Monday, November 26, 2012

Whirlwind Weekend

Well, as you saw from the previous entry, my mom is in town!!! She arrived on Wednesday night and it was fabulous! I was eagerly awaiting her arrival when the taxi driver called me. I figured he wouldn't know how to get to my building exactly since it is on a side street, but I looked out the window at the front of my building and there was a van and a little blonde standing next to it looking around! I flew down the stairs faster than I've gone in a long long time, and into my mommy's arms!

She was pretty out of it since she had been awake for so long, but it was so great to see her! We set up the air mattress pretty quickly and she was out like a light. The next day I had to go to work, but I had her walk with me so I could show her the route. I hoped she wouldn't get lost going back to the apartment, but she made it home alright (although got turned around a little at first). All day I couldn't wait to see her when she came at 5pm to observe a few of my classes. She got there a few minutes late which was okay because my kids are always a little late too. She watched my 2SAP class of the 3 little mischievous girls, and my fantastic amazing 3SAP class that I love so much. It was really fun to have her see what I do.

I was a little nervous at first to actually teach in front of her, but as soon as I relaxed into the flow of the class I didn't feel awkward or nervous much. It was great that my 3SAP class was their usual awesome selves. We had a little Q&A time where they asked my mom some cute, silly questions like "what's your favorite subject?" (they had introduced themselves to her with their favorite subjects), and "where are you from?" It was precious and I loved them for how great they were with her.

That night we went to get dakgalbi (spicy chicken and vegetables stir-fried in front of you). We asked for a little spice, but it was still pretty hot. Mom couldn't hang, but I was proud of myself and powered through. I felt really bad she could barely eat any. We sorted through some of the stuff she brought and I was happily reunited with a few pairs of boots from home and several items of clothing. I'm skimming the brim of everything we did, but Friday we went and got waffles for breakfast (YUM!) then I went to work.

I can use chopsticks with noodles!
After I got off, Mom met me at work and we had Shabu-Shabu (my favorite Asian type of food) and then we went to Myeongdong area and I took her to the place I got a massage a few months ago! I could tell she was a little nervous, but I reassured her that it was good and worth the 18,000W (~$16) for 40 minutes.

We changed into our designated massage clothes and they took us into the same room I was in last time. We were separated a little bit and I kept listening to hear if she was doing okay or was in pain or something. The guy working on me was really good and worked out my knots in my shoulders really well. Once again, they massaged some awkward places aka my gluts! At that point, I worried about mom, wondering if she could deal with it. It's not only awkward but also a little painful.

After our Shabu dinner
When we were finished, we sat up and I looked over at mom. I couldn't read the expression on her face to tell if she enjoyed it. We changed back into our regular clothes and she told me that they worked on her knots really well and it was probably a better massage than some she'd gotten in the states. I think I have to agree! It's not exactly a relaxing atmosphere; it is quiet with nice music, but there's at least a dozen beds in one room and full lighting (although you face down most of the time). But! you do get your knots worked on.

We headed home after that since it was then about 11pm. We caught the subway home and got to bed at a decent time. Saturday morning we got up and had PopTarts (thanks Heather!) and cleaned up the apartment a little bit. It's a small space anyway, and with 2 people it can definitely get cluttered very easily!!

Originally I had planned to put up the Christmas tree Saturday afternoon or late morning and then head out to shop, but we wanted Tab to be able to help with the tree (an essential holiday tradition!) and she wouldn't be able to make it over here til late evening. We decided to go out shopping a little before then. We went to Namdaemun Market in search of Christmas wrapping paper. I looked online for where to go, and we ended up in a stationary store and, while we did not find wrapping paper, we did find some other cool stuff including awesome kitchen utensils.
I chatted with a Korean lady on the subway

After we left that store, called Alpha, I literally turned the corner and saw a wall of wrapping paper. We got a cute roll and some ribbon for 11,000W. With that mission achieved, I got a call from Heather inviting us for Pie Social in the evening. We decide to run back to the apartment to drop off our bags of goodies and get mom's ID to get on base. By the time we did that and got back to the subway, we had to head straight to Hongdae for.... a hair appointment!

