Summer Trip to Michigan – 2021

Our family made our first trip to Michigan together since 2019. I was thankful to visit my parents back in June. We also haven’t seen Jen and Blue since then, so it was a great reunion for our family.

The first week, we spent some time with Grace’s family in Ann Arbor. Delaney was still in town for school and Addy joined to help her move apartments. Grace and the kids spent time at Youngjoo and Il’s house, where they had the best time on the lake.

We didn’t get to see too many friends on this trip, though we did have a nice dinner with Frances and Jon in Ann Arbor. We had a great weekend away in Chicago at the end of our first week. The following week, my aunt and cousin’s daughter, Sara, joined us in Michigan. This was also the first time my mom has seen her sister during COVID-19.

We were super happy that SJC was back on this summer, though it was quite different experience, starting with the drive-through drop off. It was great to catch up with lifelong friends at Dairy Queen before heading our different ways for the week. Thankfully, everyone has been surviving the pandemic and now our kids were spending a week together as second-generation campers.

Grace and I headed straight from Higgins Lake to Traverse city. We dropped off Jen at her friends Jen and Dan’s house. We checked into Grand Traverse resort and got in about 10 holes of golf before heading in to meet Jea and Eddie’s family. While it was great to finally meet their newest addition, Bella, it turned out she wasn’t welcome to stay at the resort, so our couple days of golf and hanging out were blown up. We had a quick dinner together before the mosquitoes came to eat us alive. We were mostly able to avoid the rain and got in a couple rounds and a nice dinner at the resort before leaving for home. We met Jen and the Lipfords for lunch in Traverse City and then drove home before the Haus started arriving.

Myung and Millie arrived in style as Myung piloted a single engine plane from New York, with a stop in Ohio. They took went flying around Michigan and up to Mackinaw Island and now have been to more places than me. Andrew and Clarence drove from NJ. We spent some time exploring Detroit and reminiscing about how our uncle terrorized us in the glass elevators at the Renaissance Center.

Halle, Liz and Mochi flew in on Friday. The main purpose of their trip was to show Halle U of M and show Andrew what he missed out on. We will probably never let him live that down.

On Saturday, Clarence and I went to pick up the kids at camp. We brought Zoe home with us and dropped her at her grandmother’s house. It turned out that everyone, including Lucas, had the best week/year at camp. I’m so glad Olivia and Sara were able to spend this precious experience together. I hope she’ll be back.

It was now a full Hau-Rhee family reunion, like so many we had in the 70s and 80s. We made full use of my parents’ back yard with some serious kickball and whiffle ball. This is the last time we’ll ever be able to do this as my parents will be moving next year.

My mom shows her love in many ways, but especially through cooking. While we told her to take it easy, she was set on cooking her delicious food for us. We went on yet another tour of U of M. Clarence and I overlapped while he was in graduate school and we had a lot of fun reminiscing about our time together. He knows a lot more about electrical engineering than I do. We gave them the full experience with a stop at Zingerman’s and the Big House.

We took a lot of family photos and had one last meal together at Benihana. We celebrated my Eemoh’s birthday and the big ones we weren’t able to celebrate together during the pandemic. We had such a great time together and it would have been even better with Lou and Sandor’s families. Hopefully we’ll all be together again soon.

Weekend trip to Chicago

Although we’ve taken some trips during COVID-19, my parents have been pretty locked down. While we were all home in Michigan, Grace wanted to take a trip with everyone to give them a change of scenery. After considering some destinations, we decided on Chicago as we haven’t been there together in forever and the kids have never visited.

My dad is on dialysis and his treatments are M-W-F, so we left directly after his Friday treatment. All 8 of us (including Blue) fit nicely in our rental Suburban and we made the trip to downtown in good time. We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria, which is not only beautiful, but in a quiet and accessible part of town.

Our first dinner out on Friday was at Prime and Provisions, which was kind enough to let Blue eat indoors with us. It was loud, but the food and service were great and I think everyone enjoyed their meals. Olivia especially enjoyed taking in a new big city.

