My mom visited Korea for the ENTIRE month of June! Although we didn’t see each other as much as I thought we would – she stayed with my grandparents in Busan, and I didn’t have a single day off of school – it was a surreal experience to meet my mother in Korea, sometimes speak in Korean with her, and visit the places where she grew up. The first week, I met her and my aunt at Busan station and went to my grandparents’ house together. We had a late dinner and I had to leave quickly because it was a Sunday night.
I met my mom again the next weekend after YDAC. Right after dinner with students and other ETAs, I headed straight to my grandparents’ house to stay the weekend.
At that point, I was exhausted. I forgot which exit I needed to take to get to my grandparents’ house, so I took a taxi after getting off the subway. My mom didn’t answer when I called and wasn’t there when I got there. She arrived shortly after with snacks and cereal for tomorrow’s breakfast, but had been looking for medicine for my oldest aunt, who was on the second floor sick.
My aunt’s family from Suncheon family came later, around 11pm, and although the last thing I wanted was to socialize, it was good to see family. We had fried chicken and I fell asleep without realizing it. Saturday morning I went to Gamcheon Cultural village with my mom and 명화 이모 (Aunt Myeong Hwa). We hiked around and tooks lots of pictures (read: selfies) and ate milmyeon, a cold noodle dish that’s a specialty in Busan.
Our next stop was Ami-dong, the neighborhood where my mom grew up. The name of the area is actually “Tombstone village” because the area used to be a Japanese cemetery. During the Korean War, refugees were pushed south and ended up in there, but since they were extremely poor, they built their houses out of tombstones. According to my mom and aunt, it’s better than before, but not much has changed.
On Sunday, my mom and I went to mokgyoktang together for the first time. I was able to navigate more easily than her (hahaha). The rest of the day was fairly uneventful – except for the shrimp-looking centipede that crawled out of the sink drain – but I was just happy to be spending time with my mom in Korea, something I’ve wanted to do for a long, long time.
Next goal, the whole family. Because my grandma really wants to see 서돼지.
(서돼지/Seo Dwaeji = 스태지/Su Tae Ji = Stacy, my dad.)