Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pray for Japan by Korean Students

I was so touched to find this video made by Korean students for the Japanese people. There is a lot of bad blood between the two countries due to history and recent events. Apparently Japan announced recently that they will include the Korean island, Dokdo, in new Japanese textbooks as a island of Japan.  This island has been the source of heated tention between the countries over the years and this announcement has started bad feelings once again from the Korean people.

I also loved that the children in the video wrote their well wishes in Japanese.  Well done Korea!


This is the changing room at yoga.  I have to leave early on Wednesdays and Thursdays so I have the luxury of not changing in front of 5-8 Korean women.  This is more like a closet than a changing room and I always try to get the far corner to be as private as you can get in a closet full of women.
We've been spending anywhere from 20 minutes to 1/2 hour jumping around and shaking all over.  This is one of the main songs they play only it's in Korean.  I had never heard the Jennifer Lopez version but I really like it.  The Korean version is all in Korean except "Let's get loud."  Today they even played a Korean version of "It's raining men."  The only English was it's raining men plus a few halleluyahs.  It's pretty exhausting and I dread going every time but I do feel good afterwards. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sunday's Festival Through the Eyes of Rocketman

 After a retinal detachment in each eye but two additional surgeries in each eye and if you are counting that makes six, we are so lucky that Rocketman can see at all.  He suffers from a lot of distortion in his eyes but he still can get around and take beautiful pictures.  Where in the U.S. can you find this kind of photo op on regular basis.

 I don't think I took any pictures of the kites.  They were so beautiful to see in the sky.

Pretty in pink.

Another on a long list of why I love this country so much! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Korean Chasu (Embroidery) and Bojagi - Class #3

 This week's homework is to fill in the leaves with two different shades of green.  It is a tedious process and when I get into a hurry, the chasu looks horrible so I have to remember to take my time.  My teacher, SJ, told me that it is difficult to learn and will take time.

I didn't quite finish all my homework for chasu this week.  So I have to finish filling in the clouds (at least I think that's what they are) and continue with the leaves.  The leaves were made by SJ and I need to make a lot more to fill in the trees.
I so excited that I get to start my first bojagi project.  First I had to decide the color scheme by playing with the satin squares to decide how I wanted the piece to look.  This is what I decided on with the help of SJ.  My homework is to handsew each horizontal row together and next week she will teach me how to pin the rows so that I can handsew the final sections.  I've done a lot of quilting but this is different than anything I've ever done before.
Somehow I forgot to blog about the big emergency I had last Thursday.  This is a picture of our intercom in our apartment.  It buzzes like a doorbell when someone is at the entrance of our building.  I can see who it is and then press a button that will open the door and let them in.  It will also show me who is at my door if they hit the doorbell.  I can also talk to the managment office by pressing a button but I've never had to do that.

Two weekends ago, all of the sudden when the doorbell rang, the intercom did not show any picture.  I was still able to buzz my girlfriend up and I forgot about it.  Then on Wednesday night when Rocketman entered the apartment, an alarm sounded from the intercom.  It was so loud that I'm sure our neighbors heard.  Rocketman was able to figure out how to turn it off and we forgot about it.

The next morning, Rocketman opened the door to leave at 6:30am and the alarm went off again.  He ran and turned it off and tried to leave again only to have the alarm go off again.  He woke me up and told me that problem.  I had him go to work and told him I would call our relocation agency to get help.

I was waiting for the relocation agency to open when the alarm went off without me opening the door.  This time, the magic button Rocketman pressed did not work.  The alarm was blaring and I called Jennifer from our relocation agency and told her the problem.  She called the management agency for the apartment building and they were sending someone up right away.  While waiting for help, the crazy intercom decided to call the management office sporatically.  I would hear "yeobosayo " and a bunch of Korean.  I told them in English that I wasn't calling them.  This just kept going on.

In the meantime, my cleaning lady came and she does speak some English.  She wondered why I hadn't let her in the building and she got in somehow.  She came in and heard the alarm and figured out what was happening.  The building maintenance guy came and was able to turn off the alarm. He shook his head from side to side alot and I called Jennifer to see what was going on.

Turns out that we needed a repairman from the intercom manufacturer.  Somehow Jennifer got him to drop everything and come right away.  He was there in 10 minutes.  He took it apart and ended up putting a new part in it.  I paid 25,000WON ($25US) for the part and the labor.  How wonderful is that!  I can't get a repairman in the States to come out for less than $100 plus parts.

I was pretty stressed through the whole ordeal and my cleaning lady was so worried about me she would come up to me and hug me periodically during the fiasco.  She also told me she loved me a lot.  It was really sweet.  We found an envelope with 25,000WON  in our mailbox the next day from the owners of our apartment.  They told Jennifer that they were so sorry that it had happened and they felt really bad. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Maedeup Monday!

