Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Meeting the Family

Several weeks ago, Mark and I had the opportunity to meet two of Birth Father's brothers and their families. This is the first extended family I've gotten to meet, so it was really cool for me. My birth father actually comes from a family of 9. He is the 5th born, so exactly in the middle.

We got picked up around 3:30 pm and drove about an hour to Birth Father's younger brother's house. He lives a little outside Seoul. When we arrived at the house, we had no idea what to expect.

Birth Father's younger brother lives above his 순대 (soondae) restaurant. This is a restaurant that sells pig intestines... which Koreans go absolutely NUTS for. You will see the prettiest Korean girls in their high heels and mini skirts chowing down on this stuff. Mark and I have not been brave enough to try it...

Anyway, we met my uncle, aunt, and their daughter who is in college. Then, another brother, his wife, and their two middle-school-aged daughters arrived also. It was kind of nice... they didn't make a big fuss over me, basically just instantly accepted me as part of the family. No one could really speak much English, so conversation was extremely limited to what SangKwun could translate.

We went into an apartment and sat around several small tables. There were tons of pots bubbling... I was just praying that we weren't having soondae. Luckily, we had plates and plates of delicious food... some marinated 갈비 (beef), 잡재 (jap chae), and 떡국 (the traditional New Years rice cake soup and seaweed). It was all AMAZING. And don't worry, no 순대!

While we were eating, the 3 brothers started downing the 소주 (soju). I mean, it was bottle after bottle.

Here are the three of them... I think Birth Father looks like the brother to his right. The one to his left is the youngest in the family and quite the character.


Here we are with the cousins... I don't see much of a resemblance... what do you think? The one in the purple sweatshirt is in college and is the daughter of the uncle whose house we were at. The other two were sisters.

And here's the whole gang...


The youngest cousin in the Beastie Boys sweatshirt next to me was pretty cute. She couldn't stop staring at Mark, but would get all embarrassed when he'd catch her.
The brothers just sat around and talked for HOURS. Birth Father's brothers were extremely animated and talkative. Then, out of nowhere, they said we were going to the 노래방 (noraebang) to sing. The cousins stayed behind and we headed out with the aunts and uncles to belt out some tunes.
Normally, birth father is pretty reserved, so I was very surprised when he was the first to grab the microphone and a tambourine.
I was nervous at first but I sang a couple songs. There has never been a more supportive group as everyone clapped along enthusiastically.
We finally finished up around midnight. We were walking back to the apartment and I was SURE we were heading home, when we made a pit stop into the 순대 restaurant owned by my uncle. I think my heart leapt into my throat that my time had come to try it. Luckily, we only had some tea. We then sat there for TWO MORE HOURS while the brothers continued to talk.
We finally headed home around 2 a.m., tired, but glad to have had this experience. What a night -- one that I'm sure I will never forget...


Jen said...

What a great expereience! I'm glad you were so welcome in the family. And to be honest with you, I can't blame you're cousin because sometimes I even stare at Mark just because! :)

I'm glad you didn't have to chow the intestines...but all your talk about yummy Korean food is making me want to try some!

Mom said...

Kim, we are so glad that you have learned how to video chat, and to think that a 4th grader taught you!! The photos of your uncles, aunts and cousins were neat. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall and heard birth father sing as well as yourself! The last pic of the two of you is great. Sounds like you had lots of fun at the noraebang!!