Archive for June, 2009

Seoul Grand Park Zoo

What a nice day.  :razz:

Seoul Grand Park had everything a kid… or Big Kid would want; The 10th largest zoo in the world, an amusement park, childrens’ zoo, The Museum of Contemporary Art, rose & botanical gardens, vendors selling toys and dried squid, and even people drawing caracatures for ~$5.  We spent a few sweaty, sun drenched hours wandering the zoo.

I love zoos.  We saw a few animals that we’ve never seen before. (White Inidian Peacocks, Merkats, White Pheasants)  Seth and I even took a short nap under some trees to escape the heat.  A nice old couple let us use their blanket.  It was a bright blue ‘Sea Fun’ blanket that crinkled when we laid down.  My favorite animals were the ostriches and black crested monkeys.  I liked the ostriches because they were soo awkward looked like giant chickens.  If I could have taken one of those baby monkeys home, I would have.  I also learned that ‘macaques’ means monkey.

To end this fun day, we took a ride on a mile long sky lift that spanned the entire park.  Thinking back, maybe we should have bought that cup of boiled bugs for lunch… next time.

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Funny Signs

This shouldn’t be funny… it’s quite sad.  But I laughed and decided to share.  Keep in mind that this is for an English school.  It’s actually the name of the school, which makes it even funnier… or more sad, depending on how you think about it.   Found this sign while wandering around Anyang.

This is over the main entrance to the school.

This is over the main entrance to the school.

Pic of the entire sign

Pic of the entire sign

This weekend is supposed to be sunny, so Seth is going to go hiking.  The past 2 weekends it has rained and rained, so I’m glad to have some dry free-days.

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Seodaemun Prison History Hall

The Seodaemun Prison History Hall was very insightful. The Korean people still hold such a hatred toward the Japanese, and I didn’t fully understand.

I did not take pictures of the more graphic, violent images and scenes that were on display. Some of the holding cells had mannequin-type people being tortured. There was even a Corpse Removal exit from the facility to secretly move the executed prisoners outside of the prison. This was to conceal their brutality. Everything was extremely sad and depressing. The History Hall is an educational site for Korean history where people can remember and pay tribute to those who fought against the Japanese invasion. The prison now stands as a sign of independence.

The History Hall is located at the Dongnimmun station, exit 5. Only a small fee of 1,500 Won to enter.

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Short but Sweet

I had the best time visiting WV.  It was the recharge that I needed.  My family and friends are just amazing.  I ate good food (had spaghetti for breakfast even), received more hugs than I can count, bought the cutest clothes to bring back with me, and hung out with my nephew as much as I possibly could. I got to visit with my parents, grandparents, sister, one of my uncles, 2 cousins, the in-laws, and most of my friends. Thank you to all that made an effort to see me while I was in… it really meant alot to me.

The thing I wasn’t expecting to happen was how I felt when I came back to Korea. I missed it while I was gone. I got off the airport shuttle, was walking to my apartment and couldn’t stop smiling. Maybe it was the recharge that made me appreciate what I actually do have here. I was happy to see my park and even had a chamchi (tuna) kimbap for lunch, which I absolutely love.

Things are back to normal around here. Working and relaxing. I am soo much more calm from being here, instead of working 2 jobs, going to school, and student teaching. I forgot how to enjoy down-time.

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Ode to Mexican Food

Oh how I’ll miss your cheesy goodness.  Your jalepeno green sauce always made me soo happy.  And when your taquitos crunch in my mouth, I swear, I’m in heaven.

Ahhhhh, its the little things in life that make me happy...

Ahhhhh, it's the little things in life that make me happy...

Why do friends and Mexican food work so well together?  I’m not sure, but I hope that never changes.  I had such a wonderful evening with everyone at Rio Grande.  So far, I have found nothing that compares to this cheap Mexican food.  The very few Mexican restaurants we have found over here are not only expensive, they don’t even have sour cream.  What kind of Mexican place doesn’t have sour cream?  Sour cream makes me happy.  My dad still thinks it’s hilarious to plop sour cream on my nose.  He has taught this evil little trick to Seth… so it will haunt me forever apparently.  But in Korea, I am safe… no sour cream will find it’s way to my nose.  At least there is a silver lining.

Besides friends, the only other perfect combination with Mexican food would be margaritas.   :mrgreen:

Lime margarita on the rocks

Lime margarita on the rocks

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The 30 Hours Back to SK

I have never been in an airport this much in my entire life.

