Saturday in Korea

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9

The boys had been troopers with all the running around, but between jetlag and the late baseball game Friday night, they definitely needed a bit of extra rest.   They slept late, and then we wandered down to the cafe for breakfast.

The Marriot breakfast buffet is something special.  You can find all the standard Western breakfast fixings like scrambled eggs, fruit, bacon, sausage, toast, muffins, and yogurt. Then there’s rice, soup, grilled vegetables, tandoori chicken, and sauteed mushrooms.  I was partial to the smoked salmon and cream cheese on bagels. My kids’ favorite?  Ice cream!    The boys went back for at least three plates full of food each morning.  We felt very spoiled.

Once the boys finished stuffing themselves and I got a little chat in on the computer with my husband, we met with Jamie and her younger brother, and headed for the markets.  First stop:  Tongdaemun Market, where Jamie’s aunt and cousin joined the party.  We looked at clothing and shoes first.  When it came time for Jamie’s younger brother to try things on, the clerk simply tied a sheet across a corner of the little stall, and Jamie’s brother nonchalantly ducked in to change.  I’m not sure my boys would have been so obliging, but obviously he was fine with it.

After we’d shopped indoors at Tongdaemun, it was time for lunch.  Jamie took us to a restaurant that served mixed seafood in a hot skillet with mushrooms, rice cakes, and a spicy sauce. I’d certainly not have found the place on my own– it was a tiny place up a couple flights of stairs — but Jamie said it is very popular with ladies out shopping.

The restaurant has gotten many awards, and I could see why.  The food was just wonderful.  Along with the seafood, there was rice, mandu, and other delicious side dishes.  We ate til we were stuffed.

After lunch we caught a bus that dropped us off right at Namdaemun Market, my personal favorite shopping place despite the throngs of people. By this point in the trip we were getting pretty comfortable at negotiating crowds. We did more shoe shopping, and then looked at more clothes. I grabbed some kim (seaweed dried in sheets) since the price was good there and I use it to make kimbap at home. The boys bought some Korean candy- and discovered they didn’t like the ginseng kind.

By then it was late afternoon, time to take a subway to Jamie’s mom’s house for dinner. Jamie’s family, like so many families in South Korea, lives in a high rise apartment complex. Theirs is a newer one, built on land reclaimed from the ocean. The view out their windows was lovely, and the apartment was lovely as well.

Soon after we arrived, the boys were sucked into Jamie’s brother’s room to play video games. Then Jamie’s father arrived home from work, to many exclamations of delighted greeting. He was obviously the king of this little castle– they scurried to hurry dinner along when he declared he was hungry– but his rule was warm and benevolent. As Hyook Jin cooked mandu, he stepped in to cook the beef, while their daughters stacked lovely heaps of vegetables onto little plates. There was much laughing and teasing as dinner came together.

Aiden, Jamie’s friend, showed up just as dinner was ready. The table was full to bursting by now. Soon we were all settling in on the floor around the low table to eat. We had chap chae (sweet potato starch noodles with vegetables), kalbi (BBQ beef), mandu (Korean egg rolls), kimchi, spinach, fresh salad, and several other small vegetable dishes. The family atmosphere and frequent laughter was lovely. I felt so blessed that these kind people had invited us into their home, and grateful that Jamie had taken these past days to show us around Seoul.

More visiting and chatting continued after dinner, with kids returning to the bedroom for video games. Finally I had to tear my full and happy boys away from the video games so that Jamie could drive us to the subway and we could head back to our hotel. All in all, it had been a wonderful day.

Part 8 | Part 9

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  1. It’s been so fun to read about your travels in Korea. My family lived in Seoul when I was in 7th and 8th grades and we were homeschooled then so had lots of time to explore. Tongdaemun and Namdaemun were some of our favorite places to shop too! And your pictures of Korean food are making me hungry!

  2. What beautiful descriptions, and photos! God has indeed blessed your trip with gracious people.

  3. Wow! What superior sight seeing you had. God really blessed you with helpful and special insight to your boys’ home country. MOst of us would have only seen touristy things.
    That meal looks fabulous!

  4. What a great post! I feel like I was there, and your photos turned out beautifully.

    On a side, I was googling my own name the other day because a friend of mine suggested doing it, as we were discussing our children and computer access/technology. I was simply curious, and there were two of my previous comments on your blog. Perhaps that is totally normal, but I’ve commented on other blogs in the past and they didn’t come up. Just thought it might be a privacy setting on your blog or something to check into.

    Anyway, I hope the rest of your trip is lovely!

  5. So glad you are having a wonderful time!

  6. Everything is beautiful and delicious here! God bless you and yours, Mary!

  7. Love the picture of you and your 3 boys – this sounds as if it is almost the perfect trip (if only your husband were along) and goodness what adventures. Thank you for sharing so many details and wow — that food is incredible!

  8. I just stumbled on your blog. Tomorrow we celebrate the one year anniversary of receiving our son from Korea. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! What a blessing!

  9. Oh the food!! You are killing me!! Looks divine and so glad you are enjoying your trip with the boys :)))


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