Monday, February 18, 2013

Dad in Seoul

Why is it so hard to stay focused when you have a ton of work to do?! It's ridiculous! I just finished going through round four of thesis statements, but I still need to finish grading quizzes, entering extra credit, and answering emails. Those are just the things that I have to have done for school tomorrow. Yet, here I am, procrastinating. I have forbidden myself to look at Facebook or Pinterest on my school laptop for the last few weeks. I was starting to look way too much like my students as I flipped through spaces without even thinking.

About a week after Gretchen came through Seoul, it was my dad's turn. His layover was a bit more extended--by about 6 days. We were so excited to have him here! The only downside was that we were back in school by the time he came.

I actually had to work the day he arrived, and thought I tried to get the day off, we ended up having four people out of the high school for the first few weeks after the break. Needless to say, our one substitute was not going to be able to cover for me!

Eric was still able to get the day off, so he went to meet Dad. Because he had a longer stay (but still arrived around 6 am), we let him come into town on his own via the subway. I never really understood the whole story, but I know that they were meeting in the station where Dad had to transfer. I know that they both waited for a long time because for some reason they did not cross paths immediately. I'm still confused as to what happened there, but it worked out.

The three boys headed to a nearby jjimjilbang (remember my first experience with that?). They missed out on the actual hot tubs because they couldn't find them, so their experience was lacking that essential element, but there was still a lot to check out. Eric will have to go back another time.

I had the next day off, so Cade and I took Dad to school to check out our classrooms, the campus, and meet a few teachers and students. Then we took him to one of our favorite "fast food" places: a Turkish restaurant with great hummus, chicken kebab, and naan. (Who wouldn't come to Seoul for Turkish food?!)

Our next stop was the Seoul City Tour bus stop in Itaewon. We've only been on the tour a couple of times, so we couldn't remember exactly where the stop was. Eric was pretty sure it stopped outside the Starbucks (thankfully, I at least knew that it was the one near Noksapyeong, not Itaewon station). So, we headed to Starbucks to warm up and watch for the bus.

We waited and waited. I tried asking people and no one spoke enough English to help me. Eventually, we saw the bus coming. As it passed right by us in the left lane, we quickly realized we were not near the stop! We chased it down the street, but we definitely did not make it in time! It turns out it stops opposite the Hamilton Hotel. Good to know for the future.

So, we had another 20-30 minutes to wait for the bus. Keep in mind it was below freezing! Eventually, we made it onto the bus. It was so stinking crowded that there wasn't a seat for Dad to sit and listen to the tour (which you know was killing him!). The only benefit to the crowd, was that they couldn't ask us to pay!

We stopped at the Namsangol Hanok Village first (it was so warm the last time we were there!). It is different in the winter when they have ice sculptures of the hanoks, in addition to the real thing.

Dad and Cade enjoyed the challenge of trying to get these long darts into tall, thin cylinders--a traditional Korean game that I cannot name.

After about an hour, we headed back to the bus stop and some Koreans that were waiting with us shared their red bean fish-shaped pastries (bungeoppang) with us.

Our next stop was Seoul Tower, of course. I think this is about the sixth time we've been there, and I think we have reached the tower about six different ways now! It looked about the same to Cade and I as it always has!

Since we had yet to pay for our tour, we didn't feel guilty jumping off at the Hyatt and cutting our tour short. It was getting later and colder by the minute, and we had already had a pretty full day!

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