Sunday, April 29, 2012

Korea Trip -- Day 8

Today was a little bit more of a relaxed day. Emphasis on the "little." It started out relaxing for us anyway. The gang got up and went to Mass. Micah & I decided to stay back. I figured I was going to end up standing outside with Kaden anyway, so I just opted to stay at the house. Micah stayed with us. Once everyone got back and we lounged for a bit, we hit another market. This market reminded me of a combo between the streets of Mexico & New York & Harwin. Crazy right? Vendor after vendor of clothes, knock off purses, sun glasses, etc. Most of it looked so cheap you didn't want to take a second look, but the atmosphere was pretty fun to walk through. Below is one of several tanks of different fish. (see the pink eel-looking fish in the left corner?) I think it was a pick your choice of fish to eat place. Ewww.....
 This is a glimpse down one of the market streets. We went down several streets. There was street after street. At one point we took a little ally way, and it led us right out to another street. I thought we were going to end up behind a building or something. I'm not sure how people learn their way around this place. 
An example of one of the food vendors on the streets. Some of the guys were brave enough to try silk worm larvae. 
I. did. not.
Micah was almost gagging. I was about to gag just watching them eat it. Apparently it's quite the snack around here. People eat them by the handfuls! 
 Here's K. Enjoy the life of luxury. He's loved taking in all the sights!
 We took a subway to the river. Near the river was this little water area. Tons of kids were playing in the water. I stepped in to let K play in the water. It was ice cold! Didn't stop him from walking around. 
 We walked back and forth, but he'd stop and just stare at the big kids running around. I just know he was thinking, "why can't I run around like that??"
 Then we got tickets for the ferry ride. 
 And of course, Kaden attracted several fan clubs. Girls & guys alike, of all ages, love him! Side note: earlier in the day while we were hanging at the house, Kaden got fussy. Micah's dad took him down to the street. He likes to watch all the cars and buses go by. While he was out there (for probably less than 30 min), he counted 62 times that Kaden got his picture taken. About half of those were by a guy who gave him a business card for a professional photography business. We've checked his website, but haven't seen anything yet. I may be claiming free prints, or royalties to any advertisements!!
 Since we were out most of the day, K didn't get good naps. He took 2 short cap naps. This is what he looked like a lot of the ferry ride. Another side note: notice the wardrobe change?? Micah & I went to get Kaden from his grandparents so we could take a family picture on the ferry. When his grandpops handed him over to his daddy, I notice poop all over Kaden, Grandpops, & Micah. Not cool on a ferry ride! Micah & his dad had to undress K in the bathroom sink, and wash him down. Luckily, we had a change of clothes in the diaper bag! Alway be prepared!!
 We did get him to calm down for a family pic, but as you can see he's still not that happy!
 Until he started "tickling" his daddy. Then we got him laughing! It's the little things in life!
 Super model!!
 Once he calmed down, he practice his walking skills on the ferry.
We had a pretty chilled night around the hotel. Some of us ran to a taco place (similar to Bullritos or Freebirds), and others hit up McDonalds. I think we're all so tired at this point. Hopefully we'll get to bed at a decent hour, and get a good nights sleep!

Korea Trip -- Day 7

Today was the wedding day...the main event of our trip. This is Jaeeun before the wedding. Isn't she beautiful? In Korea, there's a Bride Room that the Bride hangs out in before the wedding. Guest are invited to go in and see the bride, and take pictures with her before the ceremony. I feel like this would have totally stressed me out. Tons of people in and out the whole time, but here it's tradition! 
 Sherry (Micah's mom) is in the tradition Korean wear. It's called a Hanbok. The Bride & the Groom's mother both wear them. I saw a grandmother, and a few other ladies in them as well. Kaden also has on the kid's version. (Not that you can see cause he's passed out!)
 Once he woke up, we added the vest & here he is. Again, we attracted crowds of people to see the little American boy in the hanbok. I couldn't understand anything people were saying, except the word hanbok. I'm guess it was something like..."how cute...little white baby in a hanbok!"
 I'm not sure exactly at what point this pic is. Micah took over pics because Kaden was being loud, so we waited outside during the wedding. 
 I'm guessing this is after they were presented as married. I heard that there was no "you may now kiss the bride...." It just doesn't seem right that there's a wedding with no kiss!!
The Bride & Groom with both of their parents.
 After the traditional service/mass, we went into a small room with immediate family & close friends. They both put on the traditional Korean wear. Apparently this type of ceremony usually occurs at the Groom's parent's house, but since that was several thousand miles away in Kaufman, Tx, we did it at the church. 
 Several little traditions occurred, but again, I was in the hall with Kaden for a lot of it. I know that Zach & Jaeeun served Zach's parent a drink, and they gave them blessings. (most of this was just for Zach's family)
 Then Zach's parents tossed two different types of nuts. Whatever Zach & Jaeeun caught are suppose to represent the number of kids they'll have. One nut represented girls, and one boys. I believe I heard the final count was 10...6 boys, 4 girls. 
 Then Zach & Jaeeun did a toast. They also ate a piece of fruit (no hands). There was some meaning behind who got to the pit first, but I missed that part. 
 Micah & I, and their older brother Brandon, got to sit down and give a toast. I don't have pics of that, but will hopefully get some from someone. At the end, Zach had to give Jaeeun a piggy back ride around the table ( I think 3 times??). I'm not sure what that represented. 
And the lovely couple at the end. 
 Then we headed to the dining hall. There was tons of food. We sampled several different Korean foods. Kaden practice with his chopsticks. 
We're so happy for Zach & Jaeeun, and we were thrilled to be a part of their big day!!

