December 25, 2012

More Seoul

Filed under: Uncategorized — irenejk @ 5:26 pm

One day during our trip we climbed up the side of a mountain that one of my uncle owns and harvested a bunch of sweet potatoes, persimmons and hot peppers.  My mom’s side of the family all got together and worked in the fields and ate a good meal.


It was interesting because I was surrounded by people whom I am related to, yet I didn’t know who anyone was. I didn’t know who belonged to what family, other than my mom’s siblings purely based on physical resemblances.

Below are two of my cousins and my dad.





It was funny to see people that I am related to, yet not be able to talk to them.  Brandon and I basically just talked to each other that day.



Even though I couldn’t talk to anyone, I did feel like I could kind of pick up on some personality traits which was kind of fun. For example, the uncle below in the red would NOT allow any persimmon to be left on the trees.  There were some pretty high branches and persimmons that a normal human would just let go, but HE, he climbed up on a ladder that was supported by soggy river banks to get them.  He proceeded to then FALL off the ladder as he reached. Fortunately he was fine and the minor bruises and busted ego were quickly healed by the satisfaction of the view of bare trees.


It was funny to see kids eat in Korea. I think of some of my nanny kids that wouldn’t touch rice if it had anything in it (like mixed with vegetables or anything) or other picky eaters I’ve known.  These kids are popping squid and seaweed and leaves in their mouths like it’s nothing. Because it is, to them anyway.






Those kids’ hair! It’s the best.




You can’t really see, but in the distance there are some mountains, and just over those mountains is North Korea. We were SO CLOSE to North Korea.  It was blowing my mind that we could be so close and yet worlds away.  I will probably talk more about that in another post.




Filed under: Uncategorized — irenejk @ 3:23 pm

Seoul was such a cool city. The subways are really easy and really accessible. The food is abundant and super cheap. People are really nice and I never felt like I was in danger. I loved Seoul.

One of the first things we did when we finally got to Seoul was go to the Namdaemun Market. It’s an outdoor market with a million stores and places to eat.  It’s kind of got a swap meet feel to it. Everything is super cheap and my mom loves to go there for the good deals. The picture below shows one aisle of it, however times this by probably 10 or 15 and that’s how big it really is.


The boxes below are of various sizes of dried fish.  Koreans will use this for a soup base or season it and just eat it as a side dish. I was never into these little fishies and I remember in high school was really embarrassed when friends would come over and see ziplock bags full of tiny dead fish. I’ve come to terms with it now, but it is funny to think how normal it is over there.


I think because the only other real experience I’ve had in a foreign country was in France, I could not stop comparing cultural differences. This one was shocking to me.  In France, meal times and meals are a big deal. You eat a certain time and in designated areas – even kids in elementary school often come home during lunch time and eat at home. This is not always the case, but seeing people plop down any old place to eat was considered improper in France.  However in Korea, people were doing just that! And it wasn’t even a big deal. The picture shows the employees of the stores during their lunch hour.  It was so weird because food decorum was something so engrained in me while in France, and while I was here, it was not even an issue.


The below picture is of Itaewon, considered the international neighborhood of Korea. Basically the only place you can find non-Korean food.



We went to this restaurant 2 days in a row. The front was just an open store front where these steam dumplings were sold.


Somehow, my mom knew that if we walked through the assembly line where these dumplings were being made and walked upstairs, we’d arrive to a restaurant that had 2 menu items of pure glory – these dumplings, and a soup with freshly made noodles. We died. So good.


The first time we ate here, Brandon kept stopping in between bites and massaging his hand. He was not used to using those skinny metal Korean chopsticks and his hand kept cramping. Ha! We just laughed at him and watched him suffer.  He eventually toughened up and got pretty good.


Just a batting cage in the city.  Great colors.


We went up to see this tower in a park in the middle of Seoul. It’s on a big hill and lights up in different colors.



We went to the tower our friend, Jeff and for some reason we took our picture under the New Delhi sign. It was so fun to hang out with someone from home and explore Seoul as 3 non-Korean-speakers.


Up on the lookout there are some chain linked fences with locks EVERYWHERE.  Paris has a version of this on one of their bridges but nothing compared to what was up here.



A pretty crappy picture of Seoul at night.


I think I’m going to stop here for now, but there is much more of Seoul to come.

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