Friday, January 31, 2014

An American Family In Seoul

A year ago at Christmas, Mia Sorella and Jay announced that they were engaged. Plans immediately started to figure out when the wedding would actually be -- and possibly more importantly, where. After a fair bit of discussion, they decided to go with a traditional Korean wedding first, followed by an American wedding (or at least a reception) when they got moved to the States. We started budgeting and planning for a spring trip to Korea ... and then Jay suggested they just get on with it and at some point in the summer Mia Sorella emailed and asked, "What about a Christmas trip to Korea?"

So it was that I found myself in Denver a couple days before Christmas and on a plane on Christmas morning.

We were all flying at the same time, Shorty and I on one plane and the 'rents on another. We landed first, had a rather joyful reunion with Janette and Jay, and after some desperately needed chicken and beer grabbed Mom and Dad and headed home.

With that, we had done it. We'd all gathered in a foreign country. We'd had exactly one family vacation since we'd all hit high school (and that was eight years ago) but now we'd managed to find our way to Korea.

Of course, the fun was just beginning.

This is my ridiculously adorable feline niece, Chamkay.
The first two days were all about family time and wedding prep. Priorities, of course -- we had our own Christmas morning right away, complete with stockings and cinnamon rolls.

And then the fun started. First, we had to get fitted for our rented hanbok for the wedding.

And maybe do some shopping.

And of course ... eat more.

Then it was off to Incheon...

... to have dinner with Jay's family.

One job I never want: dishwasher in a Korean restaurant.

The second day was all about relaxation. 

Some wandering ...

... and then we were off to a jjimjilbang.

For those that don't click on that link, a jjimjilbang is a Korean spa. In this case, it was a spa that could never be found if you weren't looking for it hidden amongst office buildings and shops.

I have no pictures from the spa. For a couple of reasons. (a) I didn't bring my camera along, and (b) you spend most of the time naked, and this just isn't that kind of blog.

Mia Sorella had requested this long before we got there and I have to admit, I was ... hesitant. The thing is, there are enough stares when you're a random American in Seoul without introducing nudity to the equation. However, the spa -- with a long, hot shower (after all, we were six people in a small apartment -- not a lot of hot showers to be had there), a series of hot tubs including one that was refreshingly minty, saunas for those who wanted one, and some time just spent kicking back -- ended up being a highlight of the trip.

And remarkably un-awkward. Mostly.

We grabbed some coffee nearby ...

.... and then the three of us girls went out for manicures. Before long, we were chatting around some beverages and preparing for the wedding the next day.

(To be continued)

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