39 but the 39 actually means that it has desserts from 39 countries.


I had no idea while we were there. When I announced my factual findings, Chooch and Henry said in tandem, “Yeah, you didn’t know that?” Ugh fuck off.

Anyway, I was trying not to get distracted by everything in the case because I saw fig bagel on the sign outside the door and was set on that before we even walked in. I had never had a bagel in Korea before and wanted to know, OK??

The aesthetics here were so on point.

That’s Henry’s stick thing up there which he whined about for days because IT WASN’T WHAT HE ORDERED WAH. I guess he ordered something similar but it was supposed to be “in a bun” but instead it was given to him “packaged differently.” Um OK. I tasted it and it was delicious. There was cream inside.

My fig bagel was also really good and actually just what I needed for breakfast. The bagel itself definitely had that “rice cake / mochi” chew to it as expected from a Korean bagel – it was really satisfying.

Meanwhile, some guy who ordered right after us got his stuff first because he only got a coffee to go and we were making the poor girl, who was there alone, get her AM steps in as she ran and back and forth trying to get our shit done, and I just sort of casually watched him take his coffee up a short set of steps in the back where the bathroom sign was.

He was there FOREVER. Like to the point where I was starting to get concerned?! Henry and Chooch ignored me though.


Ahhhh my coffee cup! I should have checked to see if they were selling these. Goddammit.

Then Henry’s banana drink that I made him order against his will was ready! Look at Henry, mid-strut, returning to the table with his cuppa diabeetus.

You guys, it was delicious. It was like my beloved banana uyu but loaded up with way more calories – you could just, they might as well have just melted a stick of butter in there too for good measure.

It was topped with Banana Kicks!

LOL then I made Henry go back up and order this corn thing. From their website:

Corn Poisoned Bread

A deadly blend of corn and corn cream! With the savory texture of the corn kernels popping in your mouth and the sweetness of the fluffy bread sheets, you can indulge in the deadly and addictive taste of corn.

Yep! Anything corn-themed is going to be lit in Korea. Corn lattes? SATISFYING. Corn on pizza? BRING IT TO AMERICA. Corn desserts? CORNBREAD COULD NEVER.

(Well, that’s not true, I take that back – SOME cornbread could. ChiChi’s cornbread paved the way.)

Meanwhile, I still hadn’t peeped that guy returning from the bathroom but then some older man came out of the door at the top of the steps! He went behind the counter and based on CONTEXT CLUES, I think he was the manager / owner. Anyway, now I was curious so I went to investigate.

Ugh turns out it just opened up into a vestibule that connected the cafe to the rest of the building and there was a bathroom there as well. So, probably that guy exited that way because he works somewhere in the building.

:( Not very exciting.

And while ALL OF THIS was going on, Chooch was sitting at the table next to us being an utter cra-bapple because there was some POKEMON GO event happening at 10AM in Gangnam and he desperately wanted to go but like….I didn’t? We walked around for a bit after the cafe – we were within walking distance to Hongdae and started to go in that direction but then I said, “Yo, we have been to Hongdae A LOT” so then, around the time we saw some older man pee in a corner along a busy street, we decided that FINE we would trust Chooch to go to Gangnam alone, and Henry and I would go to the DDP.

I mean, the kid was in Mexico alone and is kind of amazing at figuring out public transportation. So, Mommy slackened the leash a little bit and let him go off because if he’s going to be exploring any gigantic metropolitan city alone, Seoul is definitely one of the safest.

That was so weird though, getting off the subway without him and watching it continue on with him sitting there without us, NOT EVEN CARING. :(

May 082024

I was in the office today and sweating through some “trying to love my city” exercises during my lunch break. This time I walked over by PNC Park and I guess a baseball game was about to be happening because it was v. lively over there and I was almost swept up in swathes of black and gold numerous time, but I survived and was able to take refuge a block away by the Warhol Museum where I saw this huge-ass KAWS statue which, since I do not follow the current events and haps of the Burgh, had no idea was being ERECTED here, in celebration of a full-blown KAWS exhibition at the Warhol starting later this month! It’s actually been a bit since I was last year so maybe I should fulfill this year’s culture quota this way.

Or, I’ll forget. We’ll see how it pans out!

Just….gonna leave this picture of KAWS with G-dragon here:

KAWS 首爾個展,G-Dragon 著用 Mira Mikati 聯名夾克助陣! | OVERDOPE 華人首席線上時尚潮流雜誌

Anyway, so that was a nice thing that happened today, a day that started out mildly stressful and here’s why:

Last week, Wendy asked if I was available to come into the office today and I said sure thing because I literally have nothing going on in my life. But then I got a text reminder about am 8am dentist appointment for that same day, an appointment that I made like 6 mths ago, so UGH what dumb timing. I told Wendy that I would probably just end up being a few minutes late and she was like ‘no one cares’ except that she actually said, “OK!” BUT THE FORMER WAS IMPLIED.

