Sunday, April 29, 2012

Yup, still cute.

I am home alone with the sweet baby today while Paul works and Elisabeth is at a soccer tournament.  I thought we could take a break from the Korea Travelogue and look at this cuteness instead.

We had to take some "formal" pictures of him for some of his orphanage paperwork.  This one didn't get sent in but I love it!  Such a happy guy.

Cars and trucks are the best!

The cat likes him....most of the time!

Big boy drinking from his own cup.

He loves to lean on the couch and look down at the people.  We live on the sixth floor of our building.  We used  to have a beautiful view of the river across the street.  Now we have a view of the high rise going up.

Musical instruments are fun!

Yes, we occasionally let him watch TV.  He has a strange liking for Chinese talent competitions.
We think it's the clapping.

Books are still the favorite.

Things are moving along well in the complicated adoption process.  Keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Markets in Korea

I love the outdoor markets of Asia!  These are some pictures from a few we walked through.

Dried fish.

Buy the Way.  We saw several of these so it must be a chain of some sort.  I don't know if it was a play on words or a misunderstanding of English.  Either way, pretty clever.

Pepper!  Whole and ground.  Look at the bags in the back!

Rubber bands of every size possible.  I am dying to know who shops here.

Yarn....glorious yarn!

Next to the yarns, umbrellas.

More yarn...there were Addi turbo needles around the corner for really reasonable prices.

Baking supplies.  We bought pretty muffin/cupcake liners.

More baking supplies- sprinkles and such.

More dried sea .....stuff.

Even more dried sea creatures.

Fish and sea creatures.


I've got one more Korea post in me of some of the beautiful things we saw there and an amazing Good Friday we went to.  Then back to the usual amazing girl, cute baby and incredible China pictures!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Kimchi Museum

Yes, we really went.  Almost an hour on the subway to the Kimchi Museum and in a huge shopping mall.  Was it worth it....yes, it was.  Would I go again?, I wouldn't.  I am actually pretty neutral on the subject of kimchi if that is possible.  The smell doesn't bother me.  I like it but I don't love it.
Here are a few things about kimchi from

Koreans eat so much of this super-spicy condiment (40 pounds of it per person each year) that natives say “kimchi” instead of “cheese” when getting their pictures taken. The reddish fermented cabbage (and sometimes radish) dish—made with a mix of garlic, salt, vinegar, chile peppers, and other spices—is served at every meal, either alone or mixed with rice or noodles. And it’s part of a high-fiber, low-fat diet that has kept obesity at bay in Korea. Kimchi also is used in everything from soups to pancakes, and as a topping on pizza and burgers.

Why to try it: Kimchi (or kimchee) is loaded with vitamins A, B, and C, but its biggest benefit may be in its “healthy bacteria” called lactobacilli, found in fermented foods like kimchi and yogurt. This good bacteria helps with digestion, plus it seems to help stop and even prevent yeast infections, according to a recent study. And more good news: Some studies show fermented cabbage has compounds that may prevent the growth of cancer.

Ancient kimchi ingredients. Again- the kimchi pots that I covet.

Many varieties of kimchi from different part of Korea. 

More varieties of kimchi from different parts of Korea.

Yet more varieties of kimchi!

The relationship between hot peppers and Koreans and Korean's love for spicy taste.  I'd say the relationship is a strong one!

Ingredients of kimchi.

Woman making kimchi.

Every good Korean mom feeds her kid kimchi.

After the museum, we went to McDonald's because we were starving.  I had a bulgogi burger-it was fantastic!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

But why not a hanbok museum?

One of the things I love about Korea is the Hanbok-the traditional dress of both men and women that (let's face it), only looks good on Koreans and other skinny people. My daughter is wearing one in the header of the blog.
Several years ago, I had an ESL student who had studied hanbok design as an undergraduate.  She explained to us the intricacies of hanbok design and tried to teach our clumsy fingers to make hanbok paper dolls. It was fascinating.  Making hanbok is an art.
So why not a hanbok museum explaining the philosophy and design of making hanbok?  I would go...after all, we went to the kimchi museum.  More on that later.
So here are a few of the hanbok we saw.

Ancient clothing in the Folk Museum - not actually hanbok.

Beautiful sheer hanbok and hanbok tops at the Folk Museum.

Children's hanbok.

In a store window.

On a scroll in the national museum.

The Hanbok section of one of the markets...if we'd only had a Korean person with us so that we could have had one made for Elisabeth.

Korea Tourism Officials...what do you think? Is a hanbok museum a possibility?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Let's go back to Korea, okay?

There is a certain glamour factor in living overseas.  That makes up for some of the really hard and aggravating times.  We have well stamped passports and a multitude of visas.  I have money from three different countries in my wallet right now.  Honestly, it never ceases to be amazing to me.  I can wake up in one country and go to sleep in other.  What a privilege!
People have asked me if Korea is at all like China.  In a  word, no.  There are some architectural similarities in ancient building and for formal Korean (Hanja), Chinese characters are used.  But the culture, the appearance of the cities, the people..very, very different.
Chinese culture has been strongly  influenced by the Cultural Revolution, the one child policy and Communism. Korea is influenced by Buddhism, Confucianism and Christianity.  Cleanliness and politeness are high values.  Seoul was amazingly clean.  The subways were crowded but there was little pushing or noise.  There is very little of the absolute chaos that is China.  Korea is just a very different place.
On our third day, we went to the Gyeongbokgung Palace.  We had gone to one of the smaller palaces on our first day and not been super impressed.  But Gyeongbokgung Palace was beautiful.


Storage pots for rice and other things.

Elisabeth among the kimchi and alcohol storage pots.

One of the exquisite ceilings.

These creatures and roofs are similar to China.  I love them.

We also went to the Folk Museum which was seriously my favorite museum.  It showed artifacts that showed how people really lived-that is my kind of history.

An ancient back strap loom.

Another loom.

                                                                     Ball winder

Fabric made of many different things-hemp, linen etc.

It was fascinating.  One of my life goals is to learn how to weave and seeing these ancient looms and tools made me want to even more.

Below are some scenes of life and death passages.

A wedding.

There was also some old ceremonial clothing that children apparently gave their parents in preparation for their death.  Elisabeth suggested this as a gift for my next birthday.  I suggested she get me a loom.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Women of Valor.

Look at these women-true women of valor.

These women are single, married, divorced.  Some are Chinese, some area foreigners.  One is a doctor, two are nurses, some have little education.

Look at these women.  Look at their faces as stories are told.  Stories of children who needed mothers.  Stories of a girl who talked at twelve.  Stories of breast cancer survival.  Stories that included words like hydrocephalus, surgery, abandonment, grief.  Stories of miracles of healing, of first words, of live.

Look at these women who loved children for a time....and then let them go to forever families knowing that was best for the children.

Look at these women.  One of the single women told a story of hearing God tell her that she would have a son.  She said "How can that be?  I am not married"  We laughed and said she sounded like Mary.  She did have a son- a foster son who now lives in America.  Then she had more.

Look at these women-being told to prepare to grieve as the children go to permanent families.  I took that to heart, for sure.

Look at these women-women of deep faith and deep love.  One came to faith watching her sister care for a child with Down Syndrome.

Look at these women-laughing and listening.  What a gift.
They are women of valor-Eshet Chayil!