Monday, September 27, 2010


September 27, you know what that means! I have been living in Korea now for exactly two months! Horray!

I’ve accomplished quite a bit since my last anniversary here, I suppose. I had to fight with the immigration office and almost beat up a punk kid working at the information counter, but I finally got my ARC card. I own a cell phone again, after surviving for over 50 days in a new country without one (surprisingly, not that big of a deal?). I have gone on my first hike here, tried my first dried squid, gotten pretty good with a set of chopsticks, mastered the subway system, learned to read hanguel, and visited not one or two, but five different beaches in this new country of mine. A pretty successful venture, if I do say so myself.

I have also discovered the one thing about Korea so far that makes me just plain angry, the fact that lots of places (i.e. restaurants, convenience stores, places I would like to go to in the morning) do not open their doors in the a.m. hours. Or even some of the early p.m. hours for that matter. It seems like such a minor thing that I should have just been able to shrug off like I do so many other things ridiculous things that happen here. Oh, that’s just one of the quirks of living here. A cultural experience. Silly Koreans. But no, the honeymoon phase has perhaps run its course.

I discovered in Jeju just how much it bothered me that I couldn’t go out to get food before, say, noon, and that even then only a handful of the restaurants would be open for my refueling needs. Even worse, the convenience stores (i.e., the places I could have gone to find some kind of sustenance to support me until I could find an actual open restaurant) were closed as well. Seriously, Korea? I understand that the culture as a whole is not big on mornings, but all I want is some kind of food in my stomach before afternoon hits! So frustrating, even the coffee shops around here open at like 11a.m., which in my book kind of defeats the purpose of a coffee shop in general?

End rant. It was about time for me to find something about living a half a world away that made me angry.

Good things my kiddies are super awesome. I already have a list of the cute ones I would love to bring back to the states with me. Angela writes me notes in my teachers book, Brock talks like a flight announcement, Seth’s whole face lights up when he talks in class, Crystal blinks with her whole face, Ann asks “Who, me?” every time I call on her, Christina tries and tries and tries to tell me stories about her life which I rarely end up understanding, Allison has never answered a question correctly but still tries every single time, Sungmin likes to hold my hands when she talks to me, and Tyler shakes his head “no” with his whole body. I love them all!

Some of my recent favorite in-class moments:

Me: Class, are you all ready to start the test?
Alex: I can’t take the test. I’m a human robot.

about muscles fly clothes robot legs I am create a muscles fly clothes robot legs I am very many muscles and I can fly and I have legsache, I will make short legs and I make robot legs. So I will comfortable
Direct quote from Steve’s paper about clothing design.

(working on “I like you because…” sentences)
Sarah: Teacher, I like you because you are nice and do the chicken dance.

Angela’s paper about Chuseok. Look closely at the last line, "Teacher, you may married your boyfriend Chuseok time. do this :)"

Moral of the story, I love my job. And I love Korea, even though we have our so-so days. Here’s to another ten months! Cheers!

- Christine -

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Janky Korean Food

Since arriving in Korea, I have learned to really, really enjoy Korean food. Kimbap, Bibimbap, Samgipsal, Galbi, Kimchi, I love it all. But, there are days I just crave American foods I'm used to making easily at home. Which presents a problem...

Finding certain American food essentials is sometimes really tough here. Unfortunately, these usually happen to be foods I hold very near and dear to my heart, aka ranch dressing, mushroom soup, cheese, and dark chocolate. Do you know how sad it is to come home from a long day of work knowing there isn't a bottle of ranch dressing anywhere in your city of over a million people? Or a chocolate with over 55% cocoa anywhere in the vicinity of Seoul? Essentially, my life is in shambles!

But enough with the dramatics. I entitled this post "Janky Korean Food", because you have to get creative here in the kitchen to make quintessentially American foods with strictly Korean ingredients. So janky versions of American foods. It's sometimes tricky, always inconvenient, and sometimes turns out completely wrong. But, over the weekend I had a major success with one of my janky Korean food projects...

Chocolate truffles!

Anyone who knows me knows that dessert is my favorite meal of the day, so it should be no surprise that I've been trying to find ways of bringing American dessert foods to Korea. Korea as it stands is pretty lacking in the dessert department. Ice cream has been fairly easy to find, and those pricey little cake shops make finding cake a cinch (although the whipped frosting is not my favorite). But not having an oven at my disposal has really put a damper on my dessert making repertoire. No cakes shaped like inanimate objects, rhubarb pies, cookies, brownies, kolacki, nothing. Add to this the problem with chocolate in Korea, namely, that a) they don't believe in dark chocolate, and b) it's all just plain not good, and i'm left with quite a problem on my hands.