On Saturday, we went on an architectural boat tour, which I think is the best way to see and learn about Chicago and its beautiful skyline. The kids enjoyed it and learned a lot. We spent a little time at Navy Pier before heading back to the hotel.

In the evening, Jen’s friend Kim came to the hotel to sit for Blue. My cousin Sunyong and his family also met us at the hotel for a visit and we went to dinner together. We haven’t seen them in a long time and I’m certain the kids don’t remember meeting Noah when they were all very little.

On Sunday morning, I took Olivia and Lucas to meet her school friend, who was visiting his sister in the city. The Starbucks reserve on Michigan Avenue is a sight to behold, but I don’t really recommend trying to eat there on a busy morning. Our last meal was at Joe’s, which reminded us of our meal there together in Miami.

After lunch, we picked up Jen and got right on the road. We were home by dinner time. Everyone had a great time on our excursion, especially my mom, who appreciated the luxurious time away.

I also shared this in a different post:

When my dad immigrated to the US in 1961, he landed in Chicago and spent a few years studying at the University of Chicago. He has always considered it his home town, despite living in Michigan for over 50 years. He roots for the Bears and the White Sox. Jen, Grace and I also have lived in Chicago post-college. We spent a quick weekend eating, touring, and reminiscing our way through the city with Olivia, Lucas, and Blue. It was us vs. 400K Lollapalooza attendees.

Visiting Mom and Dad for Father’s Day

I went to visit my mom and dad for the first time since the pandemic this past weekend. I was glad to be able to spend Father’s Day together, which we don’t often get to do. It’s a relief that they are hanging in there. Big shout out to my sister Jen, who had spent the better part of the past eight months in Michigan helping to care for them (or was my mom caring for Blue?). We’ll finally all be together again in a month. 

Spring Break in LA and Palm Desert

Grace’s parents have thankfully been fully vaccinated, so we planned our spring break around seeing them and also celebrating her mom’s 80th birthday. Dave planned to come out and join us. At the last minute, Addy decided to join us as well. Bummer that Charles and their kids couldn’t make the family gathering complete.

Grace got lucky with her first vaccine shot a few weeks ago, but that put her second shot in the middle of break, which couldn’t be changed. She also hauled to Sacramento to get it, so that meant a 2 day delay and 3 hour diversion on our drive down to LA, which was a problem worth having.

Grace hemmed and hawed (never does that) on where to stay. Ultimately she picked West Hollywood to stay at a hotel she enjoyed in London. It was nice and quiet, but a little out of the way and not really walking (for me).

Chosun Galbee isn’t open on Mondays, so we went to some other place, which was fine. Benjamins were distributed by grandpa. Tuesday, Addy was flying in, and she had never been to Manhattan Beach, so we all met up there for lunch. The weather wasn’t the greatest, but it’s always nice to visit.

We had dinner at Ann and Jeremy’s. Grace and I have watched Queens Gambit three times and the kids twice. They are obsessed with chess, which seems like a much better use of device time, so it is usually allowed. Lucas is improving against Jeremy in their matches and can hopefully make a strong showing in a visit or two. I’m 0 for 2 against Olivia already.

Wednesday was moving day, so we took advantage of the empty roof-top pool. Our teenager wasn’t interested and Lucas asked me to join him. It was warm enough, but once the sun was hidden for the foreseeable future, it was time to go. We did get to have Chosun Galbee for lunch on our way out of town.

Our family road trip was to Palm Desert. I haven’t been to Palm Springs in almost 30 years and I don’t think anyone else has been there recently either. The weather was a little dodgy when we arrived, but it cleared up nicely for a couple days of golf and pool. Grace played 18 holes for the first time in forever and held up great.

The resort was nice enough, but was a little too big. I believe it peaked in 1983 and was a little understaffed for the number of guests. The food there was great and we had some meals in town, including Grace’s mom’s birthday dinner.

