Oct 082019
 

You guys, we have finally reached the end of the Great Modern Odyssey that is Erin Kelly’s Korea Vacation Recaps. If you were bored, I apologize. If I drove you away, please come back. I you want me to just go back to Korea and shut up forever I WILL DO THAT FOR YOU GLADLY.

But anyway, this post will be about the morning of our last full day in South Korea, and what a morning it was! Walking up in G-Dragon’s Dolce Bita pension, drinking coffee (instant Maxim, boiiii) on a balcony overlooking a serene lake? This was pretty close to paradise for me.

I spotted G-Dragon’s dad, Mr. Kwon, outside so I ran back into the room and shook Chooch violently. “HE’S OUT THERE. WE HAVE TO GO FOR A WALK. ACT CASUAL.”

Acting casual.

I wanted a picture of my dumb self in front of the pension and thank God it was Chooch who was with me because Henry is the worst picture-taker. Chooch knows how to  take pictures of me that won’t make me want to cut my face off. Thanks, son. Sonny Boy. Pally Pal.

(I’m on my second cup of coffee this morning.)

On our way back to the pension, GD’s APPA was walking toward his car with a cup of coffee, and I was like, “OK BABY IT’S NOW OR NEVER” so after he said good morning to us, I blurted out, “WILL YOU TAKE A PICTURE WITH US!?”

He smiled, stepped back for effect, and, with a hand on his chest, said, “Oh, you know me?”

“Yes!” I laughed, and it was the cutest thing, Mr. Kwon feigning surprise that he’s secondhand famous. You know he’s done this a time or two though because he signaled for us to hold on, put his coffee in his car, and then led us over to what I imagine must be “the photo spot” considering we had already taken three pictures here during our stay!

He asked us where we’re from and said, “Ohhh!” when I told him we came all the way from the east coast of the US to stay here. #SuckUp

It took everything inside of me not to start blabbering about how much I love his son and what does he think about Seungri’s scandal and will BIGBANG survive that in addition to their military-forced hiatus and what are my chances with Jiyong I AM ONLY 9 YEARS OLDER THAN HIM DOES HE LIKE NOONAS?!

DEEP BREATHS, ERIN.

So, I initially only wanted to  get Chooch’s picture with him because I am OH SO SHY and also because Chooch is now collecting pictures of the BIGBANG dads.

But Mr. Kwon was like, “OK and now you” and summoned me over and I’m sorry but you don’t say no to a Kwon.

I couldn’t even force myself t o look cool and calm in  this – I thought my smile was going to split my face in half, I WAS SO GIDDY AND NERVOUS AND AWESTRUCK.

This man is half the reason why my #1 Korean artist (and honestly #2 of all time, right behind Robert Smith of The Cure) is on this earth. I know a lot of people think that Kpop is dumb or weird or whatever, and that’s fine (your loss!) but GD transcends Kpop. He is a FUCKING ARTIST in every sense. The guy was clearly born to be on stage, and he’s an artist off of it as well. His charisma is palpable, whether it’s in a concert or even just watching him on TV shows.

While Chooch was preparing to take the picture, Mr. Kwon told me he liked my tattoo! KILL ME DEAD!

So this happened, and I was having a FIT over it for days.

We thanked him profusely and then casually walked away like we didn’t just have a brush with the father of greatness and then once we rounded a corner, we ran back up to our room and screamed about it to Henry, who was still sleeping, lol.

By now, the Cafe was open so Henry finally finished getting dressed and we headed out.

The whole Cafe is stuffed to the gills with G-Dragon and BIGBANG memorabilia, including the actual piano from GD’s “Who You” music video.

Of course Chooch and I added our own messages to this wall! We didn’t even ask Henry if he wanted to add anything because he’s dumb and would probably mess it all  up.

Anyway, two other rooms were already in the Cafe – the extended family with the baby, and the Chinese Super VIP.

That baby was so freaking cute, though. His grandma kept trying to feed him but he was so interested in what Chooch and I were doing, so the grandma and I kept laughing together and I felt so connected in that moment! Language barriers were being torn down! It was such a beautiful time.

Henry pointed out that the Seungri doll is missing from the shelf up there and I felt sad, wondering if that was the Kwon’s way of showing their stance in the Seungri scandal (FYI nothing criminal has even been proven), but then Henry did some investigating and noticed that the doll stopped showing up in pictures way before the beginning of 2019 (when “the scandal” started) so maybe it was stolen or it broke!?

Anyway, the Cafe’s breakfast was self-serve which was fine because “self-serve” in our house means “Henry will serve.” So Chooch got ourselves the easy stuff, like cereal and juice, and then shouted our egg and toast orders to Henry, who had to stand in the kitchen, slaving over a skillet, just like he was at home, haha.

It’s awesome being us.

