exactly that

Posts tagged ‘Korea’

Happy Birthday, Buddha!

A small child-Buddha sits in a lotus blossom atop a baby elephant inside another lotus blossom, which is all a lantern lit and pulled by shadowy figure along a lit street in South Korea. The base says "Buddha's Birthday" in English and Han-gul (Korean)Just thought I would mention it. It’s a National Holiday here in the Land of the Morning Calm. We actually went to the Lotus Lantern Festival that celebrates Buddha’s birthday the other night. I took a few pictures. We might make it back to the temple for some activities again this weekend, here’s hoping!

Here are a few of my favorite pictures!

Young Buddha riding atop a baby elephant.

(more…)

Obama Came to Korea Today, You Might’ve Heard…

Tail end of a black limosine carrying President Barack Obama passes a crowd of young school children in winter clothes behind a Korean Army Military Policeman on a clear day.

...and there he goes!

and some of us were told ahead of time that his motorcade would be driving past the Elementary School on his way out of Seoul. The Community Information Forum I attended a few nights ago included the Main Post’s head of Security, and he told us it would be nothing but a drive by, that Security and the Secret Service together were not prepared to deal with anything more than that, and that having the President get out of the car and wave or anything extra would be out of the question.

I never imagined that the school would take it to the level that they did.

Sure, having the President come to our base is a huge deal, and I am so glad that they wanted to make sure that the kids got to see the motorcade, and that they made banners and waved flags, and all the other stuff to do to show that they love and support their President.  These kids were really excited. As we got them lined up they were filled with that glee that you only find in kids that young, as they jumped and cheered “O-BAM-A, O-BAM-A!” for about the first twenty minutes they were outside.

What didn’t happen, though, was the adults in charge, like the Principal and others who organized it, explaining thoroughly enough to these kids what “seeing the President” really entailed. Pretty early on into lining them up the teacher I was assisting and I realized that some of these kids had high expectations. The school was very organized about who got to stand where, and who got to hold the flags and banners, and making sure that everyone was outside in plenty of time for the scheduled passing.

And 45 minutes later we had a couple thousand bored elementary school kids who wanted to know just where the heck the President was.

Have you ever tried to corral 7 years-olds who are simultaneously bored and excited about seeing the President? I must have answered “Where is he?” and “Why can’t I see anything?” a nonillion times, and I resorted to playing “telephone” with them to distract them from poking each other up the nose with their flags while the teacher gave each kid one Smartee for staying in line.  Worked OK for a while, and as an aside, the result of starting it off with “rubber baby buggy bumpers” was really funny.  But they were not prepared to be bored for an hour. You just can’t do that with kids that young.

Finally the motorcade came … and went.

It was over in a flash.

Faster than most camera holding folk could realize who was in what limo.

A closer image of President Obama in his car as he passed through Yongsan.That picture at the top? Mine turned out better than most of the other people who showed up. When I cropped the hell out of it I discovered that I accidentally got a decent shot, and that I can actually identify President Obama by his face. Pretty cool.

What broke my heart was seeing Kindergarten and First or Second grade kids crying because they “d-d-d *hiccup* didn’t get to s-s-s-see Obama!”. I was fairly disappointed that this was hyped up as much as it was for these kids who were so. excited.

He might disappoint me at times, but I love the way kids are excited about him.

Of course, I have already seen people all up in arms b/c “the President couldn’t be bothered to stop and get out of the car and wave to 3,000 people”. Yeah, you can tell the people who don’t know WTP is going on. It isn’t like President Obama is sitting down writing these schedules out himself. It was a three ring circus of Base Security, Korean Police, and Secret Service, causing delays and closures all over Seoul. It’s not that simple. He doesn’t just get to get out of the car whenever he damn well pleases.

It wasn’t a total loss. It was exciting. Most of the kids were still excited when the day was over, and most of the people who went were glad to have gone. Next time I hope someone schedules some time for him to stop and say hit to us, the people here because we have to deal with all of that stuff they talked about on CNN today. *shrugs*

Chuseok

Today is the start of Chuseok in Korea.  It is eerie quiet in Seoul today.  The linked Wiki says it is tomorrow, but I assure you, all of the Koreans we have talked to says that it is today is the big travel day.

We knew that the days surrounding Chuseok were going to be a little hairy, so we prepared to be cozied up in the ville for the duration.

Chuseok is a huge deal.  I am not sure if it is the biggest Korean holiday (I’ll ask The Guy later), but everything literally shuts down for it.  Neither Kid nor Guy have school (DoD schools close for Host Country holidays), and the Base is a ghost town (because overseas bases typically hire Host Country nationals to work in all of their facilities, like the PX, their restaurants, banks,  and all official offices…basically you can not conduct any business on US or Host Country holidays), so we are looking at a nice, relaxing long weekend.

If you are celebrating Chuseok with your family, may you have a safe one.  If you are enjoying a quiet time with your family, enjoy that too.

Moar Travel Blogging

The DMZ.

DSCN4073

Greeting us outside the DMZ. Oddly cheery.

We took a guided bus tour to the DMZ yesterday.

There is a lot to be said for visiting landmarks that stand as constant reminders of painful history.  Korea is a proud place, both the North and the South, in their own ways, and the DMZ is a harsh reminder of the differences in that pride.

In the South, there is an odd aura of hope surrounding the DMZ and the surrounding area.  They seem to stand, waiting, with their breath held for the hopeful future of reunification.  It is obvious in way that the DMZ has become an exciting tourist attraction, complete with a small theme park (with rides) at Imjimgak Place.  The surrounding attractions have been conspicuously brightened, as if to put the fear and pain behind them.  It was extremely odd to stand in a place where my grandfather once stood, in entirely different circumstances, and see it regarded as a place of hope. (more…)

Things I Love

DSCN3701Thunderstorms.

 

I haven’t seen a good thunderstorm in about 4-5 years.  The two I remember from Hawai’i were little baby storms compared to the ones I remember from growing up.

It is 1515 and it looks like late evening outside.

Reminds me of the summers at my Grammy’s cabin on Lake Monocle where the wind would die, the lake would look like glass and then a knife of lightening would slash open the purple sky and let the rain pour out.  I would sit inside, silently cursing the fact that I couldn’t be in the water, but loving the thrill of the drumming thunder and the shocking forks of lightening.

DSCN3703The only thing I don’t love is that I am like one of those old Crones, the ones who can predict the weather w/ their bones.  The sudden drop in barometric pressure always gives me an intense and sudden “not a migraine” which hampers my enjoyment.

I hear the rainy season is expected early on the Peninsula this year.

Bring it.

Nobody

Ever since Petulant linked to this hilarious video earlier this week I have had this song stuck in my head.  So, here is the original Korean video to the Wondergirls “Nobody”.  This video is almost as good as the one Petulant linked.

 

Also, I have to add that this is more awesome than some of the other K-pop I have been exposed to here.

OYD Cooks!

Important fact:  Daikon radish* (or Mu, in Korean) is simply divine in homemade soup!

dscn3650This soup not only saved my pukey nasty tummy the other night, but has lasted three days already (w/ only a few supplementations), and tonight I am going to make dumplings on top of it for Chicken and Dumplings!  YUM!

Instrucions here.

 

*I have fallen in lurve w/ this radish.  It is also my favorite gimchi.

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