7am – left Huntington

4pm- left Cincinnati

11:30 pm – left Los Angeles

3:50am – arrived in Seoul

I did, however, have time to decompress from my visit and think about how lucky I am.  I really do have a wonderful family and an amazing group of friends.  It was nice to chill and read a book while hanging out in the various airports.  I knew I’d have this horrendous travel time, but it was worth every minute.

My plane from Cincy to LA

My plane from Cincy to L.A.

Amazing sunrise from the plane

Amazing sunrise from the plane

Its soo cool to be above the clouds

It's soo cool to be above the clouds

When looking down onto the clouds, I always look for patterns.  Things take shapes just like they do when I look up at them.  But from a plane I see landscapes… which makes sense, I guess.  I see mountains and rivers.  Sometimes I see giant swirl areas, which are gorgeous, but always make me think of tornadoes.  There is just something peaceful about being high in the clouds.  This is the only part of flying that I enjoy.

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Back Already

Real quick post to say that I’m back in Sanbon, safe and sound.  I feel amazing.  Thanks for the recharge.  I didn’t realize how much I missed hugs until I was back home and remembered how many hugs are available to me.

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On a Jet Plane…

Tuesday 3pm, I’m on a plane bound for West Virginia. It’s odd because I land at 9pm in Huntington… but I’m traveling a whole heck of alot longer than 6 hours. It’s good for traveling in that direction, coming back to Korea is a whole other story.

Think happy “no-crashing-of-planes” thoughts for me. It’s a bit unnerving for me to fly by myself. I’ve done it before, but it’s not something I think I’ll ever get used to doing.

I’ve got a few things to take back to WV, but mostly my suitcase is empty… it has room to bring back lots of goodies with me.  I have a huge shopping list!

:mrgreen:

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Yeongsanjae Buddhist Ceremony

The Yeongsanjae ceremony at Bongwan Temple

This was a symbolic reenactment of the historical delivery of the Lotus Sutra on Mt. Grdhrakuta around 2,600 years ago.  The ceremony was held in hopes of leading both the living and the departed into the joy of enlightenment and perpetual peace.  It is a truly important Buddhist ritual, not just a performance.  It prays for the unity of the living and the deceased in the Dharma throughout the universes… and it’s been passed down through the ages.

The Buddha himself is revered not as a deity or supernatural being but as a very special kind of human being. He was a human who achieved the ultimate in development of his human potential. The Buddha taught that this achievement is within the reach of every human being, and he spent his life teaching a practical methodology which, if followed with purity of mind and great diligence, would enable others to reach the same objective. In other words, he taught a method rather than a doctrine. When questioned about the validity of his teachings, the Buddha did not refer to the higher authority of a deity. He explained that his teachings were based on his own direct personal experience, and he invited all who were interested to test for themselves whether the method he taught was effective.
— from Wikipedia

This temple is a short taxi ride away from Sinchon. It’s located high up on a mountain, surrounded by trees. I felt completely at peace. It was amazing. There was chanting, drumming and dancing. My friend Heather and I were some of the only white people there, so everyone kept taking our picture. We were on at least 3 different News cameras.

After the ceremony, they immediately tore down all the decorations and the audience led the decorations to the temple and it was all burned. They lit a bonfire… which was quite amazing to witness.
On our way down the hill, we were invited inside a building very near the temple. Many people were going in, but we had no idea what was inside. So, of course, we went inside. Monks and other people kept pointing us in the right direction, inviting us downstairs. Once downstairs, we realized they were there to have a feast after the ceremony. We decided to stay. They had rice cakes, watermelon, oranges, pears, kimchi, sauteed vegetables, and some sort of broth soup. It was all free. Completely unexpected… but very happy about our good fortune.

We found an empty table off to the side. Almost immediately 2 Korean women sat down with us. Soon after, we were joined by 3 monks. They ended up trying to talk with us, as they spoke very little English. One of the monks gave us a banana and drew us a picture of himself… super cute drawing.

Overall, it was a fabulous day. I am still in a peaceful state of mind. This is definitely something I would never get to experience in West Virginia!!!

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Sanbon Park

I love going to the park.  It’s such a nice place.  Sometimes we’ll play on the courts,  sometimes I work out on the equipment, sometimes I just eat my lunch there and watch the other people. It’s located in the center of town, so it’s always full of people.

Giant grass sculptures

Giant grass sculptures

Aren’t those cows just the greatest things you’ve ever seen?  Sooo creative… Love these!

:razz: It is Friday again… these weeks seem to be flying by soo fast.  We have been here about 130 days!  I’ll be visiting home in a mere 4 days… super excited to see everyone for a few days.
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