생일축하합니다!

11.15.2010

"Saengil chukha hamnida" (above) means "happy birthday" in Korean! Not only did people say it to me, I said it to my dad while I served him miyeok-guk (seaweed soup) that I made :) Aren't you proud, Aunt Mary?

I went to Busan Thursday afternoon to spend a couple days with my dad for his birthday, which is just a day before mine. Our time together was spent eating out, shopping and watching a movie. Overall, I'd say it was a pretty mellow weekend. Except for Saturday morning, of course, when I decided to surprise my dad by making miyeok-guk, a seaweed soup that is usually served for birthdays and for the welcoming of the new year. Not only is it highly nutritious, I discovered that it's fairly easy to make. All you need is miyeok (dried seaweed), garlic, onions, radish, sesame oil, soy sauce, beef and about an hour to spare.

I woke up at 7 a.m. Saturday morning to prepare; however, one of his friends, who came to visit for a night from Seoul, woke up as well to prepare another kind of soup for him. She asked me what I was doing and rather incompetent at 7 in the morning, all I could say was, "Miyeok-guk." She told me that I don't have to because she's going to make something else for him, so I can go back to bed. Unable to insist that I wanted to this, I walked back to the bedroom, feeling rather defeated and disappointed with myself. Just then, however, my cousin woke up and explained to the friend that I wanted to do this as his daughter and that I had been preparing for a couple days now. She understood and continued cooking her food, to be eaten another day.

So there I was, cooking my seaweed soup like a pro, when my dad woke up and the friend told him that I was in the kitchen making miyeok-guk for him. I was kind of annoyed with her at this point since a) she tried to kick me out of the kitchen and b) she ruined the surprise. But his facial expression of genuine appreciation and happiness made it all worth it. He was really pleased that I woke up and did this for him. He was also really impressed that I knew how to cook. After all, he has been asking me on numerous occasions if I know how to make rice...in a rice cooker. He has even asked me if I knew how to prepare instant ramen.

Anyway, it turned out to be pretty good if I do say so myself. Then, I surprised him again with a cake and a terrible rendition of "Happy birthday to you" as I frantically tried to prevent the candles from melting all over the frosting. He was surprised yet again when I gave him his gift, a large digital frame filled with photos of us to put in his office. He was absolutely thrilled and I loved seeing happy it made him. This was, after all, the first birthday we've spent together in years, if ever at all.

Around noon, I headed back to Seoul to celebrate my birthday with my friends. Mark and Jamie came over shortly after and helped me prepare for my little get-together. We ordered pizza, made bruschetta and mandu and provided chips and drinks for everyone to enjoy. Before everyone came, Jamie presented me with her birthday gift to me: a video of my family and closest friends sending me there love. The moment the first picture came on, tears were rolling down my cheeks. I had no idea that she had been working on this, and it was an absolute and beautiful surprise.

[Laughing at Mark's awkward "Happy Birthday" song!]
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[Sobbing]
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[My swollen face after watching haha]
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Once my face stopped resembling a puffer fish, I was ready to celebrate :) Seven of us ate and chatted for awhile before heading out to Itaewon, where I met up with Jess and her co-teachers as well as Janet and a few of her friends. The night was mellow, which is exactly what I was hoping for. It was so nice going into the night feeling so much love from back home as well as being surrounded by it.

The next day, Mark took me to a romantic dinner at the Seoul Tower. Although it was FREEZING, I had an amazing time with him. We ooed and awed at the gorgeous view and embraced the fact that we were one of the 9274359824 couples there that night. Mark surprised me (although I had a slight inkling) with a padlock that we were to write on and lock onto the gate, where hundreds of other locks claimed the love of others in Seoul. It was quite the dramatic ceremony as we seriously contemplated what we were going to write while completing the process by throwing the keys into the mountainside. I embraced our corniness and its unoriginality by documenting it every step of the way ;)

[Mark defacing property]
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[Me writing on the lock]
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[I guess if you don't want to buy a padlock, you can use a bike lock...]
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[Lots and lots of locks...]
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[The Seoul Tower!]
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[Throwing one set of the keys into the trees]
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[A lovely view of the city]
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Seriously, it was such a beautiful weekend. Thank you to everyone who made it special! I love you guys

Until next time, bisous xoxo

3 comments :

Simply Tanya said...

I seriously started choking up by the cuteness of the padlock love story!! That is awesome!

AB said...

That's so sweet and oh, so Seoul.
Glad to see you experiencing all that is to experience.

I bet the bike locks are the ones that belong to celebrities who had theirs cut off by fans. I've heard of this happening. Those who are persistent, they return with locks that can't be cut.

Aunt Mary

Laila said...

I'm so glad to hear you had a great birthday over there!!! That pad lock thing is not corny at all! I LOVE it! Now Nick and I need to take a trip there to add our lock :)