At the festival yesterday, we found a knotting booth.  She specialized in all Asian knots from Korean to Chinese.  You could make this bracelet for a few dollars.  I had never seen this knot before and I asked her if it was maedeup to which she said that it was.  I'm skeptical but will add it to the knots I want to learn.

My maedeup class has been changed from Fridays to Tuesdays.  We will see how things go tomorrow.  I printed out two copies of all the knots I want to learn and I hope that will help her decide what to teach me.  I would also like to make something like a piece of jewelry of wall hanging as I practice.  It makes practicing more fun and it also helps me to practice more knots not just the one I learned.

I am also going to try and videotape the new knot.  I know she is not too happy about it but if it is still a problem then I really will quit and find someone else.  The lady I met yesterday was very nice but her shop is quite a bit south of here but who knows after tomorrow.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hwaseong Fortress Festival

 Nan, my chilbo teacher, told me about a parade today so Rocketman and I made sure we got there for it.  She had a table in front of her shopping selling chilbo along with the other shop owners.  There was also a part of the street where students were selling their old things.  It was really cute to hear them yell for you to look at their wares.
 She was selling a cute pin that was made by the girl on the far left.  It was only 500WON which is less then 50 cents US so I bought it.  They were excited and so was I.

 These girls really wanted me to buy something so I bought this hanji piece for 1000WON (80 cents USD).  They were surprised that I knew it was hanji.
 While I was talking to these boys who spoke English very well, a film crew came and videotaped the whole encounter.  Suwon has it's own television station and I wonder when it will air.
 They also had hanji which looked pretty familiar.

And that is when my hanji teacher came over to me.  She met Rocketman and said that he was very handsome in English.
 It was heaven for me with all the crafts I saw.  You could make something in about every booth for only a few dollars.

 They also had kites you could buy and fly in the square.  It was so beautiful to see all the kites in the sky.
 But I found more intriguing was watching the kids...
 along with their parents.  There were a lot of kites flying and I was wondering how they didn't get all tangled up.  Some did but everyone was helpful when that happened.
 I saw this mother with her twins trying so hard to get their kite in the air.  It took a few tries and finally the kite soared.

 She was trying to keep the kite from getting tangled.
 Then it was back for some more crafts.  They had everything and I enjoyed seeing all the creativity.
 This is also a form of hanji where they use the paper to make characters.

All these flowers were made of paper but had electric lights in the center.  They were really beautiful when lit up.

I also took some video of the kids selling.

As we were leaving, I saw this dad with his two kids and it touched my heart.  There were many scenes like this one and I loved to see how happy the children were spending a day with their parents.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Big Weekend!

 My last post should have been named "Big Weekend."  We have a lot going on.  My sister got married yesterday at Lambeau Field.  She's a huge packer fan.  Earlier today, Rocketman and I set off for Seoul.  Rocketman had an appointment with a Korean retinal specialist.  As we were waiting to cross the street for the bus, we happened upon this little guy along with his ajumma mommy.  He was shaking like a leaf and it was chilly this morning.

We were meeting Hannah at the eye clinic and she would do the translating for us.  We beat her there and thought we could register ourselves but that turned out to be impossible.
I met this little guy while Rocketman was trying to check in.  He came up to me and spoke really good English.  His father was thrilled that he was helping me but soon he had to get to his appointment.
This is Rocketman trying to check in without Hannah.  The clerk spoke no English and we were told we had to wait for Hannah to arrive.
It's a lot of waiting around and going from one place to another.  To begin with, Rocketman took is own blood pressure with an automatic machine.  Then when his name was called, that information was given to attendant who did a eye test on him.  Then more sitting and waiting for your name.  He went into another exam office that did a glaucoma test and then to the eye drop area.

He was given three sets of dilating drops and had to wait 15 minutes between each set.  Then more waiting until his name was called and finally he saw a retina specialist. I wasn't allowed to go into the room only Hannah with Rocketman.  Rocketman said the doctor was about 45 years old and spoke pretty good English.  He looked at all of the reports from Mayo Clinic and from Rocketman's retinal specialist from the States.  He performed the same exam that Rocketman usually recieves and said that his retinas looked great.

Then we took a number for the cashier.  In South Korea, you pay at the time of services.  I was thinking it would be a pretty big bill since a visit to our U.S. retinal specialist is $2000.00.  I was shocked at the amount.  Only 53,000 WON ($47USD).  I paid with cash which is what they prefer and off to lunch we went.  We had kimchi jigae.  We got home about 3:00 and right now Rocketman is taking a rest.
I saw this hair salon while walking to the subway station in Seoul.  I thought Rocketman should stop for a "gangster" hair cut but he didn't want to.
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