On Sunday, after we left church early (much thanks to Raelynn's ultra-embarrassing behavior that caused us to scoop her and our coats up faster than Superman), we found ourselves in some truly ridiculous traffic. Trapped in the car with one bratty child and a small but sweet baby, we spent part of that time lecturing Raelynn about how she should behave and the rest trying to decide what to do once we extracted ourselves from the gridlock.
Jeremy suggested going out to eat but after the tantrum Raelynn threw, I didn't think it was a good idea to sit in a restaurant. Then he suggested we stop by the wholesale market near our home so we could buy a few cases of beer for Chinese New Year gifts for the relatives and also take home some street food. That was a good plan, perhaps the best plan of all simply because Seoul had fallen sound asleep so us gals could just wait for him in the car.
He's not gone long. He comes bounding back about 10 minutes later with a happy young guy in tow behind him, helping him carrying 2 of the 4 cases of beer. See, on the day after the big Chinese New Year celebration, you have to go around and visit the older relatives. Like we did last year.You have to bring some sort of gift or it's considered very rude, probably as rude as not going at all. All over the city now, gifts of cases of beer, baijiu (a very strong Chinese liquor), teas, fruits and all kinds of things are being bought up as quickly as they're sold for this occasion. You could wait until you venture out to visit these relatives but then you're at the mercy of whatever few stores are open and the incredible markups they put on their price tags.
As the young guy helps Jeremy put the other 2 cases in our car, he spots me. He asks if I'm Russian. No, she's American, my husband tells the guy. "Mei guo ren! Li hai! Li hai!" or "American person! Awesome! Awesome!" he shouts. Yeah, we are pretty awesome, us Americans.
It's now that I notice my husband has no street food for us. He explains all the vendors are nowhere to be found, likely because they've already taken off for the holiday. and then he says something horrible: "Hey, let's go to my parents' for lunch!"
Suddenly, I hear screaming. I realize it's coming from me. One of those long, slow "Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo" screams. The baby had already woken up when the beer guy was loading up the car. She was intrigued by this wailing of mine. "I'd rather eat out of that garbage can!" I sulk, pointing out the window at an overflowing trash receptacle. Jeremy pats my hand and tells me if we just have a casual lunch with them, he can get them to leave us alone for the rest of the holiday, excluding the big CNY dinner of course. He's off work now for the holiday so he doesn't want his parents intruding on our time together either. Knowing that I'm still sad about my parents having to cancel their trip, he also offers me the most blissful gift of all for having to endure a meal at their horrible home...he says he will take me out to Shangri-La later this week. Ok, I tell him, but if I wind up with diarrhea, you owe me 2 separate Shangri-La dinners. He laughs at this but agrees, knowing full well this might be a possibility.
I also negotiate that he immediately pour me some alcoholic beverages once we get there. I wanted to attempt to be cheerful and let's face it, being around them does NOT make me a very chipper person. As we clomped up the stairs to their stink shack, I remembered that I could at least amuse myself by taking photos for this blog.
I haven't been forced to dine at Chez Puke, also known as my in-laws' house, in a year. Not since the last CNY. They rearranged the furniture but it's still all kinds of gross. Have a look...
ill-fated haircut of his. FIL has inexplicably covered most of the mirror on the wall behind Jeremy too. It made the place look bigger. Not anymore though.
the bed they gave Raelynn once was. Don't get me started on that bed again. And it seems all Chinese people's houses I've ever been to have a ton of random stuff that no one ever uses but they pile up for some day that will never arrive.
Oh, and check out what MIL is wearing!
this looks familiar! At first, I thought it was the one they gave us. I thought they realized that we didn't like it when I'd casually moved it into our entertainment center shelf way in the back where it can't be seen. But I checked when we came home and ours is still there. So this is their very own evil bunny rabbit! I should just make hideous things like this and sell them here. I'd make millions because people here seem to buy the most atrocious of things...like that bed sheet that causes hallucinations from the other photos I just posted!
luo bo?!? Why do they cut up so many of them and strew them around?!? At least they do it in their own home too but it makes me insane that my in-laws and my own husband too will cut up several different luo bo and leave them around. JUST CUT UP ONE AND EAT IT ALL FIRST! GAH!!!!!!!!
Anyway, stay tuned for my big Chinese New Year post in the next few days. I will be documenting the whole holiday for your amusement.