Archive for April, 2010

Korea Trip Part IV: Yenari Loves Chicken Wings

Posted by Greg on April 22nd, 2010 with tags: , , , , ,

If Yenari were going to rank the three things she loves most in this world, the list would be something like the following:

  1. Hazel
  2. Chicken Wings
  3. Me

I’ve tried to move up in the rankings (since I used to be number two before Hazel was born) but it’s really a lost cause.  At the top of Yenari’s list for chicken wings are Korean chicken wings.  While there are good Korean wing joints near us in Santa Clara, and other places Yenari has chowed down on in LA and New York, for the real deal you’ve got to get your Korean chicken wings in Korea.  So Yenari was pretty pumped about eating some chicken wings on our trip.

After a dinner one night with some family friends, Yenari asked her brother to pickup some chicken wings for her at one of the top spots in Seoul, Kyochon Chicken.  Despite having eaten a full dinner already, Yenari ate almost the whole box of chicken wings but couldn’t quite finish them off.  Fully satisfied with her midnight snack of chicken wings Yenari passed out for the night.

The next morning she spotted the left over chicken on the table.  Normally Yenari is very conscious of germs and proper food handling, but unfortunately her love of chicken wings blinded her and she ate the remaining chicken wings.  Before doing this she asked her mom if it was ok, and she said yes.  I caught her midway through the feast and asked her if it was a good idea to eat chicken that had been sitting out all night and she said ‘my mom said its ok’.  Not one to get in the way of Yenari’s love of chicken (kind of like stealing food from a hungry dog) I let it go and she finished off the food.

She was doing ok for a while, but had a bit of a stomach ache around lunch time….not enough to prevent her from eating beef soup at lunch, but enough to slow her down a bit.  We took a big family nap (me, Yenari, and Hazel) for a couple hours after lunch and upon waking up Yenari felt fairly awful.  After a bit she threw up and was definitely not feeling great.  Yenari’s mom wanted her to go to the hospital/doctor, but Yenari was refusing to go, saying that it was a stomach thing and there isn’t really anything the doctors can do about it – only time and fluids really help.

It was approaching dinner time, and we already had plans to have dinner with the whole family – Yenari’s dad was leaving work early and her brother was driving the hour from where he lives to meet us at a bulgogi restaurant.  Yenari’s parents decided that we should go without her, but right as we were leaving Yenari threw up again and Yenari’s mom decided to stay at home with Yenari and Hazel.  I offered to stay at home instead, but they insisted that I go out to dinner with Yenari’s father and brother.

So we went to eat and were enjoying our meal while Yenari was at home with her mom and Hazel.  About halfway through the meal Yenari’s dad got a call from Yenari’s mom and then said he was going home because they were bringing Yenari to the hospital and they needed help with Hazel, but that I should finish eating with Yenari’s brother and that everything was fine.  I assumed, from what Yenari’s father said, that Yenari’s mom had convinced her to go to the doctor, but the real story was somewhat different…

At home, Yenari started feeling worse and worse.  She had puked a number of times and she had been breastfeeding Hazel all day, so she was very dehydrated.  Yenari’s mom was playing with Hazel in her room so Yenari went to be with them in her mothers room.  She was lying there, zoned out, sipping on water…when she had to make another trip to the bathroom and basically was in a passed out / delusional state….she was sweating, having palpitations, was feeling lightheaded,  had numbness and tingling in her arms and legs, and blurred vision.  She asked her mom for water, but she didn’t want to let her drink it in the bathroom because that isn’t sanitary (but eating unrefrigerated chicken is?).

Finally Yenari asked her mom to call the Korean equivalent of 911 (which is 119 in Korea) – Yenari’s mom called Yenari’s dad first (the call I heard but couldn’t understand due to a slight issue of not understanding Korean) who said yes, call 911.  An ambulance came, the paramedics came into the apartment and brought her out on a gurney (after asking whether she was just drunk), and Yenari, her mom, and Hazel were driven away in the back of an ambulance, sirens ablast.

