Songtan Sammy to Seoul

20160817_105003I spent my first Monday in Osan, South Korea very lazily. After making Dan breakfast before work, I laid back down in true vacation fashion, rather than walking around Pyeongtaek with my backpack and laptop, doing homework in a coffee shop, and bartering with various street vendors, as I did the rest of my trip.

I knew Daniel wanted to take me to Seoul that night. Seoul is a pretty metropolitan area, so I asked what to wear. He told me to wear a dress. So I played dress up 🙂

But I could tell he was exhausted when he got home from work.

Another night is fine. You’re tired.

But he was insistent we go that night.

So we got ready and walked a few blocks to the local hot spot. They called it the SED, the Songtan Entertainment District.

We grabbed sushi at his favorite local spot then caught a cab to the metro station. There, we grabbed the train for the hour trip to Seoul.

From the train… a cab. The cab dropped us off at a bus stop. Turns out the place Dan was taking me can only be accessed by bus.

So on our, hopefully, final mode of transportation to our destination, we met a local girl. She was taking g selfie with her friend, who apparently hated selfies… haha. I had offered to take a picture of them. She misunderstood and took a selfie… with me. Naturally, I too wanted one.

It’s not a pertinent part of this story, but one that puts a smile on my face, nonetheless.

We were dropped off at the stop, where the local girl tells me I look beautiful and wishes me well on my visit to the country. (See, smiles!)

The next mode of transportation? Our feet. Up and up and up…. First a long pavement hill then endless flights of stairs…

It’s was neat when we had arrived to top pavilion, though. I had heard about that bridge in France where couples attach padlocks to the fence. It was like that. They called them “love locks” and couples had written what I assumed were their names on them. I had never seen so many pad locks!

Daniel had taken me to Seoul Tower, the highest point in the city. From the pavilion, we could see the various skylines of Seoul. After we checked out a few different views, I heard Dan say my name. As I looked over, I could see this look on his face… a combination of “don’t screw this up” and “nervous”and “shit, what’s my next line.”

As he began to quickly say what he had memorized, I noticed that everything he was saying reminded me of The Beatles. I wasn’t following what he was saying because I was too busy, in my head, trying to figure out why everything was reminding me of The Beatles.

20160815_231438Daniel had carefully strung together titles of songs from the Beatles… all to end on the one sentence without a Beatles reference: “Will you marry me?”

While I had suspected this was happening based on his insistence earlier in the evening, I decided to respond with the following:

“You made me go through all of that, walk up all those stairs in heels?! I’ve got boo-boos on my toes from tonight!”

As he is holding out a ring in his hand and down on one knee, he replies, “Is that a ‘no’?”

“I’m just fucking with you, of course I will!”

It wouldn’t be a proposal to Sammy Bundo without some sort of ball-busting.

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The rest of the night was a race against the clock to get back to base on time (they have a curfew). It turns out the metro shuts down at midnight. We wound up catching a taxi at the last stop of the metro.

This taxi was like a roller coaster. I swear, I will never drive in South Korea! Move over Tokyo Drift, because Korean taxi drivers could teach you a lesson!

The GPS in the taxi kept announcing every speed bump, to the point where its annoyance actually became humorous (or maybe I was just deliriously tired). I laid down in the back seat because, like I said, it was a roller coaster, and I was getting car sick.

20160816_004853The second we entered Dan’s apartment, I threw off my dress and threw on a hoodie. Before I could stumble my dazed self into bed, Daniel called me into the kitchen, where I spotted his prized bottle of triple distilled 12-year old single malt, “only touched on special occasions” Yellow Spot whiskey (I know, that’s a mouthful) open on the counter and two shot glasses next to it. “Just a little cheers before bed,” he says.

Initially, I couldn’t believe that, a night that was supposed to be the most wonderful in my life, turned  so hectic. (Actually, we never once had good luck with the metro my whole trip, time-wise. I blame Dan. When he used the metro after I left, he said it was the same way. Other than that, the Korean metro system was the most efficient mode of transportation I had ever been on. So yeah, I blame Dan. What a jinx!)

We laugh about that night, now. I remember the adorable girl on the bus, enjoying sushi (and rice!) with Dan, how nervous he looked when he was saying his speech… It makes me smile.

So, was it worth blisters? And the panic of the clock? And the taxi money and roller coaster queasy feeling?

Hell yeah! I ate some banging sushi!

Oh yeah, and I gained a fiance in a man who could not have been more perfectly made by God for me.

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Merry Christmas, Darlings!

Merry Christmas!! I hope you all had a wonderful day! I am so excited to celebrate our first Christmas together. Yes, this is Barry and my first Christmas together, but I am referring to our first Christmas together… Yes… YOU!

Last night, I attended two celebrations. I really lucked out with not having to work. I first drove to Frank’s nephews house. How cute are the boys?! Cal and Anthony were preparing a four-course meal of The 7 Fishes! Not to mention, Cal baked a bunch of favorites, like her famous Angel Food Cake, pignoli cookies, and cocoa pistachio sables!

