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Category — Korea

Winter Vacation Part 1 – Seoul

Over the next few days/weeks we’ll be posting pictures and stories from our Winter 2010 Vacation.  This is the first installment about the first stop on our adventure – Seoul.

Kate’s sister, Molly, came to visit us in Korea in late December.  She stayed for about 10 days and we had a great time with her.  It was wonderful to actually get to share this place with someone from home.  The last 4 days that she was here we were off work and we all went to Seoul.  The trip was mainly a whirlwind tour of the city’s hot spots.  Here are some pictures from Seoul.   There are more in the gallery to the left.  As always – click for a larger image.

January 6, 2010 04:23 PM

We stopped at a KimBap Restaurant (Korean Fast Food) for a cheap snack before heading off for the afternoon.  This is Ram-bokki a combination of Ramen Noodles and Dakbokki – spicy sauce and rice cake.  In the background you can see Kim Bap (Korean sushi rolls without the sushi) and Mandu (Korean Dumplings).  Molly had a pretty good amount of Korean food while she was here… its definitely an experience.  Kate and I love this stuff now :)

January 6, 2010 06:59 PM

There was an Andy Warhol Portraits exhibit at the Seoul Museum of Art, so naturally we checked it out.  It was a coooold night but we ventured out.  The exhibit was fantastic!  A really wide range of his work and a lot of historical information and artifacts about his life.  The English translations of the commentary were also really entertaining.

January 6, 2010 07:26 PM

We got a little lost walking back to the subway which wasn’t good because it was about 1 degree outside…but we made it!

January 7, 2010 01:59 PM

The next day we went to Bongeun-sa Temple near the Coex Mall.  Every Thursday they have a “Temple Life” program where foreigners can get a tour of the temple, learn some basic meditation practices, participate in the Tea Ceremony and make lotus flowers.  It was about 2 hours and a really great way to experience Korean Buddhism up close.  We had hoped to do an overnight Temple Stay the weekend before, but Kate was sick and it didn’t seem like a good idea.  This was a nice way to still get at least some of the experience.

January 7, 2010 02:27 PM

Lanterns are hung at the temples for a period of time before and after the four major Buddhist holidays.  I think these were up for the New Year.

January 7, 2010 02:53 PM

This is one of the tallest Buddha Statues in Korea.  The picture doesn’t really do it justice but it was huge!

January 7, 2010 03:15 PM

Tea ceremony!

January 7, 2010 04:26 PM

Kate and Molly making Lotus Flowers

January 7, 2010 04:41 PM

The Temple is right in the middle of the city – providing an interesting contrast between the skyscrapers and apartment buildings all around it.

January 7, 2010 05:28 PM

Kate and Molly on the Subway.  Seoul has one of the best subways I’ve ever been on.  It’s quiet, clean, and fast… amazing!

January 8, 2010 05:53 PM

The last day we took a bus tour around the city.  This was the easiest and cheapest way to see all the highlights of the city.  It was a fun way to spend the day.

January 8, 2010 06:11 PM

I think this is Namdaemoon, or Dongdaemoon …  From the bus.

We also went to see Avatar in 3D one afternoon, and ate some Mexican food in Itaewon.  On Saturday we took Molly to the airport for her early morning flight, then we waited there for our 9:30pm flight.  Stuck in the airport for 13 hours… not too fun.  Incheon is kind of the most amazing airport in the world though, so it was not a problem… more on that in the next post… Manila!

February 4, 2010   1 Comment

School Photo

We had school pictures a couple of months ago and our teachers all took these two pictures together.  We also took individual photos, which we never saw, but we were given these a few days later – just getting around to posting them now, sorry.

The first is a standard posed picture – (from the roof of the school) with all of the Geundeok teachers and staff.  This is everybody :)

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The second picture is a new-age-awesomeness picture envisioned by the artiste photographers… If we were a band, we would be awesome… but we’re not, we’re elementary school teachers – so it’s just goofy.  But that’s Korea!!

