Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Couple of Random Videos from Korea - 2014

There was a huge construction site next to our hotel in Seoul and every morning I would look out to see this. It happened around 7:30 am. Rocketman experienced the same thing every morning when he worked in Korea. It was fun to watch.

I also happened to catch an episode of "Best" on the television while we were there. It is one of my favorite shows. It highlights people doing amazingly talented things. This show is actually how I found my Korean miniature teacher when she was featured on the show. I would love to meet this couple some day.

I have one more post and that will wrap up our latest trip to Korea. When I started blogging the trip, I was really surprised at all we did and how many blog posts it took me to share it all with you. We are planning our next visit in Fall 2015. It's another one of my favorite times in Korea. 

Rocketman just found out that "I Am A Singer" is returning for a new season. It was one of our favorite things to watch when we lived in Korea. Every Sunday night at 6 pm, you would find us glued to the television. Rocketman said that it was time to move back to Korea and I agree:)  Here are two of my favorite songs from the series:

I had never heard of Kim Kyoung-ho and Kim Yeon-Woo until this series. Boy, I was missing some amazing singers. I still get chills when I watch this video.

And when I watch this video. I loved Kim Bum-Soo before he was on "I Am A Singer" but after the series and seeing him in concert, I am a forever fan.
Until next time Korea. This is me and my bodyguard. He was always so protective of me and having a Master Tae Kwon Do as your friend isn't too shabby.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Random Photos Around Seoul 2014 - by Me

Everywhere we went this trip, we saw Koreans with these cell phone extenders. I learned they are called selfie sticks. Eat Your Kimchi did a really cute video on them here. They cost 6000 WON ($6.00 USD) and you could buy them everywhere. I swear every Korean owns one at least from what I could see.
                       I love to ride the subway in Seoul and I found this family just adorable.
On Chuseok, it's pretty hit and miss what is open and what isn't so we were prepared to eat in every meal if we had to. We decided to see if the Nolboo near our hotel was open for dinner and the closer we got, we saw it wasn't. But I spied a Korean restaurant across the street with their door wide open even though they had no customers inside. We headed over to see if they were truly open and they were. It was a budae jjigae restaurant! Oh joy!!! This is what we ordered. It was delicious!
Here is a photo of their menu. I'm always a fan of picture menus even though Rocketman's Korean is excellent.
Hannah sent us back to the States with a bunch of miniature soju bottles. One even has ginger in it. I think they are just so cute so they are still unopened.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Final Day in Seoul 2014

We spent our final day in Korea with Hellena and Hannah. They had found this artsy part of Seoul which happened to be on one of the local mountains. As we made our way to the area in a taxi, arguing ensued between the girls and the ajosshi taxi driver. It turns out they wanted him to drive us to the area up on the mountain and he refused. You gotta love those ajosshis.

We were dropped off and given directions by the ajosshi but before we could commence on our walk, Hannah needed something to eat. I took this picture above of an ajumma with three trays on balanced on her head. I had seen one tray many times but not three. She skillfully made her way through the crowd like it was something she did everyday which I have a feeling she does.
                                          There were lots of food carts to choose from.
Hannah finally decided on this cart and one of those gigantic corn dogs.
We began our walk and it became apparent that the road was very steep but there were lots of things to look at as we made our way to the top.
                                                              We passed this cute store.
   This looked interesting. I was curious about a dancing grandpa whose performance could save a life.
                                                         Kimchi pots lining a coffee shop.
                                                                        Now we're talking.
                                  This was painted on the wall of a crumbling building.
                                              I was loving everything we were seeing.

                                              Do you see the fruit sitting on the wall?
                                                                      I thought it was so cool.

          This is what we saw looking down. Hannah said this is considered the poor part of Seoul.
                                            These wire sharks were amazing.

