From Korea with Love

"I carry your heart with me… always."


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Watching Cherry Blossoms at Seokchon Lake

BLOSSOMS

Last Sunday, hubby and I went to  Songpa Naru Park in Jamsil to see the cherry blossoms. We were in the Philippines two weeks ago, so we missed the festival from April 12th to 14th. We weren’t expecting a lot of people since the festival was over, but the place was brimming with sightseers.

The cherry blossom trees wrap around Seokchon lake. Across the lake, you can see some of the lofty rides at Lotte World.

Some cherry blossoms were shedding their petals. Watching the petals cascade like snow in spring was lovely, and it was lovelier because hubby and I were walking hand in hand, like many young couples who were there to enjoy a romantic walk in the park.

Last year, hubby and I were very busy that we didn’t have time to see the cherry blossoms. Also, he was a bit worried that I would complain about the “walk”, but who would complain about walking for a couple of minutes when you are surrounded by beautiful trees and happy people?

Here are some of the photos hubby and I took on Sunday. I forgot to turn my cam’s auto-flash back on, so the pictures aren’t as good. The photos hubby took from his mobile phone are even better.

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Everyone was busy sight-seeing and taking photos, so hubby was reluctant to ask someone to take our picture. Luckily, I found a very friendly 외국 사람 or 외국인 (foreigner) who was kind enough to take more than one picture of hubby and me doing “emo” poses. ^^

This is my favorite.

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The cherry blossom trees all looked the same, but we found one that stood out with its big pink petals. It has just bloomed. The tree reminded me of a scene from my favorite movie “Memoirs of a Geisha“, when the beautiful Sayuri stood under the pink cherry blossoms and the chairman she secretly loves said, “Even the cherry blossoms are envious of her.”

Hubby and I couldn’t get near the loveliest cherry blossom in the park, because there were so many people taking photos. We had to wait for a few minutes, but people kept coming, so we couldn’t really get a good shot.

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Besides cherry blossoms, there are also yellow forsythia or 개나리 (gaenali/gaenari) in Korean.

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20130421_125620The lake itself is a sight to behold. Different kinds of fish swim in the water. They are colorful and “huge”, I guess because they are well fed by people visiting the lake. I wanted to feed the fish, but we weren’t bringing any food.

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15There are bleachers by the lake where people can stay and watch shows or programs. Some students were rehearsing for a dance. Hubby and I watched for a while. I suddenly missed my school days. Although I wasn’t a very good dancer, I  enjoyed dance class and got into cheerleading.

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Hubby and I had a splendid Sunday.

Sometimes it’s better to simply take a walk together and relish the beauty of nature than spend money and precious time waiting for a seat or your food to be served in a fancy restaurant.

CHERRY

After our long walk, we saw a little girl scooping out with her tiny hands some of the cherry blossoms that had fallen and are scattered on the ground. I smiled at how easy it is for that little girl to find happiness in a pile of petals… and then I started to wonder how something that had fallen and been trampled on many times could be beautiful  to a child.

Hubby said, “Why don’t you try (it)?”

I did. I took some of the petals in my hands and blew them away… like the little girl with her big smiley face. ^^

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29To get to Seokchon Lake, take Seoul Subway Line 2 going to Jamsil station; Exit Gate 3.
Walk straight, 200 meters, to arrive at the entrance of Songpa Naru Park.


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The Dates

THE “USUAL” DATES

15215_630777316936949_1453355116_nIt’s been a long time since my husband asked me out on a date. Sure we go out every now and then. After work, he’d sometimes call or text me to ask if, what or where I want to eat; he’d pick me up from the house or we’d meet some place. On Sunday, we usually go out for lunch or dinner, or order pizza and chicken for take-out while we watch scary movies on our computer. When we want to chill out, we go to our favorite bar and have some cocktails.

We often go out, but “going out” has become so common that we don’t really call them dates. Of course, we still enjoy each other’s company, and when we are together, we are the same “sweet” couple that we were before we tied the knot (except when I complain about how pricey the cocktail is or how terrible the pasta tastes, and hubby takes it as a form of nagging… but, well, these are completely different stories, which RARELY happen now, so forget that I mentioned them).

THE DATE I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO 

couplewcherryb001This morning, while he was getting ready for work and I was fixing him coffee, he asked me if I can wake up early on Sunday. We always wake up late on the weekend, so I figured he has a plan to go somewhere this Sunday.

“Can you wake up at 8?”

“If I have to. Why?”

