Monday, October 5, 2009

Autumn's Here



I'm still a little taken-aback to know that this time tomorrow, my mom and dad will be here in Korea - in my wee little apartment, all jet-lagged and stuff. Really hard to believe.

Since coming here back in August of 2007, I've thought about how my family would respond to coming here - being in Asia for the first time with all of its differences. I got a chance to feel something approximating that when our friend, Dee came to stay the following Winter and Spring. It was a welcome, but odd feeling to have those worlds blend. I'm expecting a bit of the same for the rest of this month - starting tomorrow. In a world of Skype, you feel less far away, but having my parents here in person will be something else.

My folks will be here from the 6th until the 28th (my sister's birthday) when they head home. In that time, we'll be spending 6 days in Japan (Kyoto and Hiroshima) and the rest of it will be spent in and around Seoul. There's so much to show them, but I'm going to break them in slowly and let them rest as we go.

I'm really fortunate this year to be in the apartment I'm in. I've got a little loft that could technically sleep 4 (I've done it before), but is perfect for two parents. I've got the place stocked with familiar foods and drinks - as well as a few strange ones. Like I said - break them in slowly. I remember how strange something as simple as kimbap tasted way back when I tried it for the first time. This should serve as a comfy home base for the next few weeks as I know that every step outside will be like walking on an alien terrain for my parents. Fair enough - it was for me too.

I'm going to try to write as often as I can - little updates for the folks back home - so that I can let you all know how mom and dad are doing and what they're seeing as we go along. Wish us luck - so much to see and do, lots of people to introduce them to, and lots of family being together time - at least the family that could be here.

They are coming at the perfect time, too. Autumn in Korea is grand - the weather is just right, and things begin to look more clear. I've been lucky to have a five day weekend over Chuseok - a Korean harvest festival and the biggest holiday of the year for most Korean families. This meant that Seoul emptied of nearly half of its residents over this past weekend. It's the perfect time to explore neighborhoods that are usually so crowded with strangers, but for these five days anyway, have a welcome calm descend upon them.

It's a great time for the following: slosh-ball with the party people, bad wax depictions of Leonardo DiCaprio, lunch with old friends, baseball, picnics in a park, pot-lucks between the palaces, wine and blankets on a Sam Cheong-dong rooftop, a cruise on the Han River and bike ride down the same route days later, "Super Mario Bros." on the viola, Korean celebrity sightings, and a freaky moon-lit climb to the top of a hill over-looking old Seoul with good old "Douglas from the 13th Floor." I hope to show my parents some of these things too. I like Autumn, and I have a feeling that it's going to lead into a pretty decent winter.

See you soon, Ma and Pa.

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