When Yenari’s brother and I finally finished the multi-course meal that Yenari’s father had ordered (and commanded us to finish) we started over to the hospital, but a few minutes away from getting there Yenari’s dad called and asked us to go back to the apartment and pickup Yenari’s glasses which she had left at home – it seemed odd that Yenari would have left them, but I didn’t think too much of it.  We drove the 10 minutes back home and another 15 back to the hospital….which was a real hospital, something I totally wasn’t expecting.  I was expecting something like urgent care, but this was a major hospital and we were heading into the emergency room.

Yenari’s father saw us coming in and directed us over to Yenari, lying in bed with an IV in her arm.  I was shocked as I had no idea she was actually that sick and that no one had told me!  She was obviously pissed off that I was coming so much later and asked very sarcastically if I had enjoyed my dinner!  She was actually feeling a lot better by then since she had been given some fluids.  The dangerous part was over, but they still attached an EKG and tested her heart – since Yenari is a nurse in a cardiac unit she was more than interested in interrogating all of the doctors and nurses on the results.  Here’s the happy chicken wing victim in the hospital:

Yenari in the hospital after the chicken wing incident

Yenari’s mom wouldn’t admit that the chicken wings were the cause and was looking for other potential causes, but we all knew that the chicken wings were to blame.  After her final tests were over we all headed home and Yenari finished off the evening drinking Powerade, Pocari Sweat (a Korean drink like Powerade), and water.  The next day Yenari was feeling much better and by dinner time was eating kimchi and pickled crab.

As a result of this two things happened:

  1. Yenari’s mom started putting everything in the fridge – even cookies made it in there, and soon the fridge was just about overflowing
  2. Yenari doesn’t like chicken wings anymore

So, on the positive side of things I’m back to #2 on Yenari’s list.  With chicken wings out of the way I’m right behind Hazel on the things Yenari loves.  I’m sure chicken wings will make their return on the list, but for now I’m enjoying my spot on the list!

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Korea Trip Part III: Jeju Island

Posted by Greg on April 10th, 2010 with tags: , , , , , , ,

After our first week in Korea it was time for a vacation within a vacation – a four day weekend trip to Jeju Island – Jeju is a volcanic island off the southern coast of Korea that is a popular travel spot for Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese…it’s kind of like the Hawaii of Korea. We headed to Jeju with Yenari’s parents and grandmother on a short 50 minute flight from Seoul.

We got our rental car, a three row mini-van, and Yenari’s father assumed the role of tour guide for the duration of our trip. On the way out of the main town we stopped at a supermarket to pickup some food, and then at the public market – a crazy place – to pick up some abalone. Check out the massive scallops next to the abalone:

Jeju public market

On the way to our hotel on a drive through the center of the island we stopped at big volcanic crater to take a look. Yenari’s parents and grandmother watched Hazel (which they did at countless spots in the trip) while we made our way to look around. The area was covered with magma everything – from the rocks lining the stairs up to the crater to the roofs of the surrounding buildings:

Magma rock roof

We continued onto Royalville – our hotel that was a modern condo-like setting right on the ocean with 3 bedrooms, and living room, and kitchen:

Our hotel/apartment at Royalville in Jeju Island

That night Yenari’s father prepared the abalone three ways: sashimi, pan-fried, and as a part of a rice porridge – all were excellent. This trip was the first extended period of time that Hazel had with her great grandmother…and they became great friends. Here’s Hazel sitting between her great grandmother and her grandfather at breakfast the next morning:

Breakfast buffet!

The next day we spent primarily driving around the island and checkout out the shoreline and the waterfalls pouring local streams and rivers into the ocean:

At the waterfalls of Jeju Island

At the end of the day we headed to the Jeju airport to pickup Yenari’s friend Eulji who joined us for just over 24 hours – but an action-packed 24 hours – on Jeju. In those 24 hours we did a lot of eating, climbing, fishing, swimming, and sight seeing. A couple photos:

Yenari and Eulji at the Shineville pool

Yenari and Eulji catching fish at the same time

Great grandmother caught one!

