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Monday, September 19, 2011

Exploration of Korean Culture

We began with a slower start to our day today (Monday) as we prepare to have lunch with Dr. Kim, Jin Sook at 11:30am.  We were not sure what to expect, but we knew that some of the other Aussie families were also having this lunch with her today as well.

We filed into a small auditorium, like a small classroom with several chairs all facing a pull down screen.  The power point slide show started and was very professionally done.  All about the Eastern Social Welfare Society (ESWS) and its founder, Dr. Kim Duk Hwang, who past away in May, 2011.  His daughter, who spoke next, talked in English and spoke about how dedicated and driven her father had been, having started this agency in 1971 and built it to what it was today.  She told us how each day he would hike up a near by mountain to a temple and pray for the children each day.  When he retired in 2008, he would do this twice a day.  This agency dispite its location in South Korea was much like Opportunity Manor in Saint Cloud, Minnesota.  Providing for old, cognitively delayed, and disabled Korean people.  Of course its primary difference was its service to single mothers and adoption.  When the presentation/lecture was concluded, we were all invited upstairs to the 5th floor cafeteria for a traditional Korean lunch.
After lunch, we decided to tackle the subway system yet again (not like we have much of a choice)--we had 2 things left to purchase as well as to tour/see the Gyeongbokung Palace prior to attending the Korea House this evening at 5:30pm for a night of Royal Cuisine and Dance.

The palace was exquisite and was a site to see.  It is considered the most impressive palace of Seoul--it has a beautiful pavilion and acres of land.  It once contained over 300 buildings and it is over 600 years old.  Traditionally dressed guards marched to a driving drum beat as we explored the many buildings within the courtyard of the castle.

To end our day out and about, we went to the Korea House at 5:30pm for a night of Royal Cuisine and Dance.  We are thankful to Sherry (one of the Australian couples) for knowing how to speak some Korean as we needed to make reservations to attend and our attempt at doing this was not successful.  When we arrive, we are brought to the one of the Royal rooms where we sit on the floor and are served about 15 courses; from snails to Ox soup to eel and rice souffle.  In all honesty, I would have to say that I was pretty daring throughout considering the texture issues I have when it comes to food.  In the beginning, I would look to Jon to see if he thought I could eat it.  We got to these sugarlike snails and he said it was pretty good.  So, I dive in & pop it in my mouth.  To my surprise, I was having difficulty consuming it. I pulled the chopstick back up to my mouth in an attempt to take it out and of course i missed, so it when tumbling out and onto my plate.  Now, as this happened, I had looked up out of the left corner of my eye and saw a middle aged gentleman (who was sitting kitty corner of our table) who got a big smile on his face and then I am positive he was telling the woman he was sitting with all  about it.  She even looked back at me herself one time.  From then on, I could just see that he was watching me as I continued to put things in my mouth one by one and he would grin in delight to watch my facial expressions as I tried many things.  At the end, he stood up and as he left, he looked at me one more time and placed a final grin on his face as if to thank me for the additional entertainment he received during his meal.

We then moved on to the traditional Korean folk dance, this was incredible and consisted of a variety of entertainment; such as the Korean fan dance; O-gu-mu--Five Drum E-dance; Pungmul Nori--Instrumental Play; and The Grand Concert of Drums.  Of course we took many pictures and flip videoed the entire performance.

After the Korea House, we headed back to the Hostel and spent a couple hours in the common area with all the couples from Australia.  And yes, if we didn't mention it, yet another couple had arrived the night before, but were catching up on sleep and so we met them this morning during the meeting with the President.  They were from, you guessed it, Australia!

Tomorrow is the big 4pm our time (2am your time) we will meet with the social worker, have a prayer done for Jaelee, and head back to the Hostel with our new little girl.  Excitement is mounting...


  1. As I read this I realize you are only 6 hours away to your meeting time...which undoublty is being met with a restless night of sleep. My thoughts are with you both for your day today (as it is already Tuesday there)and your next and final steps on bringing little Ms. Jaelee home. We can't wait to welcome her to our growing family! :)

  2. As i sit in the World of Beers in Orlando, FL i think of all the excitement you must be feeling. Me i feel as if the both of you were born for this. God bless the both you and Jaylee on your new life together. I hope everyday brings new excitement and challenges that inspire you Jaylee. Just like trying new beers your mind is open and your mouth excited. Again i pray for the both you and Jaylee on your new venture.