Friday, April 16, 2010

Mom's visit

So my mom came to visit me a few weeks ago. I was super excited. I still had to work, so she got to come in and see the kids and watch me teach, which was nice, because it’s really hard to explain my schedule and exactly what it’s like to teach these kids. There’s not too much to do in my town, but I found a few things for us to do. I took her to a traditional outdoor market where the vendors sell everything from sting-rays to the insides of pigs, and all sorts of other things. I also took her to a few of my favorite restaurants and had fun watching her struggle with sitting on the floor and eating with metal chopsticks. I luckily managed to get Friday off, so we could go up to Seoul together for the weekend before she left that Sunday.

My mom booked a really nice hotel for us to stay in, which was a nice change from tiny little bunk-bed hostels I usually stay in when traveling. Seoul was great, lots of street shopping and fake purses. We went to three of the best markets in Seoul. Insadong – many shops with souvenirs and celadon pottery. Namdaemun – a large outdoor market where you can buy just about anything. Designer purses, wallets, fur coats, jewelry, etc. And lastly, Itawon - famous in Seoul for shopping and eating American food. It’s located right outside the military base, so it’s full of Americans and English speaking vendors. It’s personally my least favorite shopping area, because of this. All of the tourists go there too, so the vendors don’t bargain and their prices are much higher.

On Sunday we did some sightseeing. We went to the Deoksugung Palace and were able to dress up in Hanboks, and see the changing of the guard. From there we walked to the city hall area and down to the biggest palace – Gyeongbokgung Palace. It was a little chilly, but it was a nice sunny day, and not too crowded. That night we went to the Korea House and watched a traditional show, with dancing and awesome drum performances. At the end they ran out and got people from the audience and they dragged my mom up there to end the show with drumming and dancing. I was laughing so hard, I could barely hold my hand still to take a picture.

The whole time my mom was here I realized that I’ve kind of adapted to living here; the food, the people, the customs. My mom would point out things and say “Oh, that’s odd!” and I would have to take a second look and think “That happens every day, hmm but yea I guess it is odd”. I’m used to seeing old ladies carry things on their heads, and eating seaweed almost every day, and taking my shoes off everywhere, and people bowing to me, etc.

It was a great visit, and I am so happy that she got to come over here and see what I’ve been doing and experience Korea!

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