May 302024

I have been sitting here attempting to start this post for quite some time today but I keep getting lost in the photos. I really miss it. Even this particular day which was rife with “Last Day” sadness and panic. I was just telling Megan the other day that I am bored every day, nothing makes me happy lately and she goes, “Until you go back to Korea!” and that is so sad but also mostly true! I mean, obviously things here make me happy, don’t let me be completely melodramatic. But, it feels kind of like being in a long-distance relationship!? Which, that reminds me, the other day I heard “Slide” by the Goo Goo Dolls and even though I have heard that song a million times over the years, it was this exact time that gave me flashbacks to my FIRST LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP in 1998 with, and this is so stupid-dumb, a guy that I met the very first time I ever entered the goth chatroom called darkchat, lol. His name was “Misfit” (OMG I can’t even remember his real life name now) and he lived in San Diego I think. Somewhere in SoCal. Anyway, this song was new around that time and he was like, “THIS SONG MAKES ME THINK OF US” and me being the type of person whose whole damn life revolved around music, totally fell apart and was willing to give this guy ALL OF MY ATTENTION.

Anyway, then I called him one night and heard giggling in the background and I whispered, “Is that a girl??” and he was all, “HAHA no I’m, um, at a party” and then that was basically the beginning of the end of our 14-day long distance relationship.

Oh, don’t you worry, there’d be plenty more boys to be had in Darkchat over the next two years!

(No one asked, but I was curious who the man in the billboard is because Korea was in the middle of an election when we were there. Turns out it’s this guy, and he won! Something!)

After the disastrous early morning meltdown at Deoksugung Palace, things calmed down once I had coffee and breads. The plan for the first part of the day was to take Chooch to Tongin Market. I had asked him in advance to give me itinerary suggestions for this trip and that was one of the only things he explicitly said he wanted to because he had so much fun there on our last trip. So, Tongin Market is fun because you can either just buy stuff like you normally would OR you can go to the dosirak (lunchbox) cafe and buy yeopjeon and a school cafeteria tray w- the yeopjeon can be exchanged for portions of food at participating food stalls in the market so it’s a really great way to sample various types of Korean street/market food while also having a fun experience of paying with these old cash coins like you’re back in the Joseon Dynasty.

We passed this bar on the way so I had to take a picture for Megan, the biggest Beatles fan that I know! It was around 10:30am so we did not go in.

I was just desperately taking pictures of everything in the Tongin neighborhood while Henry was desperately looking for an ATM since we needed cash for the market.

I mean…Seoul is so special.

A secret selfie while waiting for Henry who was making a successful withdrawal inside a bank.

I just don’t want to ever forget it….

So then – LOL ugh – we made it to Tongin Market and um, the dosirak cafe is closed on Mondays.

You would have thought I did this on purpose, totally planned this out in order to sabotage Chooch’s last day in Korea. He was pissed. I mean, I was too, honestly, but we were trying to avoid going there on a weekend when it would be packed and with everything else we were doing, it just kept getting pushed and pushed until finally it was the last night AND SORRY FOR SCREWING UP!

Since we were there though, Chooch got some tteokbokki and then we had to find a secluded place to stand so that he could eat it. We were standing in sort of an alley off of a small back road when I saw in my periphery a girl with long red hair stride past, holding a camera. Now, anywhere else, whatever, but this is Korea and you don’t see many white women with red hair in Korea, lol. I did a massive doubletake because there is an American ex-pat YouTuber I watch occasionally and Chooch had been chiding me off and on during this trip, trying to make me look by blurting out “Look it’s Cari Cakes!” at random intervals, and then he even said he saw her the day he went off on his own in Gangnam. I don’t know why he was being so outrageous about this because yes, I watch her vlogs, but he was making me out to be a sasaeng or something, like I throw aside my entire life like a wet blanket every time I get a notification of a new Cari Cakes video.

I turned back around and looked at Chooch and Henry who both said, in tandem, “Was that—-”

Well, thanks Chooch, you appeared to have fucking manifested her!?