I ended up not being able to go back to sleep about my 5:45AM Chooch’s safety net alarm went off, then I had A WAR with the new shower curtain liner – the SECOND new one in less than a week because Chooch and I both agreed that we hated the first new one because it wasn’t weighted and attacked us, so Henry was like “ya buncha bitches” and tried to blame it on the showerhead setting that Chooch and I use, but still dutifully went to Target and bought a new one that has “extra suctioncups” but THEY DON’T WORK. I got so pissed that I punched the curtain in such a way that it folded back into itself while JUST BARELY staying under the lip of tub so that it kept it from billowing out and wrapping me in a wet vinyl embrace. I got out of the shower and just LAID INTO HENRY via text, like the shower curtain was from Henry’s Home Goods But More Like OKs, like Henry’s stretched and hanging flesh itself was what was failing to keep the water from turning the bathroom floor into an electrocutioner’s literal wet dream.


So that was a very annoying start to the morning. I was just a mess trying to get ready. I was HUNGRY too but didn’t want to eat and then brush my teeth again, so I just threw a banana and cream of wheat into my bag for later UGH.

Then! The dentist was FINE but there was a new hygienist. First, she came to the door of the waiting room and called, “Erin?” I started to get up but the old lady next to me was like, “Welp that’s me” and started to leave the waiting room with her?! I was like, “OK maybe we’re both named Erin, what a funny coincidence” so I lowered myself back down but then the receptionist made eye contact with the new lady and shook her head, so then the hygienist looked at her chart, looked at the old lady, looked at her chart, and then asked, “Are you Erin?” and the old lady was all, “OH HO HO HO HO HO! No. No, I’m not” and I was like, “Hi, it’s me, I’m Erin” so that was a real hee-haw moment at the dentist office, I guess.

The hygienist kept apologizing to me like I gave a shit. “Oh it’s fine! I just wanted to see how it was going to play out.”

There was a small pause, and then she started cracking up, so I guess this was the ice breaker that made her think I was OK with talking literally during my whole cleaning with her gloved hands in my mouth, that latex even being a sturdier sheath than the FUCKING SHOWER CURTAIN, by the way.

So that was frustrating because I just wanted to get to work, I wanted coffee, I wanted to eat my breakfast, I didn’t want to talk about how she turned her AC on but then forgot to shut her bathroom window but that’s OK because her son will probably stop by later and she will tell him to shut—


Then of course it was the type of appt where the dentist had to also come in and check and make me feel like I’m lying in a confessional when I say that I floss regularly, and then the hygienist goes, “You’re also due for new X-rays, you wanna get that out of the way tod—”

“Actually, not really?” I interrupted. “Next time?”

Like please get me out of here. Also, SHE DIDN’T GIVE ME AN OPTION OF FLAVORED POLISH LIKE THE OTHER PEOPLE THERE DO??? She just goes, “Oh, I pulled out mint for you today, btw” and then got to work before I could say, “ACTUALLY I WAS THINKING OF TRYING OUT COOKIE DOUGH FINALLY??”

Then back at the office, I had her trying to schedule my next appointment while the receptionist was processing my payment (I have to go THREE TIMES A YEAR so they can keep an eye on my gums and the third appointment isn’t covered by insurance but now I have one of those HSA things because Henry did it for me without my consent, I had no idea what he was doing but now I had an HSA credit card so I used that and it worked! Like grown-up magic!) and it was just chaos, like I was rooted to the spot while everyone else was swirling around me, performing their activities in sped-up movement.


Thank god Henry was waiting to give me a ride to work because if I had to take the T after all (ALL THAT! *falls back on fainting couch*),  I would have been like “sorry not sorry Wendy” and just walked my ass straight home and logged on to work from here.

Then what….work itself was normal. It was just the usual suspects: me, Margie, Jeannie, Wendy, Sue. I do like going in occasionally. I don’t think I get more or less done there, probably a comparable amount to home, but it’s nice to have some “Old Times” normalcy.

I got a matcha latte from Rock n Joe’s on my break. It was OK. The barista guy was pleasant. I started to have a rando’ coughing fit come on while I was waiting for it though so I just croaked THANKS and ran out without making eye contact and then started coughing furiously in an alley. Literally felt like I swallowed a bug.

Then!! NCT Dream announced their US tour dates and I was FA-REAKING out to Henry via KaTalk and he was like, “SLOW DOWN.” I didn’t like that, being told to slow down, so I left my office and complained to Margie and Sue that ever since I married him, I don’t like how he’s been talking to me, and Sue just made “eyes” and went back to her office, lol. This was after I told Margie and Jeannie about how Henry ruined Chooch’s and my life with those bogus shower curtains.

“Can’t you just buy a new one?” Jeannie asked.

“JEANNIE, THIS IS THE SECOND ONE IN A WEEK THAT I’M TALKING ABOUT HERE” and she was like, “OK never mind, Henry sucks, I agree.” That might be me flexing my poetic license there but I am SURE Jeannie said something disparaging about Henry.

Then when I was leaving the office, I saw Monty!!! I was already outside of the lobby, and he was inside, but we made eye contact and I waved happily to him. He held up a finger and came jogging over to the door.

“You ever find that ring??” he asked.

“No,” I said with a frown. “But! I’m married now so I got a NEW ring!” and I held out my hand to show him.

“Aw, that’s awesome! That’s all that matters then!” and we fist-bumped. I love that guy!!

