Friday, February 8, 2008

The Kroll's in Korea

How many people do you know who have been to Seoul, South Korea? Is the number south of one? Or is it one because you know me? Well, about eleven months ago before I committed to teaching at Shinjin I didn't know anyone who had ever been here. Heck, it was difficult to find anyone who knew anything about Seoul besides that the Olympics were there in a year everyone seemed to forget. Now, amazingly, I think of Korea as a second home, my best friend has been here and loved it, and the latest astonishing visit came from my parents.

I couldn't believe it when I read the email saying that they were going to come. Sometimes people refer to me as an "All American boy" and they're surprised when I do anything outside of playing football, listening to rock and roll, and eating hot dogs, but in comparison to the background of my parents I look like a Gen-X'er. The idea of my parents walking the busy streets of Seoul, getting relentlessly bumped into, trying to order off a menu they can't read, and, to cap it off, staying in my apartment for a week honestly scared me a bit (to say the least). It's been a while since I lived with my parents and even then, we didn't share the same bathroom (that could or could not smell like raw sewage any day of the week). If anything went wrong in the five days they were here in Seoul, I thought it would be easy for things to go really downhill, fast. But just like people underestimated me, I underestimated my parents.

Their week in Korea was a whirlwind of things happening. The morning after they got in we all woke up and gathered around my computer to listen to the Giants beat the Packers in overtime on the radio, and that set the tone for the whole week. Palaces, dinners with friends, lunches with my principal, temples, museums, malls, the DMZ and even an aquarium later and we had made it to the finish. The whole week went off without a hitch, but that's no way to describe it. Everyone loved them, and they loved everyone they met. I got to see some new things, and they got to eat some new things. It went better than I could have possibly expected it to go.

As we walked toward the airport bus I felt like cheering as if the Giants were winning all over again. A week of close quarters living, and 24/7 contact while being a full time tour guide for my parents in a country where I didn't speak the language was over, and it would be a week we would both remember with smiles for the rest of our lives. What a success, but I didn't cheer, I stayed calm and got my rest. Korea was just like the NFC Championship game, it wasn't what they came for, the trip wasn't over, far from it. The Super Bowl for them was China. The People's Republic of China, the land of well over one billion people who don't speak our language, eat our food, or know anything about football, rock and roll, or hot dogs, and there was still one more week for everything to go wrong. But would it?

Check out the great pictures from my parents trip to Korea, and I'll have the rest of the trip to China up soon.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

One GIANT Loss (18-1)

The Giants shock the world (or at least the USA): Yes, my parents traveled half way across the world to come see me, and then took me to China for a week, and there is plenty to talk about there, but the real news of the day is the New York Football Giants becoming the world champs. While this should be a happy day I am struck by the irony that surrounds this infamous day. I've always been a Giants fan, always stuck by them, cheered my heart out for them. I was there when Eli won his first game. I was there when we weren't any good. I was there when they got destroyed in the first round of the playoffs by the Panthers. My friends and I have an annual Giants tailgate party on the last home game of the year that was started spontaneously on MY 21st birthday. I am Big-Blue through and through. So I leave the country for one year and they go and win the championship. And as if that wasn't enough, out of all the days, and all the times I had to fly out of China, my flight was during the Super Bowl. So I couldn't even watch the game live. I watched the Giants amazing, unbelievable upset of Super Bowl XLII alone in my apartment. There were no cheering fans, no crazy friends, no hot dogs, pretzels or beer. It was just me and my computer but the game in High Def was still so sweet.
Dear Giants:
-I wish I could have been there but I'm glad you did it anyway.
-I'm sorry Eli and Coach Coughlin, I was wrong about you both. You found a way to do it, I still don't know how you did, and I'm not so sure you know how you did it, but I'm glad you did it.
-Eli is the most impressively unimpressive player in NFL history.
-Tiki...I told you that you would regret it. It makes me feel bad that I was right but you should have known, the fans knew.
-The Giants Defense is so much fun to watch. I can watch them coming off the line all day.