Monday, August 31, 2015

August Recap at Roboseyo

Earlier this year I said to myself, "Self, if you can't write three blog posts a week like you did back in 2008, you can at least write one a month." Only to fail at doing so. And you know, these days I'm teaching at a university, which means I just had two months off, and still couldn't manage a blog post.

But whatever readers I have are at least used to that by now. Finishing a masters' degree in Korean Studies managed to make me want to write the kinds of blog posts I don't have the time to pull off anymore, with a three-year-old running around making me laugh instead, and jumping on my lap at the computer desk and demanding to watch cat videos.

So here's what's been going on this summer, and some of the year before that, which almost got on the blog, or turned into a Facebook thingy instead.

Mr. Robot is a very very good TV series. Here is the best song from the soundtrack so far (though there have been a whole bunch, and I love a show with a good soundtrack.)

Have barely seen any movies in the theatre, though my son loved "Inside and Out".

One thing I love about that boy is where his heart is. He loves his friends a little too vigorously, but when we watched the Toy Story trilogy together this summer, his spots of concern and worry were all around Andy being separated from his toys, and from his toys not being able to be close to the person they love. Now, you may not have noticed this while watching them, but the Toy Story films (especially 2 and 3) are all about growing up and moving on. Be careful. Those movies are a minefield of nostalgic longing for being a child again, in the best possible way. That theme is hard for a 3-year-old to get, for obvious reasons. As far as he's concerned right now (and he's said so) the best possible thing in the world would be if he and daddy and mommy could all live forever so that we could all live together all the time. Yet when Andy gave his toys to little Bonnie (embedding disabled), because he knew she would love them, and introduced them in a way that affirmed, celebrated, and also put an ending punctuation mark on the years he'd loved them, there my little boy was crying with me, happy that the Toys had found a new person who would love them, and satisfied that (though through the first two movies, he'd nearly cried with anxiety that the toys wouldn't find Andy again) it was now alright for Andy to say goodbye to his toys.

And if you've never cried at the same spot of a movie as your kid, well, that's something to put on your Dad bucket list, I guess.

The Tower Of London scene in Minions was pretty great too. Especially the Hair reference.

We went to Canada and I got to introduce my son to most of the extended family. There were a few people it hurt to miss (sorry Heather and Melissa, Neil and Heather D) and some I wish I'd gotten to spend more time with (well... pretty much everyone, but a few in particular). My son got to meet his great grandmother, and that was really special.

Thirteen-hour-flights with a three-year-old are hard. Especially when the in-flight movies are a weak weak lineup. Insurgent is a terrible movie. And I'm predisposed to liking young adult fiction, because it's my (no longer) secret guilty pleasure.

The 70th anniversary of Korea's liberation from Japan passed without any change in the ugly state of Korea-Japan relationships. I enjoyed this panel discussion about it, though it's very much from a US perspective. I'm still working on a blog series about that, and it's getting closer to the point where I'm ready to start stitching together blog posts. Bear with me. Or don't. Whatever.

I remember once when one of those "jaded expat" blogs complained, "Every time you turn on the TV it's nothing but stuff about how Korea's the greatest country and every other country sucks" and a blogger I admired responded, more or less, "I don't know what channel you're watching, but when I turn on the TV, I usually see people singing."

I liked that response, and it stuck with me. But now I'd have to add cooking to that. There are so many cooking shows I don't know what to say. Particularly coming back to it from two weeks in Canada, and realizing that Canada (or at least the way my people live in Canada) just isn't a food culture the way Korea is. I can't imagine my Canadian family planning a trip around the meals they'll eat at a lineup of famous restaurants and amazing foods, the way my Korean family does when they travel. That's not a knock on Canada -- I loved some things about being back in Canada. Especially driving through the countryside, but it was a different way of living with food than I've gotten used to. That said, I'm lucky to be living in a part of Seoul where I can indulge that.

We brought back the nastiest beast of a cold from Canada. My son has basically been coughing for a month now. And I've been coughing for three weeks. And my wife has been coughing for two. Somebody send help!

I was looking through the lego section of a toy department (because that's a thing I do now. No more hot trendy restaurants for me. It's all about the train sets now), and I found this. Lego Korean coast guard. Or ... off-brand lego, stuck in with the lego sets.

Why yes, that's Lego Korean Coast Guard. With names and everything (click to enlarge).
And yes, they seem to be guarding two smallish islands out in the sea. Wanna hazard a guess which two they're meant to be? (I know, I know. I just can't resist. It's like a scab I have to pick.)

And, finally, at Children's Grand Park, there is a children's museum called "SsangSsangNaRa" or "Imagination Land"

South Park references aside, Imagination Land is the best indoor place to bring your kid in the whole damn city. On the weekends it's crowded (what isn't?), and parking is a real beast, so go early (10am opening), but for 4000 won you get three stories of creative and learning play that's richer and better than any kid's cafe that's two times the price (if you have to buy food) or four times, and has a time limit (as they all do). It's so great there that I almost don't want to tell my blog readers about it, so that it's less busy for me, but who am I kidding? The secret is clearly already out.

So... go there and have fun. The only drawback: it's a bit of a walk to get to anywhere with decent food. Also: DO NOT eat the sausages at the little food stands near the entrance. Just. Don't.

Tomorrow my classes start again. Stay well readers. I'll be back... when I'm back.