One of the many things I have loved about co-founding this skincare company is the travel to South Korea. We fly there regularly to meet with our manufacturers and to do research. While Kayla and I spend the majority of our time in meetings when we are in Korea we have also had a chance to explore a little bit.
My family have joined us on a couple of our trips, which has made for some really memorable experiences. My grandpa not only translates for us in some of our meetings, he serves as our guide to all things Korea. Want to know how many bridges are on the Han River (right outside of Seoul)? He'll tell you. Want to know the top Korean exports? He'll tell you that too. The tallest building in the Seoul skyline? You get my point. He is so proud of the country he grew up in, and how far it has come since his war-torn youth.
Right now is the Korean Thanksgiving holiday, where Koreans everywhere go and visit the graves of their ancestors. They bring a meal to share at the gravesite, that is supposed to be made from the first crops of fall. As my grandpa was explaining this to me tonight it brought me back to last October when we visited his parents' graves.
My parents, my grandpa, Kayla, and I traveled for hours to go to the grave and it was a very poignant experience for me. I had never met them, they passed away when my grandpa was a teenager, and had never been to their grave sites. It was evident how meaningful it was to my grandpa to have us there, and while it was sad to see him mourning them, it also made me happy to know how content he was to be able to share this place with us. He said he had always dreamt of having our family there with him.
I've grown up hearing about the many things my grandparents both had to overcome during their youth, and being able to travel to the country where they grew up has helped me understand them more, and also feel more connected to them.
Also, if you think starting a business with someone bonds you, add sharing experiences like this with your business partner, and you end up feeling more like family than anything. Also, my grandpa has dubbed Kayla an honorary Korean now for both the frequency of our trips, and her love of Korean food. Which I'll have to do a post about sometime, because we have found the BEST food during our trips to Seoul.
Although we aren't in Korea today to celebrate this holiday, I am grateful I was able to have these experiences this year to reflect on this special day.
(Photo by Rachel Thurston of my parents, my grandpa, and me at the grave site)