After spending a few days on Jeju Island for Christmas vacation, we were lucky enough to have my brother, Kevin, and his girlfriend, Sarah, come visit for a couple weeks.
They arrived and we quickly rushed them off to a traditional Korean meal of bulgogi (marinated beef) cooked on a charcoal grill in the middle of the table. Chris and I showed them how to eat like real Koreans: use the scissors to cut large pieces of kimchi and bulgogi
A couple days later, we went to downtown Seoul to watch the New Years festivities. Unfortunately, it turned into a huge protest against the Korean President, Lee Myung Bak. The protesters paused for a few seconds to count down the new year but quickly returned to their chants. I think they were angry that the president allows American beef, or "crazy cow" to be sold in Korea.
This is a picture of trying to get on the subway on New Years:
Then, we went to Deoksugung Palace to look around
and saw a funny dance performance called Nanta...it's kind of like STOMP but with cooking. Here is a picture of the stage, where they used the five Korean food groups (kimchi, sugar, soy sauce, hot sauce, and salt) as drums.
Then, the next couple of days Chris and I had to work so Sarah and Kev made their way to Seoul by themselves and went to a Kimchi museum, an aquarium and a temple. They even came to visit one of my favorite classes, where my genius students asked them questions like, "are you boy?" and "do you like kimchi?"
Then over the weekend we went to some outdoor markets
...went to a Doctor Fish Cafe, where the fish eat the dead skin off of your feet
...posed like Koreans
..and to finally answer that perennial question, "who's Korean now?", we went to a noraebang (private karaoke room)
We want to thank Sarah and Kevin for being such wonderful, fun guests and we hope that they have inspired you all to make the trip to Korea...or at least order Korean takeout tonight and exfoliate your feet at home.