Archive | August, 2011

Fam Fam Goes to Thailand

29 Aug

alternative titles:

National Lampoon’s Thailand Vacation

Beer & Whining in Thailand

Epic Tans and Other Meltdowns

Summer vacation came not a moment too soon: I had been itching to travel, needing to catch up on sleep, and downright desperate to see my family.  And I also wanted to go to Thailand.  And lucky for me, it all came together. . . .just a day later than we planned.

Our vacation started off as they always do – with an epic airport meltdown.  This one was caused by American Airlines, who delayed a 40-minute flight to Chicago, which ended up setting our trip back an entire day.  While this hardly effected me, my family added some extra travel time to a 20-hour trip.

Luckily their spirits were boosted when they finally arrived in Seoul, and had a reunion with their favorite daughter. (me)  Seeing the family in Seoul, for the first time in 11 months, was surreal, emotional, and completely normal all at the same time.  Eric said it best when he just hugged me and said “It’s really been too long.”  Yeah, it has.  We spent the day killing time in the airport (due to the monsoon outside), which was surprisingly fun because: 1) the airport is really, really nice and has free wifi and 2) we were reunited.

Killing time at the airport, while regressing into the children we are

We arrived in Phuket at night, found a beautiful hotel, and promptly went to sleep.

Relaxing in Phuket

Bright and early the next day we took a taxi, then a 2-hour ferry to Kho Phi Phi, the island where we would be staying for the next 5 days.

And the next week consisted of:  swimming, tanning, napping, relaxing, eating, massages, fish pedicures, catching up, gossiping, drinking, complaining, laughing at each others’ expenses, Eric doing his summer homework, shopping, and even a bit of kayaking.

The second time fish have eaten my feet this year

It was a perfectly relaxing vacation.  There was no schedule, and no “have-to’s”.  And the landscape was truly stunning – words just sound silly trying to describe something that didn’t even look real.  Turquoise ocean interrupted by jutting cliffs, and untouched jungle. . . well it’s not something our little Kansas fam took lightly. (as evidenced by our pictures, most of which don’t have people in them, and our myriad Jurassic Park jokes)

Sigh

Low tide

We all took a much-needed break from real life and just relaxed together.

Nights that start with buckets. . .

. . .end in 3-hour, hilariously honest and insightful conversations between siblings (but we really missed you Ben & Mandy!)

The Dean Takes a Holiday

Practicing our water ballet while making fun of the other guests

We also relaxed back into our familiar patterns, as only families can do.  That means: my dad asks any question that pops into his head then half-heartedly listens to the answer, my mom tries to stay positive until she has enough and goes swimming solo, Eric does whatever Eric does all day and we see him at dinner, and I have zero patience for anyone, while being secretly overjoyed that my family is here to complain at.  And then 5 minutes later, we all laugh at each other and resume having fun.  It also helps that I do a spot-on impression of my mom while Eric does a perfect imitation of my dad, meaning every dinner is a comedy hour.  Or a roast, depending on sensitivity levels. 

I love this picture. Her laugh is legendary. And I inherited it.

Yes, we are those tourists

We left very relaxed and very tan.

Love.

Island-living suits us.

The next 4 days were spent in South Korea, which is another post, soon to come.

And while I was really, really bummed to leave Thailand, it’s just like I told my family: “Don’t be sad you guys.  We’ll all be back here in the future for Eric’s third wedding to a really inappropriate, much-younger woman.”

I'm sure I have no idea why my family bought me a shirt that says Little Miss Grumpy.

Mudfest!

28 Aug

Last month we finally got to take part in Mudfest – an ex-pat right of passage, and something my friends have been talking about all year.  But since it involved lots of mud and foreigners, my expectations were fairly low. . .

. . .And it turned out to be one of my favorite weekends in Korea – and one of the few moments in my life where I knew, while it was actually happening, that I was having fun simply to have fun.  This is why I travel: the rare chance to stumble into new, ridiculous adventures, that remind you just how young and unencumbered you are.  Oh, and there was mud.  And a lot of drinking.

You can read about the details of my weekend here, where I wrote about it for the Go! Girls site.

