Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Kevin and Alicia in Korea

Well, after a snowy moving day (ugh... maybe Seoul didn't get the memo, but March means NO more snow!), Mark and I are moved out of Guro and into Birth Father's apartment. So that means I have time to post about Kevin and Alicia's trip to Korea.

I'm so glad that they decided to make the trek over here... I wasn't sure if they would be able to make it, when Kevin surprised us with news that he had booked tickets in December. I was very excited to say the least.

Anyway, Kevin and Lysh spent a total of 8 days in Korea and we really jammed a lot into those short days. Here's a rundown of some of the highlights.

As with all our visitors, we took them to Noryanjin Fish Market for some crab legs, shrimp, and scallops.

SangKwun came with us that night and he and Kevin hit it off like they were old friends. Here I am with my two brothers. :)

Brothers

Kevin was in heaven with the seafood, but when we got this tray of sashimi, he wasn't so impressed.

Sashimi Tray

We convinced him that this was his opportunity to try it, so he took a bite and his face says it all.

Post Sashimi

Ah well... besides the sashimi and the kimchi, he seemed to like almost everything else he tried. I was actually very impressed with how open he and Lysh were in trying and experiencing everything. Their positive attitudes made them very fun visitors to show this country to!

After Noryanjin, we went to a noraebang (private karaoke room). There was lots of singing, dancing, and tambourine playing.

The weather cooperated a few of the days (unfortunately, there were some rainy days). On one of the days, we took them to Gyeongbokgung Palace. Here are some of my favorite shots of them there.

Palace

Kevin looks a little nervous by this guard, don't you think?

Gyeongbokung Palace

And here they are passing through the pathway of eternal youth. It says if you pass under this, you will never grow old! Here's hoping...

Eternal Youth

Another touristy thing we did was climb to the top of Namsan (Seoul) Tower. It's on the top of the mountain and there are stairs leading to the top. It took us about 30 minutes to conquer it!

Namsan climbed

The climb was well-worth it because we got views of Seoul like this....

Seoul

Birth Father also took us to a Traditional Korean Folk Village in Suwon. It was about an hour drive outside of Seoul, but very neat to visit. Just seeing the ancient history of this country is fascinating. There are carvings and statues like this throughout.

Korean statues

And everyone in the village is dressed in traditional garb and performing tasks that the people of the time might have been working on. Here's a shot of an older man tending to a garden.

Chores

We even caught a performance... there was some major coordination to keep the tassels spinning while dancing and jumping the entire time!

Dances

Dances

There were also displays of ancient Korean jails and punishments. Let me tell you, if I lived back then, I would never, ever, break a single rule! Not surprisingly, Kevin and Mark managed to land in jail...

Felons

Then Mark found himself in ancient Korean handcuffs. Yeah -- they had their heads wedged into a plank so they couldn't run off.

Korean Handcuffs

And then Mark decided to try out some of the ancient torture on Kevin.

Punishment

Luckily, he stopped short of the leg screws. This was one of the worst things I've ever seen -- they would twist the leg of the criminal until they would confess their crimes.

Leg screw torture

Birth Father also convinced Kevin and Lysh to try on some traditional Korean clothing (hanboks) for a photo op. I think they look pretty authentic!

Hanbok

Traditional outfits

Hanboks

Afterwards, Birth Father took us to a traditional tofu restaurant with tons of vegetable sides.

Tofu Restaurant

There were many other things we did and saw during their visit, but we also went to Busan -- Kevin's hometown. It's such a cool city, right on the beach. The first night we were there, there was a big bonfire on the beach.

Beach Bonfire

We also visited the Busan Aquarium. It was really cool to see all the sea life up close.

Jellyfish

Shark

Also, since we were SO close to the ocean, we had to visit the Busan fish market. This market backed right up to the ocean. Can't get much fresher than that!

Fish Market

We treated ourselves to a lobster lunch there. Here's the big guy right out of the aquarium.

Huge Lobster

And here is is bright red and cooked. YUM!

Cooked!

The most important part of the trip to Busan (and in general) was probably visiting the Sung Ae Won Orphanage with Kevin. This was where he spent the first 5 years of his life.

Here he is in front!

Sung Ae Won

And here he is playing with the kids. I think he and Lysh found one or two that they wanted to adopt right then and there! I know the feeling...

SungAeWon

All in all, it was a great visit. Kevin and Lysh really seemed to enjoy seeing the country Kevin was born in, and I think this'll be the first of many visits in the future for them!

4 comments:

Jen said...

Fun! My fav pic is definelty Mark attempting to torture your brother! Classic Mark...

Mica said...

Thanks for sharing all of these photos! Your brother's time in Korea looks really awesome. (I'm also from Busan, yiipeee!) I'm excited to do a lot of the same things, especially visit the Korean folk village.

We'll (my boyfriend and I) be in Seoul from May 21-May 28th. If you and Mark are there, I'd love to meet-up. It'd be great to experience the city with someone who "knows the ropes" since I expect to be overwhelmed!

Mom said...

We were so glad that Kevin and Lysh were able to visit you and that you had such a good time. I loved all the photos especially the one of Kevin and Lysh in the hanboks and the one of you, Kim, with your two brothers. Korea has so much to offer that you really have to visit in order to appreciate it. I'm glad that Birth-Father and Sangkwun were able to be there as well.

Kevin said...

We had a blast! And you guys were fabulous hosts! Our favorites were definitely the fish market, the folk village, meeting SangKwun, our night out in Busan, Noraebang, Shabu Shabu,and everything else inbetween. - Best trip ever . . . well except that one where Dad and Mom dragged us to the 231 birthsites of Abe Lincoln! Thanks for amazing trip and can't wait to see you both in St. Louis!