Saturday, February 28, 2009
These were Stephen's students for the month of February: Bok Hwan, Jin Sung, Isaac and Catherine.
Somebody used to get his favorite Froot Loops cereal for a while, but for the last month showed great restraint. Stephen, looking neglected.
This picture's a little vanilla, but that's the point. Korea is very organized, even color-coordinated (black, gray, purple and pink are favorite colors).
Us with Sun and Jeong Yi looking for a restaurant. This is a typical street near a big subway station, full of restaurants, singing rooms (karaoke), ice cream shops and tea houses.
Our delicious dinner.
After dinner Stephen declared that he wanted to eat Cold Stone ice cream because he'll soon be in India and Cold Stoneless. Jeong Yi and Adrienne, who are very similar in temperament, showed hesitation, but Sun was game. After eating delicious mint ice cream, Sun said that she had a surprise for Stephen, and we went across the street to a Baskin Robbins and ate even more ice cream! Love the green tea ice cream.
At the ice cream shop on Valentine's Day. The Korean Valentine's Day is split into two days. In February the girls buy their boyfriends chocolate. Men reciprocate in March. Stephen made sure to remind Adrienne of this many times. Luckily, Jeong Yi and Sun gave Stephen chocolate presents too.
After desserts, we went for a stroll along the Cheongyechun, a river that cuts through Seoul. We caught a neat light and sound show. In this picture, laser birds are flying through the river mist.
All of us.
In Korea, China and Japan, and probably elsewhere in Asia, there are great little picture booths that friends or paramours use. The pics come out as mini stickers. The quality of this picture isn't great because it's a picture of a picture, but you can still see Mary Poppins, the Wicked Witch, Mama Smurf and the Circus Tranny.
There are always riot police at the ready, just in case there's a protest against the importation of American beef (laced with mad cow, no doubt), or against the treatment of Buddhists at the hands of a partisan Protestant government.
Stephen at a Baroque art exhibit.
Prince Ivan Baryatinsky, by Louise Elizabeth Vigee Lebrun, 1802. Our favorite painting from that exhibit.
Adrienne sending home a box of stuff. Goodbye Korea! In fact, we wrote this blog from Hardiwar, India.
Monday, February 16, 2009
For the past month or so, Stephen and Adrienne have been spending weekdays living at a rural English school and weekends in Seoul. This is Adrienne standing in front of a country cemetery on a misty evening, only a few steps from our front door at the school.
Too cute to eat, too small to protect us -- let's tie him up anyway.
After both of our cameras sustained some damage - Stephen's had a skiing accident and Adrienne's had a bad experience inside a backpack in Pusan - Stephen finally caved in and got a new one. Lots of neat features to play with plus a really long user's manual entirely in Korean. This is our Techno-Mart camera salesman, post-sale. It was an arduous bargaining session and he's just relieved that we actually bought something. V is for Victorious Sale! Techno-Mart is a 15-floor mega-technology store - I've never seen anything like it in the US.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Miro lived from 1893 to 1983. This exhibit contained lithographs from the 1960s and 70s.
This lithograph, called "The Brahmin," is Stephen's favorite work from the exhibit. The best part is the sacred thread.
"The Sun, the Moon and Five Peaks" is a Joseon Dynasty painting. It was usually displayed on a partition behind the king's throne. It represents the king's dignity, and was made in the hopes that the king would rule eternally, like nature. The painting has become iconic of Korea, and can be seen all over.
Bodhidharma, a 5th century South Indian, is thought to have transmitted Buddhism from India to China. In Korea, Bodhidharma is a very popular icon, and can be seen in temples, on calendars and on 99.9% pure gold cards meant to function as bookmarks. He is usually sullen-faced and wide-eyed, and there are many legends spanning many countries about his life.
A Buddhist bas-relief from a Seoul temple - but we have no idea what it is of.
It is customary to give gifts during the Lunar New Year. They can include boxed sets of soap, toothpaste, tuna fish cans - even Spam and cooking oil.