Nevertheless, I decided to have a go at chocolate truffles over the weekend. It was definitely a project, but ohmygoodness they turned out delicious!!!

Let's begin. I started out with this recipe, which I've used time and time again in the states making family presents around Christmastime. Works like a charm and always comes out fantastic. My mouth waters just thinking about how tasty they are!

If you click on the link, you'll notice the first two ingredients are bittersweet Lindt chocolates and semisweet Ghiradelli chocolates to make the base of my truffles. Finding these particular products in Korea, yeah, no. I ended up prowling the local E-Mart for a good ten minutes looking for anything I could possibly substitute for dark chocolate. The milk chocolate here is just plain terrible, and there was nothing even remotely close to bittersweet chocolate anywhere to be found. I picked up two bags of individually wrapped (debatably) dark chocolates. So, instead of just opening up a package of chocolate and chopping, I got to unwrap at least 60 little ones before I could even begin my truffle-making adventure. Awesome.

Next ingredient, heavy creme. I can read Korean well enough to get by and sound out the Konglish words I encounter in my everyday life, but I don't know what most words here mean, much less the Korean word for "heavy creme." Finding it was a challenge, and I had given up to just using regular milk and hoping it would work when I stumbled upon it, lodged in the middle of the yogurt section of E-Mart. Win!

Next ingredients, Grand Mariner, prepared coffee, and vanilla extract. Ha. Grand Mariner, obviously nowhere to be found in my E-Mart, so I substituted Kahlua which was surprisingly easy to find tucked on the bottom shelf next to the whiskey and soju. Coffee flavor instead of orange flavor, totally fine. Prepared coffee, the closest thing you can find is called Americano, and is a slightly wimpier version of regular coffee in the states. Doable. Vanilla extract, nowhere to be found. Nothing even close. I can't even find a single extract of anything in my dear E-Mart, and eventually just decided to skip the vanilla flavor entirely. Sad day. Side note, if anyone in the states is feeling generous and wants to send me a gallon, I'd appreciate it ;)

So I've obtained a reasonable assortment of passable ingredients. Next problem, I need to boil the milk and then pour it over the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Silly Korea, why would my apartment filled with a smattering of cheaply acquired kitchen products like a Winnie the Pooh bowl and single Hello Kitty fork have a heat-proof bowl present? Luckily I had a wok-like frying pan sitting around that fit the bill perfectly. Back on track, the next few steps went smoothly. The chocolate melted as planned, and after refrigerating for a couple hours the mixture was solid enough to roll in to balls. On to my next dilemma. Truffles need to be rolled in some kind of powder to bind the ganache filling and keep them from sticking to your hands as you eat them, right? Usually cocoa is my go to product, although powdered sugar could have been a viable option had the filling not already been sweeter than normal because of the lack of bittersweet chocolate in this country. Of course my trusty E-Mart didn't have regular old cocoa powder available, which led me to make my final substitution of the day: Hot chocolate mix.

Sounds terrible, right? So wrong! They turned out delicious, and even though they taste nothing like the truffles I've made a hundred times in the states, I'm in love! I'm thinking if I can find a way to infuse some mint flavoring and temper some kind of chocolate coating for them, I could have a really fantastic french mint recipe on my hands. Or a janky version at least. Either way, it was a very successful and verrrrrrrrrry yummy weekend :)

- Christine -


The following post is a) unreasonably long and b) slightly pg-13 at times... consider yourself warned

So last week my friend Uzoma and I went on vacation to Jeju island for Chuseok (추석), the Korean version of Thanksgiving. Five days on a semi-tropical island laying out and sightseeing around one of the most beautiful parts of Korea, yes please! Can you say amaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing!

Let's start from the beginning.

Day 1: We ended up taking a KTX to Mokpo and then taking a ferry boat to Jeju. This entailed us waking up at 3:30 am and arriving in Jeju at maybe 1:30 in the afternoon, so needless to say it was a looooong day of traveling. But at least it was more scenic than an airplane...

Eventually we made it to Jeju, settled into our hotel room, and immediately headed off to the nearest beach. What else would you do on a semi-tropical island, right? Our hotel was located on the south part of the island in Jungmun, so it only made sense that we start our beach-hopping adventures on Jungmun Beach, the largest on the entire island. We got there a little before sunset, and oh gosh, it was gorgeous!

