Tuesday, January 5, 2010

This is family business

My Family's Visit to the Republic of Korea, by the numbers:

  • Below 0°C, what the temperature hovered around for the duration of my family's stay

  • 1-3", the amount of snow that fell while my family was here

    Snow-covered 'Bu.

    Snow-covered 'Dong

    Snow-dazed family

  • 1 book read on my brand spankin' new Kindle (thanks Mom/Dad): Marya Hornbacher's Wasted, an amazingly intense memoir, highly recommended. Kwame (what I named my Kindle, after my man Nkrumah, of course) is going to change my life here--the ability to have any book I want, right now, is amazing. And he (Kwame, that is) saves me from having to schlep all the way to Itaewon to visit the used English book store. Speaking of Itaewon (Seoul's foreign district)...

  • 1 meltdown complete with frozen tears and all, in Itaewon, by me, while eating Austrian food for lunch. Just embarrassing myself, is all. Speaking of meltdowns...

  • 2 boughts of claustrophobia experienced by my father on the subway (the Green line, notoriously crowded).

  • 2 days spent working by me while my family was here--stressful, but exciting in that my parents got to meet my awesome co-workers

  • 2 theater shows attended, both of which I would recommend. We went and saw traditional Korean dancing/drumming/music at Korea House. Admittedly a bit of a snore at points, it was still worth it to see women beating the crap out of five drums at the same time/men playing instruments that looked straight out of the Iron Age/a woman dancing in a full-body crane costume. Which had me and my sister laughing out loud, like the culturally insensitive pricks that we are. Charlotte was pulled on stage at the end of the show and made to dance, hilarious. She was a good sport and got a free pair of Korea House drumsticks out of it.

    The other show we saw was JUMP, a martial arts slapstick-y comedy which apparently showed at Edinbergh's Fringe Festival (alongside my overly-talented friend Jordan Herskowitz, perchance?). The show was funny, if not my kind of humor--it was all in Korean, but none of the hilarity of people getting hit upside the head, ect., was lost in translation. Once again (unsurprisingly, considering we were the only Norse 외국 family in the house), a member of my whitewhitewhite family got dragged up on stage--this time my father, who preformed two full somersaults on stage. No, I am not making this up. And no, I don't have pictures of this--they weren't allowed :(

  • 3 meals eaten at Gimbap Changook/Nara. Gotta love cheap Donkasu (fried pork cutlet), kimbap, and basically every kind of soup Korea has to offer.

  • 4 cups of Korean tea, drunk at an adorable teahouse in Insadong and consumed with beautifully-shaped Korean cookies. Mine was ginseng tea: milky, spicy, and super-sweet.

  • 4 trips on the Airport Limousine to/from Incheon

  • 4 breakfasts at Dunkin' Donuts (yes, they have these in Korea, too)

  • 4 nights spent at the Ibis Hotel in Gangnum, Seoul. Tiny rooms in an expensive part of town, but I guess that's what you get when you Google-search for your hotel fifteen minutes or so before making reservations :(

    The admittedly awesome view from our expensive hotel

    Wee room.

  • 5 nights spent at the Head-One Hotel in Uijeongbu. This place was awesome: palatial flat-screen TV, jacuzzi-style tub big enough for ten people, and close proximity to Uijeongbu Station.

  • Six shopping districts dominated: Insadong, Myeongdong, Dongdaemun, Uijeongbu's underground market, COEX mall, and Namdaemun, where I took this picture:

  • At least 12 trips on the bus by me, back and forth between Minlak-dong (the neighborhood where I live) and Uijeongbu, where my family was staying

  • 18 years, when the next New Year's Eve blue moon will happen--I took this picture of it at Namsan Park:

  • 20+ trips on the subway into/around Seoul

    My parents at the subway station near Gyeongbukgung--I think going through this gate is supposed to grant everlasting life, according to the Konglish-y signage

  • 20 minutes or so, the amount of time we could stand to be out in the cold on New Year's Eve waiting for midnight near City Hall

    Charlotte and I power through, taking selfies to distract ourselves from the cold

    My father demonstrates the Rogers Family Knack for adopting the most awkward pose for a photo at the drop of a hat

  • 30 minutes or so: the amount of time we could stand to wander around Gyeongbukgung before retreating inside to the National Folk Museum.

  • At least 60 cups of instant coffee consumed by my family + me. Slightly revolting, thinking of all the slave labor that likely processed/packaged that stuff.

  • 100's of little fish who ate the calluses off of my family's feet at Dr. Fish. I unfortunately wore leggings underneath my jeans that day, so I served as official photographer.

  • Millions of won spent by my incredibly generous parents to get themselves to/from Korea, to shuttle themselves around once they got here, and to pay for the majority of their/my food/shelter costs. All so that we could be together during the holidays. Awesome.

  • Heaps of memories made, warm fuzzies exchanged, ect. Brought to you by MasterCard, hardyharhar


  1. looks like you guys had so much fun! what a wonderful visit! oh and i am so going to try the dr. fish during my vacation :)

  2. I'm trying to book a night at the Head-One hotel in Uijeongbu, and your blog is the only helpful site that came up... I know it was awhile back, but how did you book/do you have any contact info for the hotel? If you could help, that would be really great. Thanks!