Monday, February 27, 2012

National Museum of Korea

We finally found ourselves with a free Saturday on February 18th.  With the weather being quite cold (it was around freezing so I can only call it quite cold instead of extremely cold, since we have had temperatures as low as -17 C. or around 1 F.), we decided upon an indoor activity.  A visit to the National Museum of Korea was in order (with a little gentle persuasion on my part).

 Below is a quick look at some of the artifacts we found from Korea.

 Attire including robes, shoes, armour, and adornments

 Things for the home including furniture and roof tiles

Colorful masks, sculptures, detailed carvings and calligraphy

 Items associated with Buddhism

Ceramic burial pots (they were buried sitting upright), and the famous celedon pottery still made today

 Pagoda's, of course, painted silk screens and artwork for the walls

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mission Calls

The final week of January proved to be one of laughter and of tears as we discovered what "missions" the Lord had in store for us.  February 1, 2012 was the day Michael revealed his mission call from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He and 40-50 of his friends and family gathered together in the lobby of Merrill Hall for the special occasion.  Incidentally, that's the same location in which Bobby and Thomas opened their mission call letters as well.  Bob and I were connected to the gathering through Skype and Stephanie and Ben and friends from afar were there by phone.  Click on the tab in this blog titled "Michael's Mission" to discover where he will be serving!

Maybe this will give you a clue!

Mid-January Bob received his "mission call" to serve as First Counselor in the Elder's Quorum of our English Branch of the church in Seoul.  We had to laugh because it's been about 25 years since he has been a member of the Elder's Quorum!  In a branch, there is no High Priest Group so the Priesthood Quorums meet together as one.  A couple of weeks later, my "mission" in Seoul was confirmed and I was sustained as our Branch Relief Society President.  Laughter and Tears!  We are grateful to be in the service of God and are especially proud of Michael's desire, worthiness, and commitment to serve for two years.  We know he will grow to love the people of Peru, just as our hearts are being touched and enlarged by our Korean friends and neighbors.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Seoul Searching

What a great feeling it was to finally get settled in!  Stephanie and Emma were able to spend a week with us following the unpacking, so it was time to search Seoul for some fun children's activities.  Before heading back to work, Ben was able to join us on our first adventure to "Lotte World".  Lotte is  a South Korean-Japanese business and one of the largest food and shopping groups in South Korea and Japan.  They develop apartment complexes, department stores and markets, and run this "Disney" style amusement park in Seoul.  Though not as large or impressive, it is a fun amusement park.  Of course, this time around we centered our fun around things Emma could enjoy, which meant staying inside out of the cold!

We woke up to snow a day or two later.  But that didn't stop us from a great day at the Samsung Children's Museum.  Three levels of learning and discovery kept not only Emma entertained, but Stephanie and I as well!

 Our final escapade was an outing to the Coex Mall where there is a very nice aquarium.

Lest we forget . . .
Emma created an imaginary friend from a balloon she received that day.  We laughed so hard when she professed his name to be "Beau Fwah".  Does every girl dream of having a French boyfriend?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Settling In To Seoul

Arriving back in Seoul on January 5, we temporarily moved into "Fraser Place" which is located downtown in the heart of the city and right by Bob's office.  This place was a little more roomy and it gave us an opportunity to become more familiar with the area in which we will live and work.  It sure was nice to have Bob come home for lunch!

We were able to do a little exploring and happened upon the changing of the guards in front of Deoksu (meaning virtue and long life) Palace.  We later visited the palace grounds and an art museum there.  This palace served as the king's residence twice during the Joseon rule (1567-1608).  As late as 1919, the Emperor Sunjong lived here.

We were not allowed to take photographs inside the palace, but I found the first photo of a palace in the Forbidden City of Beijing, China and it looks almost identical to the throne and surroundings of the Deoksu Palace.

Although probably not authentic, I love the vibrant colors of the paint. We decided that the small balcony rooms which are so prevalent in Korea apartments and the heated floors in their homes originated from the designs and methods used back in the 1500's.  You can see that under the house are a couple of fuel burning rooms which heat the home from below.  Many of the apartments we looked at have small narrow enclosed balconies (sun rooms) as is seen in the third photo.

Some interesting artifacts on the temple grounds included this sundial, a "semi-automatic" arrow sling, a bell, and some kind of dragon water fountain.

On the site was an art museum featuring the photography of a Korean historical photographer, documenting life in Seoul in the 1950-60s.  But what we really enjoyed were some sculptures we discovered down a pathway outside of the palace complex.  Unfortunately, it's hard to capture the quirky proportions and perspective of these figures.

Our sea shipment arrived sooner than expected mid-January, so we made arrangements to get moved into our new apartment just in time for Stephanie, Ben and Emma to arrive as previously scheduled on January 19.  It was a very hectic couple of days, but it sure was fun to have family with us to make our new place feel like home!

 We extend a warm welcome to our home!  We hope you'll come to visit.