 I was surprised to see a tent on top of a building but it is a way to camp outside like we would in our backyard.
                                                 This rooftop place caught my eye.
                                         Hellena and Hannah seemed to enjoy themselves.
Then dark clouds starting to get closer and closer. There was a 20% chance of rain so we had umbrellas but I was really doubtful it would actually rain.
It started to sprinkle which quickly led to a downpour. We and about 10 others took refuge under a tiny awning at a closed coffee shop. We were crowded together like sardines as more took refuge with us. The rain got harder and harder. A few taxis ventured by and dropped people off. As quickly as the passengers got out, some of our little huddled group jumped in. We stood there for over 20 minutes when we decided that it wasn't a quick shower and we would try to grab the next cab.

Luckily, the taxi came by and droppedomeone off and we got in. As we drove down the mountain, the rain got lighter and lighter until it stopped altogether. It seemed that it was only pouring on the mountain. Just our luck. But we still had a great time with the girls and I want to revisit that area again and see everything.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Dinner with Friends - Seoul Style

Jennifer (third from the right) had married and had a baby since we saw her last year. She came down every night after work along with Hannah to spend time with Rocketman when he was in the hospital with his kidney stone in Suwon. They came down from Seoul which is an hour trip. It meant so much to me and Rocketman to have them there for support during such a scary and stressful time in our lives. She means so much to us and we wanted to spend some time with her, her new husband and daughter.

We met at a TGI Friday's in Seoul for dinner and we got to spend some time together. If you haven't traveled around Seoul with a baby, it's challenging to say the least so we were so happy that she was able to get together with us. We got a lot of food and really enjoyed catching up and talking about the good old days of sleepovers at our place.
Her husband works for the company that supplies pastries to many chains like Paris Baguette. So they surprised us with a special cake made especially for us. Korean cakes are very different that cakes here in the States. They use a lot less sugar and their frosting is more light more like a whipped cream frosting with a hint of sugar. I love them!

Then there was Jennifer's daughter. She is a shy little thing and about the same age as our youngest grandson, Judah.
            I wanted to hold her so badly even if it was only for a moment so Jennifer helped me out.
                                                             We almost got a smile!!
Until she realized who was holding her. I held her maybe a minute but I quickly returned her to her momma. We had so much fun and left with full bellies and leftover cake. Guess what we ate for breakfast the next morning? It was just as good.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sumi-e Class with Master Yuming Zhu - Landscapes and Horses

The second day of class with Yuming Zhu began with landscapes. It is probably the most intimating subject for me because of all the elements you can paint. Mountains, trees, waterfalls just to name a few. Yuming supplied a bunch of landscape photos to use. For black ink, he used an inkstick and inkstone. You add a little water to the inkstone which has a well and you grind the inkstick around and around slowly in a circle until you have a little pool of ink. I had never done this before but I fell in love with the process and the feeling of making my own ink.  He told us that an inkstick should last 20 years and if we used ours all up, he would personally give us a new one, free of charge.
                                                 The landscape painting begun.

               After the demo, we returned to our spots and began our own landscape paintings.
Then it was time for the horse demo. He used a very large sheet of sumi-e paper and started by sketching the horse with charcoal.
Then he took his brush and started to paint. 
     Seriously, I could watch him paint all day long and I think my fellow classmates would agree.
                                      He signed the painting and then took out his chop to stamp the painting.
                                      Yuming Zhu explaining the power of sumi-e.
Now to my paintings. One of the hardest things for me is to know when to stop. Sumi-e is about leaving white space. This space is very important and it takes practice to learn when to stop.

And now my horse. I knew that I do not like to ride horses and I also discovered that I do not like to paint them. I had a photo to use as a reference and I struggled badly. Yuming came over and looked at my horse, turning his head side to side. He took awhile before he finally commented. He told me that I had painted an abstract horse like Picasso would have done and that some people would really like my interpretation. I think he was just being very kind. So take a good look at my first and last sumi-e horse. Oh and for the record, I was not trying to paint an abstract horse.

The class was two days lasting six hours each day. I must say I loved every minute of it. Yuming lives in the greater Seattle area and teaches there. He also travels across the country teaching. If you have the opportunity to take one of his classes, I highly recommend it. There were 14 of us in class and he continually walked around giving each of us individual help. I learned so much.

Here is a video of him in action:
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