Tuesday December 25th – Sauna

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In the morning / lunch time, we had lunch with 2 uncles, a friend, my 4th aunt and her husband, and my step-dad / Appa. Mostly I ate and listened. My sister was supposed to come too but she took too long to get ready so I think we just left without her because we were running late -lol

20121226-075850.jpgAfterwards, around 1:30, my mom, 4th aunt, her husband, and step dad went to a Korean sauna. I watched tv and had sikhye, a Korean rice drink. They finished around 3 and then we went to get noodles, but they also had Dduk mandoo Guk soup and I couldn’t pass that up. It was made with spicy kimchee mandoo, and was more flavourful than the versions I have had in the US. We had just eaten a few hours before so I wasn’t very hungry, but lukily my step-dad ate the rest.

We got gas on the way back, gas is serviced (not self-serve at least at the station we went to).

We stopped in at 4th Aunt and her Husbands Business again and got to see the puppies up close this time. I got to hold one and it wimpered a little because it wanted its mommy. SO cute. Mom was protective and barked some like she did the other day too, but my Aunt was like it’s ok to mommy dog and got two of four or five puppies out.
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20121226-085401.jpgThe Kumkang shoes that were ordered arrived early, so we went to the department store to get them. They felt okay at the time, but wearing them more they feel little tight. I am hoping they will break in. They also have a strap over the toe, that I think if i get another hole added, it will loosen the toe area up.

My mom and I stopped in at my 2nd Aunt’s for some cake and coffee though we didn’t each much since we were still full. She had a different family photo which was nice to see, but it had less family members than the one my mom has.

After a brief visit, we went to the market to get stuff for Kim Bap to make later. We watched some TV, though I think we both fell asleep for a bit. My sister got home from a friends and was making ramyun, and Omma made me mushroom soup.

Monday December 24th – Pottery Vendors and Christmas Eve

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For breakfast, I had kimchee and rice, two eggs, an apple, yogurt drink, a yogurt, and a rice cake like food.

Today we picked the 4th Aunt up around 12:30 from her business. We go to see her cute puppies!

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Then we went to Ommas shop, and had a bulkogi burger sandwiches around 11.

We spent the day visiting Ommas pottery vendors in an area where pottery is prominent, one lady has been on KBS and showed me how they make the pottery and how she paints the designs.

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Then we went to see a friend who also owns a pottery shop and had lunch with her around 3pm.

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Then we went to another vendor to get some pieces for Omma’s shop.

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We also went to another shop that had fine China. Of course the one I liked was $500 for the set and the didn’t sell the pieces separately (the photo below, lower right hand side).

I had said earlier on the trip that I wanted to get some wedding ducks, and this shop had some, so my 4th Aunt bought two pair, one for my mom, and one for me. So sweet.

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We met my 4th Aunt’s Husband (이모부) at a Chinese restaurant for Dinner called Shanghai Moon. We had two dishes, and each came with a carved carrot. The first dish had a bird, and the second a fish.

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After dinner we all went to AK Plaza Mall. My Aunt and husband wanted to buy me shoes. I was afraid there wouldnt be anything for my large american feet -haha. I was able to look up and down and pick something I liked which I think (and really hope) they ordered the correct size for me. The pair of shoes I tried on was a bit tight, so they ordered me the next size up, but when they translated the size, I’m not sure if that is correct now. I didn’t have internet at the mall so I couldn’t look up the correct size -aaaah! The new shoes arrive on the 28th. I really hope they are just right. Below, were some funny mannequins at the mall.

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We stopped off at Paris Baguette (which is popular in Korea) to get a Cake for Christmas and mom got me Chocolates ^^ We ate the cake with MinJee at the house and her friend who was over before they both left. It was a sweet potato cake that was yummy, and had a whipped cream instead of icing. Kind of like the mini cakes at the Chinese restaurants in the US – light and fluffy and not overly sweet.

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Sunday December 23rd – Trip to Chunchon and Met 4th Aunt

Last night I went to bed ar 10pm and woke up this morning from 2am – 5am but was able to go back to sleep until about 9am.

I had an apple and yogurt for breakfast, and then Omma made me dumplings for bfast, ate around 9am.

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When I showered this morning, my hair dye was coming out a lot. I was really worried that I wasn’t supposed to wash my hair! . . . when I get my hair dyed in the US, only a little dye comes out the next morning, but this was a lot of red. It almost looked like I was bleeding, it was that much! But I asked and it was ok – it was supposed to.

We were planning on meeting my cousin ByungSook, her mom (my aunt) and her dad around 11, but when Omma called, they were eating – which meant we were going to eat lunch – which was funny because a few minutes before, she had asked if I was hungry and I had said I wasn’t -lol ^^ She did make a really delicious Egg and Sesame Ramyun soup though and I totally ate all of it!

20121224-071737.jpgWe drove by my one Aunts company where two of her dogs were outside and then met my cousin and uncle at the shop (my aunt wasn’t feeling well) and left for Chun Cheon, by car. Next week, we might be going to see where my mom grew up.

