Sunday, August 31, 2014


There's something magical about watching daytime become dusk. The perfect day turned into the perfect night before our eyes as we watched musicians play on the floating stage at the Han River.

The pavement was warm beneath us from hours of sun and the only thing that could improve it at all would have been to lay back and see stars. Alas, that's a sight I gave up to live in one of the largest cities in the world.

The companionship was good, though so it was enough.


Saturday, August 30, 2014


I said goodbye to Mum today. It was a sad farewell, but I know we'll be giving each other hugs in a few short months. It's been a wonderful couple of weeks and we've had so many adventures together. I am so grateful to have such a fun Mum. She was up for anything and embraced the Korean culture head-on. She conquered the subway system, ate different kinds of kimchi, and was a huge hit with my friends and coworkers.

I've never been more proud to introduce her as, "My mum".

At the airport I held her bags as she went for her last wee before the barriers. I joked about keeping her new handbag as I handed her things back. We hugged goodbye and I watched her give her passport to the man just as I realized I had almost succeeded in stealing her bag. I ran, desperately yelling her name. Luckily she heard me! Phew! Second goodbyes are less fun.

The last bingsu. it was a good one!

Bowling with some pals.

Caught in the rain.

From Christine in America!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2014


Tonight was Mum's last night and we had fun girl times at home. I made dinner and we just had a lovely evening together, eating and playing gin.

I'm gonna miss hanging out, but I know it's not long before I'll be flying home. This next few months is going to fly.

I got to give her a good manicure, which I love doing. Pampering is the best fun. We didn't get time to bond over face masks, unfortunately. That can be saved for next time, definitely.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Itaewon night! We met up with the lovely Keke and had all kinds of banter over dinner and cocktails. It was great to have two of my faves in the same room. The chats were strong, and inevitably turned to the subject of boys. Mum was full of advice for Keke and I.

It really felt like her interrogations of my friends in NZ.

"So, do you know if there's a boy for Katie there?"

"Tell them you've got a lovely friend to introduce them to".

"Are there any nice boys at your church?"

It was fun and familiar and I loved it.

Mum getting her public workout on.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Mum and I went to dinner with Sue and Suyun tonight and it was hilarious. All afternoon we, or rather they, were frantically trying to find somewhere to go. There were a few conditions that made it difficult, for example, a restaurant that serves bulgogi but also has chairs. I'm so grateful to work with such lovely and accommodating ladies. They were calling all kinds of places and asking their friends and family too.

It completely worked out, though because it was so delicious. We ordered way too much food, as per usual in this country, and we ate nearly all of it. The woman who served us loved Mum so much she gave us free grapes for dessert. She made Mum try kimchi and didn't get too offended when she screwed up her face. I think it helped that Mum knows the word for 'pretty' in Korean.

We laughed a lot and there was never an awkward pause. Mum is so good at meeting new people, even those from a different culture. She's got mad people skills. I was very, very happy going to sleep tonight.

Teaching the CT's that the crunchy bits are the best.

Well, OBVIOUSLY. How could I not get that right away!?

Monday, August 25, 2014


If you've seen the video of Yerin, the cute little Korean girl, crying into her cereal you'll know how I felt this morning.

It was completely unfair that Mum got to have a lovely day while I sat at my desk and pretended to be lesson planning. I didn't even have any classes!

But we made up for that after school by adventuring around Samcheondong. I love that area so much! We shopped a little and I acquired a petal bucket hat (thanks Mum!). Mum also did something ridiculously funny.

In her pursuit for more glasses frames she was trying on different pairs at an outside table and handing me her favourites to hold. I got bored and went inside. She followed soon after and we looked around a bit before she asked me for her glasses. I handed her the pair I was holding and she looked through them, squinted and declared that it wasn't right. After searching her bags she realised that she had put them down on the table outside for other people to walk off with. Thankfully, after some half-blind searching, she found them again.

It's always a hoot with her.

"Katie, just smile for me."

Feelings about all the posing.

Mandu in the new hat.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


It really did feel like the end of a Summer holiday today. I really wasn't prepared to embrace that fully, but Mum and I did give my almost-week off a last hurrah.

We had one of those wonderfully lazy Sunday mornings and took our time getting coffee in Sinsa before church. I'm really glad one of the pastors stopped and said hi to us on the way out. It really makes a difference to the whole experience when someone shakes your hand and offers you a genuine smile.

We decided to fill our hungry bellies with Thai before soaking in some culture in an art gallery. I love that Mum and I can share an appreciation for art. We've seen a good deal of it lately. I don't always get what I'm looking at, but she doesn't judge me.

We Gangnam styled it after that but it started raining so after downing some bingsu we headed home.

Amazing pre-church coffees.

My mother, queen of the selfies. Watch out! She's the proud new owner of a selfie stick.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


The kindness of strangers really does something to you. It puts you in the best of moods and gives you a gratituous grin (shameless alliteration, I know).

Mum and I were given a free bunch of the most amazing grapes today after I tried, in very broken Korean, to explain that even though buying 12 bunches for $7 was very cheap, we were travelling with backpacks so couldn't take them all. He just took them and have them to us free of charge. Serviceee. I think they were even better tasting because of it. 

Note to self: Do more kind, selfless things! 

Of course, the beautiful event happened as I showed mum around my old neighbourhood. She got to see my walk to school, and the local jaunts. We even walked past a few students. Only one braved a wave, but it was so cute it made up for the blank expressions of the rest. 

We hung out in Daegu some more and met some more lovely friends before heading home to Seoul on the KTX. 

Daegu, you've given me the fuzzies yet again.

The lovely hotel room

Felt weird to be standing outside my old apartment (especially when the current inhabitant may be inside).

School! So nostalge.

So, this giant road with 8 lanes plus the apartment buildings and shops are new.

My shoe man!


Too much KTX fun.


We arrived to a cosy Daegu. The heat wrapped around us like a blanket and it felt like 'home'. We found our odd little hotel. The red light and double bath leads me to believe that its not the most normal of hotels, but we enjoyed the mismatched wallpaper for sure.

I was so happy to introduce Mum to my friends tonight. I've been waiting a year and a half to do it. Showing her around Daegu feels a lot more comfortable than Seoul. There's much less to see and I know exactly where I'm going.

We ate dinner at Mies and all received our high-fives. It went down a treat with Mum and the ladies. there was much chatting and they were a hoot. I've got such amazing friends.

After dinner we took my somewhat wary mother to Gogo's for bag drinks. I forgot to ask them to make her's a little less potent, but it turned out she loved it and refused many times to let me get more milk in it. We walked to the park and had some yarns while we watched two little kids chase a toy car around.

Of course, we couldn't leave it at that without experiencing the noraebang. Mum made it through, but I'm pretty sure we tuckered her out completely. She was dancing and singing like a good thing. It was a happy occasion.
My beloved Daegs.


Uh oh. Mum resting her spinning head. I said she needed more milk!