Sunday, March 28, 2010
Caribou Coffee, National Museum of Korea, Yongsan Family Park
Our fourth weekend in Seoul found us taking a bit of a break. We only planned one real Saturday activity, the National Museum of Korea. Even still, exploring a three story museum is a full day's walk. Yongsan Family Park was just beyond the museum, and we got in some good photo ops. On Friday night we found Thursday's elusive Caribou Coffee in Sinchon. Being inside was just like being in America. It didn't feel like Korea at all, so, good job Caribou, I guess. We also had our first sushi in Seoul. This evening we went to see a friend compete in a b-girl battle. It was fun and unlike anything we'd ever have done in the States.
Friday, March 26, 2010
We with our Australian friend Korrine invented Cuppa Thursday. Seoul, it seems, is the coffee capital of the universe, and, as part of our plan to conquer this capital, we sanctified Thursday night as the night for a cuppa (a cup of coffee). Last night we tried to find the Caribou Coffee in Sinchon. We failed, and we settled for a well-meaning but ill-coffeed cafe in the Hyundai Department Store called Cafe Vezzly.
Also, far as I can figure, these are our names in Hangul, spelled phonetically, not just transliterated: 단열 와 새래너티 (Dahnyuhl wa Sehrehnuhtee: Daniel and Serenity).
Thursday, March 25, 2010
This video is horrible because I was looking at my kids and not the camera (until the end), but this is how we typically start each class (this is the afterschool program, different than regular highschool during the day).
I also took footage of our first Happy Day at school (today). Happy Day is a day where the kids come and get to read comic books, watch movies, play boardgames, soccer, and eat lots of food. There is also a feats of strength-type session at the end of the day that I got roped into. Most importantly, no class! It's pretty fantastic.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Saint Patrick's Day Festival at Cheonggyecheon Stream, Subway Art Gallery, Dongdaemun Market, Dongdaemun Gate, Haechi of Seoul, Doota Shopping Center, Burger King
Saint Patrick provided us with a ready made Saturday. The Irish Association of Korea (yes, this exists) puts on a parade every year down at Cheonggyecheon Stream. Cheonggyecheon is actually an ancient stream (like 1300s ancient) where wives used to do their laundry. Eventually the stream got grubby and they slowly filled it in and covered it with a highway. In 2005, the stream was uncovered again to promote environmental friendliness and human interaction. And, even though it was freezing out, because the winter high temperature in Seoul only lasts for a quarter of a minute apparently, there were people gathered down at the stream.
Back down in the subway, we serendipitously (not my name, by the way) stumbled upon a small art gallery. There was a sketch exhibit chronicling the artist's time in Nepal. We almost bought his book, and then we didn't, and then we were sad about it.
Also in the subway randomly, a little gallery for Seoul's mascot, Haechi. Does your city have a cute mythical mascot? No, obviously not. Haechi is a little guy whose job is to keep watch over everyone in Seoul. We wound up at a gallery and gift shop space in his honor. Also, free lollipops.
We saw the Dongdaemun stop on the subway on our way down to Cheonggyecheon, so I told Dan that Dongdaemun Market was on our list and we should stop by after the festival. The market is basically a huge, huge flea market. It winds down city streets and even underground. There's also more conventional shopping in Dongdaemun. We ended up at an 8 story mall called Doota and had Burger King on its 7th floor and coffee down on the 5th. We didn't buy anything at all until we were headed back to the subway for home and we saw some chair cushions. We sit on hard wooden chairs for many hours every day, and we noticed that Dan's clever Korean co-workers all have seat cushions. We bought blue sporty ones that are embroidered with the exhortation to "Be Happy".
