Life in Seoul: August 2018
Oh dear God, it's August. I feel like time is slipping by without any regard for the things we want to do, or we've gotten so comfortable here that we keep postponing the plans we had thought about months ago. It's like when you live in NYC, you could theoretically go to the museums anytime you want, and so you never go--until someone comes to visit or you realize you're leaving. Admittedly, thinking about traveling out of Seoul is a little hard now that we have the pup, but I also don't want us to miss out on the opportunity to travel to a few places we had wanted to see in Asia.
Remember in June when I said it's been rainy season? Well apparently rainy season lasted two weeks and we went straight into a heatwave. It's been in the mid to high 90s, but feels like 100°+. Dogs are blistering their feet from walking on hot pavement, air conditioner sales are spiking and we're getting emergency alert warnings on our phones cautioning us from going out during the day. 2-3pm is the worst; the sun is relentlessly searing and I'm not ashamed to say that I used an umbrella the other day to help create some mobile shade. It's not just the heat though, it's also humid. We had a thunderstorm on Saturday and it was still humid after it rained. This heat is insane. I've given up on looking cute; I can only tolerate linen and cotton clothing, and my portable fan is my best friend.
July was my birthday and we had a little get together at our apartment with a few friends. Kunu was the entertainment and it gave us an excuse to go to Hansel & Gretel and splurge on meats and cheeses. I mean, look at this spread!
The Spanish goat cheese we picked up was probably my favorite, and I adore that mortadella. It's basically bologna for grown-ups. Bryan tried to surprise me and went all the way to Hyundai Department Store in Pangyo (판교) because we had heard there's an Eataly there. He wanted to get me a pasta-making tool as a gift, but apparently the Eataly in Korea is basically just dried pasta and canned tomato sauce, so needless to say there were zero pasta-making tools. He got me a pasta recipe book that's all in Korean and a half-dozen Magnolia cupcakes. We took them to our favorite local bar and shared them with friends.
Kunu got all his shots, groomed and he got microchipped! So now he's finally officially 100% legal in Korea. The grooming appointment took an hour and a half, apparently he hadn't been groomed in so long. The groomer was so wonderful--he wouldn't let her near him at first meet, so she scooped him up and held him like a baby for 10-15 minutes until he got used to her. She trimmed him down, cleaned him up, and now he actually looks more like a puppy than before! I prefer him looking sharp; Bryan likes him better looking shaggy. Either way, he's our crazy little dog and we love him to bits.
I spent a week in the US for a business trip in New York and LA. It was so nice to see my dear friends for meals and coffees, and I tried to see as many people as I could, especially those who I hadn't gotten to meet up with on past trips. Going back to New York especially feels so strange; it still feels like home but I also feel like a visitor. I belong there but I have this whole other life in a faraway place. But when I'm here in Korea, this feels like home and New York feels like it happened in a past life.
I was excited to go to LA because it gave me an excuse to go to the ELSE Lingerie pop-up store in Culver City before it closed a few days ago. I picked up a pajama top that will definitely double as a top when it stops being 100 degrees here, and they gifted me the Capri set—I can't resist anything ruffly or pirate blouse-y.
I met our friends Matt & Shaina for dinner; I had told Shaina I was craving pasta so she made reservations at Rose Cafe in Venice. I'm in love with that Cacio e Pepe and I cannot stop thinking about it. It wasn't on the menu that night but it magically showed up at our table!
We also had a couple of veggies and the three pasta dishes we did order: ricotta gnocchi with genovese basil pesto, bucatini with n'duja sausage amatriciana and burrata, and smoked radiatore carbonara with braised bacon and a poached egg. I'm mentally drooling as I think about these. Matt & Shaina are coming to visit us at the very end of August/early September and we're so excited to show them our life here!
My mama came to visit for 10 days, and it was so comforting to have her here. When we came to Korea three summers ago, she took us around everywhere and if she hadn't gotten us a little bit familiar with certain parts of Seoul, I think moving here would've been a lot tougher. This time, I told her to think of the trip as a break to relax from working all day and to rest. I scheduled her for a facial, haircut and a mani pedi, and she slept a lot (the heat also didn't help). Kunu growled at her the first day, but by day three he was running to her room in the morning when he woke up, and one mid-day when she laid down not feeling well, he went over and curled up next to her.
A true #KoreanMom, she spent most of the trip cleaning our apartment (I don't think I've done any dishes in 10 days), swiffering the floor daily, doing laundry and repotting our plants. We also visited some family, had lunches with my aunts and uncles, and drove out to Ganghwa-do for a day to visit my oldest aunt and uncle. Kunu loved the grass and he was going crazy rolling around in it. He also loved the beach and smooshed his face in the sand at one point.
It was hard to say bye; my mom cried and I held it in. I think this is the longest stretch of time I haven't seen my parents in person since I studied abroad in college. I wish she could stay longer, but it's just too hot outside and frankly, not that safe.
- My friend Thayer adopted a dog from Korea named Jake who was saved from a meat farm and she was v concerned that Jake hates men. I told her this is most likely because he was probably abused by men, and he has a lot of trauma he needs to heal from. I'm so excited to meet Jake and for him and Kunu to have playdates! You can see her Jake updates on her Instagram.
- I had to fly Asiana back from LA since Korean Air was sold out, and I can definitely say it was one of the worst flights I've had in awhile. Their new catering company is terrible, by the way, and the smell of the food heating up made me gag. If you haven't seen the news about the Asiana scandal, you can read about some of it here and here. Such a shame.
- I've been using sunblock sticks that are super lightweight, portable and easy to apply. I don't use it on my face but it's a nice way to apply on my arms and feet when I don't want to get my hands all greasy from sunscreen. I'll write a post on some of the ones I've been using!
- My pilates instructor closed her studio at the end of June so most of July I've only done pilates at home and walked Kunu for exercise. She just told me she found a studio we can work out of, so I'm excited to get back into the flow! I'm also getting fat so we have to work on that too.
Okay, that's it for July!