Henry parked kind of far away so I texted him that I was on my way. “Sorry, I was talking to Monty.”

“Monty?” he replied.

OK WOW. He totally doesn’t listen to my stories!!!

Then I came home and ate an Everything bagel and a bowl of roasted peppers because I just can’t be bothered.

Also, Henry ordered weights for the bottom of the shower curtain. TO BE CONTINUED.


May 072024

We got back to Seoul around 7:30PM and OK maybe this will sound weird, but it felt like we had back home. I felt this same way in 2019 when we left Korea briefly to go to Japan – when the plane started its descent to Incheon, I got REALLY emotional because I missed being in Korea so much, even after just two days away, and I hadn’t fully realized it until that moment. Well, apparently, I feel the same when I’m away from Seoul for too long. It is honestly my favorite city in the whole entire world, blog.

Sidebar: Henry and I were on our way to meet my sister Amy and brother-in-law Dick on Sunday and I started TEARING UP IN THE CAR thinking about how much I miss it there, Korea in general, Seoul specifically, and Henry gave me a little “there there” pat and said, “We’re going to go back.”


This time around it really left me broken, I think.

OK Erin, slap yourself in the face if you need to, but let’s get back to this so we can wrap these recaps up before Chooch leaves for college.

As I was saying, we got back to Seoul Station around 7:30 Friday night and Chooch was so excited because he wanted to go to Lotte Mart and see the Pokemon area that we had seen without him Tuesday night. However, instead of going straight to the Lotte Mart entrance, we instead went into the Lotte Department area. These are all connected to Seoul Station – lots of action up in this joint. Anyway, the first thing we saw in Lotte Department was a section for Kodak brand clothes. This is A THING in Korea. Even Jiyong was saying that she didn’t understand it when we saw a Kodak store in Jeonju because there was nary a roll of film to be found – it was all clothes. I didn’t know this at the time, but Chooch was pissed because he wanted to go in but hello, you have a mouth? Use it!? If he had mentioned it, we would have gladly waited for him to peruse?!

So now he had the opportunity to go and oh hello, this shit was kind of expensive?! I mean, not enough to give me sticker shock but I didn’t really think any of the shirts or anything looked that cool and I hesitate to spend that much on Sloppy Son who might have outgrown a lot of things over the years (LIKE CALLING ME MOMMY!) but immediately getting stains on his clothes is not one of those things.

And then right next to that display was a National Geographic section!?!? They have clothes too? AND SHOES? I was really confused by this whole phenomenon, but you know what’s hilarious is that recently I saw an IG reel that was like, “Tell me he’s a Korean boy without telling me” or something and it was showing all these Korean guys with their uniform haircuts, etc. and someone in the comments said, “You forgot ‘wearing NatGeo.'” I died because it was a total IYKYK moment and I KNEW I KNEW.

(The reel was made by a Korean person so it was comedic stereotyping, don’t come at me, I didn’t make the reel!)

After Chooch did his Pokemon thing and we bought some shit at Daiso (we needed a portable charger and other boring shit), we made our way down into the bowels of Seoul Station were the subway lives! SEOUL SUBWAY, BABY, I MISSED YOU, DID YOU MISS ME???

There was this vending machine area and one of them had kpop albums! Seventeen and NCT Dream were in there :)

This was a live picture and I could have adjusted it so Henry doesn’t look like the Big Mouth Billy Bass singing fish sign, but why would I ever do that. Anyway, this was him standing next to Ive while Chooch looked at the non-kpop vending machine options.

After dropping off our bags and stuff at the hotel, we walked over to the nearby Lotteria. Lotteria is a really popular fast food chain in Korea but we had never gone before because, well, 2/3 of us are vegetarian. BUT!! Before we came on this trip, I saw a video on YouTube where they mentioned that Lotteria has a veggie burger now so we had decided earlier in the day that we would stop there for a late and quick dinner.

(I will tell you right now that I wish I had one of those LONG CHEESE STICKS in my hand right now. They were pretty fucking good.)

My favorite part was spending a good long while trying to figure out how our number would be called – it was a three-digit number but was it going to be, for example and pretend this is Korea: “one two three” or “one hundred twenty three”?!!? So I was trying to prepare myself with both versions of the numbers just in case only for Chooch to say, “Oh, they just put the number right up there on that screen.”

UGHHHHHHHH. So much time putting my brain into overdrive FOR NOTHING.


(The Korean part says “a miracle that tastes like meat without meat.” THE MORE YOU KNOW.)

Real talk: there was nothing memorable about this veggie burger. It was your standard fast food chain stab at half-assedly catering to the meat-free population, which is preferable to wilted salads but still makes you feel a little LESSER THAN.

Interestingly, I started reading the Lotteria Wiki page and while it’s a South Korean company founded by a Korean entrepreneur, the first location actually opened in Japan in 1972 and didn’t expand to South Korea until 1979! That’s wild. (It’s a quiet Tuesday night, let me have this lame “shook” moment.) And speaking of the aforementioned Lotte Mart, etc., this fast food empire was named after a combination of Lotte (its parent company) and Cafeteria.

