Posts Tagged ‘harabaji’

Hazel is 13 months old

Posted by Greg on July 5th, 2010 with tags: , , , ,

A couple days ago Hazel crossed over the 13 month mark…and her 13th month was definitely a month of action. Hazel still isn’t walking on her own, but she is crawling, standing, walking while holding on to furniture, and her new favorite: walking while holding our hands. The month started off with a bang with our trip to Virginia for my brother’s wedding.

The weekend after we got back from the wedding we kept the momentum going by traveling to LA for a 4 day trip to see Yenari’s father who traveled from Korea for a business trip. Yenari’s father was quite busy with work, but we were still able to spend quite a bit of time with him. We met him at the airport on Sunday and spent just about the whole day with him.

Eating in K-Town with Harabaji

Eating in K-Town with Harabaji

Yenari’s father probably spent half his time with us watching Hazel while we ate – I wonder if he even had a chance to eat anything the whole time. We had a terrific Korean BBQ dinner at Chung Dam Korean BBQ and a reprise of the awesome spicy crab soup we’ve had on our last few trips to LA at Ondal 2.

Eating in K-Town with Harabaji

Here’s a short video of Hazel ‘walking’ with her grandfather and Yenari:

Hazel walking with some help from Mom and Grandpa from Greg Neustaetter on Vimeo.

We had a great time seeing Yenari’s father again – Hazel definitely remembered him from our Korea trip and quickly rekindled her friendship with him. One of the things that Hazel started doing while we were in LA and that she’s continued doing every….few seconds, is to ask for things. She does this by putting her hands together:


She does this whenever she wants anything – food, toys, us, dogs, and even when she sees other kids out in public. It is totally cute but grows a little old when it happens every ten seconds or so. What doesn’t grow old is her bowing when she gets what she was asking for. Yenari taught her this when she was teaching her to ask for things, ‘Chusayo’ in Korean. Here’s a quick video of Hazel asking for something and bowing once she gets it:

The rest of the month was definitely more low-key…no more traveling for us, but we’ve still been busy trying to keep up with Hazel. Here are a couple other photos from the rest of the month:

Swimming in LA


Fun with cantaloupe

Playing at the park

Playing at the park

Playing at the park

Hazel's new car!

Hazel's new car!


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:






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


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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Korea Trip Part I

Posted by Greg on March 29th, 2010 with tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

This past Thursday we embarked on an almost three week trip to Korea to visit with Yenari’s family.  We were worrying about the flight since its a long one – around 12 hours plus a few more in airport waiting, customs, waiting for bags, and driving both ways – but Hazel did great on the flight.  She didn’t sleep much, but she was in mostly good spirits.  We lucked out with a seat in the first row of our section so Hazel had her own little bassinet to hang out in:

Overjoyed with the airplane's bassinet

We had to keep a close watch on her since her idea of fun was to attempt leaping out of the bassinet to play with us. Most of the time she spent on our laps while we tried to entertain her while watching movies. Yenari plopped Hazel in front of the TV and put the headset on her to see how she would react and she was transfixed – we’d never seen her act that way in front of the TV. It was a Korean cartoon and Hazel shrieked out in excitement whenever the shark came on the screen.

Transfixed by Pororo (Korean cartoon)

Once we made our way to Seoul and then through immigration, baggage claim, and customs we were greeted by Yenari’s very excited parents. Yenari’s mom was with us in California for the first four weeks of Hazel’s life, but hadn’t seen her since…and Yenari’s father had met her yet. Yenari’s father was a little worried because Hazel is very fearful of strangers (and particularly men), but she only gave him a healthy level of caution and didn’t freak out too much. Here’s their first meeting in the airport:

First meeting of grandpa, reunion with grandma

Since it was about dinner time, we went straight to a restaurant and met up for dinner with Yenari’s brother who was also meeting Hazel for the first time. Yenari’s dad continued his courtship of Hazel – trying to feed her and carry her around the restaurant…this courtship was successful at times and cry-inducing at others, but it was a start. Yenari’s father is a very energetic guy and this energy scared Hazel off for the first day or so, but Yenari gave him some advice to start slow and build up to his full energy level over time as she begins to trust him. Now, after a couple days, Hazel seems to be quite comfortable with him and sits happily on his lap and lets him carry her around. Here’s her father feeding Hazel at that first dinner:

Grandpa feeding

After dinner we headed back to Yenari’s parents house and Yenari’s brother picked up Yenari’s grandmother to meet Hazel. Here she was kind of assaulted by love and affection…something that was a bit overwhelming for Hazel and resulting in a bit of a meltdown. We went to bed soon after and slept well, though Hazel woke up at an early 5am and turned the scenario around for Yenari’s parents by showing them what it feels like to try to play when you’re tired!