And here are some of my favorite pics:

There was nowhere for this day to go but ridiculous

Day 1

Beach scene

After watching the fireworks, I wandered off and stumbled upon heart-shaped glowstick glasses AND a motorized scooter. Winning.

Megan and me on day 2, where we played in the mud for hours

Suwon’s Hwaseong Fortress

16 Aug

. . .where I got my tourist on.

Ancient temple in the foreground - modern-day Suwon in the background.

Sometime last month when it was still raining, but hadn’t yet flooded, some lady friends and I headed to the nearby Hwaseong/Suwon Fortress.  It’s basically Korea’s “great wall” (without the communism), and with a lot of good photo ops and small buildings along the way.  It’s about 40 minutes from where I live AND it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site, so it was about damn time I went.  Rain and all.

First and foremost, I totally underestimated the size of this thing. (that’s what she said)  I figured a few hours was more than enough time, but you could easily spend a day here just walking along the wall.  Or posing with an umbrella:

This is as Korean as I get.

The upside of the rainy season, is that everything is so lush.  Which is also the single most delicious word in the English language.

There were lots of things to climb:

. . .and lots of territory to defend:

In the future, this is how I will protect the world from zombies. Or Scientologists.

We also find a really pretty shrine to hike to.  The statue is of a very important king, whose name I have absolutely no recollection of and which I’m far too lazy to Google right now.

At the shrine, we also found a very inappropriate baby Buddha:

Thus, the Legend of the Pantless Baby was born.

All in all, a good touristy experience.

Well done gal pals.

Intens(ives)

15 Aug

Due to my constant desire to buy things I don’t need, I voluntarily decided to teach summer intensive classes at work in order to make some extra money.  Summer intensives are for children whose mothers don’t want to take them to the pool signed them up for what is essentially English camp, during their one-month break from public school.  The students come every day for a million years 24 days, BUT WHO’S COUNTING, while still attending their regular English classes.

So I’m now essentially working from 9 am – 8:30 pm everyday.  Le sigh. 

Now I have never, ever, claimed to be “highly ambitious.”  Hardworking, sure, but never a “come early, leave late” kind of gal.  And this is just downright exhausting.  It’s not difficult, and I actually like the classes, it’s just such.a.long.day.  By the time I start my normal classes at 1 pm, I’m ready to go home.  And by 8 pm every night, I can’t stand the sound of my own, hoarse voice. Or the English language. Or people.

Then I like to come home, stare at my computer for 30 minutes, and fall asleep by 9:30 pm without ever actually accomplishing anything like showering, blogging, actually talking to my friends, etc.  I’ve basically shut down in order to preserve all my energy for work (and spin class – post coming soon!)

Today was the third day in a 3-day weekend.  It was also the third day I’ve worn this shirt.

While my friends did some fun stuff in Seoul this weekend, I did what I like to call Claire Bear Hibernation. (copyright)

In case any of you would also like to live like Drew Barrymore in “Grey Gardens” hibernate, here’s how:

1) Do not shower or apply makeup.  However, manicures and pedicures are encouraged, as are experimental face masks.

2) Watch as many TV series and movies as possible. I watched Cleopatra this weekend.  It was 4 HOURS LONG. But for real, Elizabeth Taylor’s wardrobe was to die for.

3) Only leave the apartment for food runs.  Bonus points if you can grab lunch & dinner in one run, therefore eliminating the need to go out again.

4) While texting and Facebooking are OK, avoid actually speaking on the phone. (everyone knows I do this normally)

5) Nap between movies.  Also, fall asleep while reading a book.

6) Channel all random bursts of energy into stupid Facebook posts and solo dance parties.

 

Good luck, I honestly think you’ll find a weekend of hibernation relaxing.  It’s like a really poor person’s spa.  (but you have to provide your own robe) But please note, if you start hibernating for more than one weekend in a row, you’re probably depressed.  Or you have mono.  Either way, go see a doctor.

Oh, and just to really solidify my nosedive into lame-balls adulthood, I went to the dentist on Saturday.

Fret not friends, there are only 7 more days of intensives – because I’m counting.  By the minute.

Tell me about it