All of our days were so tiring, it was hard for me to keep up with blogging about all the “touristy” stuff we did on the evening after we spent time with Titus and after our court date. I decided it would be better for me to try and combine them all into one, giant post about the rest of our adventures! I’ll do my best to remember all the stuff I can, and keep it un-boring at the same time!
We were so wiped on Wednesday after the overwhelming blessing of the Foster Mothers’ Luncheon and the amazing time with Titus, we decided we needed a low key evening. We came home and a salad at our apartment with some leftover Korean fried chicken (the stuff is flipping amazing!!!), and then decided, “Hey! We are here with NO KIDS…we should go see a movie!” This is a rare treat for us, so we bought our tickets and headed to go see Mockingjay- it was out in Korea before it was out in the States! Crazy! Although we were seeing an American movie, in English, it was still a cultural experience! In addition to nachos and popcorn (in butter, onion, cheese or sweet flavors!), you can also getcha some fried squid at the movies….um, no thanks We had a great time and it was just what we needed as a refresher after such an emotional day!
Thursday after our visit with Titus, we headed back to our yummy little noodle joint near Eastern for seconds on the Black Bean Sauce noodles (Jjajangmyeong) and Korean pork dumplings! Mmm! On our way out of this neighborhood, Colby wanted to stop by one of the little street shops for a churro…which seems random, but they’re everywhere here! We then got stopped by some folks at a booth promoting the new “branding” of Seoul tourism. We posed for a cheesy green screen background pic for a couple of free Seoul t-shirts…we laughed at how fun it was to bask in the glory of being a stereotypical tourist and all the fun stuff it brings! We went home for a quick rest, and then headed out to see Gyeongbokgung, one of the ancient palaces from the kings of the Josun Dynasty. We were super bummed that we missed actually going inside the palace by about 15 minutes (grrrr), but we really enjoyed walking around the grounds and we did get the chance to explore around the National Palace Museum of Korea, which had a lot of royal artifacts and the history of this dynasty (who ruled from the 1300’s through 1910). It’s always amazing to see the history of other countries and realize how young America is! We continued across the street checking out the huge monument statues of King Sejong the Great and Admiral Yi Sun-Sin. We were there just at dusk and to look back and see these massive statues with the palace and mountains at sun set was so beautiful. It’s amazing to see the contrast between ancient and modern here existing in the same, beautiful city.
Friday, after our court date, we had to check out “Toy Alley” that some of the other adoptive families told us about! It’s an alley at one of the local markets that has only toys and stuff for kids! We bought a few little kitschy toys for our kids and our nephews and nieces, and then stumbled upon this really cool park called the Dongdaemun Design Plaza. It’s this humongo park with a bunch of different buildings that look like super, high tech space ships. They all house different art galleries, designer shops or museums. The architecture is really amazing and we tried to get to the right vantage point to take a really cool picture, but it was just too big! You should totally google it, though! Once it got dark, there was a whole HUGE garden filled with white, LED lit roses…it was so beautiful!
Saturday morning we got to sleep in! (Well, as much as we could!) We took our time getting ready and mozied over to the mall across the street for an English brunch! Koreans don’t really eat breakfast food, so most “breakfast foods” can only be found in American or European restaurants, and we just could resist the English breakfast Then, we were off to explore the amazing neighborhood behind our apartment building! It’s a very vibrant place for young professionals in their 20’s with some bars open until 6am (!!!), so you can imagine how nice and quiet it was on a Saturday morning at 10 am Oh.my.goodness. The Hello Kitty Cafe. The most adorable place on Earth with so much pink and Kitty cuteness that Eden’s little heart would have exploded with sheer, girly girl joy! Colby got a latte and I got hot chocolate…which both had HK latte art on top, of course! We looked around the gift shop and took lots of HK pics for our little lady at home! We returned home for a quick nap and then headed back to the market in Insadong to get the last few gifts and Korean items for our home. This time we were: 1) better rested, 2) armed with a list of what we needed, 3) brought snacks and, 4) had a better idea of what a good deal was. The second go round in the market was much more successful (and enjoyable!) than the first time! We got some really beautiful things for our family that are synonymous with Korea’s arts and crafts culture, and they are really special to us! A beautiful painting of dancing Korean ladies on their special, handmade paper. We got a couple of small Bojagi, which are a hand sewn craft unique to Korea and the pattern we got symbolizes “Mother’s love”. *May* have gotten a tiny lump in my throat when I read that meaning! We also got a few pieces of handmade pottery that is so beautiful! We can’t wait to display all of these special things! We had to stop by one more time to Colby’s favorite Korean chicken restaurant, and it did not disappoint! It was a really great day of taking it slow and just enjoying Korea!
We had another cultural experience today (Sunday), but it deserves it’s own little mini post