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Some of these people are really amazing.  We’ve become great friends with a number of them and will miss them greatly when leave in a few months.  One advantage of being at such a small school is that it’s really like an extended family.  I know every one of these people pretty well and some of them are really our best friends in Korea.  That’s much less possible at a school with 80 teachers that is departmentalized and divided.   I’d list the names and positions of everyone in the picture but it would probably be silly.  Our closest friends are the woman on the far left (black sweater tan skirt) – She’s the 5th grade teacher, teacher Kim Young-mi and is a year older than us.  She came this year from Taebaek and has been a great friend!  Can’t imagine the past year without her great sense of humor and fantastic English.  The woman in the front with the White Jacket (younger woman) is our official Co-teacher, Son Eun-Jin.  She’s amazing!  Such a fantastic friend and always willing to help us when we have problems.  (And she’s the hardest working person in our school :-) ) In front of Kate (to the left a bit) in all black is Teacher Kim Suk-jin.  She was our first friend here in Korea and really helped us a lot our first semester here.  She was in the U.S. last summer studying English and is now teaching most of our classes with us (long story).  She’s great and we will miss her a lot.  Hopefully some of these ladies will come to our wedding!!  There are a number of other teachers I’d love to tell you about and surely will sometime soon, but for now that’s it :)  Just wanted post these pictures while I was thinking of it.

All the best…

Kate and I are enjoying homemade apple pie and whip cream tonight.  Thanks KATE!


December 14, 2009   3 Comments

GyeungJu School Field Trip

Recently our school went on a double field trip day with some of our Garden school funding.

NOTE: Our school was designated a “Garden School” earlier this year and given some huge amount of money to renovate and redesign the programming.  Kate and I have no idea really why our school was given this “honor” but we can assume it has something to do with our Vice Principal who last year was a supervisor at the office of education, so he has lots of connections.  This all doesn’t really affect us toooo much except that everyone is going crazy trying to figure out how to spend all the money and we’re cramming in a bunch of field trips before the end of the school year to use some of it up.  Hence.. the double field trip day.

The 4-6 graders went to Seoul for 2 days to visit another Garden school and to see some museums etc.  The 1st-3rd graders went to Gyeungju.  This city is about 3 hours south of Samcheok and used to be one of the dynasty capitals before the country was unified and Seoul became the capital.  We’re talking 600-1000 years ago…  So we toured some of the major historic sites, a museum, and a famous Buddhist temple.  I’m glad we got to go on this trip even though the 1st-3rd graders are more difficult to handle than the older kids.  We’ve seen Seoul so many times, it was nice to check off another place (even if our trip was very fast and not at all comprehensive :-) ).

Here are some of our pictures from the trip.  If you’d like to see the full gallery check it out in the photo pages or click here.

*A note to the reader, Chad did the grunt work for this and I am filling in the captions.  Now you know why Chad suddenly became much more effeminate.  It’s just me!    -K

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The sunrise on our way to see the old city.  We have to leave at 7!

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Approaching the tombs.  They are from the Silla dynasty (they think).  They were enormous and I think they are one of Korea 1 billion wonders.  I think we saw about 10 that day.  They are scattered all over the place which was very striking when we were driving up.  Did we mention the cold?  It was cold.

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This is one of the fist astronomical observatories in Korea!  It’s next to the tombs.  We stopped there long enough for each class to get a picture then we moved on.

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Next we visited the old royal palace.  If my memory serves me well I’d say it burned down a few hundred years ago and the building are abotu 20 years old (replicas).  There was a time lapse.

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Now we are visiting a temple.  I have to say, the Korean temples have sadly started to melt together in my memory but this one really stands alone.  It has two towers inside and they were beautiful.  One of the towers was being restored and we got to climb the scaffolding and peak at the man working.

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This is one amazing picture!  That new lens has really been paying off!

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Isn’t this amazing?

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Here is the man working on the tower.

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That’s me and my man!

Well, on another note, we are doing very well.  I have been grinding away on my applications and Chad has been AMAZING through it all.  He deserves lot’s of high-fives.

I hope that everyone is doing well.  This is out last Christmas in Korea.  We are pretty excited – there are a lot of wonderful things coming up!

Oh, and Molly will be here in 2 weeks then we get to go to the Philippines!  Lucky dogs!

Kate & Chad

December 12, 2009   2 Comments