Sunday, September 19, 2010

Korea Trip Rewind: Days Four & Five

September 17th, 2009

We woke that Thursday morning in Seoul to another gorgeous day {actually, we were blessed with perfect weather our entire week there!}. We had our usual Dunkin*Donuts breakfast before we were picked up by our Korean pal Jay {who, by the way, was such a trooper for hanging out with us so much during our stay in Seoul!}. The 3 of us drove across town to meet another friend, JaeHe, for lunch and coffee. The mall we lunched at was something.else. Big and fancy, bright and gorgeous are a few understated words to describe it. Our lunch extremely delicious {as usual} and then we stopped for a coffee before heading out.

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Our next stop was Naumdaemun Market. This place is quite the experience - a must see! Everything from purses to toys, trinkets to accessories, clothing to electronics was in.your.face. I never knew where to look! There were so many sight and sounds to take in. It didn't take long to realize, though, that you had to watch where you were going or a motor bike would run you down. :-)

Before we came to Korea, I had made a list of items I hoped to purchase while we were there. We did pick up a few things at this market - a Pororo Penguin backpack, a dvd with songs for kiddos in Korean, and a pair of adorable train pajamas....all for Mr. Si.

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Korea Trip - N Market 1
Our 2nd "meeting" of the week with Josiah YeJoon was at 4:00pm, so we {Josh, Jay, JaeHe and I} left Namdaemun and drove over to Eastern Social Welfare Society. There was another family in the "playroom", so we waited for a few moments in the computer room.

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I loved the white board in the room filled with messages and tips and greetings from fellow adoptive ESWS families....

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We didn't have to wait long for Josiah and his foster mother to arrive. My heart almost leaped from my chest when I held him again! My poor baby had come down with a cold. He was a bit congested and sleepy at first, but perked up once we were in the playroom with all of the toys!

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As each minute went by, we fell more and more {and more} in love with our little peanut! He played so quietly and intently. I will never forget his sweet face and how he kept looking at us with such curiosity. Honestly, he couldn't of been any sweeter!

We should have known that 2nd visit that our boy would become the sports lovin' toddler that he is today! Once he grabbed on to one or two small plastic balls, he didn't want to let go....

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....well, except for when his foster mother popped back into the room with a bottle! He chugged most of it down while he played with his daddy's fingers. Super sweet.

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I adored seeing Si and his foster mother interact with each other. They were so, so in love. We are forever grateful to her and her husband for the incredible care they gave our son. What a gift.

with foster mom
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Before our visit was done, Josiah had to show off his hilarious "so strong" skills....

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Our Korean friends invited us to join them for a walk through an art exhibit at Deoksugung Palace. Helen, Jay's sister, joined us when she was done working for the day. Before we went into the gates, we did a little people watching on the busy corner - lots of traffic and people and activity.

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Korea Trip - classy 1


The artist being featured was Fernando Botero from Columbia. His colorful work often features exaggerated human and animal shapes. It was exciting to see his pieces up close.

This more modern art museum stands next to a handful of traditional palace buildings....

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It was fantastic to explore another palace! I couldn't get enough of the vibrant colors and beautiful details....

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Our group of 5 enjoyed dinner and wine at a great little restaurant before our last stop of the day - Seoul Tower. We rode the aerial tram up Namsan mountain and wondered around the base of the tower. It was dark by that time, but we still had a great view of the city - the lights of Seoul were spectacular!

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One of the most unique and fun aspects of Seoul Tower is that the surrounding fences are covered in oodles and oodles of "locks of love". We didn't hang a lock on this visit {I wish we had!}....so that's something we'll do on our next trip to Seoul. :-)

Korea Trip - Seoul Tower Locks 1Align Center
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5 of us Seoul Tower
We were so very thankful, once again, for another day of exploring our son's incredible birth country...and the friendships we found there!

September 18th, 2009

On Friday we decided to go on the Seoul City Bus Tour. It took us a while to find the stand to get info and buy our tickets. One thing we discovered quickly in Korea is that if we looked even slightly confused, someone was always willing to ask if we needed help or directions!

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Our first stop off the bus was Namdaemun Market - we had been there the day before, but there were a few more things we hoped to find. Josiah scored another Pororo toy and a handful of Pororo dvds in English and Korean {which Si l.o.v.e.s. - best purchase ever}.

We hopped back on the tour bus and got off next at the War Memorial of Korea. The grounds and monuments are absolutely breathtaking in person.