Seriously, when is a college going to invite me to teach a class on South Korea? I AM SO GOOD AT PARAPHRASING WIKI.

We made Henry get the Jeonju Bibimbap burger!!! I will let him type out his own review, never mind he’s making me do it. I just said, “Here’s the picture to help jog your memo–” at which point he rudely cut me off by making a THROAT SCRAPE OF DISGUST and said, “Oh I remember it, don’t worry, it was the worst thing ever.”

Elaborate please, Henry.

“It basically just fell apart. The bun was terrible. The burger was OK, but the BUN WAS JUST RICE COMPACTED TOGETHER.”

Well, yes, Henry. That was the whole point? The bun was literally smashed together bibimbap molded into bun-shapes?! That’s LITERALLY how it was billed.

“I mean, there’s not much more to say about it. I’m not going to get it again,” and then remembering we’re back in shitty Pittsburgh, he added, “well, of course not. But ‘thanks’ for making me get it.”


Cry about it.

“I mean, I don’t know what else I would have tried because I DIDN’T GET TO LOOK AT THE MENU,” Henry spat, clearly on a roll now for someone who “didn’t have anything to say about it.”

At the end of the day you guys, Lotteria could have served me dirt on bread and I would have been like, “Oh well, at least I’m in Korea. We all need some dirt in our systems every now and then.” And then I would just wash it down with some banana uyu or Maxim cold brew from a bag. As I sign off, imagine this is a podcast and it fades out with Henry and I saying various pronunciations of Lotteria, all of which are definitely wrong.

Choo choo, motherconductors. (Or if you’re eating while reading this, chew chew mothermasticators.)

May 062024

Back with more Gyeongju action!

We left Gyeongju World around 12:30 after successfully accomplishing everything there that we wanted. This left a lot of time open for us to do some last minute stuff back in the tumuli section of Gyeongju!

But first, it was time to eat! I had seen Slap Pizza on an earlier stroll through the neighborhood and since we hadn’t had Korean pizza yet, it seemed like the perfect time to gorge on some pizza with un-American toppings.

We sat upstairs and I had a nice view of the burial mounds and hanok roofs! Henry had to sit by him lol:

He looks like he’s super mad about it but I think he was actually about to sneeze or something. In any case, he was being annoying. He was so mad because he got a BEER and then didn’t have a bottle opener so he had to go back downstairs and ask for one, but the guy was like IT IS UPSTAIRS, IDIOT WIGOOK. So he came back upstairs, found the bottle opener, and then for absolutely NO REASON thought the buzzer was going off (it wasn’t?!?!) and took it BACK DOWNSTAIRS to get the pizza?!


But if you’re one of those Henry Apologists and want to take his word for it, he said that the guy said he must have “accidentally set it off.”


Because that buzzer was NOT going off!

And when it DID go off 10 minutes later, it was so loud and nearly vibrated itself right off our table, so Chooch cried, “THAT is what it’s supposed to sound like!!” And Henry was all, “DON’T START WITH ME BOY” except that he would never.


My only complaint was that we didn’t realize how small the pizza was going to be in relation to the cost!! It was pretty expensive, like $20 for that and we each got two tiny baby slices. I could have eaten a whole one of these on my own, and then probably would have cried about it in a locked bathroom later.

I really loved the aesthetic here, and the pizza was delicious (though unsatisfying) and I covet the blue chairs.


Chooch, Practically a Full Blown Man, was still hungry after this so he got a traditional Gyeongju sipwon cheese bread! I guess this craze started in Gyeongju but now you can get sipwon bbang in other cities too (we saw it in Jeonju and Seoul).

Of course he wouldn’t let me try it.


And since Henry had food now, he couldn’t go into the actual tumuli park with us, and if you could believe it – we actually hadn’t been IN the park yet this whole time we were there! You can enter the park itself for free (sans food, possibly also sans drink I can’t remember) but there is a ticket needed if you want to tour one of the tombs. We didn’t have much time left so we’re saving that for next time!

But would you look at that cloud!? It looks like a fluffy UFO hovering over a burial mound!

Chooch dressed in burial mound green that day.

Yes, this is a tourist hot spot but man it sure felt peaceful in its own way.

It was really nice to walk around here with just Chooch, talking shit on Henry hahahah.

I definitely posted about this previously but this spot is soooo popular. I mean, I can’t blame people for lining up for a snap here, because it’s incredibly beautiful. But….standing in line for a picture isn’t for me….

…unless there’s a kpop idol at the end of the line.

After this, we needed coffee and a treat in a bad way, and Henry had to go and find a post office to mail our postcards, so Chooch and I ducked into this LOVELY cafe that was near our guest house. Tuulip?? I can’t believe I can’t remember.

Anyway, I was happy to get to order in Korean. Chooch got a strawberry tiramisu and I got a delicious, rich sweet potato pudding. Ugh, it was really delicious.

We had a buzzer thing, but before it went off, an older woman who came in after us and was sitting at a nearby table got up and went to the counter. The way she was talking to the barista made me think that she was a regular. But then she brought our drinks and desserts over to us! I think she might have been the owner. She was sitting with a laptop and seemed to be doing work things. Anyway, I can’t explain it, but it was just really nice that she brought it over to us before our buzzer going off!

