We had a slow start on Day Six because we were exhausted from running around and still fighting serious jetlag! 엄마 Omma came home from work that morning with a huge box of Dunkin for our breakfast — what a treat!
She took every single one out of the box and made us try a bite of each. The first one in the picture above was labeled an “American donut” at the store so she was sure to buy it for us. “어때? Eoddae How about it?,” she asked, feeding us bites. “Uhhh…,” Whitney hesitated, touched by the gesture but wanting to spit out the tasteless dough. 엄마 Omma tried a bite, “맛없네 Madeopnae Disgusting!” she exclaimed.
We had rented a wifi egg from Incheon Airport for our visit — which by the way we highly recommend! — but the device was malfunctioning after breakfast. Whitney couldn’t get the lights to stop flashing so she brought it out to 아빠 Appa. “좀 이상해 Jom isanghae…” she tried to explain, “It’s a little strange…” She gestured and he understood. She needed to try to get a pin to hit the tiny reset button at the bottom. All week, 엄마 omma’s hair clips had been sitting out on the counter, ready for 성배 Seong-bae’s wedding, now just two days away. It’s a big event for the parents and almost surely she’d spent a few days shopping around for the perfect accessories to match her 한복 hanbok. Without a thought, 아빠 Appa grabbed one and pulled the pin back. Whitney could only mutter, “Ummm…” because he was so fast bending the metal back and shoving it in the reset button. 엄마 Omma turned around and saw him and totally freaked. “야 YAHHHH!!!,” she shrieked. Whitney jumped out of her skin, even though she had been expecting that exact response. 아빠 Appa grinned and handed the now-functioning wi-fi egg back to Whitney, who turned and ran away to her room while 아빠 Appa took his scolding from 엄마 Omma.
We got our butts in gear and headed out to visit 남산 N서울타워 Namsan Seoul Tower. We purposely waited til late afternoon to go so that we could see it in both daylight and nighttime, even though we’d both visited before.
Pro-tip: Guys, be sure to use the bathroom at the top of the tower! We’ve never posted a picture of a urinal before (and probably won’t again) but Lee wanted to show Whitney what it was like in there. He said it’s like peeing on top of the world!
At the top of the tower, they had a little post office set up, which was the cutest thing! You could buy postcards and postage there to send to your family and friends. We thought this was a fun, unique souvenir so we wrote cards to mail back to our family and friends in the States. We even sent one to ourselves! We ended up beating the postcards back (they arrived about 1.5 weeks after we got home) but it was still fun to do.
And, of course, we had to do a love lock to add to the millions that already exist at the base of the tower! Whitney had the idea to write one side in English and the other in Korean. We showed 엄마 omma and 아빠 appa the pictures afterwards and 엄마 omma said Whitney’s Korean handwriting needs work. She can’t catch a break! (We’ll be writing more on this complicated relationship in the future.)
On our way home, Whitney found a subway vendor selling this bag of gold:
Many of you know that honey butter is all the rage in Korea these days and these chips are impossible to find! They are sold out everywhere! What luck to happen upon a bag!
When we got back to the house, 아빠 Appa and 성배 Seong-bae were getting ready to sit down to dinner. We sat down with them to recap the day and show them pictures. Whitney pulled out the bag of Honey Butter Chips and 성배 Seong-bae‘s face lit up. We tore it open to try a bite. (They were good, a hint of cheesiness, but not exactly what we were expecting. We more prefer the readily available Honey Butter Almonds!) As is Korean culture, you need lots of food and beverage for a family meal together. Since 엄마 Omma was at work, Whitney had to play tiger mom. She pulled out the 김치 kimchi, cut up the pears and set out the tangerines. We sat together and talked and laughed late into the night. 성배 Seong-bae asked us about American sports, especially football, and we asked about Korean wedding culture. We talked about 삼성 Samsung TVs and why Koreans don’t like to eat apples at night (“bad for digestion, you will have a stomachache in the morning”) and shared millions of pictures. It was the perfect end to a low-key day.
Day Seven was a Saturday so we were able to meet up with our cousin who was off work for the day. 소망 So-Mang is an engineer at 현대 Hyundai and works her tail off! Whitney had asked if she could help her get her nails done before the wedding, so we headed off towards 숙대 Sookmyung Women’s University area.
After nails and some shopping, we went to lunch.
We ate some delicious 삼겹살 samgyupsal and then 소망 So-mang asked if we had ever tried this different type of 불고기 bulgogi that is famous in that area (pictured immediately above). We can’t remember what it’s called! Do any of our readers know?
After a much-needed afternoon nap, we were somehow hungry again. We had 현배 Hyun-bae call in some delivery for us: jjajangmyeon 짜장면 and tangsuyuk 탕수육! We knew this was one of 성배 Seong-bae‘s favorite meals, but we realized just how much we loved it when we didn’t even have to tell the restaurant our address. We just said the “key shop house” (아빠 Appa’s locksmith shop) and they knew exactly who we were.
We had to burn off some calories, so we headed towards 동대문 Dongdaemun.
Have you seen the amazing flower light display? By some reports, there are 20,000 lights! It was so pretty at night.
And of course, we did some sightseeing and shopping!
When we got back to the house, Whitney was surprised to see a gift in their room. 성배 Seong-bae came in and explained that it was from his fiancee. She felt sorry she couldn’t spend more time with us (which, of course, we understood considering it was her wedding week and she was still moving her things to their new house!), so she wanted to offer a gift. We were so touched by the gesture! Whitney had mentioned to her that she wanted to buy some Korean beauty supplies so 언니 Unni bought her a huge gift box full of Nature Republic!
This was 현배 Hyun-bae‘s last night of break before he had to report back for military duty, so we pulled a re-do of the night before and stayed up eating and drinking together. We went into our bedroom and shut the door so as not to disturb the rest of the house and had a party. We laughed and cried and talked about fun things and difficult, sad things. We dreamed about our hopes for the future and shared about hard times from our family’s past. Somewhere along the way, 현배 Hyun-bae mentioned how this “always happens.” And he was right! We had forgotten that all of our best talks happened like this, in this very same room. The weekend they first met, five years previously, Whitney and 현배 Hyun-bae stayed up all night laughing and crying and pouring their hearts out. Since then, a few things had changed, our family had grown, but the sentiment was still the same.
Before we knew it, it was after 4am and we had to be up for the wedding in 4 hours!
Next up…wedding day!
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