View from the top

Close up

I loved it!

On to Day 2. We headed up to Jeju City on the north part of the island to do some sightseeing and beach-hopping around there. We started out our day at Love Land, the infamous erotic-themed sculpture park on the island. It's funny, Koreans are so conservative about sex and sexuality, but I know of at least 3 sex-themed sculpture parks in the country, which is more than I can say I know back in the states. And I guess it makes sense to have sex-themed parks on Jeju, actually, seeing as Jeju is a major honeymoon destination, why not? Regardless, it was a really entertaining start to our Day 2 to say the least...

Some of the milder sculptures at Love Land...

I definitely recommend visiting! So much fun!

After Love Land, we decided to hit up Jeolmul, a "nature resort" with a "massaging stone walking path" and mineral streams, etc, etc. Totally lame. The massaging stones just plain hurt, and there was nothing resort-like about it. Add on to that that I was still sick with some upper respiratory whatnot, so when we set of on a simple little .8 kilometer stroll up to the top of a lookout point, I found myself panting and wheezing like crazy. All in all, a total bust, but at least it was pretty!

After barely making it to the top of that lookout point... I look happy, but I swear I was about to pass out!

Koi pond along the walk. I told you it was pretty!

The "massaging" foot path. Really just rocks. Kinda hurt a lot... oh well.

After Jeolmul, we decided to resume our beachgoing at Hamdoek Beach, a pretty beach on the northwest side of the island. We tried going out for a little ride in one of those two person blue paddle boats, but we maybe possibly kinda took on so much water that we needed the rental guy to kayak out to our water dumping rescue... maybe twice. Whoops!

After our embarrassing boating adventures, we decided to skirt off to another beach, this time Samyang beach, a gorgeous black sand beach we were lucky enough to catch at sunset! By far my favorite!

View from far away

The black sand was so amazing! Deeeeefinitely stole some...

And Uzoma loved it too!

All in all, successful Day 2.

Day 3, we decided to stay around Jungmun. We started our day out with a little horseback riding in this kitchy little place where they made us wear hats and boots... quite silly really.

We looked ridiculous. Fun times.

Next we decided to check out the Jeongbang costal waterfall, which was absolutely fantastic! It was so pretty, everything from the waterfall itself, to the scenic panoramic view of the ocean, to even the boulders we were walking on, I thought it was just so beautiful!

The waterfall... so pretty right! And it just fell almost right into the ocean!

Proof I was there... and apparently in the mood for some YMCA?

Even the mist looked amazing

View out towards one of the coastal islands... did I mention I thought this place was beautiful?

We finished all our plans for Day 3 early, so we took a spontaneous trip out to the Museum of Sex and Health. Pros, there were lots of really cool art pieces both inside and outside the museum. Cons, all the exhibits were written in just Korean, so we didn't learn a darn thing. Oh well. It was a good time.

Pretty sculpture outside the museum

Butt chair... which made me giggle...

Later that night we decided to try our luck at a nearby casino. After losing 10,000 won on the slot machines, I won back 8,500, but then ended up losing it all again. It would have been a pretty big deal, if the exchange rate wasn't so crazy... in dollars, I lost maybe all of $15 total that night. Rough.

Day 4. We headed out to the far west side of the island to visit Hallim park, the only place in the world where they have volcanic lava slash stalactite cave formations in the same place. Fascinating right? It was really cool, but as a whole Hallim park was a pretty random assortment of things including but not limited to botanical gardens, cactus, palm trees named after George Washington, a bonsai garden, caves, a bird park, hedges shaped like dinosaurs, a replica folk village, and a whole bunch of Dolharubang sculptures. Whew! Kind of lacked an underlying theme, but I think it was definitely worth the hour long bus trip out.

Inside one of the lava caves...

They not only had an entire greenhouse filled with cactus, but they also had century plants! The desert horticulture part of me got really excited!

One of the Dolharubang sculptures they have all over the island. The native people of Jeju needed something to do with all that volcanic rock, so they started carving these guys, which have been compared to the mysterious statues all over Easter island. Fascinating, right? Nowadays they're pretty much one of the kitchy unofficial symbols of Jeju and you can find them absolutely everywhere. I liked them a lot anyways...

