Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Isabel's autumn adventure


Isabel flew off to Seoul, South Korea this morning to spend the semester studying at Yonsei University. I drove home to Marin County to spend the semester popping horse tranquilizers. 

I’ll just spit it out: I didn’t want her to go. I thought Seoul was a great choice back when she applied in the winter, but recent events and our idiot president’s rhetoric changed my mind. While I know the likelihood of war on the Korean Peninsula remains low, it wasn’t low enough for me. What was wrong with Shanghai? Taipei? Thailand?

Isabel and Mark were unconcerned. I litigated this. I lost. I am gracious in defeat.

It’s gonna be fine. She’s going to have a wonderful time, learn to love kimchi, speak a little Korean, drink soju. We’ll visit her at Thanksgiving. In the highly, highly, highly unlikely event the president starts a war with North Korea and something happens to my daughter, not to mention the 26 million other people living in the Seoul metropolitan area, I will make it my life’s mission to personally poison his chocolate ice cream. 

Joke. Duh. Like when he jokes about how cops should manhandle prisoners. Sidesplitting.

In the car going to the airport, I told Mark and Isabel that I was going to start cooking Korean food again so I’d feel close to Isabel while she was away. I said I was thinking of making a beef and daikon radish soup for dinner tonight.

Isabel said, “Sorry I’m not going to Rome, Dad.” 

Thats my girl.

19 comments:

  1. Our children are braver than we are.

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    1. I would rather be there than her be there.
      But I think you're right.

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  2. Omg. I'm with you. I thought being a parent would be easier

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    1. It's so obvious, but it dawned on me during all this that I'm going to be worried about my kids forever, whatever they're doing. Are they happy in their relationships. Satisfied at work. Behaving recklessly? Drinking too much? It will never end.

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    2. ...and then they suddenly produce grandchildren. You think worrying about just the kids is a full time job. I thought my job was finally done when they got partners and jobs and homes and a life....then the first gchild was born, then three weeks later the 2nd....now there are 6. Keeps me at airports waiting on planes

      cant get the the thing to work
      chezlamere

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  3. I lived in Korea for 2 years in the early 1980's. The country had just had a military coup and martial law over the whole country. Tank maneuvers in front of the Green House (presidential palace) at night during the curfew (12-4AM nightly) for regular citizens. Air raid drills to prepare for possible North Korean bombings monthly.

    I remember the Falklands War breaking out and having serious discussions about what would happen to the Americans (I was a high school kid on a military base) in case WWIII broke out - it's not like we could hide out and "blend in". Every family kept a "bug out" bag at home near the door with passports, important papers, a change of clothes etc. in case we needed to evacuate on short notice.

    The war of words going on right now happens every year, in various levels of intensity. They're shouting louder this year, but it's the same thing that goes on every year.

    Make sure your daughter registers with the Embassy so they'll know she's in country. I'm sure she'll have the experience of a lifetime - I know I did!

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    1. Thank you for this. It is reassuring. She is supposed to have registered with the embassy -- my main worry is that Trump will do something nuts without taking into consideration the dangers to South Korea. He has made a lot of mistakes and proven to be quite reckless.

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  4. Ugh. However, and I really hate to say this, she may be safer in South Korea than she would be at UVA.

    As they sing in Hamilton, "The world turned upside down."

    Please keep us posted on how she is doing.

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    1. My husband and both of my children went to UVA, ,,all my memories of the town, the campus, and the surrounding area packed a lot of good memories for me. I now want to go and sterilize the Lawn, the steps to the Rotunda, and anywhere else those people walked.

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  5. Horse tranquilizers. I get it too. She will be so sophisticated! I hope you cook Korean like mad, as a huge distraction and gift to all of us who love your work. Hold fast.

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    1. I want her to come home with a whole new wardrobe and rose-gold hair.

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  6. Seoul is one of my favorite places in the world. My husband is there now and I promise you I'm more worried about the soju hangover he'll come home with than anything else. In fact, I would be with him (kids and all) if we had any funds left over from the last time we followed him abroad.

    This situation, while ridiculous, hasn't changed Seoul much. Koreans are smart, strong and resourceful and have years of experience dealing with lunatics. They are also caring and will look after your daughter as you do.

    Not that I'm remotely confident any of this will help. Is it Article 45 sub item D of the Mommy hand book that covers pervasive anxiety? I can't remember. Honestly, they should have put that closer to the front...

    Stay strong.

    PS Isabel, I'm jealous. Drink "Bek Se Ju" and asks them why. Also if anyone tries to give you a bulgogi recipe that includes coca-cola, walk away.

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    1. Ha ha ha, I've seen the recipes for bulgogi with Coca Cola and also Sprite.
      I think Isabel is enjoying Seoul a lot -- I asked if she was drinking beer or soju, half joking, and she said: BOTH.

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  7. I am sure logic would dictate that she is safer there than many places on earth, but logic doesn't much figure into this equation. She will probably have a ball. I have not traveled much in my life, and I am totally jealous of all the travel that you and your family do. I feel sure that travel changes your world view more than anything. Hold fast, Jennifer. I cannot imagine the anxiety you will feel with the media talking about this constantly, but remember they have a 24 hour cycle to fill, and everyone is a bit hysterical these days due to Trump and the constant nonsense. It's good that Mark is so sanguine about this. I hope that it rubs off on you.

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    1. Is it good he's sanguine? I hope so.

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  8. This is hard. I'm in the last year of having my oldest child at home and it is terrible to think about sending him out into the nightmare world we've created. But Isabel will be forever changed for the better, and so will all of our brave kids. Thank goodness for the bravery of youth. Some of them may actually succeed in making our world a little better.

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    1. You know, Layne, to use that stupid quote: The kids are alright. They really are. Every time I talk to kids, including my own, I'm struck by how sensible they are, how realistic about the world we're leaving them. It gives me hope.

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