Back story: Wednesday before mom got here I was watching the Amazing Spiderman on my computer and I loved Emma Stone's haircut. She was light blonde and had full fringe(bangs). I started thinking "I bet I could rock that haircut..." Long story short, mom assured me that I would look good with anything including a shaved head, I decided to go for a major change and get the full fringe. All day Thursday and Friday at work while I wasn't actually teaching I was searching for the perfect picture to show my hairdresser. Erin, my coworker, recently got full fringe as well and I decided to go to her hairdresser. Well, that brings us to the current point...

I headed to the same place I got my highlights last time armed with a picture of Zooey Deschannel from New Girl and he studied it and nodded affirmatively. I was really nervous and scared that I would look like a little girl, but tried to remain calm. Mom and Tab (who met us there) watched and took a few pictures.

The first cut is the deepest...
After he dried them, I could tell they looked okay but I wasn't completely convinced. It is a totally different look, probably the second biggest change of my hair in my life, second only to cutting it so short in 2009. Honestly, this might even be a bigger change. I've had a side part as long as I can remember with side fringe to accompany it. For the first time, I basically have no part, just fringe and the hair kind of just falls after that. The more I see it, the more I love it.

Anyway, after the haircut, we grabbed a burger at The Joe in Hongdae and then caught a cab to Yongsan Garrison to hang out with Heather and her family and neighbors. I was getting pretty stressed out at that point because we were a little later than I had estimated to Heather and there was traffic and I was also unsure how comfortable of a situation it would be with a group of people we didn't really know.
Before and After

When we got there and got checked in at the visitor gate, we headed to Heather's neighbors house. It was like a little get together and they had a whole dining room table full of desserts, from pumpkin pie to pumpkin trifle to cookie pie to ice cream sundaes. It was absolutely heavenly.

It ended up being an extremely fun time and my worries were all for not, since everyone was so welcoming and friendly. We all seemed to have a great time. Tab and I both took some pumpkin pie home in a to-go container. :D It was like a little slice of normal in my crazy Asian life.

After a few hours, mom and I decided to go Dongdaemun Market to do some night shopping. We took the subway from the base up to the right area and got a few pictures by the traditional gate that marks Dongdaemun (The East Gate). I'd say they are some great pictures!

We walked to the street that had the great sock store I went to a few weeks ago and it was completely deserted! I was flabbergasted! It was a completely different place than when I'd been there a few weeks ago; dark and deserted. I started getting upset because of course I felt like a bad hostess to bring my mom somewhere and it ended up being a total flop. We walked around a little and a few shops were open but nothing compared to normal.

Mom found some leggings with skirts attached that were $18 each. I told her that she can find them for $15. She wanted 2 pairs and asked for 2/$30. The lady said no, and seemed like she didn't want to budge. I shook my head "No" and mom sat and thought for a second. This guy walks over, I assume the woman who is selling us the leggings' husband, and tried to do 2/$33. I firmly shake my head no and start to walk off. He grabs mom's arm and says "okay okay okay! $30!" The woman looks absolutely pissed! But, we got them for $30! I suspect that he only agreed because it was probably a very slow night. I later found out they are plush lined instead of regular like the ones I got for $15. HA! So, we actually got a fantastic deal. LOL

We walked around some more and I just kept getting more and more grumpy. I felt like it was a bust coming there, and felt like I was failing my mom. She also kept wanting to buy me things, and I felt completely guilty for her to spend money on me. I know that sounds silly but I just have this residual guilt from my childhood asking for things, using them one time, and after 7 years sitting in the closet finally donating to GoodWill. I know this is not an uncommon thing for kids, but I just hate the thought of my mom spending more money on me and me not using it. So after she forced me to get some patterned fleece lined leggings, I got very grumpy.

