Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Our Last Day in Seoul

Our last day in seoul! We were exhausted but ready to check out more of the second largest city in the world. We have been to some pretty big cities, but none even compared to the feeling that you have while in Seoul. 

Our first stop for the day was Gyeongbokgung Palace which is located in the heart of the city. 
Quick history lesson: the palace was first built in 1934 by the Jeseon Dynasty but was burnt down and rebuilt a number of times throughout history. After being reconstructed in 1867, the palace is said to have had 330 buildings and 5,792 rooms. However, from 1911, the Japanese government destroyed all but 10 of the buildings, including the surrounding wall. In 1989 the Korean government decided to embark on a 40 year project to restore the buildings left. As of 2009, 40% of the original palace has been restored.

Gyeongbokgung Palace, seoulGyeongbokgung Palace, seoul
Gyeongbokgung Palace, seoul
Gyeongbokgung Palace, seoul
Gyeongbokgung Palace, seoul
Gyeongbokgung Palace, seoul
We had planned this trip to Seoul weeks before for the main purpose of going to see a Hillsong Concert. They are a band that we have been fans of for years since our church back home uses a lot of their songs. They are located in Australia so we were excited to hear that they were on tour and one of the stops was going to be Seoul. It was held in one of the old Olympic pavilions that was used for bike racing during the 1988 Olympics. While Korea has a large christian base, we sometimes feel alone in this regard in the city that we live. That is why going to this concert with 10,000 other believers in Korea was so amazing and uplifting. 

seoul adventure- take 2

no better way to start the morning : )

contrary to what guide books say, seoul has some great architecture. 

we stopped by itaewon to get mike some custom made suits for work. itaewon is known as the foreigner hub of the city. you can find the most foreigners and foreign goods in this neighborhood. 

picking out the fabrics. a very tedious task if you can tell in the background just how many fabrics there are to choose from.

the owner was amazing. he had been working there for over 40 years and was no where near retiring! he kept trying to sell jeremy and mike a nice linen suit jacket. "a must" for summer according to him.
 seoul tower located in the middle of seoul. it is 777 feet high from top to bottom.

amazing sunset view

view of the city from one of the observation decksthere were thousands of locks attached to a fence surrounding the observation deck. you could bring your own and be "locked" to your love forever. 

Seoul Adventures-Take 1

so i've been a little behind lately. a few weeks ago, jeremy, me, mike and alissa decided to go to seoul for the weekend. we had a three day holiday weekend which was perfect. there's so much to see there that even three days wasn't enough. we left really early saturday morning to catch the bus up to seoul which is about a four hour bus ride from where we're at. amazing that you can cross the entire country in under five hours. even though some locals still say that seoul is too far to visit. so here's part one: saturday
korean rugby
we caught a rugby game on the outskirts of seoul. the stadium was meant for 10's of thousands of people to watch soccer. but with rugby not exactly the most popular sport in korea, we got in for free to join the other 100 people watch korea play singapore. 
korean rugby
my favorite part was when they would lift the players up to catch the ball. i assume that there is some technical sports name for this, but i wouldn't ever know it. 
in korea, it is not uncommon to see patients from the hospital walking around town in hospital gowns and iv bags. there is a coffee shop near our school that you can often see patients hanging out, iv bag and all. so of course we shouldn't have been surprised to see this guy at the rugby game. that is one dedicated fan. 
silent dj

that night we were walking around the hongdae university area when we stumbled upon a silent disco. there were hundreds of people standing around bobbing along to music that couldn't be heard. each person had a pair of head phones that made it so only they could hear what the dj was playing. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Home Sweet Home

know you guys have been just dying with anticipation to see what sort of living conditions we have over here. well the wait is over my friends. we actually got a really nice place, seeing as how most couples we have talked to have to share a studio apartment. yes, we're newly weds and crazy in love, and that's why we're glad we get to keep it that way in a spacious two bedroom apartment. 
korean apartment

our lovely living room with dumpster furniture. trust me, it's not as bad as it sounds. we know that each piece of furniture usually only has one previous owner. they are not big on thrifting or used things here because they think that part of the previous owner's spirit stays in the piece that they owned. in every apartment building there are areas where you can leave unwanted furniture and such. lucky for us, it's right next to where we park our bike everyday. i get my shopping fix in every single day. and that large rectangle looking thing in the corner? that's our air conditioner. they don't have central air conditioning here so every building has something similar in it. 
korean apartment

our front door and shoe closet. you're supposed to wear different sandals inside but we haven't adapted that far yet. you can also see our lovely lamp made out of bamboo that was made by our friends jesse and chelsie who were at our same school before us. also, our front door doesn't have a key. i love this since i'm a space cadet when it comes to remembering important articles, such as keys, before leaving the house. instead most apartments here have a simple keypad in order to get into the apartment. 
korean apartment
the views from our front balcony. it was a hazy day but the mountains right out front is one of the tallest mountains on the island. we have yet to climb it but it's on our to do list. we found out that you can drive your bike halfway up. i know it would be the lazy way out but i'm ok with that. 
korean apartment

our spacious kitchen. and yes, that fridge is definitely not full sized. it reaches to about the bottom of my ribcage. and that is our oven sitting on top of it. through that back glass door is another balcony with our washer in it. they don't use dryers that much here because of energy efficiency so we have a large drying rack that we set up to dry everything. 
korean apartment

view out of the back of our apartment

Inappropriate or Funny?

john and his twin brother timmy (john is the one on the right)

you may have heard some of my stories about funny things my students say or do that wouldn't be appropriate in the states but since i'm in another country, and there's a major language and cultural barrier, it comes of as funny. the one student that has more of these "funny" stories than anyone else is john. he is one of my six year olds and one day in class we were playing a game where i yell out a color or shape and they have to find it in the room. i yelled rectangle and they all rushed to the door, i yelled white and they all run to the whiteboard. you get the point. the next shape i yelled was circle, and while everyone ran in a different direction, john ran straight for me and grabbed my boob. well at least he got the shape right. when asked by one of the korean teachers why he did that, his response was "they are bigger than my moms". touche john.
yesterday john threw a crayon across the room and when told to go pick it up, he casually walks by me and again, cops a grab. when asked why, his response was "because she was there." 

during these "incidents" i have to hide my laughter while i tell him that it is definitely not ok to do that.

thank you john for always keeping me on my toes