Then Henry came back and ruined the party. He had to also get a drink but he barked his order in barbaric English, so embarrassing.

After this, Chooch went back to the guest house to mooch off their power supply and charge his phone while Henry and I went BACK to the tourist road because there was a really modern and dare I say HIP makgeolli shop and I wanted to get a bottle of cherry makgeolli to take home. So we did that and then I was like, “WAIT CAN WE PLEASE KEEP WALKING I DON’T WANT TO LEAVE YET” so Henry was like Jesus Christ, FINE.

And thank god because we ended up stumbling upon the best thing ever (no, not Frozen Bride – I just took this because it looked cute!)….

This tiny shop selling Gyeongju cheery soju!!!

And there was a cute shop dog!

The one thing I can tell you with absolute certainty is that I am oh so sorry that we only purchased one bottle because this shit is GOOD. I am actually sad about it. Henry is too. Regertz all around.

Had to get some last tumuli shots!

Oh speaking of this spot, that morning when Henry and I were walking by ourselves, we saw a dead duck on the path! I have never seen a dead duck before and it made me sad. Luckily, someone had removed the poor thing before we came back later with Chooch because he probably would have been even more upset than me.


Anyway, now it was time to officially get our shit out of the guest house lobby (shout out to that guy – probably the owner) who let our backpacks and souvenirs squat there all day, and then also our son later in the afternoon lol). Well actually I retract my shout out because Henry showed him his phone and asked if that was the correct address for the Gyeongju KTX station and the guy said yes, but then our Kakao Taxi driver (LOVED HIM) took us to some abandoned train station and he was so confused as to why we wanted to go there. Henry kept saying “Gyeongju KTX” and the guy saying “Gyeongju KTX eopseo” (There is no Gyeongju KTX here, basically) and thankfully since he was speaking super informally since we were just foreigners, I was able to understand and answer him and we had a very basic, monosyllabic conversation which resulted in him understanding where we needed to go and thankfully driving like a maniac to get us there since he had already taken us the clear opposite direction. I was actually clenched in the backseat, thinking FOR SURE that we were going to miss our train, and for the first time ever, I actually opened Naver Maps to follow along to see what our ETA was.

Every once in a while, the driver would laugh quietly to himself, and mumble, “KTX, ha! Eopseoyo.” Then he would laugh again and shake his head, like, “These crazy Americans and their shenanigans!” And that was making me giggle quietly to myself too. He was a real character! Definitely a SOLID memory from Gyeongju. Also, I’m pretty sure Henry typed in “Gyeongju train station” not KTX, I wish he had shown me. But he was so mad that the guest house guy was like, “Yeah sure thumbs up brother.”

Anyway, the Kakao taxi driver was a hero and got us to the train station with less than 10 minutes to spare, just enough time for me to run to the bathroom (my period had started that morning, UGH) and for Henry and Chooch to run to the convenience store.

Honestly, I wrote in my journal, slept, and read for the whole train ride back. The only notable moment was when Henry got up to use the bathroom at one point and everyone stared at him because he’s a fool, so that was embarrassing, and Chooch sat next to the cutest college kid who was doing chemistry work on his laptop. Every once in a while, I would see him glance over at what Chooch was doing on his laptop, and it was precious. I wanted them to be friends. :/

OK, enjoy the video compilation of our last day in Gyeongju, featuring Gyeongju World, Henry being an idiot at Slap Pizza, Tumuli Park, the views out of the taxi window before we knew we were going to the wrong place. It ends with Seoul Station.

Guys, my final plea: if you find yourself in South Korea one day, get down to Gyeongju. It’s only about a 3-hour train ride from Seoul. It’s worth it. This city is a gem. (AND GET THAT CHERRY SOJU IF IT’S IN SEASON!!!)

May 042024

Look, you had to know that we would find a way to incorporate roller coasters into Mission: Marriage. We had only been to two amusement parks in Korea on our past trips, so we had a handful of others to choose from this time. I had my eye on Gyeongju World because they have a B&M invert and that’s my jam. And then once I started researching Gyeongju in general, it was a done deal.

We arrived right around the time it opened for the day on Friday, along with fleets of buses carting in hordes of school kids. But, unlike AMERICA, this didn’t present a problem. I thought for sure we’d spend all day standing in outrageous lines, but….where did all the kids go!? So bizarre. A mystery.

I actually don’t have all that much to say about this park because while it’s a decent size, there just wasn’t too much going on ride-wise. The dive coaster was down for maintenance (we did know this ahead of time so it wasn’t a surprise) but it didn’t bother us too much because it’s a clone of Griffon at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. I’m not the biggest dive coaster buff anyway.

But, anticipating long lines, we speed-walked over to Phaethon, the B&M invert. (I would say that as far as steel coasters go, inverts are my #2 after hypers, and B&M is definitely the top dawg in these categories. Just in case you cared.)

Totally stoked!

Anyway, as luck would have it, the line WAS NOT LONG. We did have to wait for about 10 minutes for the ride to officially open, and then after that it was probably another 10 minutes before we got on because it was running one train and Korea is notorious for slow ops. It’s kind of weird because for a balli balli balli (fast fast fast) society, their theme parks definitely run on a different speed. At least in my experience, having visited three of them now!