After a quick reality check, I told myself I was being ridiculous and ungrateful, not to mention probably causing my mom to enjoy herself even less than what I assumed from the closed market. I snapped myself out of it somehow, and we visited several cosmetic shops (FaceShop, Nature Republic, Innisfree, etc) and started to have some fun. When we finally decided to get a taxi home, we had some problems finding one. Several passed us by and then there were almost none to be had, we crossed the street and then there was a shortage on that side. After about 20 minutes, I was getting pretty pissed off. One guy stopped and when I told him our destination he said "20,000W!" I responded with an emphatic "NO!" and walked off. This fool was trying to rip me off! It is around 8,000W to get to my apartment from there. FINALLY we got one and he knew where to go thankfully. It ended up being even less than I expected right around 7,500W. We finally fell into bed around 1:30am.

Today, we woke up pretty late and decided not to go on this walking tour I had signed us up for. I was amazed that mom slept so long, since at home she rarely sleeps past 8:30am. She was knocked out until 11am! When I woke her up, we got ready and got waffles again. They are so good! We headed to Myeongdong since when we were there on Friday night we didn't get to look at anything because we were trying to make it for the massage before they closed.

We got there and went in some makeup places and I found some great blush and mom got a marshmallow to apply her BB Cream I gave her. I also got some nude lipstick and an eye-brightening stick. We went in a cute little boutique store and I got some great basics: several long sleeve shirts and sweaters. When mom held up this furry cardigan with a cute tie around it, I tried to imagine myself in it. What came out of my mouth was "Do you think I'd look like a yeti in it...?" We fell into hysterics laughing. Needless to say I put that particular item back.

After a little more browsing around shops, we each got a potato tornado and a coke. It was absolutely wonderful and mom agreed it was fantastic. We went into one of my favorite stores called Kosney and both got some cute little things. When we left that store, we started heading back to the subway.

I saw a poster for eyelash extensions and turned to mom and said "You should do it!" Laughing, we went up the stairs to the little shop and inquired via iPhone translator app. It was 50,000W and lasted a month. I was pretty surprised but Mom said okay! So, I held her hand as she got individual lashed glued on with extreme precision. While she had this done, I played with the lady's puppy which was named Choco (it was a black poodle!) Mom was so brave and I know she was uncomfortable but the end result was amazing. It looked so good!!! Since she had to take off all her eye makeup to have them done, she wouldn't let me take a picture but believe me, they look awesome!

After this, we decided that we should go on a night bus tour of the city with Tab in the evening, instead of putting up the Christmas tree. We had Tab meet us at the subway station where we could catch the bus. We got there pretty early and bought the tickets. When Tab got there, we went to a Mexican restaurant and had sub-par quesadillas and margaritas.

We headed over and got on the tour bus. I was so excited since Tab and I had been talking about doing this for months. We got our little interpretive headphones on and took off. We drove down one side of the Han river ... then down the other. After 14 tracks about bridges, we were all playing games on our phones. It was so boring! We went by Namsan tower, but then it was over. We decided that they should have had much more information about the history and culture of the city and areas we were driving through, rather than every 10 minutes a 30-second clip explaining a bridge and what it "represents".

At that point, we decided to head home since we had been out of the house for about 9 hours. And.... that brings us to the present. I certainly skimmed over a lot of stuff, not going into my usual descriptive detail but it was a jam-packed weekend. It was so great to be with my mom. She really is my best friend and I think that I have impressed her and made her proud. :D I don't want to even think about when she has to leave. I am going to be so depressed and lonely! I am so glad that I have friends like Tab and Heather to cheer me up. And hopefully I will have another visitor sometime relatively soon... :)

the little gem...


  1. Your blog just keeps on amazing me! Totally cool to see your mom and you having a good visit. So, where's the haircut? Is it just the fringe? Or? Pardon me for being curious but you have such lovely hair and I was sort of waiting for the "end" result. Thank you SO MUCH for continuing your blog - I love it! (and I'm being educated in the process - I would love to go to Korea someday)

    1. Well, I just added a before/after so you can see the big difference. I'd say it's pretty different! :)


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