“We are going somewhere.”

“Where are we going?”

“On a date.”

“Are you asking me out on a date?”

Yes… but you have to wake up early.”

“I will, I will.” I was beaming and clapping with glee and excitement, not merely because my husband told me that we are going somewhere on Sunday, but mostly because he called it a date.

THE FIRST DATE

What’s so exciting about a date, you may ask?

6120_101222433225776_92967_nBack when we were boyfriend and girlfriend, my husband would not call our dates “DATES”. The moments we spent together, the memories, the conversations we had during those not-so “datish” dates were all beautiful… fantastic… magical, but us going out became so natural from the time I lost a deal with him and I had to buy him a beer and squid balls that we didn’t think we were dating every time we went out. We weren’t in a relationship “yet” when I lost the deal. We weren’t friends either. He’s three years older than me, and according to Korean culture, people who don’t belong to the same age bracket can’t be friends. I didn’t even know what we were that time, other than “he’s my tutee and I’m his teacher, and when he gets tired of our lessons, we go out for some drinks or watch a movie instead”.

Suddenly, he called me one day and asked if I had any plans on Saturday. I didn’t have any plans, so when he suggested we try the new coffee shop in our subdivision, I said, “Yes”. For the first time, there were butterflies in my stomach. I was nervous, confused, but at the same time, happy that it wasn’t just another after-class session. We were going out on a weekend, and that was something.

I never cared whether or not there was “something”. I used to care more about what he learned from me. I am a very dedicated teacher, after all.

However, as Saturday was coming, I became miserable, wrestling with my subconscious thoughts, thinking whether or not there really was something or if I did the right thing when I accepted his invitation to go out with him on the weekend when I could go shopping with my girl friends. “Should I go out with him? Is it a date? It must be a date. What if I think it is, and he thinks it’s not? What if I bring a book, and I ask him to bring his electronic dictionary and his notebook, so none of us assumes it’s a date? No, silly! It’s a date. It’s a date, okay? You are not to be his teacher on Saturday. You are his date… and you should look your best.”

Alas! Saturday came. I slept all morning and when I woke up, I started rummaging through my closet to find the right dress to wear for the evening. Was I excited? You tell me. I spent hours getting ready for the date or “whatever” it was. 

couple2An hour before our engagement, he called to say he was ready. I thought that he would be waiting for me at the coffee shop, but I was surprised to see him outside my house, waiting in the car. He must have waited there for a long time, but he was smiling and his eyes had that gentle, entrancing look as he was telling me that I made him wait too long. Every time I was late for our class, he would look at the clock and make a face, but not that night. I could smell his aftershave when I sat next to him. It turned out that I wasn’t the only one who wanted to look my best. He did a lot of prepping up, too. He looked different, very handsome in fact. He had a hair cut and his hair was nicely gelled. I used to see him in round neck T-shirt and shorts every time I went to his house for our class, but on our first “official” date, he was clad in white collared semi-fitted shirt and blue jeans that I was certain he had not worn for days. In the car, we were quiet, but we always had something to talk about. That night, it was as if we were both at a loss for words. (Avril Lavigne‘s “Complicated” suddenly comes to mind. ^^)

Finally, we were at the coffee shop. We didn’t need a car to get there. The coffee shop is just a few blocks away from my house. We could have just walked. I knew he was trying to impress me. Besides the car, the after-shave, the gelled hair and the new look, he was being extra nice to me. He was more amiable, and he didn’t tease me at all. He used to kid around and say things that made me want to punch him in the face so hard, but that night, he told me only good things, not flattery, “happy” things, “real” things… and I think that’s when I saw him differently… and I began to like him more. (MYMP‘s “A Little Bit” is playing in my head at the moment.)

We were just getting started. The waitress handed us the menu, and we were going to have pasta, but crap, the phone… his phone rang!

540467_461004223914260_1972193959_nHis friend probably needed the car he borrowed PRONTO that he had to leave in a couple of minutes, so we decided to order drinks instead.

Until now, I don’t know why he borrowed that car… or why he kept saying, “This isn’t my plan. Sorry, this isn’t my plan.” (I wonder what his plan was. I asked him while I was writing this post, but he said he can’t remember. We spent a few minutes reminiscing our dates, though. ^^♡)

It could have been a magnificent first date, if that’s what it was, but well, there had been many wonderful dates after that, and I’m sure there will be more. It doesn’t matter if we think of them as dates or not. What’s important is that we enjoy “being together” and we build great memories out of them.