A little later in the morning we went with Yenari’s mom to bring Yenari to the salon – Yenari likes getting her hair cut a lot more in Korea than the US because they understand Korean hair better here. Yenari had recently trimmed Hazel’s bangs very unsuccessfully and Yenari’s hair dresser saw it and couldn’t resist giving Hazel a bit more of a trim to straighten things out. Here she is with Yenari’s friend Eulji who joined us at the salon:

with Eulji

While this was happening Yenari was busy being attacked by a ceiling-dwelling-robotic-octopus…or at least that’s what it appeared to be:

Attack of the alien octopus robot

Attack of the alien octopus robot

Later that afternoon we went over to Yenari’s Doyoung house – Doyoung is Yenari’s friend from middle school and high school and she and her husband have an almost 2 year old boy who we were meeting for the first time:

Meeting Doyoung and Daehyun

By this time I was somewhat zonked from the jet lag, but everyone happily chatted while I passed out on the couch. I’m pretty much caught up now, but the first two days were a bit rough.

Yenari’s mom and brother picked us up from Doyoung’s house and we went to pick up her father who had been on a day trip for business to Sunchun. While in Sunchun, Yenari’s father called to a restaurant called to a restaurant to get the famous Gwanyang Bulgogi – he didn’t have enough time to go to the restaurant, so he asked the owner to bring a cooler full of bulgogi (an order for 15 people!) to the bus station. Yenari’s dad didn’t want to cook it at home, so he called a BBQ restaurant where you cook at the table and asked if we could bring our own beef to cook – kind of bizarre, but they were okay with it. The bulgogi was incredible, nothing like the bulgogi we get in Santa Clara, LA, or anywhere else in the US. We also order some beef sashimi – raw beef marinated in pear, garlic, onions, sesame oil, and green onions. Here’s the family:

Bulgogi BBQ

and here’s Hazel passed out – I wasn’t alone is suffering from jet lag:

Passed out at dinner

Eventually we made it through almost all of the food…so the 5 of us ate about 13 servings of the bulgogi plus 2 orders of the beef sashimi. This was definitely some serious eating…the rest of the evening is a blur due to the beef intoxication!

The big event for Sunday was Yenari’s cousin Youngjoon’s wedding. We lucked out in having a family wedding while we were here – it gave us a chance to see lots of extended family without having to drive all of Seoul and the surrounding area to meet people. The wedding was also a new experience for most of us because it was a Korean traditional wedding – something that is very rare – both Yenari and her mother had never been to one in person. Yenari’s grandmother came over before the wedding and played with Hazel – she was in a much better mood this time and had a blast with her great grandmother:

with her great grandmother and a Louis Vuitton bag

The wedding was at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul and was held outdoors. Here are some photos of the ceremony:

Yenari's cousin Youngjoon's traditional wedding

Yenari's cousin Youngjoon's traditional wedding

Yenari's cousin Youngjoon's traditional wedding

Yenari's cousin Youngjoon's traditional wedding

Yenari's cousin Youngjoon's traditional wedding

Yenari's cousin Youngjoon's traditional wedding

Hazel was well behaved during the ceremony and didn’t scream out or anything like that. After the wedding she was mobbed by extended family members who wanted to meet her, hold her, and snap pictures of her. We saw Yenari’s grandfather (who we had seen recently in California) and I met Yenari’s aunt Jihae and her uncle Sungtae – both of whom I hadn’t met – now I’ve met all of Yenari’s mother’s siblings. The reception was very different from that of an American wedding – it was a no nonsense eat your food and get out of there situation – no dancing, music, or anything like that. We enjoyed our meal and then headed home.

We finished off the eating for the day by treating Yenari’s parents, brother, and grandmother to a dinner at a Chinese restaurant. I lost count after a while, but Yenari just counted out at least 7 courses. So, this was definitely a continuation of the massive food quantities we seen at just about every meal. I bet I’ll gain around 10 pounds if this eating style continues. Aside from the food, my favorite thing about this restaurant was that the brick wall was painted with a series of greater that life size paintings of Bruce Lee! No Bruce Lee photo here, but one of Yenari and her mom kissing Hazel instead:

Kisses from mom and grandmother

When we got home to Yenari’s parents house they brought out Hazel’s early first birthday present, a beautiful wooden block house from Soopsori, a Korean company that makes toys entirely out of wood…and entirely out of wood it is – even the screws and screw driver used to assemble the house are made of wood. Everyone was busy playing with the the little animals, appliances, and the house:

Wooden toy house - early b-day present

A great present that we can’t wait to get home with us!

We’ve had a great time so far in Korea and are really looking forward to the rest of our time here. This post is way too long already so I’ll hold off on covering today’s events, but will do my best to keep this up to date….

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