Wednesday, September 6, 2017

National Cemetery & Korean War Memorial

It's time to get serious. I'm combining two separate visits into one blog post because thematically they fit so well together. Part 1: Parker and I went to the National Cemetery one weekday awhile back. The grounds were gorgeous, and the headstones go on for miles. I couldn't help but think of Arlington, and how grateful I am for soldiers EVERYWHERE who fight for peace in their home land.

Part 2: The Korean War Memorial is actually several memorial statues + a massive museum + outdoor exhibits and planes and tanks etc. + a children's museum + ????? 
Really, there is so much to do here and it's all SO well done. I waited for a Saturday because I knew Paul would appreciate this, and that was the right call. We both highly recommend it. 

The museum outlined ALL of the wars Korea has been involved in from the beginning of forever ago, right up to the present day. There were exhibits on weapons, modes of transportation, uniforms, foreign assistance, and more. The Korean people have been through a lot! A lot of cultural symbols have been destroyed during various occupations and it makes me appreciate the traditional villages and palaces still standing in South Korea today. 

There's a better picture (where we are actually looking at the camera) but this one just makes me laugh. Family staring contest? Also, it's a reminder to COOL IT with the stripes, guys. 


We recently celebrated the 4th of July (well, it was the 3rd of July in America when we celebrated..and obviously most people here were unaware it was happening..but we did our best). It was Parker's very first 4th of July (WE LOVE AMERICA!) and we tried to show him a good time.

This included: FIREWORKS via Facetime (THX Technology and Independence, MO Fireworks Show)

he loved it obviously
And we went to a fun BBQ with a few new friends (thanks guys!) and Parker SCREAMED the whole way home on the cab ride, bless his heart. I mean the cab driver. Well Parker too. So here is our only picture from our first Independence Day as a family of 3.

Moving onto the 5th of July, AKA Paul's 30th Birthday Shindig!!!!  HAPPY 30th BIRTHDAY PAUL! He had to work most of his birthday, but we did go out for a celebratory breakfast at Butterfinger Pancakes in Gangnam.
Too Much Birthday

Love this husband of mine! And so there you have it- America's Birthday & Paul's Birthday, back to back. Whew. 

Paul at Paulie's & Parker at the Temple

Okay so this title could've also included "Paul Super Happy at Favorite Taco Joint"... but that's just so wordy. Yes they do have Taco Bell in Korea, and YES we went. Sometimes you just need a taco. In case anyone is wondering, you can order a kimchi quesedilla or a bulgolgi taco. 

And here's the walk to my favorite local grocery store. It's the little moments, people. There's no sidewalk so I always feel like I'm living life on the edge. 

Couples who really love each other accidentally match for date night. Super adorable. This pizza place was called Paulie's...and I know what you're thinking. We do, in fact, eat Korean food on occasion. Ha Ha ;) 

There's no smooth transition here, guys. I'm just going to show you pictures of the Seoul Latter-day Saint Temple. It's pretty far from where we're staying, but it was worth the visit to walk around the grounds and see where the Saints over here go to worship or get married. 

And here's this picture. Because it's my blog and I can subject you to way too many pictures of my baby. He's just SO HAPPY! <3

Seoul Forest

This post is kind of about Seoul Forest but mostly miscellaneous pictures of my son. Get excited.

Seoul Forest is huge. I could easily spend all day there (if a certain baby's nap schedule allowed for this). There's a really nice splash pad, insect garden, picnic tables, inline skate park, a place to feed deer, and lots of playgrounds. The wooded trails were so charming!

Alright so here's where the post veers from Seoul Forest to "whatever I found on my camera and wanted to save in a significant way because this is my personal journal while I'm here this summer." You have been warned...
joined Paul @ his work cafeteria for dinner
I think a baby with pants on their head is THE FUNNIEST thing in the world. Nothing makes me laugh harder. I get that not everyone shares this specific type of humor...
Who, me??

my favorite building in our neighborhood
stop growing up! just stop!

"Rodeo Drive" a la Asia & Hannam

There are so many unique neighborhoods in Seoul to explore! This area just south of the Han River is called Apgujeong Rodeo...yes, named after Rodeo Drive in SoCal. It has that feel to it, too. Very ritzy and tons of high end shopping (so right up my alley HA!)...but apparently the new and trendier area is actually nearby in Sinsa. Now you know. Regardless, it was the perfect place to visit on a bright and sunny day. 

In the bottom of the Galleria (pictured left) there's an incredible food court. I just walked around in amazement at all of the food-art. It was all too pretty to eat. GO LOOK! 

Also along Apgujeong Rodeo is #KSTARROAD! This is a road dedicated to K POP stars, with larger than life statues/icons/billboards. I want to see the rest sometime! Side note: K Pop is SO CATCHY! Although it kind of reminds me of the EFY Soundtracks...and I can't understand a word they are saying. Girls Generation is really big right now, according to the older man on the subway. OK back to the pics.

The final two pictures are from Hannam, just north of the Han River. (In fact, as I'm typing this, that might be the literal translation...anyone want to confirm that for me?  haha) 

I spent an afternoon at one of the Kids Cafes (Lilliput Kids Cafe) so famous to Korea. They had lots for the littles to do while adults can sit and chat. It's a cool concept, and I appreciate that someone realized babies may not want to sit bored in a high chair while you talk and eat for way too long. So the babes can explore and be entertained within eyesight. 

Parker in his first ball pit. (I'm sure second children get all of these "important" "firsts" documented religiously too, right?)

Tradition! Tradition! & Baseball Game

We were able to go to a baseball game with some of Paul's coworkers this past week. So I had no idea...but baseball is HUGE here. What?? I never would have guessed. And the games are crazy energetic. A guy with a microphone comes onto that platform and directs song-cheers almost the entire game. And female dancer-cheerleaders come out and join the fun. The Samsung Lions won which was a nice bonus! RAWR.

Shifting gears are a few pictures of my trip to the Namsangol Hanok Village. There are only a few traditional villages still preserved in Seoul, and this was the first I've been able to visit. 
I haven't gotten sick of these types of sites in Asia- quiet, peaceful, historic, and rejuvenating! The gardens and ponds were lovely too. This village is right near Namsan mountain, so the views were great. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Gyeongbokgung Palace & Gangnam Style

The weekends are so much fun. We pick a few sties and go for it! WITH PAUL! Woohoo! Last weekend we went to Gyeongbokgung Palace. This was one of the sites I've been most excited to see, and it did not disappoint.

This was the main palace during the Joseon Dynasty (remember the tombs from before??). LOVED the grounds, I would definitely recommend it. The National Palace Museum is right next to it. The museum is free admission, really well done, and provides free strollers to use. This city is so baby friendly, but I'll probably talk about that more in a separate post...get excited.

I had to make that picture extra large so you could see Parker's expression...he was NOT happy. It looks like he's kicking me which gave Paul & I quite a chuckle.

On the way home we had a diaper Paul got creative in his carrying method. Ha ha ha

Sunday subway ride-- Parker LOVES looking out the windows.

The next few pictures are just from a stroll around Gangnam, our neighborhood.