Saturday, June 25, 2011

Peacing out of the ROK

After a whirlwind week we are finally heading to Vietnam for a much needed vacation!

Our bags are packed and the alarm is set for 5:45am (blergh) and I single-handedly emptied out the paper supply at work from printing out the Wiki Travel and Lonely Planet guides. Note to self: just drop the damned $30 for the travel book next time.

We'll be back next Sunday and hopefully I'll have a chance to catch my breath and post some much needed updates. My wonderful boyfriend came bearing presents in the form of the new camera that I ordered and I've been happily snapping away this week. I love new toys :)

Pictures and adventures from Vietnam to come!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

6 months, 29 days, 8 trillion Skype calls, 5 million emails, and 7,000 miles later...

... my partner in crime has arrived for a full month's visit and it's safe to say that I'm just as much in love with him (if not more- he did bring me 5 pounds of Reese's and buffalo wing sauce) as when I left. 

Ah, being on the same continent as the person you love. It's the little things in life right ;)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bongeunsa revisited

On my mom's last full day in Korea we headed into Gangnam to see Bongeunsa Temple. The temple was all gussied up for the Lotus Lantern Festival which is held to celebrate Buddha's birthday. The day was overcast but the temple looked real pretty with all the flowers and colorful lanterns
There were huge paper replicas of the Four Heavenly Kings outside the entrance and other sorts of paper things set up inside the temple grounds.

Happy Birthday Buddha!

Trivia of the Day: The First Republic of South Korea was South Korea's first independent government, ruling the country from 1948 to 1960. It succeeded USAMGIK, the United States military government, which ruled the area from 1945 to 1948. The First Republic was established on August 15, 1948, with Syngman Rhee as the first president. Like subsequent governments, it claimed sovereignty over the entire Korean peninsula, although it only had power over the area south of the 38th parallel. The investiture of the Rhee government followed the general election of May 10, 1948. The country's first constitution had been promulgated by the first National Assembly on July 17. It established a system with a strong president, who was elected indirectly by the National Assembly.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Look- something shiny!

On Children's Day, May 5th (I know, I know I'm so behind), my mom and I went to Suwon to check out Hwaseong Fortress. I'd been to the wall surrounding the fortress a few months back but wasn't able to make it to the fortress itself before closing time. We wandered around Haenggung, which is the palace within the fortress, and then mom did  some more exploring while I scooted back to Incheon for work. I still haven't been able to do a full loop of the wall so hopefully I can accomplish that sometime this summer when it's still warm. 
On Children's Day kids get a much needed break from school for the day. A lot of hagwons close too but some, like ours, stay open and there are a few poor kids who end up having to come. Plus no mini-holiday for us teachers either, boo.
Damn, clowns are a bad idea no matter what country you're in.
There was a performance outside the entrance involving swords and archery and lots of straw slicing. My kind of performance.
 Behold the power and skill of the guards of Hwaseong Fortress.
And here's where I headed back to work so these are pictures my mom took in an area I haven't been to yet so these were new for me too.
Trivia of the Day: A gosu (고수, literally "drummer") is a drummer in performances of pansori (판소리), a form of traditional Korean narrative/theater that is usually performed by just two musicians: a solo singer and a drummer. The gosu supports the sorikkun, or singer, by providing rhythms with a soribuk (pansori drum), a shallow barrel drum with a pine body and two cowhide heads. Impromptu short verbal sounds made by the gosu, called chu-imsae, also play an important role.