Before all that, on Friday night, we, with Korrine, found a local Korean Barbecue place. We ate (a lot) for only W5000 each. A young Korean couple at the table next to us helped us order. They saw our aimless gesticulating and took pity on us, as Koreans are wont to do.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
I mentioned that we were going to a Korean hip hop concert. That was only partially true. Our friend Jeannie dances with some b-girls, and they, along with some b-boys, danced back up for Korean pop artist Park Yong Ha. I tried to find a good page with pictures, but I couldn't. He is a Korean drama actor (read: Soap Star), also a singer, and he is huge in Japan. Most of the women at the concert had traveled from Japan. So big is he in Japan that all of his songs are in Japanese and most of his dialogue with the audience was in Japanese, which was fun for Dan to try and decipher. Anyway, Yong Ha is meant to be pretty dreamy.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Dos Tacos, the Seodaemun Prison, Independence Park
Since our second weekend in Seoul coincides with Dan's birthday, I asked him to pick our weekend thing. He picked the Seodaemun Prison in Hyeonjeo. Seodaemun Prison was built by the Japanese during their occupation of Korea. It was used to house resistance patriots and to hide their torture. We were given a guided tour by a thirteen year old Korean girl whose chosen English name was Hermione. She was extremely well spoken and very reverent. Having come to Korea by way of Dan's interest in Japan, neither of us knew much about Japan's oppression of Korea, but I am struck in these places by the need always to treat humans as humans, never as less. There is a link in the sidebar that goes into more detail about the prison.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Dan's birthday is Sunday, so we have been celebrating his life this week. Last night we went to Pizza Hut and to see Alice in Wonderland, both the hut and the theater are essentially contained in the World Cup Stadium.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
It snowed here in our fine Seoul neighborhood. Fat, wet drops of it on our way home from work yesterday. Hooray!
From the front window.
From the back.
Oh, I made cookies today. I used the wrong recipe for my purposes. I will choose better next time. Even still, for toaster oven cookies with no butter and several other ingredient substitutions, these are quite fair. Dan ran out and bought me a list of ingredients, and he said that two people asked him how they could help him and then found everything for him (going so far as to translate some of the words with a cell phone dictionary). Dan came home with everything, well, vanilla powder instead of extract, but good enough. We have been thinking up slogans for Korea. Here is what we have so far- Korea: It just makes sense. Korea: It's a good idea. Korea: Only in Itaewon. I would add to that list something clever about how people are nicer and kinder and more goodly here.
We dumpster dove this. Well, we saw it on the way home the other day, and Dan carried it back for me. Isn't it great? I keep wanting to say fancy about things here, but truly everything is just fancier here. I might paint it, though. So now all my knitting things are contained, and I've got Sosipater and his pals sitting up top.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Shabu-Shabu, Hongdae, Gyeongbokgung Palace, The National Folk Museum, Kyobo Book Store, Yongsan Electronics Market, Seoul Tower, Itaewon
We had our first weekend in Seoul, and it was packed full. On Saturday, we were on our feet from 11am til 11pm, and the brunt of that pedestrian time was walking not standing. Our feet were so sore by this evening that we couldn't even bear to go grocery shopping. I really want to try and bake cookies in my toaster oven. Someone online likened it to baking in an Easy Bake oven, so maybe I should scout out some Easy Bake recipes. I never had one of those, so I don't actually know how that works.
Anyhow, I might as well get on with the pictures as they are many and varied. Have we mentioned that we love it here? We do.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Last night marked our first attempt at dining out without the aid of a Korean friend. It was definitely worth it. I say that as the one who stood by nodding while Dan said words. I do think he'd agree, though.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
I remembered my camera on this morning's walk.
Oh, and I just wanted to confess that that day I mentioned listening to Jackson Browne and falling asleep, that's exactly what I ended up doing. I can't tell if it was self-fulfilling or if I just know myself so well.
So let's get on with this, because I have pronunciations to practice.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Today was warm enough to have the windows open for a while, so I did have them open, and I took some pictures.
This is outside our bedroom window.
The pigeon on the right is one of the several pigeons that purr us to sleep at night. So far we don't mind it.
This is out the window in the extra room. On the right is a parking structure that Dan keeps calling a car ferris wheel. It's pretty intense, but we haven't seen or heard it doing anything yet.
We think this is some sort of power plant maybe?
Tomorrow I'm going to remember to bring my camera on my walk with Dan to the school. We might try to get coffee at a coffee shop across the street. It will be our first dining experience without the aid of a Korean. I expect we'll be pointing and nodding. I did learn vowels, consonants, and pronunciations today, though! I found what seem to be some really good Korean language programs online. We'll see. I spent the afternoon trying to read (but not understand) our cereal boxes.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
We made it. We're in our apartment. We live in Hapjeong-Dong. The floors have heat in them. It's amazing. Dan starts tomorrow, which is completely crazy, but he will do well, I am sure of it. I am working on pictures, but it's our nighttime now, so I am going to go have that. I am failing at this jet lag thing. I can't force myself out of the 5 hour afternoon nap and the waking up for the day at 4:30 AM.
We're excited to be here. We've walked around our neighborhood a couple times. There's a Domino's here. Maybe we'll do that for Dan's birthday.