Another fun thing to note – Korean teenagers are VERY hyperbolic and dramatic on amusement park rides. It’s actually one of my favorite parts of the experience, hearing them scream OMMA (MOM)! and WE’RE GOING TO DIE and just generally acting like they have been forced onto this as punishment. It’s hilarious and entertaining!

Overall? I loved Phaethon! A solid B&M invert. Apparently, the layout is similar to Raptor at Cedar Point and I LOVE RAPTOR so it makes sense that this was so much fun for me. Henry was like, “It was a little rough” and to that I say, “You LOOK a little rough, STFU.”

A solid first coaster of 2024! Which I fear is going to be a bad year for us as far as coasters go what with all this college preparation, graduation partying, Kpop concerts, etc. :(

OMG then Chooch and I rode Valkyrie, a Gerstlauer shuttle coaster and the first one of its kind that we have ever experienced. I would have to say that I prefer this over the deluge of family boomerangs that we have been seeing going in parks all over the world! I was PLEASANTLY surprised. It felt like a longer ride cycle too than the boomerangs.

Do you know what my favorite part of this ride was? When we were standing in line (roughly a 20 minute wait), the kids in front of us saw one of their buddies walking past the ride and they began to furiously call him over. I was like, “Oh boy, here we go, happens in every country, the line-jumping epidemic.”

BUT YOU GUYS. Do you know what happened? They LEFT THEIR SPOT and met him at THE BACK OF THE LINE. I couldn’t believe it. Such consideration!!

Yeah, I really enjoyed this. Kennywood should get one! This is such a good family steel coaster and is something that Kennywood lacks, so I think this would be a really great fit for that park. I could even see it going in the Kiddieland section. Why not.

GW’s theming was so adorable actually.

Also? Super clean restrooms. No surprise there.

My only complaint, and we weren’t really looking TOO hard, was that there wasn’t much food available for vegetarians and I’m going to wager probably nothing for vegans. They have a Mom’s Touch and I’m pretty sure they have vegan chicken there now, but the one in Gyeongju World has a very limited menu.

Chooch made me ride this and it was quite terrible. It didn’t totally take me out but I also had trouble walking in a straight line for a while afterward.


While we were in this funhouse, parts of it began powering down, lol. It was literally like a fuse was blown halfway through. Definitely not on par with the European funhouses that spoiled us, but moreso on an American county fair level. Definitely accumulated bruises in various iterations of this at the Big Butler Fair.

It’s a photo zone, yo.

I made them ride the train because by this point, we were running out of things to do.

Lots of unnecessary train selfies. Choo choo, motherconductors. (OMG SHOULD THIS BE MY SIGN-OFF??? Maybe I’ll ask group chat what they think next week, although I think I’ve been getting on their nerves lately lol. Yesterday, SPEAKING OF COUNTY FAIRS, I told them about the time I was in a LOVE TRIANGLE at the Big Butler Fair and they were like “….ok.” I would have just given them the link to my blog post but apparently my blog is now blocked at work because of MALICIOUS CONTENT but also I thought I was getting fired recently over an UNAUTHORIZED BROWSER issue which is a whole other story that still keeps me up at night, so maybe these two things are correlated and I’m being WATCHED now, I don’t know.)

You guys, while we were on the train, we passed a field that had RMC raptor track laying in it!! So, there was already a rumor that GW is potentially getting an RMC raptor next year for their….50th??…anniversary, but it was still really exciting to SEE THE TRACK IN REAL LIFE and confirm that yes, the rumors are true!! Actually, several weeks after this, RMCD (Rollercoaster Database) added it as a TBD project by RMC at Gyeongju World, so now it’s also on the wiki page for GW. And we saw it!

You knew it was coming….

If a park has a carousel….

Bitch, it’s #carouselfie time!!

It was a cute carousel! I have some video which will be included at the end of my LAST GYEONGJU POST. Yes, just one more after this and then we go back to Seoul!

We really only stayed here for about 3 hours, got our coaster creds (just 2), rode the carousel, and bought a shit ton of merch because their gift shop was pretty cray. They sadly didn’t have any t-shirts, but TONS of other GW-themed items (I actually had a hard time choosing which magnet I wanted, there were so many cute ones!) and actually a lot of really cute Gyeongju souvenirs in general.

“Oh great, more glass,” Chooch muttered as I scooped up a tiny glass Gyeongju coffee cup and also a set of 4 TENNIS-THEMED JUICE CUPS that were on sale for W9,900 so like, $7!!!! They are so freaking cute too!!!

After we left the park, we walked back to the WRONG BUS STOP from the day before, because the area where they’re holding the RMC track was right past that.

Ahhhhh!!! Korea’s FIRST RMC!!! This is so exciting! I already was sold on revisiting Gyeongju in the future, but now I’m definitely going to have to come back and scratch this RMC off my list! (I don’t count coasters, just RMCs lol.)

Dude, pre-2018 I never would have given a shit if we stumbled upon TBD coaster track out in the wild, but present day Erin was dorking out over it pretty heavily.

