Lately Chuseok and Seollal have been my “Bachelor Weeks.” I usually get tours booked, so I have to stay in the Seoul area during the holidays while the girls go visit the family in Gyeongju.

My plans were thwarted this time.

Nah, it’s all good. I’m glad we went. i’m not happy about the over 18 hours driving. It wasn’t only traffic. It was our cursed navigation system. I had suspected it before, but now I’m positive that Korea’s navigation apps work with the government to redirect traffic onto back roads to keep them off the main expressways. It took us 3 hours to get out of Gyeonggi Province, which usually only takes an hour. And there was no traffic.

After we got out of Gyeonggi, we tried an experiment. We’d just take Gyeongbu Expressway 1 and nothing else. It still took a while, but we didn’t run into too much traffic. The GPS app kept trying to veer us off to some podunk country roads.

Lesson learned. Don’t depend on navi for long trips.

Our time at Mom’s was nice. We only had time for one meal, and it was great. My beloved Deodeok made an appearance. It’s the red stuff right behind the rice. We all know how much I love this stuff. I was surprised that my Korean had improved since the last time I was there, and I was able to participate more in family conversations. It also helped that the topics revolved around food. My food-Korean is great. Taxes and politics Korean–yeah, not so good.

It was great to be out in the countryside in the Gyeongju-Pohang area. The rice is golden. The air is drier and cooler. Jian was happy to be with her cousins, whom she loves dearly. She cried when it was time to go.

The trip back still took a while, but sticking to a plan rather than the GPS worked better, in my opinion. Big Sister and Brother-in-law were going up to Nami Island for a little trip after lunch. We decided to meet for dinner at a rest stop near Chungju. More familial bonding and all that. I like them. They wanted to meet again in Wonju to try the American BBQ at Sweet Oak, but EJ told them I hadn’t had a day of rest yet this whole holiday, which was true. That was despite her earlier arguments that it was more stressful being a passenger on a long drive than the driver. I made sure to get some photographic evidence of that speculation.

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