We had to leave Stephanie, Ben and Emma in Okpo, but the rest of the gang returned to Seoul for a few more days of fun. On Thursday, we decided to walk to Namsangol Hanok Village, which is a cultural site to which they have transported five traditional Korean homes for display. They also offer several cultural experience classes on the weekends. We just walked around and played some traditional games, got quite hot and worked up an appetite.
The following day, we took the subway to the Samsung Children's Museum. It was hard to tell who was having more fun, the kids or the boys - although I was unable to capture them in action.
On our way home, we walked through Myeongdong and had lunch at a little Korean rice restaurant and then enjoyed took a quick look at the Cathedral there. We saw some other fun stuff walking around town. The Haechi statue, part lion, part dragon, or a fire-eating dog, is found many places in Korea, but especially at the palaces. It is a mythical creature which guards the home and judges whether those entering are good or evil spirits.
That evening, the kids took off in search of a souvenir haechi to take home. They were unsuccessful, but did find some great entertainment and shopping in Insadong, which is a lively tourist gift shopping area in north Seoul. There is a traditional honey candy which dates back to the time of the emperor's that is still made today. Watching them pull the honey into thousands of small strands coated with cornstarch and then rolled around a filling of nuts and chocolate was quite a show. They also found a place to sample fried octopus - a delicacy they had to try before going home.
Saturday, we finally got around to doing what Michael had been waiting for. While exploring Seoul, he had discovered a new sport , called Joku (I think), which looked like a cross between soccer and volleyball. There is a court with a net, similar to one used in tennis, across the middle. There are three players on each side who handle a ball with their feet allowing the ball to bounce once inside the court in between volleys. A team tries to get the ball over the net, while the other team tries to return it. Since those three sports are all ones our kids love playing, it made for a fun morning at Seoul Forest. Afterwards, a nice cool splash in the fountains was a pleasure!
Grandma and Grandpa stayed home with the napping kids that afternoon, while the big kids took a quick trip down to the War Museum.
Sunday was our last day together, since Chelsea had to work on Monday (strange how they could leave on Sunday and get home at about the same time Sunday evening in SLC), and Bobby, Jill, and kids had to fly back to Utah on Monday along with Michael. Good thing we were able to end with one last celebration in honor of Linley's third birthday that day!
That evening, Bob, Bobby, and I were able to accompany Michael on a drive down to Osan where we met with our District President. President Knudsen set apart Michael as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and pronounced a beautiful blessing upon Elder Goodman. Much of the wording was similar to that in his patriarchal blessing, and included a blessing of patience with his companions. Bob and I were especially grateful for the words stating that Michael would be protected and not incur any serious health issues while serving as a missionary. The next morning we bid a tearful farewell at the Seoul Airport. Bobby would take Michael to the Mission Training Center in Provo, Utah on Wednesday, June 13th around noon. Life would certainly be different for all of us after the "Party in the Penthouse!"