“You should go say hi!” Henry urged. I kept saying, “No, no, no” but eventually I was like, “OMG OK fine.” But by that point, she had gotten pretty far ahead of us and was now walking along a busier road so now, in true sasaeng fashion (thanks, Chooch) we had to essentially FOLLOW HER which was so awkward because I didn’t want to run up to her and be like, “OMG hi subscriber here” through pants and wheezes. I wanted it to be organic – or at least, organic SEEMING.

Basically, we crossed the street so that we could get ahead of her and then cross back over and, I dunno what my plan was – stop and tie my SLIP-ON VANS so that she could pass by and I could act surprised?! In the end, Henry had stayed on the same side of the street as her so that when Chooch and I crossed back over, we stopped and turned around like we were waiting for him, so then it was my excuse to “see her” and say, “OMG Cari?”

I FEEL SO CREEPY NOW THAT I AM RECOUNTING THIS which is rich coming from someone who has legit stalked people (pizza guys, middle school crushes – WHILE I WAS ALSO IN MIDDLE SCHOOL JUST TO CLARIFY – etc) and then intentionally documented it. Sometimes on film!! But look, that’s in my past.

Well, anyway, I did it. I said, “OMG, Cari?” and she was like, “…yes?” as if viewers don’t stop her all of the time. Henry was like, “I got you here but I ain’t sticking around” and shuffled over to some stoop where he creepily slurped down the rest of Chooch’s tteokbokki. So then it was just me and Chooch and I was like, “Hi, we’re subscribers!” and I wanted to tell her that this was my third time there and that we had actually come there to get married but I didn’t want her to think I married Chooch and I also didn’t want to point to Henry, hunkered down with his beard dripping in gochujang, so it was a pretty unremarkable chat from my end at least. Plus, the whole process of even getting to that point was so stressful and I felt like I was acting like a woman with a gun pressed against her back, just all wide-eyed and fake.

Whatever. Cari was very nice, though. “Are you guys also walking around in search of cherry blossoms?” she gushed and um, yep. That’s exactly it! So then she gave us some good cherry blossom spotting tips and I told her we’re from Pgh and she was like, “Oh my family is from the east coast! I’m actually going back for a visit in 4 days!” and I almost said, “I know!” because she had mentioned it in a recent video but I caught myself and just said, “Oh cool!”

Ugh, I hate how high-pitched and fake-sounding I can be.

So then when we parted ways, I had to immediately take pictures of the trees, lol.

But I mean come on. This tree is just ASKING FOR IT.

Meanwhile, as soon as Cari walked away, the first thing Chooch said shockingly was not “You’re so embarrassing” but “Why did you tell her we’re BOTH subscribers?? I’m not a subscriber!” Wow, like she fucking cares!! And then, “You’re so embarrassing.”

There it is.

This cutie!

Chooch after I told him to put his phone down so I could take a picture.

One of the side entrances to Gyeongbokgung Palace – this is *the* palace of Seoul. We didn’t go in this time, but we did walk around the walls on our way to Bukchon Hanok Village. It was such a perfect day for a walk, you guys. Absolutely bangin’ spring weather.

More palace wall.

Ugh, the beauty. This street leads up to the Blue House, which is where the President usually resides but this current one has opted to live off the grounds and now the Blue House is open to the public for tours.

Wow, thanks for smiling Henry.

OK the next post will be Bukchon Thangs. Stay tuned or tune out. IT’S A FREE COUNTRY.

P.S. here is Cari’s YouTube channel if anyone is interested (more like if anyone has read this far) in watching a lot of cafe hopping and book talking with mellow vibes. Sometimes we get cameos of her husband Kurt. Fun Fact: she has lived in Seoul for over 10 years I believe and used to be an intern at YG Entertainment (WHERE BIGBANG WAS SIGNED AT THE TIME). I actually found her channel back in 2017 when I was like, “Hmm, how hard is it for foreigners to move to Korea…” and then her “apartment tour” video from like 2016 or something came up, lol.

Say it don't spray it.

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