Fun times. Day 5, Mt Halla-san, the volcanic crater national park in the middle of the island. We figured it would be nice to take a short 3-4 hour hike on the Yeongshil trail, the seemingly least tenuous trail since I was still feeling under the weather at this point. Surprise! This is what we found ourselves climbing up...


Did I mention I was both a) out of shape, and b) still sick with a breathing problem?

It felt terrible! To make it worse, the only reason we were even there was because this was supposed to be one of the most scenic parts of Jeju, but we were inside a cloud for the majority of the hike up, so we couldn't see twenty feet in front of us, much less see anything from the highest point in all of Korea. We almost turned around a couple times, but at the urging of some overly excited Korean ladies we ran into along the trail, we persevered and made it all the way to the top alive. Miraculous, really. Even better, by the time we started our long trek back down, the clouds had started to lift so we could actually see that there was quite a view.

Clouds starting to lift

Pretending I am happy and can breathe


Cool rock formation

In retrospect, Mt Halla was really cool and I'm glad we did it. But oh my goodness, at the time I thought I was about to die! Oh, and it didn't help that I realized during the trek back down the hill that I have an unreasonable fear of falling, probably stemming from a certain tailbone fracture and granite sidewalk slip in my not so distant past... regardless, the walk back down was rough, but I survived. (Barely)

After that, we headed back to the hotel and passed out. The next morning we woke up early and started off back towards the peninsula.

Whew! This was such a fun trip, and I maybe kinda sorta wish I was still vacationing there now. But alas, I start teaching again tomorrow afternoon, and won't have a day off again as far as I know until December. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.

Happy Chuseok everybody!

- Christine -

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


You know how you eat a lot of takeout right before vacation, so you don’t have all sorts of food just sitting around spoiling while you’re away? Well, next week is 추석 (Chuseok), the Korean Thanksgiving holiday, and one way or another I am getting out of Bucheon for the week. My plan as of now is to go to Jeju Island, the “Hawaii of Korea”, with my lovely friend Uzoma, but I suppose that kind of depends on my ARC coming in the next few days. This damn card has been such a hassle and is now over a week late, and as such, the immigration office and I are not really on friendly terms anymore (**shakes fists angrily).

But on to happier things, like food! Last night after work I stopped by a pizza place a block from here and picked up a pizza for dinner. Sounds like a fairly safe food choice, right?


# 1. Pizza in Korea usually has corn. Tucked slyly under the cheese so you don’t notice it hiding there at first. Kinda strange…

# 2. Pizza in Korea comes with a side of not garlic sauce, but pickles. No joke, you open the little side container expecting some garlic butter for your crust-dunking pleasure, only to find pickles. Still throws me off me every time.

# 3. Pizza in Korea comes wrapped up in a box with a little bow tied around it. It takes them longer to tie the perfect little bow than it does to make the whole pizza.

Always something silly. Bienvenido a 부천!

- Christine -

Sunday, September 12, 2010

These Little Things...

I'm a smiley person. If you've ever met me, ever, this should be pretty obvious.

I like to smile about the little things. Being in an airplane and flying on top of the clouds. Finding a good ranch dressing in Korea. Explaining something to a student 10 times and actually seeing the "Aha!" moment when it finally clicks. Having a cute old lady talk to you the entire train ride home. This video. Etc, etc.

But in particular, one of the many many things about Korea that makes me smile is talking to random children you see out and about. Whenever I'm out in public, I attract stares, often blatant stares from little children. A lot of times if I notice such a stare, I'll give them a little wave and say hello. This usually results in them either a) shyly saying hello back with a cute little wave or b) them nestling towards their parent who then nudges them to say hello back. Either way, we usually end up having an adorable little conversation about how old they are, where they're from, all the basic question it's ok to ask a 7 year old you've just met on the street. It's really really cute and never fails to bring a smile to my face! I don't know that I've ever had the same kind of encounter in the states, probably because most parents are reluctant to let their children talk to strangers (and with good reason...). But here, they're paying enough in hagweons to make sure their child knows English, that they're completely fine with their child spending five minutes talking to a native speaker they've just met on the street. I love it! Makes me smile every time!

Also the fact that my students say "Englishee" and "Finishee"...
Me: "Richard, did I just hear Korean?"
Richard: (*Eyes wide wide open) "Nooooooo, Teacher! Englishee!"

So adorable! Have I mentioned I love Korea?

- Christine -

Touristy Things (Part 2)


(Fun fact, I've apparently always had the capability to type in Korean, but just never realized it until maybe yesterday...)