Anyway, after this, we walked back to the park entrance-ish and waited for our Kakao Taxi to take us back to the tumuli area of Gyeongju so we could lunch it up, buy some last minute things, eyeball the burial mounds one last time before we had to catch our 4:50pm train back to Seoul – you know, Gyeongju thangs.

May 032024
  1. ChoochEnroe & Other Tennis Stuff

It was a slow start to the season, practices and matches getting canceled because of weather, etc. but Chooch finally got to play some high school tennis! His school (well, his school and another city school combine forces when it comes to sports because they’re such small magnet schools) won whatever the PIAA District 8 Championships are on Wednesday and then he came in 2nd for singles yesterday! He had previously that day won his doubles match, another singles match, and then when it came time to play the “final boss,” it turned out that kid had just arrived, fresh and relaxed having played NO prior matches that day. So, Chooch lost to him and got the silver medal. He didn’t seem too broken up about it because as much as he’s my son and loves to win, he’s also a dead-inside sociopath. J/K but honestly he didn’t really seem to care.

So when the coach asked him today if he could stand in for the #1 guy on Monday who can’t play because of a test he has to take, Chooch was like, “Eh.” I told him he should do it though! He said, “I’ll get crushed!” because it’s a higher…division? Is that right? And honestly, he hasn’t even been playing for a year yet but he is pretty damn good regardless!

That’s because, as mentioned previously, he’s my son.


I screenshot this from IG and I’m laughing because you can see that I was listening to the new Seventeen album haha of course I was.

I took these pictures on Wednesday when we went to our HOME COURT (lol) in Settlers Cabin to play tennis after work now that spring has sprung – I’m so happy to be playing again!

I’ll tell you what, aggressive rallies are so cathartic.

However, now in addition to PICKLEBALLERS, we apparently have to contend with people hogging TWO COURTS for BATTING PRACTICE. Yeah! I know! What pricks! Some dad and his idiot kid were honestly using two side-by-side courts to hit baseballs, while the dad’s pickup truck was backed all the way up to the court with country music BLASTING. That was actually more rude, in my opinion.

Then these two young women rolled up in their tennis skirts and I expected them to make us look like recreational pickleball players at the nursing home, but they spent most of the time taking selfies and recording themselves and the one girl kept doing weird swan lake leaps and panting DO I LOOK ATHLETIC.

It was really something.

Once Country Dad and his dad retreated in the pickup truck to go, I dunno, eat wild game probably, the Skirt Sisters moved over to the courts that they abandoned and brought out their own speakers so of course we were like, bracing ourselves for Taylor Swift Karaoke Hour, but they ended up playing a very palatable mild-club playlist that was reminiscent of swimming at my Pappap’s house in the mid-90s, actually. I liked it.

Meanwhile, Henry was our ball boy but he is SO SLOW and doesn’t pay attention – like, we’ll catch him looking off into the woods, or staring up at MILITARY PLANES that are flying overhead (the same one flies by every time we’re there and I hate it because it’s so low and looks like it’s bring the end of the world with it).

It’s that classic “I Married My Ball Boy” fairy tale ending.

But yeah, super into tennis and I’m trying not to think of who I’m going to play with after Chooch goes to college :(

(This was after he came in second place for singles yesterday!)

2. ‘Bout to get Bouncy in Chicago!


I convinced Henry to go see ATEEZ with me in August! We got the cheapest seats available because they are just mid-tier faves and I don’t need to be put on another payment plan for a concert, you guys, I’m sick of it (she says, until the NCT Dream and Seventeen tickets go on sale, FML). But yeah, I like them enough to just want to be there in general so nosebleeds it is! Henry is happy that we will be sitting together because the last Kpop concert we actually sat together was Stray Kids in 2022 lol.

3. Chooch’s Birthday Dinner

We were originally going to go to Tillie’s but for the first time ever, there was an actual WAIT (45 minutes!). I was pissed because there is no way (that I could see anyway) to make reservations which I had tried to do previously. Anyway, Corey wasn’t there yet so we stood outside trying to figure out what to do. Then Corey called me and said, “Hey, you have a Kona don’t you?” and I was like, “….yes?”

“Well, your drivers door is like WIDE OPEN.”

So I ran around Tillie’s into the parking lot and sure enough, Corey was standing behind our car with the drivers door not just AJAR, but actually WIDE OPEN as previously billed by Corey. I was so pissed. WTF Henry?!?!?! So, I slammed it shut and then screamed, “I FUCKING SWEAR TO GOD HE WAITED FOR ME TO MARRY HIM BEFORE SHOWING SIGNS OF COGNITIVE DECLINE!!”

THEN!!! After we decided that Tillie’s could fuck right off, Janna was BEGGING to hitch a ride with someone even though we were only going about a mile down the road?! I knew our backseat was likely messy from the previous weekend’s roadtrip because HUSBAND just quit doing all of his chores as soon as he locked me down, so that’s awesome.

And a rant for another day.

Then she started nagging Corey and he was like “OK?” but then wondered where the fuck she was going as she walked past his car.