After the wedding, and rest at the hotel, we went to a musical. I'd compare it to a drum line maybe, but with more dancing & comedy. It was pretty good. Then everyone when their separate ways. Some of the guys hit the night life. The grandparents took a sleeping Kaden back to the room. Micah & I wandered the streets a little, then had a hot date at McDonalds. Yep.....McDonalds. And I'll be honest, after a lot of Korean food, McDonalds was REALLY yummy!!!!

Korea Trip -- Day 6

I'm labeling today "museum day," because we went to 2 museums. (maybe 3 because 2 were together) We started off at the prison museum. This is where the Japanese kept the Korean Prisoners of War. It was pretty interesting. It was in the actual prison that is still standing. This is how Kaden started off at the museum. After a fussy morning fighting his morning nap, he fell asleep in the Taxi to the museum. 
 He's had quite the life this trip. Being carried wherever he needs to go. In this picture he's asleep with his arms up behind his head, while his Uncle Zach & friend Adam carry him down the stairs.
 Inside one of the prison chambers. We almost left them there, but we decided to be nice. 
The small building beneath the tree is where the prisoners were hung. That tree is called the wailing tree. It's said that prisoners would grab on and wail as they were drug into the chambers because they would not live to see freedom from Japan. Behind that building was a secret tunnel dug that they drug the bodies to. 
 Micah and I in a garden outside the museum. Surrounding the museum were beautiful gardens & monuments. It's said that this area is a peaceful reminder of their freedom from Japan. 
 On the way to the next museum we passed some fountains. The kind that shoot up from the ground. Kaden was fascinated. 
 He would belly laugh every time one shot out of the ground and hit his hand. 
 Uncle Zach decided he needed to sit and play in the water for a bit. So we stripped him down. This little area was located in a median of a main road. I'm sure we got some looks. 
 We definitely drew a crowd. It started with just a couple people taking pictures of the cute American baby. 
 However, Kaden soon had a fan club. Girls were running across the street to get his picture. We draw crowds everywhere we take Kaden. I guess so many of them have never seen an American baby.
 This is a throne on the inside of King Sejong's Museum. He is said to be one of the greatest leaders in Korean history. 
 Zach & Jaeeun (pronounced Jay-une) on the throne. 
 I don't have any pictures, but connected to King Sejong's Museum was a museum for Admiral Yi Sun-Sin, one of Korea's famous naval leaders. He's famous for defeating the Japanese naval fleet. It was a pretty interesting museum. After the museums, a quick shopping trip, and rest at the hotel, we went out to dinner. As a break from Korean food, we went to a Vietnamese restaurant. It actually reminded me a lot of Chinese food, which I enjoyed. After dinner, we walked through the market and made our way back to the hotel. This is Zach & Jaeeun the night before their big day.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Korea Trip -- Day 5

Today was another adventurous day. I did things that I might not have done under any other circumstances. Seoul has a tower (similar to the one you see in Seattle). It doesn't spin, but it's extremely tall, and allows you to see how huge Seoul is. We took a cable car from the base of the mountain to the bottom of the tower. I didn't realize I was getting on a cable car that went up a mountain. I was a little nervous. And I think we picked the windiest day to ride the cable car. This a view from the cable car up the mountain.
 This was at the top of the mountain. They used these to communicate during the war. During the day, they'd send smoke signals. And at night, they'd use fire. 
 These men came while we were there. I'm thinking it was some kind of ceremony, but I'm not sure what for. 
 This little cartoon is famous in Seoul. I think he's like the mascot of Korea. I believe it's said that he's kind of the "protector."
 This is from a look-out point from the base of the tower.
 The city of Seoul is HUGE. The city is built around this mountain, and it goes out as far as you can see in all directions around the mountain. 
 This is another look out point. What you see on the fence is locks. It's called "locks of love." Apparently couples go up to the tower and place a lock. This represents they're love for each other that will not be unlocked and will last forever. 
 Looking out over Seoul. 
 This is once we went up into the tower. 360 degree view around the whole city. 
 We were hoping you could see the city behind us, but the picture didn't come out too well. We did pick a very clear day to look out though. 
 All the windows had major cities listed from around the world. This window faced these cities in the US, and gives the distance (in kilometers) to the given city. 
 Here's our little family. Kaden loved looking out the windows. He was perfectly content hanging out in the tower. 
 Micah & his brothers had hiked up the mountain when we took the cable car. I decided to walk down the mountain with the guys to see the view. (and maybe avoid the cable car!!) Micah's brother took our picture with the tower in the background. It's hard to tell from the picture how tall & big it is! Because it's placed on the mountain, you can see the tower from a lot of different locations in the city.
 After the tower, we stopped for lunch. Kaden is learning chopsticks. He loved this chicken. His daddy wasn't feeding him fast enough. 
 Here Sherry & Cathy are enjoying lunch. They chose to wear the bibs so as not to embarrass themselves while eating. This was another meal that we cooked at the table. 
Here's our little samurai. We went to a Korean Folk Village. It was set up like an Old Time Village. We walked through to see how the houses were & how people lived. 
 This was a game that was popular. It was also on top of the mountain at the base of the tower. You stood behind a line, and tried to throw the arrows into the tubes. It was harder than it looked. Micah & I tied. We each made one. We only threw 3 each.
This is how Koreans made grain in the village. The grain went in the hole at the end, and you jumped/stepped like Micah is to pound the grain. 
I have several more pictures, but it takes forever to upload pics here, so I'll add more or put them on Facebook as soon as I can. We are enjoying our stay, and seeing lots of interesting things.