So we've covered Namdaemum/Sungnye-Mun and Gyeongbok-Gung in my previous post entitled Touristy Things (Part 1). Let's continue with the rest of the weekend, shall we?

The National Folk Museum of Korea is located up a little hill on the same site as Gyeongbok-Gung, so it only made sense that we ended up there next. As soon as we got into the museum, we saw that there was some kind of something happening in an auditorium, so of course we snuck in. (As you will see, this was the weekend for sneaking into places...). Turns out we were in the middle of this really fantastic musical performance which I just loved! This woman had such a wonderful voice, and the entire audience was swaying and clapping and completely into it.

And then this thing popped out... It kind of looked like a sheepdog and had eye tassels?

Fun times were had. After the performance ended we wandered around the museum for maybe an hour, and I got a souvenir Korean cookbook written in English. Score! Fair warning for all you people in the States, once I obtain a "clean, heavy stone" to weigh down my Kimchi, I will be spending the next eleven months perfecting my recipe, and you will be trying it at some point!

End of sightseeing day #1. On to day #2.

We ended up having some time to kill in Seoul, so we wandered around in the rain until we stumbled upon the Seoul Museum of Art. Well we stumbled upon a sign telling us there was an art museum nearby and it took quite a lot of effort to actually find the thing, but we persevered and after a lot of turnarounds found it. So we walked in, and there were people wandering around so we assumed it would be fine for us to wander around too, right? False. Turns out it was a press-only event for a new exhibit they had opening up the next day. Luckily, since a) the museum was closing in an hour and b) we were foreigners (which means they'll let us get away with almost anything), they let us in and we got to wander around the new exhibit pretending to be press. Yet another reason I love Korea!

Now, I love love love modern art, I really do, but some of the exhibits were just plain weird. Like things you would think of if you were a crazy person. These are just a few of the ridiculous pieces we saw, but pictures just can't even do justice to how mind-bogglingly weird they really were...

Very strange stuff, but very fun nonetheless. Apparently there's a set of five or six art museums right in this little part of Seoul, so we will definitely be revisiting this area in the future.

In short, that was my weekend of fiiiiiiinally sightseeing around Seoul. Finishee!

- Christine -

Thursday, September 9, 2010


In my experience so far, Korean schools are not especially interested in fostering creativity. Kind of at all. Thus has spurred my new project for the year, inserting creativity back into learning.

The U.S. is certainly not immune to the issue of creativity either. Obviously jobs in the fields of math and science pay more, so why wouldn't you want your child to excel in those areas and set them up for future success (Well, one version of success anyways...)? Of course the arts are something socially acceptable to pursue, but primarily as a hobby. Rarely are you going to look at someone with a Women's Studies or Music degree the same way you do someone with, say, Mechanical Engineering. Be honest...

In Korea, this hierarchy of study is even more pronounced than it is in the states. For these students, their childhood is all about working hard to place into a good high school and then working their asses off in high school to get into one of the top few Universities in the country. Once they're in University, it's pretty much smooth sailing, it's the getting there that's rough. And it infringes on their childhood in a huge way. I teach at a hagweon English school, basically an after school school. Essentially, two or three days a week, after they've already sat in their normal school for 8 hours learning, they come to me to learn even more. And they have all sorts of hagweons, math, science, you name it. Some of my students attend up to 5 different hagweons every week! It's so absolutely ridiculous to me!

If you know anything about me at all, you know that I practically grew up dancing at the Ashtabula Arts Center. Even though I'm retired to dancing in my living room (you know you do it too!), dance for me was a fundamental part of my childhood! It gave me a place to transform my rambunctious childhood energy (of which I had lots!) into a useful and productive form. These kids don't have that opportunity. They sit in classroom after classroom five to six days a week and then go home to a heaping stack of homework from their countless teachers they see each day. Even those who try to incorporate music or sports into their lives do so in, say, private piano or soccer lessons... what ever happened to giving children plain old free time?

I think for the most part, Korean children have accepted the system and learned to adapt to the rote learning required of it. But I can see some of my students struggling, not because they are bad or unintelligent students, but because they have been forced to conform to a system horribly matched for their learning styles. They sit there in class just wiggling, aching to not be sitting in a desk for the umpteenth hour that day. Some of my kids are so artistic, I can tell from the doodles and drawings they do in class. But those drawings will never be valued in this culture, rather their test scores and academic success will determine where they end up, probably not in the same high schools and Universities as some of my more left brained students. I know this happens in the U.S. too, I know it does, but I was able to conform to the educational standards well enough I suppose it never really bothered me. But these kids have really begun to highlight a fundamental problem in education as a whole, and I just want to help them!

