The flight over to Korea was pretty uneventful but I got lucky because I had the whole middle row to myself until a random guy took the very left seat. But I still had 3 seats so when I got tired was able lie down and sleep - SCORE. I was reminded how awful United food was. Watched alot of random movies, one of which more memorable than others, 500 days of summer. Summer being a girl. I also started and finished the book "Monkey Business" - loved it alot more than Liar's Poker. The raw blog style of writing of the book made it more real. And I confirmed i banking is not a lifestyle i would take want. time is a non renewable resource, why dont people get that? landed on Tuesday 1/19 night and took a bus to Mapo - got picked up by the rents and the next day went to Times Square - this new shopping area/interconnected buildings with shopping and eating and playing. It was insane, the floors, walls, everything was sparkling, open floors with wide spaces, it was almost like I stepped into something out of the Jetsons. Then we went shopping at E mart - again more sparkling aisles with perfectly stacked groceries. They have these cool carts that you pull out with 100W and then to get your 100W back, you have to put the cart back - its a lil key doohickey and was clever.
Grandparents came over and we had dinner. It was weird. I dont know if its time, age, distance but I felt like they were strangers. Last time I visited Korea, they were fine, healthy mostly... and I could talk to them, and grandma was a chatter box. But this time, their bodies were failing them. They could hardly walk and all they did was watch tv the entire time they were here. I had no dialogue with them. The only question they ever ask is what we have to eat over "there". I had this elaborate plan to interview and record them, interview them, and write a book but that never happened.
Watching their frail bodies... 80 some years... of life. I wish I could capture that in a montage. I wish I knew what that life was like for them. As little children. As teenagers, and young adults...what life choices did they have to make? What fears and insecurities did they have? If I could speak better Korean..no that is just an excuse... I just was scared to ask them these things... I did not feel comfortable to ask them even though they were my own grandparents. ugh - FAIL. I just didn't know how to connect to them, and they will never know how much I wanted to.
On Friday, I had to go meet up friends and grandps were leaving that day for another uncles' house, so it could be the last time I see her...and I was blowdrying my hair in my mom's bathroom with grandma lying down on the bed watching me from the bedroom... it was a surreal feeling, a simple, insignificant moment - but I felt something... the years between us so great, 60 years? and yet, of the same blood, her son bore me. Our lives so different and yet i'm sure there are so much of me that belongs to her. What was going through her head at the moment? As I left she said to me, that this is probably the last time I would see her, and to live a good life...all this sentimental prose. Would this really be the last? I think I will make a trip down to Ansung next week to see them one last time. And write them letters from a distant granddaughter - so maybe they will have some idea how much I desperately wish to connect with them. Because I know some crazy stories about grandfather that is enough to film a movie about but I dont have enough details to do so.