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Unfortunately, I was not able to stay and celebrate dinner, as I was expected at my grandmother’s house. I was so so excited to see the family, but pathetically excited to eat some kielbasa! Every year, we had three main dishes in the Higgins house: kielbasa and sauerkraut, roast beef, and meatballs! I’m surprised I didn’t turn into a piece of kielbasa! Haha!

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I had a couple favorite moments from last night. The first was a mommom combo. I first handed grandma a bottle of Spumanti from Barry and me. She loves this stuff! This is the drink she got completely buzzed off of at my graduation party. She was so excited she started kicking her feet, yelling, “My drink! Oh my drink! Oh I love this stuff!” (Keep in mind that this is a 79 year old woman with both knee and hip replacements, kicking her feet in joy… PRICELESS). The second was when grandmom opened an ornament I made for her. She immediately pulled it out of the box and kissed the picture of my grandfather that was in the ornament.

Another, came at my Aunt Linda’s House where cousin Eddie proposed to his girlfriend, Cindy! My Aunt was telling Cindy about Eddie’s First Christmas ornament, and when Eddie went to show her it… He showed her an ornament of a bride and groom on a motorcycle and tied around the couple was a ring. “So what do you say, babe? Will you marry me?” She was speechless. “Uh, I kind of need an answer. so I know what to do here…” We all laughed, she held out her hand and said, “Yes.”

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WP_005128Aunt Linda was really excited about the gift she made me.. In all honesty, I normally would have had some serious anxiety with this gift, but I was so well-thought-out, I couldn’t help but love it! Its the Nurse’s Survival Guide, packed with goodies and a paper included that stated the following:

Nurse’s Survival Kit

Lifesavers– A reminder of the times your are a real lifesaver. Starburst– For that extra burst of energy. Mints– A reminder that your compassion is worth a mint to your patients. Kisses– because you deserve many. Tissues– To dry tears, yours or someone else’s. Bandaids– To help with all the “little stuff.” Gum– To help your through the sticky situations. Paper clip– To help hold things together. Tea bags– Sit back and relax after a hard day at work. Taffys– To help you lick the problems you face. Jolly Ranchers– To remind you to laugh when you feel like crying. Tootsie Rolls– To help complaints “roll” off you back. Rubber Bands– For when you need to stretch beyond you limits. Battery– To keep you going and going and going. Candle– For when you feel completely burned out. Snickers– Because laughter is the best medicine. Button– Because you may need to button your lip. Marbles– To replace the ones you will lose.

Everyone asked about Barry, but he had to work. He came over at 6am Christmas morning and we began the holiday early.

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After opening presents with mom, Frank, Barry and my brothers, I headed over to dads with the pup.WP_005051

WP_005046We had a great morning. Money was a bit tight this year so we decided not the get a tree. Instead, we took a ceramic tree out of storage. My grandmother used to make ceramics and this one is one of my favorites! She even put a circuit in the base for a light bulb! It was a great substitution! Yay, for talented mommoms!

Who needs the avengers when youve got the Bundos??

Who needs the avengers when you’ve got the Bundos??

I thought it was pretty humorous that I got dad and Barry Captain America and Iron Man t-shirts, respectively, and my parents got me a Supergirl shirt!

Following a nice morning of family and gift exchanges, dad and I went to my uncle’s house. Before we headed over a prepared a few desserts. One of my cousins was on a low carb diet, so I made some dessert cups using Quest Bars. I cut a Lemon Creme Pie into 8 pieces, and and Apple Pie bar and a Double Chocolate Chunk bar into 4s.

Quest Cups

  • Quest bar of your liking
  • mini muffin tin
  • filling of choice

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut the Quest bars into the desired about of pieces. Space on a plate and microwave for about 8 seconds. Using dry hands, roll each piece into a ball. Flip over a mini muffin tin and spray the bottom of the pan with non-stick cooking spray. Flatten each ball into a disk and form over the coated muffin tin. Bake for 5 minutes and remove from oven. Once cooled, fill the Quest cups with whatever filling you desire.

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I filled the Lemon cups with the left over fig and walnut filling from my Sicilian Crescents. I chopped up half a small fuji apple and mixed it with a packet of Splenda and apple pie spice. I, then placed the apple mix in the microwave for 30 seconds and filled the Apple Pie Quest cup. Lastly, I placed the Double Chocolate Chip quarters in the bottom of the mini muffin tin and baked for 5 minutes, as well. Upon removing the bar, I found 4 perfectly round Double Chocolate Chunk cookies, that RJ loved! Dessert would not be dessert with some fat free Cool Whip to top it off!

Aunt Carol and I took over the kitchen, preparing ravioli, Lightened Gnocchi, salad, gravy, sausage, and meatballs.

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Great minds must think alike. Barry and I, both bought each other robes for Christmas. My parents got Barry a pair of slippers, and us matching pj pants. Barry’s parents got me a new pair of slippers, and us matching pj pants!

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Some of my favorite gifts, this year, included the ornaments I made my family, the Cutco knife Frank gave me, Dad’s laptop and Mom’s pendant, the onsies dad got me, my Ninja (thanks Barry), and the collage I made Barry’s sister.

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I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!