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03/30/2014: Clockwise- Fobby Hanna & sad me; a decent Michigan crowd at the Brick Yard; mmm~ Brick Yard burger w/ egg; Simba + his RSVP’ed table; a “Good Time Charlies” special cocktail for the game- cocktail name courtesy of James.  It was heartbreaking to be so close to another trip to the Final Four only to fall short in Trey Burke-esque last second fashion.  The crowd at the Brick Yard was a bit disappointing compared to last year, but I feel much of that has to do with our increased expectations.  As where last year’s tourny run felt like a miracle, it was Final Four or bust this year- and hopefully for years to come.  The good side of exiting at this point is that I have to study, study like a hermit. 

03/23/2014: Flew out of Korea on Sunday at 4pm, and after 10 hours on the plane, landed in SF on Sunday at noon. Since Korea is 16 hours ahead, you still gain 4 or 5 hours even after the long flight. It’s a little weird to think you basically lived two times on Sunday for a few hours. Anyway, we headed up to the roof to grill some leftover burgers for dinner/breakfast/lunch/whatever-meal it is for me. Jet lag not only messes with your sleep but with your stomach as well. Not… looking forward to a jet lagged week.

Leaving Seoul is always part relief- that I made it alive through the weeks and am headed home to my own bed and friends, and part heartbreaking- that I won’t seem many of my family & friends again for a long time.  In the case of my grandmother, it’s a goodbye knowing that it very well could be the last goodbye, emotional indeed.

I was exhausted, especially after the last three or four whirlwind days visiting friends from Hongdae to Gangnam.  I joked that I’d covered enough ground in Seoul in one week than most do in a year… and that I ate about one year’s worth of food in that time as well.  I feel fat.  I felt it was time to go back home, detox, get back in shape, and get back to studying.  I think two weeks is a little long, next time I’ll aim for just about a week or so.  Much thanks to all my friends for making the trip so memorable.  See you again, soon!

03/23/2014: Farewell picture at Incheon Int’l Airport! Time to shop at Duty Free~

03/23/2014: Box of chocolates for the flight attendants goes a long ways. I didn’t get upgraded, but had first class service throughout the flight, including an upgraded midnight snack! Flying over HMB Golf Links. The landing route was a little perplexing… at least I got a good tour of the Bay as if they were trying to remind me what it looks like?

I wanted to visit Gyeongbokgung Palace before going back home, and YJ  happened to work near Gwanghwamun so we met at the palace subway station for a tour.  The palace is  enormous with renovations to restore additional buildings within the walls.  We didn’t get a chance to see every corner, being chased around by tourist groups from other countries… but got a good sense of the palace.  We then headed over to Insadong, a town famous for sticking to Korean roots, from naming conventions (most US stores have signs in Korean) to the local food market.

03/21/2014: I’ll have to come back here, perhaps during a warmer day in the summer at night to finish off the tour. Looking forward to when all the renovations & additions are complete!

03/21/2014: Aside from the palace, they also restored a regular home outside the wall. I’m assuming this would’ve been a home for middle class families…

03/21/2014: They also had a street from the 60′s? 70′s? The coffee shop was a real store while the other shops were for viewing only.

03/21/2014: YJ was hungry, so we quickly walked through the main street of Insadong, picked up a few gifts for coworkers, and headed over to a street famous for beef tartar. YJ said she was craving it… which was the first time I’ve ever heard anybody crave beef tartar. It was rather delicious… now I crave it. A snack of poop bread (not real poop) before the tartar because she was about to faint of hunger.

03/21/2014: Crazy busy market place famous for gimbab & jun. Every store basically sells the same thing and looks the same, so we just randomly picked one and plopped down and a oddly warm bench.

03/21/2014: Yum! Combination of jun’s and more magoli! We ordered a second bottle but the lady said we had to leave for speaking English. So old school. In all fairness, we only spoke half the time in English which probably bothered her even more. We headed over Gangnam where English is accepted to meet a couple other Michigan kids and capped the night there. Thanks YJ for showing me around on my last day out!

03/20/2014: Hipster cafe in Hongdae. It even had cats chillin’ on the counter.

03/20/2014: Thank you Eunhye for lunch & coffee, and the gifts! I wish I wasn’t so… hungover and tired from the night before to be more engaged in the conversation. Please come visit SF!

I went out to meet Joe at Garosugil, a fancy shmancy part of Seoul near Apgu’s Rodeo.  We heard of a Korean fusion/traditional resto so we went to check it out for dinner.

03/19/2014: Gaemizip. The yuzu-makgoli is a must, along with the pahjun w/ mozzarella and fried chicken w/ green onions. The sashimi can be skipped.

03/19/2014: Very cool interior with a see-through floor to their storage for traditional Korean ingredients. They only use domestic organic ingredients and many are grown in their own farm. So hip.

03/19/2014: We continued the night with makgoli… this was stop #3, Chez Mak. They have been making makgoli for generations. I

My cousins and I grew up really close despite living in different continents for most of our lives.  We consider ourselves more brothers than cousins and so I was ecstatic that we were able to all get together (sans the sister) for the first time in probably a decade or so.  We always mean to stay closer in touch, but it’s difficult given our own busy lives and being separated by an entire ocean.  Since we only get to share a meal or two at most every year, these nights are precious.

03/18/2014: Busy back streets of Jamsil, a primarily business district of Seoul.  MK’s office is near here, so I picked him up from work and walked over to a popular KBBQ joint.

03/18/2014: Delicious as advertised, but the presentation and the number of side dishes was even more impressive. MK, JK, Chull-e, and I, all in one spot! Chull-e is a bit younger, and it was the first time seeing him after he turned old enough to drink. Today was the first day we all four of us shared a drink together.

03/18/2014: No BBQ would be complete w/out fried rice. The fried rice was rather bleh, though. The fruit platter for dessert was… an adventure. We had no idea what most of it was, or how to eat it.

03/18/2014: Round two in Apgu! Coincidently this is the same spot I drank with James & Aaron last time I was in Seoul. MK went home early to pick up the wife & baby, and JK & Chull-e quickly followed suit and went home to cap the night.

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