Monday, August 9, 2010

Korean Adventures Part II (of Two)

After coming back to Seoul, my mother and I met up with a family friend we had met in America. Her name was Eun-Jung, but I just called her Unni. Unni had been studying in America for... quite some time now. Hahah, I can't exactly remember when, but I do know that she was here when I was around ten years old. I actually saw her in early July, when I was still in America. It was one of her last visits here and my parents treated her out to dinner. It was hard to talk to her since I couldn't speak Korean and she wasn't really confident in her English skills. For the most part, she can understand what I'm saying, but I guess that she's a bit embarrassed to speak in another language, which I can completely understand.

When we met up, unni had told us about eyelash extensions, and of course, my mother and I were interested. We decided to go where she told us and we proceeded to get them done. The process was relatively painless, but it was indeed freaky. At the end of it, my eyes finally had nice and fluttering lashes. I've never known the feeling before, so it definitely was a nice experience. A few have fallen out since then, but for the most part, they're still intact. They're bound to only last a week or two more. The woman who attached them said that the extensions would last for two months... if I didn't wash my face. Because that isn't completely grimy whatsoever... But so then that was the first day I saw her. My mother had mentioned to her that I REALLY wanted to go to Lotte World, which is an indoor amusement park in Korea. My unni was nice enough to volunteer to take me, even though I don't think she had any particular interest in going. We planned to go together in two days.

But before that, I had lunch with several of my relatives. My little cousin had actually flown in from Shanghai by the time I came back from the extensions place. Her father's work had placed her in China, but she and her mother came back to visit. She definitely looked all grown up, but that might just be because I haven't seen her since I was seven. She actually looked like what I would have imagined. She seems to have taken to the Korean pop culture, and it's definition of beauty and fashion. I thought it would be nice to see her, but she seemed much more involved in her own life. She has friends in Korea, and she wanted to text them, hang out with them, and I don't think she was particularly interested in seeing me. But she was staying with my grandmother as was my mother and I. To celebrate everyone's return, we all went out to a restaurant. I saw my aunt again, but I saw my uncle for the first time, and even my older cousin. We all talked and had a nice time. My mother had to get a bunch of things before we left for the States, so we went to the mall. As we walked there, I managed to talk to my older cousin. She told me she was really sorry that she couldn't really show me around. She was actually an architecture major in the best university in Korea. Seoul University is basically the equivalent of Harvard or Princeton. She really didn't even have time to breathe, so I understood completely. Even though we only talked for about ten minutes, I absolutely loved her. She seemed so friendly and down-to-earth. I wish I could have seen her more, but it was nice knowing that I had such kind relatives. I had hoped that my relationship with my little cousin would be similar, but it really wasn't.

Now that I think about it, I am leaving out a few bit parts here and there, but I figure these posts are absurdly long that I don't need to bore anyone with any more of these irrelevant stories. But now I can talk about something I was looking forward to for the entire trip: Lotte World. This is basically the equivalent of Six Flags in America. The amazing part is that half of it is indoors while the other half is outside. My unni showed me around and took me on all the rides I wanted. This was definitely a great experience, and we were able to talk a lot more than we ever did. I realize now just what a great person she really is, and I'm glad to add more people like that in my life. I got to know more about her and get to know her on a level we really couldn't before. The place was fun, the girl was fun, what more could I ask for? I have to say that I definitely am one of the most dumbest people with no level of common sense whatsoever though. I kept my camera in my pocket on went on this ride called "THE GIANT LOOP". It didn't occur to me that possibly, PERHAPS, my camera might be able to fall out while I'm suspended upside fifty feet in the air. So now I'm left with a disgustingly mangled camera and it's because my stupidity. I don't know how, but the thing still manages to work perfectly fine. I think it's lucky. Or it's like me. It'll function no matter how many times you drop it =D Or at least that's what my parents told me...

And now that brings me to my last day in Korea. Well, next to last to be exact, but it was the last day that I would be able to do anything really. I asked my cousin if she could take me to a club because I always wanted to try that, especially in Korea. She had everything all organized. She took me to a few places beforehand because the club doesn't open until 11pm. She picked me up as soon as she got off work, and we had dinner. The weird thing, the only food that we both really enjoy is Korean BBQ. So of course I had that for about the seventh time in my entire trip. This is absolutely ABSURD since that shiz costs like $80 bucks for two people, but my cousin's always trying to do what's best for me. I seriously can't thank her enough for constantly being considerate of my wishes and what makes me happy. That night, we went to a few bars, had a few drinks, and she showed me the nightlife. I have to say that I'm actually pretty disappointed in myself in that department hahaha. I definitely have a ridiculously low level of tolerance, and I definitely can't drink beer. The taste is absolutely vomit-inducing to my stomach, which I'll never quite understand. I even had a delicioussss apple martini and a few other drinks as the night went on, but I knew I had to stop at three. I hate me and my asian self >.< But back to the clubbing. When it came time to enter the club, it turns out that the police were doing ID checks. I didn't have one on me since I'm from the States, but I still wouldn't be allowed in. The police were actually adamant about the IDs, and it was the first time that they ever did such a thing. Usually, people who didn't look like middle schoolers could just walk in, but it was a special day I guess, full of debauchery that needed to be kept in check. Still, my cousin felt terrible and attempted to show me around other places. I don't think I particularly enjoyed all of the places, but it meant a lot to me that she would go to such lengths when she could've easily called it a night. I actually did have a lot of fun overall, and I think that my birthday was a pretty nice day =)

I definitely should have described that a bit more, but my wickedly tired self is telling me to give up. But I must trudge on. And so it's the final day. I'm leaving. My grandmother and aunt drop my mother and me off at the terminal. I absolutely adore my aunt. I didn't know just how sweet of a person she was until I came this summer. She's also one of those people who just wanted to make sure I was always comfortable and content. I can't even begin to thank her for all she's done. Overall, I have to say that I actually like all of my relatives. They're just so... caring. I don't really have a family environment like that at home. It's just my immediate family in New Jersey, and for once, I felt like I was a part of one of those gigantic family reunions. I was actually really sad that I had to leave them all before really getting to know them, but I know they'll be there when I come back. But it was rough. I started tearing up when my grandmother started leaving. She had this look of genuine despair on her face. She didn't want my mother to go so soon. My mother also started crying. It was just one big sobfest, but we managed to get through it. For now, all I can do is give my best wishes and hope that they're doing okay on the other side of the world.

So, in summarization: I loved my trip, my relatives, and the things I did there. I did become a lot closer with some of them, and I can't wait for the day when I can speak proper Korean and really tell them how much I appreciate their warm atmosphere. But now, I'm back home, and I couldn't be more elated.

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