A Seoul-ful New Year

We are in school for most of our youth, which means for most of our youth, we have set vacation times. VACATION IS GOD SEND. I don’t think I necessarily took vacation for granted because summer break and winter break were always fun. But at the end of every summer, there always came a point when I was ready to go back to school. Maybe that’s my inner-nerd, but for whatever reason, each vacation had an expiration date for me.

That is NOT the case anymore. Vacations are so rare and hard to come by beyond school. With that said, I was lucky enough to be able to go back to my family in Seoul for the holidays and New Year. All I did was eat eat eat no matter what.

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If there’s a type of cuisine that isn’t available in Korea or doesn’t quite meet my dad’s standards, his new thing is to casually open a restaurant with whatever is missing. This time, it was Italian. Since the restaurant and pastry shop were due to open early January, the chefs would come over and test menu items on us. It was just soooo annoying and I hated every moment of it………….

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All of a sudden, 2015 had swung around and tapped me in the face. But it was a love tap…from one of my best friends Joey !!!! He’s working in Beijing, so it was a short flight to Seoul and quite the airport reunion. PS, we’re not dating.

How did we spend our time together?? The only way we know how – eating – eating everything that Seoul has to offer. IMG_5010 IMG_5024 IMG_5020 IMG_5077 IMG_5075

Our last night together, my family, some family friends, Joey, and I went to one of my dad’s Japanese restaurants. That night, my dad had asked the chef to prepare blowfish for us. Blowfish is very precious and can be prepared in a number of ways. However, people thought it would be funny to tell me that blowfish is incredibly poisonous, so if I got unlucky, I could quite possibly die. Which is fine. But the death could be a slow one, taking anywhere from four minutes to THREE HOURS. Literally every dish that night had some form of blowfish, whether it was fried, in sashimi form, or even in a lovely soup. Needless to say, I thought of every bite as my last.

Blowfish…in Sashimi form
Fried Blowfish
Steamed Blowfish

It was quite the food marathon, but I would do it all again. I hadn’t seen Joey since June, when I had visited him in his hometown Cincinnati, but to us, it felt like it had been much longer. Time moves very differently beyond school, and it’s not uncommon to see your friends once every year or two rather than every day. Relationships are far more vulnerable to the unpredictable nature of life beyond the security of institutions.

One of the main things I’ve gathered from meeting my friends who aren’t in the vicinity is that things aren’t as they appear. Some people seem like they have it all together, but more often than not, as in 99.9% of the time, they’re struggling. It’s that much more important to make the effort and see the people in your life that you’re truly comfortable around for a quick reminder that you’re human and that you’re remembered and that you’re loved.

With that said, life goes on. We’re growing up, and we’re most certainly going to survive. One of my friends is teaching in France, another is frolicking off to Brazil, and Joey is living in Beijing, traveling all over Asia, while some are at home, spending more time with their family, figuring out what to do. There are so many places to go to and so many different things to do. It’s just a matter of being creative and being just a little bit braver.

Take a breath and choose to be happy 🙂IMG_5007

Am I the worst??!


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