Seoul Lantern Festival

This has been a looooong week! Truth be told, I don’t remember much about Monday and Tuesday; 12-hour work days don’t leave time for play. The good news is that we’ve had great kids this week and Cinema English on Monday and Tuesday went relatively smoothly.

Yesterday (Wednesday) I went to Seoul with my colleague, Julia. We went to an indoor market called Damdaemun, where I bought a VERY warm winter coat and a black scarf, and then an outdoor market called Namdaemun, where I bought snow boots (since Glenn is bringing mine but at this rate he may come after we’ve already gotten snow). What I like about the Korean markets is that even though the vendors are a little pushy, they aren’t nearly as bad as the vendors in India who practically harass you until you buy something. It made shopping a lot more pleasant and it was easier to haggle. Still, shopping is shopping, and afterwards we were starving. Julia took me to a South African restaurant in Itaewon and the food there was delectable! We ordered a meat platter meant to be shared, which had lamb chops, creamed spinach, a carrot+onion salad, garlic potatoes, and boerewors, which is a spicy beef sausage. It was probably one of the tastiest meals I’ve ever had!

After dinner, we checked out the Seoul Lantern Festival. I think the best analogy for Westerners to comprehend would be an ice sculpture contest or sand castle contest where artists come and create these amazing sculptures, and they are put on display so that you can walk along and view them all. It was sort of like that with the lanters. They were these huge, complex, intricate lanterns displayed along a stream running through Seoul close to the City Hall. It went on for probably a mile or longer, and along the way were stands with vendors selling various things as well as information about medicinal herbs and things like that. It was indescribably cool and I will get pictures from Julia as soon as I can (oh, how I miss having a camera!).

Today is my Sunday and I woke up with a worse sore throat than I’ve had all week and I decided it was time to go to the clinic. The nurse gave me some kind of a hot drink/tea that came in what looked like a medicine bottle. It was a little odd to me, but I drank the whole thing and almost instantly felt better. She also gave me 3 pills that I am to take after each meal today. I took the first one when I came home and just slept for an hour and a half. I already feel a lot better! Whatever was in that drink and pill, it seems to be working. I hope to be well by the time my birthday arrives!

I’ve uploaded a few more photos that my colleagues allowed me to steal from their Facebook pages. You will see some photos around English Village (one at night), including one that overlooks our main entrance (it looks like Stonehenge) and off in the distance, across the river, you can see North Korea. (That’s right, you can see North Korea from my home.) There are also some from the hike I took with Zaaid and Rene our second week here. The newest ones are from Rene’s birthday in Seoul, including one taken from the bus that shows North Korea across the river. Basically, anytime you see a river in any of the photos, you are looking at North Korea on the other side.

Unless tomorrow proves to be something special, I probably will not post again until after my birthday celebration. By then, I’ll hope to have some fun/interesting things to write about as well as photos of the Lantern Festival and birthday festivities.

Now, for my second pill….

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One Response to Seoul Lantern Festival

  1. marian LaRusso says:

    The Lantern Festival sounds wonderful and colorful. We both wish you a very happy birthday.
    Hope you get your package in time………We will be thinking of you and send you a million hugs.
    Love from Hurley………..G and G

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