So, Christian and I are now in Korea.
How did that happen you might ask? It was some combination of family reunion and an offer to pay for my travel expenses and suddenly we are here in the heart of Seoul.
I am nothing if not a travel opportunist. Okay, an opportunist, slum and simple.
In any case, my sister and her family arrive a week from Friday, just in time for the Cho family reunion dinner (my mother is one of ten children, and even not counting the two uncles lost in war, and three siblings who immigrated abroad, that leaves a lot of relatives to dine with here in the city). My brother arrives in one week.
I look forward to sharing my parents with them, because it only took an hour before my parents had collectively decided that I needed to see a dermatologist to “take care of my face.”
Strangely the burden of my parents’ vanity seems to have passed to my shoulders only. They never seem to pay much attention to the skin quality or weight of my siblings. On the upside, I always go home determined to be that much kinder to my own kid. My parents, of course, both look terrific, despite their lamenting of weight gain.
Honestly, they mourn the passing of my youth more than I do. They don’t believe that I wear sunblock everyday – I mean, COME ON! I’ve lived in southern California for almost 20 years now. There is really no getting away from the sun, especially if you love the outdoors like I do.
It’s okay. My parents were happy to see me and I don’t mind the growing number of sunspots on my face like they do.
Christian is asleep and my parents just left for a round of golf. It’s been drizzling off and on all day, but I suppose they know best whether they’ll be able to play.
Korea is…
well, very comfortable so far.
The hospital (where my dad’s been teaching for the last year) put them up in an apartment complex within walking distance of the hospital, south of the Han River. It’s an upscale new city neighborhood, but not flashy so much.
This apartment complex, Xi, houses some insane number of families in 40+ high rises. (3,400 families) Stone’s throw from the entrance to my parent’s building, you can eat pho, do hot yoga, grocery shop and pay all your bills. It’s more like a town – the apartment buildings are built around the school buildings: one elementary, one middle, and one high school.
When Christian wakes up, we’ll venture out on our own for the first time – to the spa. It’s the sports complex and living here entitles you to two visits a day. Besides the gym with fitness machine galore (including those vibrating waist bands and inversion machines), there is a bath house with huge bathtubs (hottubs really) of various temps and fluids. One is green tea and 38 degrees Celsius. There are wet saunas and hot saunas, and even shallow whirlpools where you can lay down and have the jets pummel your body.
I can’t wait. I think the soaking will do me good. It’s only our second day here and we’re at the stage of jet-lag when it’s still painful to wake up, no matter how much we’ve slept.

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