Father and Child Team Cooking Contest


 

I was waiting to get my hair cut one day when I noticed that there was an event happening on the street below me.  Later I went down to check it out. 20131029-212311.jpg

It turned out to be a cooking contest for fathers and their children. I didn’t stay for long, but it looked fun.  There were many entries, and many of them had cute themes.  I really enjoy seeing these kinds of events.  20131029-212321.jpg

The judges walked through the aisles of dishes with a pen and paper.  Each of the dishes were unique and looked delicious! 20131029-212330.jpgBy the time that I had arrived, the contest seemed to be in the second half.  All of the cooking was complete, and the contestants had their attention directed toward the stage.  The judges were in the process of judging, and some of the children were getting distracted.  As I was leaving, an older sister cam to collect her sibling from wandering too far off.

 

The Post Office


A while back, I noticed that there were many statues and emblems of birds in my town. I also noticed that they all looked very similar. After a teachers meeting, I saw another bird sculpture and asked my coworker what it was. She told me that it was a swallow, and when I asked if there was any special significance, she told me that the swallow brings good news in Korean culture. She mentioned that the swallow was the emblem of the Korean post office. I had always seen this bird, but I never knew what it was, or what it meant. Given the cultural reputation, this is a perfect emblem for a post office.

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GRE in Korea


Today I took the GRE in Daejeon. The test location was at KAIST, Korea’s equivalent of MIT. It was a nice campus, and it was located next to Chungnam university. My test was in the language building, and it took about 3.5 hours. I was really glad that I did not have to take any post test surveys! I was able to see my scores right after the test (minus the written portion), and I was satisfied. I am just happy to have the test over with.

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Chuseok Preparation


There’s a couple weeks left until chuseok, and all of the stores in town are displaying their special gift sets. People usually buy these to give to friends, family, or even coworkers. From what I’ve seen, most of the gift sets include practical items. I’ve seen sets of juices, cooking oils, and even spam. Keep in mind that spam is much more popular in Korea than it is in the United States.

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What an interesting day!


So, today I was moving some things with a friend of mine from one of the teachers apartments. Usually when teachers leave town they sell or give away their things. My friend and I were going to get a couple of shelves. Since neither of us had a car, we had to carry them back. The shelves are not incredibly heavy, but it was a long ways home. We were thirsty and we wanted to take a break, so we got some drinks from a convenience store.

20130901-002352.jpg As we were taking a break in front of the shop, shop delivery guy came to drop off some things. He started talking with my friend, who speaks Korean much better than I, and he offered to help us out.

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He said that he could help deliver the shelf, but that he had a couple more stops to make. We took him up on the offer and went along for the ride.

20130901-002855.jpg He even offered us some snacks to eat while he made his deliveries.

20130901-003039.jpg Finally, the last stop came and he asked us if we had eaten yet. We said no, and he suggested that we go eat noodles together. We agreed, thinking that this would be a great way to pay him back for his kindness. However, Korean culture being what it is, he refused to let us pay and bought us lunch.

20130901-003507.jpg After lunch, he helped us deliver the shelf. He even help me carry it right up to my apartment.

Today was a good day; it was a wonderful reminder of how much I love Korea.

Changgyeonggung (창경궁)


I am back! From where? No where in particular actually, I’ve just been busy with many things this summer.  The weather here in Korea is very warm and humid; if feels hotter than last year! I find it very interesting to be able to compare any sort of event in Korea to how it was the year before.

Today I am going to show you some of Chang gyeong gung.  This is another palace in Seoul.  Speaking of last year, I actually took these pictures last September.  Changgyeonggung-154

Changgyeonggung is located near Gyeongbokgung and a couple other sites of interest in Seoul.  The very nice thing about these palaces is that you can walk from one to the other and see most of them in one day if you wish.

Changgyeonggung-155As you enter it looks similar to other palaces.

Changgyeonggung-156I believe that these are the markers for different officials.  When the king would call together a large meeting, this is where they would be standing or sitting.

Changgyeonggung-157All of the Korean palaces that I have seen use this pattern for the buildings within.  Keep in mind that most of Korea’s palaces and historical sites have been destroyed and rebuilt.

Changgyeonggung-158A small pagoda that Is located behind the main area of the palace.  The grass was such a vivid shade of green last summer.

Changgyeonggung-159Here is  a look inside one of the pavilions. These buildings were build with temperature in mind.  There are many doors and windows to allow air to pass through.  Beneath the floor is a heating system as well.

Changgyeonggung-160Doors are able to be propped up with the help of these hangers.  This way the wind can keep the room cool in the hot summer.

Changgyeonggung-161As always, take off your shoes before coming in.

Changgyeonggung-162A small pool of water with some interesting rock formations.  I have noticed that both China and Korea use interesting rock formations in their landscaping.

Changgyeonggung-163A closer look at some of the palace architecture (a small railing).

Changgyeonggung-164In a garden behind the palace there is a monument.  It is actually similar with a grave as there are human remains located here.

Changgyeonggung-165A family having a picnic in the garden.

Changgyeonggung-166There is a small greenhouse as well!

Changyeonggung is not as popular as Gyeongbokgung, but that is what makes it special! There are not as many people, and the place feels more peaceful.

 

 

 

 

Cheongju Cherry Blossoms


Cherry blossom season has come and gone, but I’ve got plenty of pictures to remember it by.  When the cherry blossoms bloom, you can see them almost everywhere in Korea.  I saw them all over in my hometown, and I took a trip to Cheongju to see them bloom.

Cheongju-154-2Spring in Korea makes up for the dreary muted gray-brown winter colors.  In most countries I imagine spring is beautiful  but Korea has made a special impression on me.  Maybe I am just at a time in my life where I am more able to notice these things.

Cheongju-154While I was in Cheongju I came across a nice park.  Parks in Korea are generally populated by the older generations.  Here older people will sit and have a chat or play a game.  It is very refreshing to see so many people out and about in their later years. The tree in this picture is the only one remaining of it’s set.  These were planted in front of an official building during the Goryeo Kingdom about 900 years ago.

Cheongju-155Parks in Korea are generally very nice to walk through or spend a bit of time in.  sometimes, as with this one, they are built around objects of historical interest.

Cheongju-155-2Down by the river there are many beautiful trees that are packed full of blossoms.  The contrast of spring colors is very striking.

Cheongju-158-2Like cotton candy stuck to the trees.

Cheongju-161What makes these trees so strikingly beautiful is that the flowers come before any leaves. This way there is no distraction, just flowers.  These days all of the flowers are gone; they are now replaced with bushy green leaves.