We stopped at a lookout point on the way and saw Chunchon from above. I took a picture, but It was hard to see with all the trees, even though they didn’t have any leaves on them.

In Chun Cheon, we went to the town where I was born and took my first steps. The house she lived in for a year and a half was no longer there, but she saw where it used to stand. I learned that I was born at 5:30pm, natural birth, and she has a calendar with the address of the house that she has kept but didn’t bring it with her, but managed to find the place after all this time. She hadn’t been there in 30 years but was able to find the place after some driving around since a lot of the area looked the same, but overall the area had changed a lot.20121224-071756.jpg

Around 2:30, we went to a well known/famous ttalk galbi place (chicken) in Myeongdong (in Chunchon, there is a larger one is Seoul). Chun Cheon is known for this, and we met one of my uncle’s school friends, who treated us to lunch.

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Around 6pm I went to another Aunts house and met another cousin (younger), and her husband, and got to talk to another aunt on the phone, who is coming to see me next week(?).

We left their house around 9:30 and went to the market close by and then home and I got some cute photos of Omma and my sister.

Saturday, December 22nd – New Hair Colour

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Yesterday, my mom had given this puppy pillow to me, but I didn’t know it was mine, but I asked for clarification hehe. It’s super cute and nice to have because the bed pillow is hard, but I can use this on top and it’s not too bad.

I Woke up around 4 but was able to go back to sleep off an on and was able to wake up around 9.

I cut the flowers in the bouquet from my aunt the other day, since they were starting to wilt, and put them in two containers.

Afterwards, I had asked mom for kimchee and rice and got kimchee jiggae and 감자 (potato) mandoo (dumplings) plus side dishes. So delicious, but wasn’t expecting so much food. haha

20121223-042746.jpgWe stopped at the shop for a bit and saw my step-dad. They gave me some earrings and showed me some pottery piece she wants to get for me from a pottery factory for me to bring home.

We also went to the car repair shop next to them, apparently one of my aunt’s son’s car needs some repair work and they talked about that. There was a pregnant wild kitty that hangs out there, but it seemed pretty tame to me, and super friendly.

Afterwards, Omma and I went to a hair place to get my hair dyed. Yesterday evening, I had said how I liked the colour of my sister MinJee’s hair and Omma asked if I would like to get mine done . . . yes! I was there from 1:30-4 because I have dark hair so it took a while for the colour, but I totally love it! Its basically a brown with red undertones. I might have to only get my hair coloured in Korea -haha.

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Around 4 something, we had lunch+dinner at a Kalbi place, which is owned by the car shop persons aunt. It was another place where you leave your shoes in a cubby near the entrance and sit on the floor. They brought in hot coals to the center of your table nook and you cook your food on the grill they put on top. My step-dad met us there for food.

Afterwards we went back to the shop and Omma sewed a little while we also talked about language, pronunciation, and what colours I like for something they are making me, plus an apron.

My cousin was able to make it from Hong Kong on a stand by flight, so we waited for her phone call, when they were ready to meet with us.

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Around 6:30, we left to go to my one Aunt’s house and see my cousin ByungSook. She speaks English well, so she was able to translate some. I also met her brother who was in town for the weekend.

Apparently when Omma was on the phone with my other Cousin BinNah, she asked her to pick me up some wedding ducks that I wanted to get while I was here. Here is a little blurb about them:

“Wedding ducks have special role in every Korean wedding. They were chosen as it is known that they mate for life. Long time ago a man expressed his wish to get married by bringing a pair of ducks or geese to the family of his bride-to-be. The wedding duck symbolizes three things: 1. Peace 2. Many children 3. No separations.”

My cousin ByungSook gave me these cute jackets for my little dog Topaz and some scented candles which was so sweet.

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She also translted that Omma said it was like she was in a dream with me ^^

My Aunt made a mandoo soup which I had some of and was so delicious.

Omma also found out that she does not have to work as much as she originally thought because she has to wait for some information from the company she works for, so I will be spending more time with her than we originally thought.

I might be staying with my cousin BinNah in Seoul over night if she is free so I can do some shopping and my family will be going to a wedding.

We left around 9pm. When we got back, we walked to the corner shop to get ice cream because MinJee has a request for some, i had a googoo cone which was chocolate and nuts, and then I went to bed around 10 in my yummy heated bed. I also love the heated floors, tho sometimes I’m too hot -haha. Tomorrow we are going to Chun Chon.

Friday December 21st – Noodles

This morning I woke up around 6am here and couldn’t get back to sleep. I had set my alarm for 8am, so I just stayed awake. My Aunt stayed over last night, so this morning made Dwaengang jiggae, an egg broth dish with onion, and we had kimchee, rice, and other dishes for breakfast.

Afterwards we all kind of went back to sleep -haha

I spoke to another cousin on the phone today. Her English is quite good . . . she was saying that she wanted to meet me but was going to China for work, but I think she will be back before I leave, so we hope to meet before I do. When my cousin and my Omma were talking, she said that my mom is worried I’m not eating enough so that was translated to me. They keep feeding me a lot of fruit and food through out the day, but then are worried I don’t like the food. I really do though and say so ~ it’s funny also if you say you aren’t hungry, it just means they offer you something else to eat -lol There is also a lot at each meal to eat. 맜있어요!