So, it's not much, especially coming from just one of their foreign teachers at just one of their hagweon academies, but I make them color. We talk about our topic for the day, then some days I have them draw it for me. As they're drawing, I go around and they tell me about what they're drawing and why (hence conversational English is still technically being taught, win!).

Just take a look at some of their pictures. How fantastic are they!?

We did a lesson on decorating which focused on carpet, tile, wallpaper, and curtains, so I had my students decorate a room for me. This is my "Cleveland Browns" colored room... I was so proud he picked orange and brown all by himself!

This student's ideal carpet in his future home is patterned with an assortment of fruits? We made probably the world's longest list of fruits before he settled on these four.

I love this one. This student made his room into a face, with a nose shaped chandelier, an ear patterned wallpaper and a carpet that looks like a mouth...

I love this one too. Demonstrating that it's completely ok to have upwards of 4 separate wallpapers in one room, including one for the ceiling...

I gave them free time to color while I was conducting their speaking tests. I haven't even talked to them about dancing, but this is one of the pictures I ended up with. Sauté!

One of my students' depictions of my classroom. (Apparently in her eyes I'm blonde?) It's pretty accurate, really... She even included my water bottle, the radio I bring to class every day, my school name etched in the door, every single student in my class, and even my Korean teaching partner, Alice.

I'm not at all sure what's going on in this one, but I know there are ghosts, caterpillars, and a lightning bolt, and it's just adorable!

This one takes a little explanation. Yes, this "Boy from Busan" I keep talking about and I are dating. (Awwwww, shucks!) Of course these children of mine are suuuuper curious about Teacher's boyfriend, and ask about him almost daily. So when I told them he was at least a foot taller than me, their faces all lit up as they shouted, "Teacher, he's a monster!" Ergo, my bf is a monster, and I'm just crazy. And have antennae. I really enjoy it anyways :)

In conclusion, I think creativity is a huge, major, important, fundamental, key, (etc) part of childhood, and I'm going to insert a little creativity into these kids even if it kills me. End.

- Christine -

ps. I was out on a walk this morning and this Korean man I've never seen before comes up to me and says "Where do you go in the mornings? I've seen you before walking in the morning." Awesome. Either a.) I stand out even more than I thought i did, or b.) I have a 70 year old stalker. Horray...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Touristy Things (Part 1)

So I finally did it. Ladies and Gentlemen, I went sightseeing in Korea!

(Yes this was last weekend, and yes I am just now getting around to writing about it. My apologies...)

Day 1: Seoul

We started our sightseeing adventures in Korea right at the very beginning, visiting National Treasure #1, The Namdaemum/Sungnye-Mun Gate. This gate was completed in 1398 and was one of the oldest remaining parts of the old wall that used to surround Seoul a long long time ago. Well, it was anyways. Turns out some douchebag was pissed about some completely unrelated land dispute back in 2008 and set the whole thing on fire. (According to Wikipedia, this gem of a human being has a history of catching priceless historic relics on fire? Why he was still allowed to purchase paint thinner and lighters after the first time is my question?) We of course didn't know that Korea's beloved NT #1 was no more, so even though they're slowly rebuilding it and we got to see some poor man chiseling away at a giant rock, it made for a pretty disappointing start to our day.

Our next stop was Gyeongbok-Gung, The Palace of Shining Happiness. Basically the largest remaining palace complex from the Joseon Dynasty, just plopped down in the middle of Seoul. It was really amazing, actually. A much less disappointing site than NT #1...

First picture of Gyeongbok-Gung!

We caught a changing of the guard ceremony, complete with a tiny marching band.

One of the buildings at Gyeongbok-Gung...

Close-up. I'm obsessed with the architectural details! So gorgeous!

So happy!

The main throne hall, Geunjeong-jeon. NT #223...

Inside the throne room in Geunjeong-jeon... Everything was so ornate! I just loved it!

And thus began my fixation with ceilings...

A ceiling in another building... so fun right?

(Sorry this one's a little dark...) Note the strategically placed fire extinguishers? Korea is not messing around with another NT #1 incident!

And since this is an abnormally long post, I will continue the adventures of my touristy things next time.

- Christine -