“Is Janna—-yep, Janna’s about to get into a stranger’s car,” Chooch said, on high alert and calling it like it was a college sports game. “SHE’S DOING IT! OH, I KNEW SHE WAS GOING TO DO THAT!” he squealed, as Janna went to open some random old man’s passenger side door – while he was in the car!!

I guess the car was running and she assuming that it was Corey’s, that he remote-started it, I don’t know but between her and Henry I felt like I was on a nursing home field trip. SPAGHETTI NIGHT! FOLLOWED BY JELLO AND BINGO BACK IN THE REC ROOM!

Chooch’s birthday dinner crew featuring the sign that Henry tripped over but sadly missing the man whose car Janna accidentally tried to get into.

(Henry said that the man at the booth next to us kept whipping his head around to look at us every time Corey laughed so apparently we were THAT TABLE as usual.)


May 022024

Me again, the President of the Gyeongju Tourism Board. In today’s travel pamphlet that has been unfolded before you with such thoughtful consideration, let’s talk about what we did in the morning before setting off for our Gyeongju World do-over.

First of all, I believe I already posted a shorty about this, but Henry and I woke up early that Friday in an effort to see some of the mounds and attempt to get a picture with that rando’ celebrity tree. You can read the details of that here because I might get angry if I retell that part of that day.

THAT TREE, plus me squinting because “early in the morning” meant “sun in the eyes” and – spoiler alert – I hadn’t bought my Gentle Monster sunglasses yet :/

We kept walking around because it was such a beautiful morning with hardly anyone out yet. Except for where spring blossoms were concerned, it really felt like we had the whole area to ourselves.

Wow, I’m so presh.

But the burial mounds, you guys. The burial mounds. FYI there’s fine for climbing them so behave and be respectful!

Also, my new thing is turning away from the camera to spare you the full onslaught of my forced smile.

That sign translates to “golden road” in case you were wondering. And the crown is a depiction of the Crown of Silla, which was uncovered in one of the tumuli (burial mound) and is on display in the local museum there in case you are a royal accoutrement buff and ancient crowns tick your box. The coffee cup I bought the day before from the nice man at the shop near our guest house has a Silla crown design all around it in gold – I love it so much. In fact, hold please, I’m going to make some of my cherry blossom Osulloc Tea to drink out of it!

OK I’m back Tea Club Members!

Imagine living here! Right across from burial mounds! The houses were so beautiful – a lot of the were hanok stays and guest houses, I’m sure.

The amount of fighting that happened behind the scenes while Henry was taking pictures of me, you guys. He was legit the worst Instagram Boyfriend and is somehow an even WORSER Instagram Husband. Honestly.

This was my “point and shoot” over the tumuli wall result.

Back to the guest house to collect Chooch and check out – we were at least able to leave all of our stuff there so we didn’t have to lug shopping bags and backpacks to Gyeongju World, which was nice!

This was a nice little place and I would stay there again unless I get my way and we book a traditional hanok stay instead! (This is to say: I will be returning to Gyeongju World. There are several reasons that I haven’t gotten around to yet, so rest assured this city has a place in my heart now.)

We walked about 20 minutes to a more downtown-ish area where we had planned to have breakfast at a place called TAK! which is DANISH for “thank you” and features Scandinavian breakfast items and I thought it would be wild to revisit the breakfasts we miss so much from our Coaster Crew vacation, but in KOREA.

Anyway, they were supposed to be open at 9 but apparently THAT DAY they decided to change their opening hours from 9 to 10 so they were not open when we got there. Since we wanted to be at Gyeongju World when they opened at 10, waiting around wasn’t really an option, so we went to Compose Coffee instead which was on the same block. It’s a South Korean chain so it wasn’t my first choice, or second or third, but we needed to get caffeine and food and this was convenient. (And, because it’s a Korean chain, GOOD.)

More and more Korean cafes have self-ordering kiosks now and most of them have English options, so especially in smaller cities further out from Seoul, this is soooo convenient for foreign tourists! I’m decent-ish at ordering food/coffee so I could have winged it but it was nice to be able to take our time and peruse the menu on the screen.

I don’t remember seeing Compose Coffee the last times we were in Korea, but a quick googlin’ session tells me that it originated in Busan in 2014 and has recently seen a rapid growth so maybe they didn’t have any/many locations in Seoul in 2018 and 2019. If we saw any when we were in Busan, I just don’t remember. But this place was really delightful and I can see why it’s become one of the most popular cafe chains in Korea. I would definitely go back!

I mean, Taehyung from BTS endorses it so I’m sure they’re hurting for business. I guess I will still include it in my tourist pamphlet.

Right after this, we used Kakao Taxi for the first time rather than take the bus to Gyeongju World again. Kakao Taxi wasn’t a thing yet during our last visit, but we definitely recommend this! Super tourist/foreigner friendly – like Uber, you put the address in the app when requesting a ride so you don’t have to fumble with trying to show the address in Korean to the driver, etc. We ended up using this three times while in Korea and all three times we had super intense ahjussi drivers wearing driving gloves. An experience!

Anyway, it was only about a 10-15 ride to Gyeongju World from downtown Gyeongju and I was SO STOKED to ride our first roller coasters of 2024!

….which we will talk about in the next post haha. 2 more Gyeongju posts and then we will be back in Seoul!