While eating, we were entertained by BIGBANG videos playing on an overheard TV and it was next-level euphoria for me.

(In that video, I love how Henry whips around while he’s cooking, like he can sense that I’m doing something sinister behind him,)

This table was great. I wish we had those in our conference rooms at work.

(I ATE BREAKFAST IN GD’S CAFE, OMGOMGOMG.)

 

I need a wall-sized portrait of GD in my house. Maybe on my bedroom ceiling!? HENRY CAN WE!?

This whole unit is the Crayon Room and rumor has it, Taeyang has stayed there as well other friends of GD! It was like $700 a night or something else that was quickly deemed Too Rich for our humble lifestyles.

Dolce Bita is so cool. I love the industrial-like facade against the lush Pocheon trees.

Almost time  to give back the VIP key. :(

One final picture of Chooch in the foyer of our VIP room before packing up our stuff and hitching a ride back to the Ildong bus station by Uncle Kwon. Before we got in the car, he said, “Something for you! Present from Jiyong!” and it was a signed picture of him! We currently have it framed, but I want to cover the mat in red velvet before hanging it and Henry keeps saying, “Sorry I haven’t had time to go to the velvet store” every time I’m like WHY ISN’T MY G-DRAGON PICTURE FINISHED?!

I mean, I ask so little.

Anyway, when we pulled up to the bus station, GD’s uncle motioned for us to follow him inside, where he proceeded to get the bus tickets for us so that we wouldn’t have to struggle. I cannot stress enough how accommodating and hospitable GD’s family is. Honestly, we were treated like real guests and not just written off as some weirdo fans from America, and it really meant a lot. I’m so glad that we had the chance to not only stay in this VIP haven, but also relax and really take the time to slow down and take it all in because this last full day in Korea was going to fucking FLY BY once we got back to Seoul. It was non-stop running, eating last minute favorite foods, buying up last minute presents, eating LAST MEALS, ugh.

Having finally gotten to the end of the recaps, I think my favorite thing about this return trip to Korea was that we got out of our comfort zone even more than before. Traveling without an organized tour group in foreign countries is no joke, and I think I can speak for all three of us when I say that we felt pretty accomplished. My love for Korea may have started accidentally with Kpop cardio as my gateway, but I have grown to love the entire country and its history and culture, so much that I want to see ALL of Korea. I’m not even close to being finished and I am probably maybe definitely already planning our next trip there.

If you’ve read all of this, thank you! And I am always super eager to talk about Korea so if you’re thinking about going and have any questions, PLEASE ASK ME.

  2 Responses to “Dolce Bita: Second Day 8/5/19”

  1. My thoughts echo yours here.

    You traveled to another country without a tour group. You knew that some places might not speak English, but you had prepared yourself and you accomplished what you needed to with the language you learned. You rode the transportation. You sought out specific places, like this Pension, and you went there. You were never once afraid to try any food. FUCK YES out of your comfort zone! I admire you so fucking much for this.

    I loved the part about the grandma feeding the baby. Because yes, exactly, language barriers are nonexistent in times like that. And we are reminded of our connection in this weird existence. We may be raised in different places with different ways. But some ways are the same, and they come out to remind us we are not alone.

    I have enjoyed these Korea posts so much, once again, and I’m sorry for being so behind. I just don’t want to miss anything, so I am reading everything thoroughly, not skimming to catch up.

    The photo with his Dad is my favorite of the entire Korea trip. I love that you adopted this culture. It’s so important to allow our minds to grow via experiences like this, and you nailed it. We become better when we grow, and I think that’s the whole point of this weird experience on this earth.

    And what an experience you gave Riley. It’s so, so important to see other places. To learn other languages. To leave our comfort zone.

    You fucking rule. I’m so glad we’re friends.

    • Your words mean so much to me! I want to thank you so much for reading these. I cried/sobbed while writing most of them because this place (Korea in general) has taken up so much real estate in my heart. Most of my friends and co-workers have come around to it, but I still get the occasional close-minded opinions and responses from people who just don’t understand how someone could be that interested in anything (sucks to be them, I guess). I don’t get made fun of as much now that kpop has completely taken over America but I think it’s still less accepted for someone to dive into Korean culture as it is for someone to, say, be obsessed with French cinema to the point they’re inspired to learn the language and travel there. THAT’S acceptable and admirable, apparently, lol!

      The best part is that it’s not just something that I like and I’m dragging Henry and Riley with me – they both really enjoy Korean culture and it brought us closer together as a family. It was so awesome to get to share this them, knowing that they wanted to be there just as much as I did. In fact, I never even thought going to Korea was a possibility for us until one day in 2017 when I spied Henry looking up flights on his phone “just to see,” he said, lol.

      I knew that if anyone would understand all of this, it would be you! You know what it’s like to dive head first into new obsessions and adventures! I too am so glad we’re friends. <3

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