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Korea Trip - War Memorial mon 2
I always noticed throughout Seoul that the South Korean flag always stood next to the American flag....and this always made me smile....

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The war memorial is massive. We spent just a few short hours there and didn't even make a dent in it, but it was fascinating to learn more about Korea's history.

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We met up with the bus again and rode through Seoul to Changdeokgung Palace. It was a great opportunity to sit and take in the busyness and billboards of the city....

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We missed the palace's final English speaking tour of the day, so we went on the Korean speaking tour instead. Thankfully the booklet we were given had photos with explanations in English so it wasn't too difficult to follow along with the guide.

We visited 4 of the palaces during our week in Korea....and I loved every second! The beauty and history of them make quite the outstanding package.

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Korea Trip - Palace tree 1
Korea Trip - green door palace
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Our final stop was Insadong. We visited this market on our very first full day in Seoul and came back to eat dinner and find some more goodies. While we walked along trying to decide where to eat, a gal standing next to one of the restaurants offered us a menu. It looked good so we said ok! Then she proceeded to lead us down 3 flights of stairs....Josh and I weren't sure where in the world she was taking us! Thankfully we ended up at a nice little hole-in-the-wall restaurant. The workers were super sweet to us and we ended up meeting a handful of travelers there that we swapped stories with. Fun!

After dinner we browsed through the shops. I was thrilled to find the particular wedding ducks and green celadon vase I was keeping my eye out for! We also chose some more small gifts for Josiah - a Korean soccer jersey {his daddy got a matching one}and some toys and trinkets to give him as he grows up.

We were exhausted, but happy as we rode the subway back to our hotel. Our week in Seoul was flying by.

The next time we would hold our son would be on the day we became a family forever.


18 comments:

  1. what a fun recap! i can't wait to go experience this myself!

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  2. Oh your post makes me want to go back.... now! Your photos are beautiful! And seeing little Si as a baby... so precious.

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  3. I loved all the pictures! What a beautiful place. The desserts looked amazing, and was that fabric in the market? (all the pretty colors.) I would have been there for days trying to choose.

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  4. Girl, I am yearning to return ALREADY. Seoul is such a lovable place!

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  5. Your pictures are eye candy! I could look at them all day. What an amazing trip. The white board is genious. Love the locks, too. :) Your precious Si will have wonderful memories to recall due to your great journeling. Such a gift!

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  6. beautiful photos, Rachel. i loved reading through and seeing everything again. it truly is a magical place to visit - most importantly because of our sons' heritage. thank you for sharing!

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  7. So fun to read your recaps, especially since this is a first time reading it for us. We did a lot of the same things! We did the Korean tour and also were at the War Memorial. I *think* that the flags are placed in order of either a)casualties lost in the war or b)how many troops were fighting from said nation. So yeah, the US was right there with Korea to fight for their freedom.
    Oh and I love the pic of Josh doing the typical Korean pose with the peace sign :)

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  8. I love reliving your trip with you! Such wonderful memories and I get so excited about when we will get to travel!

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  9. This looks all so familiar to me. The computer room in Eastern, the play room, the Eastern bottles. The pictures are wondeful. What a great recap!

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  10. Loving these recaps of your Korea trip!!

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  11. LOve Love love the recap! My heart leaps every time. Thanks!

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  12. It's so fun reliving your trip through these rewind posts. Beautiful photos of course!! I love seeing how little and adorable Si was as a baby!! So funny that he showed his love for balls during your meeting too!

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  13. I'm really enjoying these posts and seeing all that you did in Korea. I am amazed by how much you did each day! And to see the Seoul tower and Insadong at night would be great. And I had to smile at your video because I distinctly remember that palace and the Dunkin Donuts right next to the entrance! Great pictures and thanks for the trip down memory lane.

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  14. love this recap...beautiful photos!! we had out second meeting with leo in the computer room - the entire time in there - so i loved seeing what comments were on the board when you were there!
    even though we were just there to bring leo home...i so wish we had a planned return date to do and see even more of the wonderful city that you captured here.

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  15. Love this trip down memory lane! What an amazing trip you two had!

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  16. Korea looks reallyyyyyyyyyyyyyy amazing. My dream place. Si looks so precious, LOVEEEE his name!!!

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  17. Looks like such a great trip!!!

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  18. You got such beautiful pictures in Seoul! We just loved our trip but did not end up with some great pics - it was FREEZING in February and lots of snow, not to mention our trip was so rushed. If I could change anything about our trip, it would be to stay an extra few days.

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