I arrived back to Korea on Monday morning just after 6 am. My flight was better than expected. Considering we departed Chicago at 1 am on Sunday morning, I knew that I was going to be tired, and was hopeful for sleep. The fact that I flew Asiana (everyone must at least once) really helped with the comfort level. Aside from the foot rests and adjustable head rests, Asiana had movie screens in back of all the seats. While most flight I've taken internationally do have this option, Asiana's TVs have remotes and there were about 30 movies to choose from. And let's not forget the hot towels every hour on the hour!
After making it through customs and getting my bags, I decided the best way to get back into Seoul was via taxi. I needed to be to work by 9, and I wanted to be able to shave and shower considering I was on a plane for 14 hours. I found a great taxi driver who didn't try to dick me over, and an hour later, and 35 dollars poorer--- I pulled up to my apartment. I decided instantly that I hadn't missed Korea one bit. Opening the door to my apartment, and breathing in that stagnate "I haven't lived here in 2 weeks" odor put me over the edge. I started to cry, and asked myself what I had come back for?!
I decided to quickly get over it, and took a shower and headed to work. I was feeling fine at this point. I figured I'd be really tired, but I slept for over half of the plane ride, so all in all, it wasn't bad. With my coffee in one hand, and my bagel sandwich in the other- I braved the day. Luckily, it went by quicker than usual, and Joonho greeted me after work. It was nice to see a familiar face, especially his. We ate pizza on my bed, and I shared some pictures and stories from my time at home. I gave him some gifts that I picked up for him, and I was fast asleep by 10 pm.
SOOO enough of that.
Home. Wow. Home was great. I didn't expect it to be as fun and smooth as it was. I figured that I wouldn't be able to relax, because I would be trying to see everyone and do as much as I could. After the first day, I decided that I was just one person and I wanted it to be relaxing. All I really cared about was spending time with my family, and not thinking about work!
I did get to spend a lot of time with my family. I saw most of my dads family on Christmas day. I saw most of my moms family on the Sunday after Christmas. Every year my moms family has a separate Christmas though. I guess when you have 4 sisters, and they all have lots of kids... it's better to do something separate with them. My aunt made tons of delicious food- BBQ ribs, Italian beef, homemade meat balls, amazing potatoes and so on. I felt like I was on the best vacation of my life as I ate as much as I could!
Last Monday Stephanie and Celia made the drive up to Orland Park to see me. That day was great! We had beer samplers and appetizers at Rock Bottom..... we did some shopping, lots of chatting over coffee, and finished the night off at Texas Road House. There's just something about TR that brings us all back to freshman year and the times Celia would come visit after she departed from Millikin. It was wonderful to see them, and I can't wait until we have another reunion ---- hopefully in New Orleans!
Tuesday I spent the day in Chicago with my sister. We did a little bit of everything-- she had never been to the Bean in Millennium Park.- So we started there, we passed on ice skating though. I really was hoping to do this, but my sister was a tad afraid! We did some shopping, lots of walking, and indulged on some food lunch and some chocolate cupcakes from the Hershey's Chocolate store. It was great to bond with her.
One night my parents and my sister and I went to a movie. We saw "Marley and Me" -- for those of you who have yet to see it, I fully recommend it. But make sure to bring some tissue! What I love about movies in America is that the seats usually recline back, and the snack choices are much better. We shared pretzel bites with cheese, and they were delicious!
New Years Eve was eventful as well. My friend Kayla from University came up and we had dinner, and then decided to spend the night at my parents house. My Mom and Dad had a party, and it was actually a lot of fun. I drank wine and champagne the entire night. At some point Kayla and I schooled the 21 and under crowd on Guitar Hero-- and at some point had to fight for it back-- usually claiming-- "this round is for those who are 24 or older" -- later in the night we performed a full on journey concert. You had to be there to understand, but in the meantime I'll post pictures to give you a visual!
All and all, home was great. I enjoyed many of my favorite indulgences (Texas Road House, Chipotle, Buffalo Wild Wings, real Chicago Pizza, Jamba Juice, etc.) It was great to see familiar faces (Celia, Stephanie, Matt, Andrea, Kayla, Samantha and family) but it was sad that I missed seeing some other faces (Sarah, Scott, Candice, Becky, and Keith)
Thanks for the great week Chicago. You're already missed!