Early in the month of May, Melissa spotted a status update from her dear friend since middle school, Mindy Litton. The status claimed that Mindy was in Japan. Knowing that Mindy's sister was working in Japan, this was a reasonable place for Mindy to be, however, seeing that South Korea is not all too far from Japan, it was unreasonable that Mike and Melissa should not work their tails off to figure out a way to have a happy little reunion in Tokyo while Mindy was on this side of the globe.
And that it is the beginning to this tale of The Great Reunion. The weekend of May 12-13th found the Harrington's hopping from bus to plane to train to subway for a whirlwind tour of the world's largest city and a reunion with the world's sweetest Litton sisters and the boyfriend to one, Alex Ly.
Early on the morning of May 12th, (we're talking like 3 am early) Mike and Melissa groggily made their way to Incheon airport where they caught an 8 am flight to Narita Airport, took an hour express train into Tokyo center and frantically searched for a dark-haired Mindy and her equally dark-haired boyfriend, no easy task. Finally, while Mike was off checking dark corners for the couple and Melissa waited at the main subway gates a voice shouted Melissa's name and within minutes the first hug of the reunion was underway.
Thrilled to be together, but eager to fill their bellies, the now group of four (Mindy, Alex, Mike and Melissa) made their way into a department store where they grabbed a quick, delicious bite to eat.
Bellies satisfied, the group was then on their way to the Tokyo Hilton where they planned to drop off their belongings (which included an air mattress from Mandy's place for the most comfortable sleeping arrangements possible). Little did the Harrington's realize that in heading to the Hilton they would end up at the subway station for Tokyo Disneyland. Therefore, rather than head over to the hotel, the Harrington's meandered the outskirts of Disneyland which showcased fountains, overpriced shops, flower arrangements and even an impressive magic-type show.
Although the Harrington's love a good hamburger or taco, the truth is they love Korean food and cook plenty of it at home while also making their way out to the many fine-dining establishments of Daejeon. Time and time again, the Harrington's make their way to Gung-dong where some of the best food for the best prices is located. And of those Gung-dong restaurants there is one 싸다돼지마을 (Cheap Pork Village) that has them hooked, nearly addicted to their go-juchang bul-gogi (thinly sliced meat in a spicy, red pepper sauce, wrapped with lettuce)
On Friday, May 4th the Harrington's along with good friends Alla, Garrett, Hyunhee and Hakcheol made their way to the arts center of Chungnam University where they sat down to enjoy the non-verbal performance, JUMP.
Initially the group was a bit disappointed to see such a small turn out for this one-weekend Daejeon performance. However, within minutes an 'old man' was wandering the aisles and causing a bit of a stir. As the 'old man' made his way to the stage with cane in hand and a high-pitched 'boop!' to go with every step forward the crowd quickly came to understand that the following hour or so would be nothing short of entertaining.
The week following Melissa's graduation from the University of Wyoming, Mike and Melissa loaded up the Dodge Neon and hit the road for Southern Utah. Always up for beautiful scenery, fresh air, dreamy hikes and adventures the couple was eager to celebrate the upcoming summer vacation and Melissa's life as a college graduate (Mike was on a 5 year plan, engineering will do that to you).
The road trip began with Mike and Melissa passing through the snowy border of Wyoming and Colorado and eventually arriving in Southern Utah where they would spend a week exploring Arches National Park, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and the surrounding towns and outlying areas.
A couple days into their trip, on May 9th, 2007, Mike got a bit persistent that the couple take on Angel Falls. A trail in Zion National Park that promised a gorgeous view of the area and had a small reputation of killing hikers who missed their footing during the last stretch to the main outcropping. In an oddly whiny and pitiful mood, Melissa agreed but huffed and puffed her way up the trail nervous she would soon be a statistic in Zion National Park's brochures.
Fortunately, the couple made it to a large outcropping and rather than chance their way to the very top opted to stop for a bit of a photo shoot showcasing dives off the cliff piggy-back rides, the Lewis and Clark pose and a few others.
Ladies up to all the same ole tricks. However, these days she's enjoying 'real food' as opposed to packaged dog food and suffering the effects of air pollution. Nonetheless, the Lady is full of joy and cuddles.
In other news...
Korea Hot Springs Festival begins tomorrow May 9th and will continue on through the weekend. The website doesn't provide any English information, but enough clicking and exploring and you're sure to discover the map which will lead you to a relaxing evening in Yuseong-gu and/or simply explain why there's fireworks filling the sky later this week.
If you're not so interested in Korea's festivals, there's a few shows coming through Daejeon you may be interested in checking out.
One week ago, Melissa awoke to the day she has so long anticipated, April 27th, 2012. Even before learning about the blessed 'golden birthday' (the birthday on which ones new age matches the day of the month), Melissa was sure being 27 would be the most fabulous thing in the world. (Recent reflections have convinced her that getting older seems a bit more promising than daunting, anyway, reflections for another time and place).
Seeing how Melissa's birthday was on Friday, she was required to wake upon the regular morning hours and make her way to Samcheon Elementary school where she'd be required to energetically and enthusiastically teach five classes of 4th grade students. Fortunately, these are some of her favorite students and her classroom as well as the school halls were filled with sweet voices singing the Happy Birthday song or shouting birthday wishes for Melissa Teacher. Not to mention the gifts and sticky note messages, hand made cards and candies that also filled Melissa Teacher's desk.
Aside from all the attention afforded by students, Melissa was also honored to receive an ice cream/gelato cake from the subject teachers, although the flavors ranged from grape to strawberry to cheese (as in processed cheese), the thought was quite nice and the fruit flavors quite lovely.
If you live in Daejeon and spend any time on Facebook groups you've likely heard about the greatly renowned Cafe Moru where Daejeonites can sink their teeth into some fine quality brunch items. Always ready to check out the latest and greatest in Daejeon's dining options as well as enjoy some typical western breakfast items, the Harrington's recently made their way to Cafe Moru and were far from disappointed.
On Sunday, April 22nd, the Harrington's loaded up the car and headed north toward Cheongju, the current home of Daejeon's Hanwha Eagles while the home stadium is under construction. And while the Harrington's love a good game of baseball on a Sunday afternoon as much as any Apple-pie fed Americans, their main purpose in attending this specific game was due in large part to the CouchSurfer they picked up at the bus terminal before heading to Cheongju.
Waka is relatively new to CouchSurfing, but not to the sport of baseball. On the contrary, Waka is