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After a while, around 2pm we left to drop my sister off for her to get her hair done, and they had to stop in at a pharmacy. Then my mom, aunt, and I went to a noodle place called 황제탈국수. It was lightly snowing when we went out, but not enough to stick. It was one of those places where the tables were on the raised platform, you leave your shoes on the floor path and sit on the platform with the table to eat. I think they only had one kind of noodle soup with “home made” noodles. Not a spicy dish but still yummy though they give you so much food.

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We stopped off at a fruit shop near the restaurant to get some apples, grapes, and some other fruit.

Omma dropped me off at my Aunt’s house so she could work from 4-8.

I started watching some TV, but started falling asleep so she said to take a nap on my cousin’s bed (not the one I spoke to on the phone this morning). I basically slept the whole time -yay jetlag.

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Around 8:30 when my mom got back, my Aunt had made dinner, some 돼지고기, kimchee, and they had ordered some chicken that was all delicious.

We left my Aunt’s house around 10:30 to go to Omma’s house. MinJee painted her nails with one of the nail polishes I had gotten her for her birthday and we watched TV, and I blogged.

Thursday December 20th

20121221-071117.jpgI left on Wednesday the 19th and arrived Thursday December 20th.  It was 2 hours to Detroit with a 4 hour layover and a 13.5 hour flight to Seoul.  The plane landed at 4:30pm, took the rail to the baggage claim, went through customs, and walked out to the main area where my Omma, Aunt, and her husband were waiting for me right when I walked out.

My Aunt had this lovely bouquet of flowers for me and I got big hugs 🙂

We had lunch at one of the airport restaurants, I had Dwenjang Jiggae (a type of soybean based soup).  It was different than the one I have at the Seoul Garden near us, but it was still good.

I thought I was a fairly fast eater, but they finished way before me -haha, but to be fair they did just feed us a small meal towards the end of the flight and the soup was hot.

It was a 3 hour drive to the house and I think I fell asleep some of the way.  The other times I was eating yummy mini-oranges and drinking coffee in the car.

We went to the shop where my mom also sews, and had some persimmon or maybe it was date tea.  Sweet and yummy.

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Then we went to the house which was maybe 5-10 min away and I unpacked (and wrapped some of the gifts) while Omma and my Aunt made delicious dinner.  The Kimchee they make is so amazing and so much yummier than the Kimchee where I live!

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Omma was worried about me being cold, but so far I am doing ok (haven’t been outside much), mostly going from car, to shop, to house.

The house has heated floors and I am pretty warm so far.  It is 0 Celsius/32 Fahrenheit outside.  At 6am here inside where I am sleeping it is 65 Fahrenheit, so comfortable, but I also brought my fuzzy pajama pants.

My sister arrived home around 10:30pm and ran in and gave me a huge hug/squeeze and said I was pretty (haha, so sweet).  I gave out the gifts I had to everyone, and MinJee LOVED everything, especially the makeup case with makeup and the photo keychain with the sparkly M and a photo I printed of her and Omma.

We watched TV and I started falling asleep so Omma said I could go to bed.  I showered and am pretty sure I fell asleep soon after.

I woke up around 6am here and can’t fall asleep so I figured I would blog, and we are waking up at 8am anyway for breakfast (which is good because I think I am on home food time and hungry) and then shopping around noon.  Not sure where yet!

Custom Mini Town

My dad has been building these really cute mini houses and my mom has been helping to decorate the interiors.

Florist shop, school, church, general store . . . I will be taking detailed pictures at some point.

I think my dad is also putting together his train set more and has the houses as a part of the decor 🙂

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Birthday Weekend at Christmas Town!

This weekend, I went to Christmas Town at Busch Gardens with Gary. It was nice chilly weather in the 40’s, perfect for the Christmas feeling.

They had lots of lights and Christmas trees. Each section had different light colour themes. Italy was mostly gold lights, Germany was multi coloured, etc.

We waited in line for a really long time, like an hour to see the penguin ice palace which was basically a few penguins in small pens. So not worth the wait, but everything else was great.

Most of the rides were closed but they did have their new Verbolten roller coaster open which was awesome. It made us want to go back in the spring when all the rides are open 🙂

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Sunday, we went to the Colonial Pancake House for breakfast and then went to historic Jamestown and Yorktown.

At Jamestown, we saw the ships, the Powatan Indian Village, had a long conversation at the armoury with a really knowledgable guy about guns, cannons, etc

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Afterwards we went to Yorktown and saw an artillery demonstration which included a canon demo. Then we learned about what was available medically for the troops, and Gary got his picture with George Washington 🙂

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We saw the homes, kitchen house, tobacco building, and kitchen garden that they actually use and cook over the fire with or dry the vegetables at the kitchen house

It was a really fun trip overall and really nice to spend time with Gary since he has been working a lot lately.

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