We had ambitions of going to Joshua Tree, but it turned out to be more effort than was wanting to be expended. I saw a lot of people posting from there the week before and the same week. Grace’s parents, Addy and Dave stopped there on the way back to LA and we headed straight home after our last brunch together. We’ll have to come back to check it out.

Happy to be spending quality time with family again. Can’t wait to see my family next.

Olivia’s 14th Birthday

Like most of us who have had to celebrate our birthdays during the pandemic, Olivia took it in stride and actually enjoyed being at home and relaxing. Usually we’re traveling, or worse, en route on her birthday.

She hasn’t been out of the house in days, so we took a quick trip downtown for Salt & Straw. We celebrated with our pandemic pod family, the Lees, for dinner. Olivia, being very patient, didn’t open any gifts until almost 10pm. She’s very appreciative of all of her thoughtful family and friends.

Happy Birthday, Olivia! We couldn’t love you and your kind spirit more.

Christmas 2020

Like most families, we were separated from our loved ones due to COVID-19. It’s been a year since we have seen any family except Grace’s parents in August. That didn’t stop Olivia and Lucas’s grandparents, aunts and uncles from sending them many generous and thoughtful gifts. Santa somehow knew what was on their lists, too.

Grace and Romana cooked a feast that was too much for the five of us. We’re still working on finishing it. Everything was delicious.

Hopefully our next holidays will be more back to normal. Until then, stay safe, everyone. Merry Christmas!

Thanksgiving 2020

This was our first Thanksgiving without family and friends. Still, we wanted to have some normalcy and give Romana the full tradition. Thus, turkey and all the fixings were on the menu and we all still have much for which to be thankful.

Rhee Family Christmas in Michigan – 2019

Due to my dad settling into a new health care regimen, he wasn’t able to travel to NY for the holidays as we had planned. Although we were just in Michigan for Thanksgiving, Jen, Grace and I decided to return to Michigan to spend the holidays with my parents. I know my mom wanted us to go ahead and see the cousins, but it was important to spend this family time together.

Because we made last minute changes to our flights, we ended up on a redeye from SF to Detroit, leaving shortly after saying our farewell to Elin. In addition to seeing the grandparents and aunt Jen, the kids were also excited to see Blue. They took some turns taking him for walks and to the park. It was the warmest Christmas I can ever recall in Michigan and no one was really complaining about missing a white Christmas.

We didn’t want my mom to feel like she was hosting and feeding us, so we planned a lot of meals out. Christmas Eve dinner was at Eddie V’s. Jen, Grace and mom did spend most of Christmas cooking for dinner at home, which was beautiful. My mom’s bestie, Mia, joined our family for dinner.

Once again, the kids got too much stuff from all the relatives. For this reason, we don’t often get them anything, but what we did get them was purchased pre-owned from Mercari. They were thrilled.

On the 26th, we went downtown for lunch and ate at San Morello, where Melanie and Nick took us in August. We ran into some old friends who were also visiting from the Bay Area. On the way home, I wanted to show the kids where Jen and I lived before moving to West Bloomfield in 1973. We lived on two streets, Margaret and Savannah, between Woodward Ave. and John R. My parents couldn’t remember the exact number or house, which likely didn’t exist anymore as only about 20% of the original houses are still standing in this significantly blighted area. I wanted to give Olivia and Lucas some perspective, not only for where they live, but also for our family’s humble beginnings.

Friday evening, we met up with the Feleses for an evening at Top Golf. It was our first time and a lot of fun. Uncle Nick’s swing is as beautiful as Fred Couples’. Olivia was invited to an impromptu sleepover with Eve and had a lot of fun. Although they rarely see each other, the kids always pick up where they left off.

Saturday, we celebrated my dad’s 84th birthday at Benihana. I’m glad to say he’s doing a lot better than he was when I saw him at Thanksgiving. We’re thankful for all the time the kids were able to spend with them this year and hope they can come visit us in California again, soon.