Last month my mom came for a visit, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Okay, that’s not technically true. Not only did I have to work all week while she was here, I actually had to work one of the Saturdays she was here, too. But still. You know what I mean. She came at about the 7th month of my year(ish) long stay, and I was starting to get homesick. I miss driving, American food, stars in the sky and being able to communicate freely (among other things). Going almost a year and a half without seeing my sister feels a little unbearable at times. Not to mention the sting of her not loving me enough to come to Korea to visit me. Maybe I don’t miss her that much after all…And it’s finally starting to get to me, all the things I’m missing while being here. Things like friends’ weddings. And one of my best friends got pregnant after I left, and I will never see her pregnant because she’ll have the baby before I get back. Sad face. Don’t get me wrong, I am still having an amazing time here, and am aware of what an amazing opportunity this is. But everything comes at a price. So a little momma love was much needed. Not only did she bring lots of love in the form of clothes (which are very difficult for me to find over here), my favorite toiletries (even harder to find than clothes), Easter candy and beef jerky, it was nice just to be able to hang out and chat with her. We did some obligatory sight seeing, but we also did a lot of chilling out doing not much at all, which was nice. The first weekend she was here, we visited the Hanok Village, which is the local traditional village. Children’s Day was the same day, so there was a big festival there and lots of cool things made out of hanji (Korean traditional paper). We even got Mom to try some magkeolli from the magkeolli man! We had to put her to bed early that night because she was a little jet lagged, but the next day we were out and about again at the zoo. There was also a festival there for Children’s Day, and a lot of people were out spending time with their kids for Children’s Day, but not too many that it detracted from our visit. We had a really nice time at the zoo (a little sandwich fiasco aside). Then we had some Korean food for dinner and saw The Avengers (which was totally great if you haven’t seen it already). The next day she spent the day at school with me, which I had been really looking forward to. I tell her so many great stories about my kids, and I was really excited for her to see them first hand. The best was when my 7-year-old love guru (who is constantly giving me advice on how to “make” a boyfriend) got really flustered because she kept asking him, “What should Megan do to get a boyfriend?” The next day he told me “Megan’s Project,” which is basically just his advice for me on how to get a boyfriend, was a secret because he didn’t want anyone else asking him about it. I let every class have a little Q & A with her, and almost every class asked if she had a boyfriend. They don’t seem to grasp the concept that she doesn’t have a boyfriend, she is, in fact, married to the man I call Dad. And my kindergarteners kept telling her she was beautiful because I have conditioned them to tell me I’m beautiful instead of telling me I’m fat. And because my mom looks damn good for a woman of 35! The rest of the week was pretty low key. I had to teach during the day, so mom was on her own to wander. And in the evenings we’d go out to dinner and explore a different neighborhood in town. The weekend before she left was quite the event, however! I had already booked a hotel and made plans for us to spend the weekend in Seoul when my school told me that we would be having Sports Day that Saturday. And it wouldn’t be starting until 2 o’clock. Thank goodness for my friend, Joe, who offered to take Mom up to Seoul earlier in the day, because I didn’t get there until around 8 p.m. So Joe and Mom headed up without me, only to discover that our hostel was not in Itaewon (the foreigner district near the heart of Seoul), as the website said, but in Incheon – an entirely different city that is almost an hour outside of Seoul! So they didn’t get much of a change to explore before I arrived. We decided to try and make the most of our brief time by heading to the Seoul Tower (which I’d been DYING to do). We took the cable car to the top, which was mildly terrifying for Mom and I. Joe kept saying things like, “Look how high we are! Wow, check out that view,” until he realized (or realised, rather. He’s British.) that we were NOT amused. It’s a blessing and a curse that the cable cars go so fast; it gets you there quicker, but makes the ride that much more fear inducing. At any rate, we were at the top in no time and it was beautiful. Not only were there lots of trees and nice places to picnic (had we been there during the day), but there was a really cool display being projected onto the side of the tower. Sometimes it was just shapes dancing to to the beat of the music, but sometimes it was actually a guy dancing. It was really entertaining to watch. Then it was time for our ascent to the top of the tower. When you get to the top you find that the fence all around is covered in locks. Like the kind your gym locker from high school had. Couples go up there to put locks on the fence as a symbol of their love. Then they toss the keys over the edge (even though it’s forbidden and kind of dangerous) to show that their love will last forever. I REALLY wanted to do that, but it’s just creepy if you do that with your mom. So I settled for taking a crapload of pictures of it, instead. Then we hung out of the observation deck for awhile, taking in the view of various parts of the city. We noticed a mailbox where you could send postcards to your loved ones from the top of Seoul Tower, so Joe and I each sent a couple home. Then we made the long trek back to the hostel because we were all quite tired by that point. The next day we headed out to Namdaemun Market, one of the really large markets in Seoul. We saw a dance crew dancing on the street when we got out of the subway station, which puts me thisclose to my dream of seeing breakdance fighting in real life. Unfortunately, many stores in the market were closed because it was Sunday and we never did find Mom the Korean fabric she wants. But we still saw lots of interesting things and we able to find some neat souvenirs (although I mostly just bought htings for me). One of my buddies from college, Xander, lives near Seoul, so he came and met up with us while we were shopping (lucky him!). Mom was pretty tired, so we parted ways in the early evening. I was sad to see her go, but was really glad to have my apartment back to myself. My apartment is WAY too tiny for two people to be sharing the space. Especially when one of those people is a neat freak.