Celebrity Travel: Go away with Marie Myung-Ok Lee
A: We flew from Minnesota to California to visit the couple who sort of fostered my parents when they first came to America. It was not a great trip for me. We went to visit the wife at a senior home and the lady in the next bed died while we were there. I was three or four and it was pretty traumatizing.
Q: Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?
A: Seoul actually reminds me of New York because you can get anything you want at any hour. I was just in Kalamazoo for a book event and that reminded me a little of Hibbing, where I grew up in Minnesota – but because of the depressed, post-industrial vibe.
Q: What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?
A: I don’t think this is the worst per se but it’s the same memory bookended. When I was studying in Paris as a college student, my parents came to visit. I was so excited to show off my knowledge of restaurants. My late father was a fan of fine dining. I looked at everything from the famous La Tour d’Argent to restaurants in the Eiffel Tower. But oddly and disappointingly, my father told me to find a Korean restaurant. Who spends one of their days in Paris at a Korean restaurant? I searched, half hoping there wouldn’t be one. But wouldn’t you know it? There was a Korean barbecue place. I don’t remember anything about the food. But this was before I spoke Korean or knew that much about Korean culture. After traveling for a few weeks in Europe, my father was craving kimchi. Now I see the memory as kind of cool that he had to have his kimchi, even in Paris.
(Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times bestselling author and travel writer. You can respond to this column by visiting her website at www.jaehakim.com. You may also follow “Go Away With…” on Twitter at @GoAwayWithJae where Jae-Ha Kim welcomes your questions and comments.)
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