View of Jeju from Seongsan Ilchulbang after climbing up 30 minutes

Swimming in the Shineville pool with the fam and Eulji

Swimming in the Shineville pool with Eulji

We made a number of trips to that swimming pool at our hotel and Hazel started to enjoy it quite a bit at the end. She was a bit scared in the beginning and definitely didn’t like any water getting on her face, but she had fun with everyone carrying her around the pool, splashing water, and playing in an inner-tube:

Swimming in the Shineville pool

It was a great trip – so many beautiful things to see, great things to eat, but more importantly we had such a good time with Yenari’s parents, grandmother, and Eulji. Hazel formed a real bond with both her great grandmother and her grandfather and everyone took their turns in playing with her. She was so excited and pumped that she wouldn’t nap or sleep well…so she just partied until she crashed:

Exhausted

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Korea Trip Part II: Catching up with friends

Posted by Greg on April 6th, 2010 with tags: , , , , , ,

Our first week in Korea was mostly spent meeting up with Yenari’s friends from middle school and high school, spending time with family, and eating!

We started off the week on Monday picking up Yenari’s grandfather who was set to leave for Thailand the next day – he lives part-time in Korea, part-time in Thailand, so it was great to see him again (after the wedding the previous day).  We all headed to Yenari’s father’s office and met up with him to go to a nearby sushi restaurant for lunch. He are a couple of us eating the feast:

Sushi lunch with the fam

and Yenari’s father keeping Hazel occupied – but Hazel did the reverse – she kept him so occupied he didn’t really get a chance to eat anything:

Sushi lunch with the fam

Next we headed up to Yenari’s father’s office at the Korean Creative Content Agency, a government agency that promotes Korean culture overseas, with a focus of Korean music, movies, tv, animation, and video games – they do both promotion overseas and give grants to Korean content producers to allow them to finance their efforts. Up in his office, Hazel spent her time pretending that she was the boss:

In Yenari's father's office

His office was great for kids and much more fun that the average office since it was filled with stuffed animals, action figures, and posters from various things he’s worked on. The bottom floor even had a full Pucca Exhibition – here a couple shots from our visit:

At the Pucca exhibition in Yenari's father's office

At the Pucca exhibition in Yenari's father's office

At the Pucca exhibition in Yenari's father's office

It was a great little excursion of spending time with Yenari’s family, eating great food, and seeing a cool exhibit. On the way back to Yenari’s parents apartment we stopped so that both of u could get new glasses, and while waiting Hazel read the paper with her grandmother:

Reading the paper with grandma

The next day was a busy day – we first went to lunch with Jooyoung, one of Yenari’s high school buddies, at an American themed restaurant (though it wasn’t actually so American!). Yenari had a great time catching up with her, but Hazel was a bit cranky so I was busy walking her around the restaurant and getting her to sleep – in all the excitement was forgot to get a picture with Jooyoung. After spending a couple hours with her at the restaurant Jooyoung gave us a ride to Doyoung’s house so we could spend more time with her.

It was a nice day so we went out on a walk with Doyoung and her almost two year old boy Daehyun. As we were walking Doyoung spotted one of her son’s favorite places – a mini amusement park / restaurant aimed at 2-4 year olds called Chiro & Friends (who are cartoon characters in Korea). Hazel was a bit too young to fully enjoy all that they had to offer, but that didn’t stop her from having an awesome time – here are some photos:

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The kids weren’t the only ones playing – here are Yenari and Doyoung showing off their architectural work:

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We ate some good food there and then paid the extra fees for spending more than the two hours that came with the price of admission. The three hours we spent there were a blast!

The next night we met up with another of Yenari’s high school friends, Sanghee. Sanghee went to school in San Francisco a couple years ago, so I know her too. Here are the girls, catching up at an Italian restaurant in the middle of downtown Ilsan:

Catching up with Sanghee

And…last, on the list for this week was Daehyun’s 2nd birthday on Thursday. We met up with Doyoung and Daehyun for some lunch and then headed back to their place to help prepare the decorations for the party. Hazel had fun with all of the people giving her attention, and Yenari had fun spending more time with Doyoung and seeing Jiyoung, another high school buddy. Somewhere in the midst of decorating Hazel caught on to crawling – not a traditional crawl yet, but she can make her way across a room to where she wants to get, so she’s dangerous now! Here are some photos from the party:

Yenari with highschool buddies Doyoung and Jiyoung

At Daehyun's birthday party

Daehyun's 2nd birthday!

All in all, a great first week in Korea!

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