Monday, September 23, 2013

The Reed Family Comes to Korea!

My darling family arrived to Korea on Wednesday! Late at night. Much past my bedtime. But I waited and waited for them outside with my little sign welcoming them to Korea!

On Thursday, I forced them to come see all my kiddos at school. If you don't already know, or maybe you forgot, I teach a half an hour class of 30 5 year olds (American age, 3 or 4), then two half hour classes of 30 7 year olds (American 5 or 6). Then I have a short 20 minute break and then go teach an hour and a half of 20 of those 7 year olds. After that, I teach 2 hours of 3rd graders. I think my mom had a good time. I think my sister also had a good time (I forced her to sing some songs she knew with us) and my 3rd graders fell in LOVE with her...not just one of the boys, but one of the girls. The next day they were bragging about how they "snuck" pictures of "Jessica Teacher" when she was on the elevator. She totally knew. You're not that sneaky, guys. Anyways, we did some fun songs, made some pirate hats and eye patches (totally related to the theme) and hand some nice question and answer sessions from my 3rd graders. For dinner I took my family to Korean BBQ. They greatly enjoyed it and the drinks were on the house because I frequent that place waaaay too much. Yikes. Exposed my parents to soju. Quite a joy as well.

Friday-Sunday you can read about in the previous blog.

Monday night I went and met up with my family with Brigitte. I believe Brigitte took them to see the fish market and a temple during the day. When I got off work I met up with them and we went to dinner then ventured to Namsan Tower which is a mini Space Needle. We took the gondola to the top and when we got there the actual tower was closed :( But the view of the city was absolutely gorgeous! And there's this thing where couples come up there and place a lock on the fence somewhere. You're supposed to come back years later and find it and see if your wishes and hopes and dreams have come true or something like that. Thousands of locks. So crazy! We ventured back down and back home for the night.

Tuesday my family did the city bus tour. They got to see more things in Korea than I have probably seen. They went to the war memorial and saw the palace and such. Not really sure. When I got off work, I went and met up with them for dinner. Then we just relaxed in the hotel room and watched  a movie. Nice family bonding time.

Wednesday we got up and I wanted to do some cafes like a cat cafe, dog cafe, sheep cafe, and a cafe where the fish eat your feet. So we ventured to Myeongdong and found that the cat cafe was closed so we went to the fish eat your feet cafe. We did that and that was the most bizarre thing I have ever done. The whole thing was only 20 minutes but I couldn't keep my feet in for more than 5 seconds for the first 10 minutes. The feeling was so weird. It tickled SO bad. I was literally screaming. Someone probably thought I was dying. Once I kind of got used to the feeling, it just felt like my feet had fallen asleep and they just nom nom away on your dead skin. After that, we went back to Insadong, which my family had briefly seen the day before and wanted to see again. We did a little souvenir shopping there and then tried the cat cafe again. Still closed. So we went back to Gangnam and found one a block from their hotel. We only had a short time because we had to go catch a baseball game, but we got to see the little kitties in the cafe. For my sister, probably not that big a deal since she saw hers like a week ago, but for me and especially Brig, we were like, whoa KITTIES!

Then we went to a Korean baseball game. Maybe you've read my other blog about Korean baseball, but going to a game is NOTHING like what you experience in America. Cheerleaders, loud's like what you'd expect at a college football game. But what was cute was that the cheerleaders were wearing mini Hanbok (traditional Korean clothes) for the first few innings. I thought it was adorable, but then naturally as the innings went on, they had many a wardrobe change.

To end the night, Brigitte and I took my sister to one of my favorite bars, Bunker. There were very few people there because of Chuseok, but we still had a good time! We played some Jenga and this one game where you stick some sticks in the side of this barrel and when the head pops out you lose. Fun times indeed!

Thursday was actual Chuseok and for this day, we headed to the Han River. We wandered for a while trying to find the bike rental place. We finally found it but then decided to go on a boat tour. Found out when we got on the boat that it was more a fun tour type thing for kids, not so much a river tour. But we got to see the city from the river and some adorable kids and some creepy mascot things. When we got off the boat, we found the bike rental place and rode down the river the other direction. Jess and I tried out a tandem...not that easy, not that easy. REALLY hard actually, until you get the hang of it. We probably almost crashed like 5 times.

Friday was Everland day! Everland is a theme park in Korea. We heard that during Chuseok, there would be significantly less people there so we thought we'd try it out. There was also a foreigner discount so instead of paying 45 bucks, we only paid 25. We rode a GIANT viking ship. Biggest one I've ever seen, and highest I've ever seen one go. That was fun. Then we did a upside downy roller coaster, that was fun, waited for probably half an hour for that one (not bad). Then we thought we'd go to Safari Land which is what all my kids RAVE about. It's like THE reason to go to Everland, apparently. However the line for that was like 2 hours long, so we passed on that one. We waited like half an hour for a water rafty type ride. Typical Korea, they have tarps to cover you and they squeegee off the seats. Pretty fun. My mom got drenched (only one). Then we hit the animal section. Saw some animals in very confined spaces when they should have much more room than they had. A little depressing and made me glad we didn't go on the safari because that may have been even more depressing. Last was the T Express. Hugest and most bestest roller coaster of my life. Although we waited in line for an hour and a half, it was worth the wait because it was epicly awesome.  We decided to call it a day after that because we're getting too old for all this waiting around.

Saturday we had a laid back day. My daddy made eggs and bacon for breakfast! SO YUMMY. Then we went to the Suwon Fortress. Our original plan was to ride the train up to the top, but that was sold out until 4 and it was noon so we voted against that and just wandered around until 130 when we got to do some arrow shooting. This was my second time doing and I actually hit the board for half of them, as opposed to last time when I hit the board zero times. When we got home, we walked around cafe street a bit, then headed to Brigittes home area called Suji. We had some dinner and soju there, played a little darts, and then my family experienced Koreas Norebang. This is karaoke, but in a small room with just the people you're with. Pretty awesome because you can choose any songs you want and you're usually quite comfortable with said people since they're generally your friends.

Sunday morning dark and early, I walked my parents to the bus stop, said byebye, and sent them on their long journey home.

Overall, I had a great time with them and saw a lot of touristy things I probably wouldn't have done if they hadn't visited and I do believe they had a splendid time as well.

They made it. 

First Korean BBQ

I tried was ok. 

Photo Bomb


Namsan Tower

Locks for days

fish eating my dead skin. So tickly. 

Cat Cafe

My new kitten friend. 

Korean Baseball

Balloon headband. All day son, all day. Ticket to the tour boat. No joke. 

Giant viking ship

Mom and dad shoot some arrows. 

So does Jess

Norebang, Korean Karaoke. 

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