Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Girls Day Out

I was inspired by Martha's pizza day and Deb Logan's girls' day out to blog about taking my two closest friends here in Korea out on the town. It will probably be our last time together since Barbara is returning to Canada at the end of the school year.

We went to an area in Seoul called Samcheong-dong. It's a little upscale and the prices are higher there but it's got a quaint old Korea mixed with European feel.

We ate at an Italian restaurant called 8 Steps (although we couldn't figure out why since it had more than 8 steps leading up to it). I ordered Caesar salad and pumpkin soup.
Then we strolled around and window shopped and finished up our excursion at a cute cake shop that had dark chocolate cakes.

We even did some photo shoots of ourselves (note: this is the serious photo) and had way too much fun.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

In Need of Pampering

My hubby is off to the southern tip of Korea, Kyongju and Jeju-do, for a high school discovery trip. I'm totally jealous (Sure, I've been, but still!) because Kyongju is the setting for my Korean taekwondo story. I could handle some traveling all in the name of research.

But I'm trying to be positive here so this week I'm allowing myself unlimited coffee (Starbucks of course) and extra helpings of dark chocolate. I need a little pampering, right? Plus, I'm going to revise the second half of my book like a madwoman. So I'll be plenty busy.

My instructor, Jill, recommended that I write a different ending that would up the anti and stakes of the novel. So I did (yeah!) but it's a horrible mess of a first draft so that's what I'll be working on. (Wish me luck.)

How about you? What do you do to pamper yourself?

Win a Website

Query Tracker is holding some fabulous contests lately and one of them is to win a website design from Carolyn Kaufman and Patrick McDonald. Yeah! Check out all the details here.

Silver Phoenix!

Cindy Pon has totally outdone herself by offering an amazing prize on her blog. You can either win a beautiful brush framed painting of hers or a $100 gift certificate. Totally awesome. It's a story set in ancient China and one that is the top of my list of must buys when I go back to the States this summer.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Shoe Shopping in Seoul

I've been living in Seoul for 7 years now and finally discovered SHOES!

In an area called Edea, not too far from where I live, is the best place to buy shoes. And if they don't have your size (most of the shoes here are smaller sizes) or style, don't worry, you can get whatever you'd like made.

Another great thing in that all the stores are in the same area, shop after shop. So if one store doesn't have what you want, just head next door.

I think it's funny how they are all lined up in rows, but it does make sense. If you need shoes, you just have to go to this one street. Actually, many of the vendors are this way like mirrors and pets. Need toys? Head over to Toy Alley (a tiny street of toy vendors).

So if you're ever stopping through Seoul, come grab a coffee and we'll go shoe shopping. There are lots of great deals to be had!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Goodbyes- So Not Fair!

It's shocking how long I've been away from Blogger! And the thing is I love blogging. It keeps me connected and I love seeing what everyone is reading and up to.

But this is May and at my school we call it May Madness. Crazy, crazy busy and it's not even over yet. There are yearbook, grades, plays, parties, field trips, portfolios, organization, and goodbyes.

Yeah, the goodbyes, they're the tough ones.

I've been overseas now for 9 years. Next year will be our 10th and I'm getting really sick of the goodbyes. It's getting hard to let go of those friendships. You know, the ones where we have our kids together, hang out in the backyard, do Christmas' together because our families live on the other side of the world and then bam! They're gone.

Not fair.

I had 4 goodbye parties last week (and my husband's soccer party too). But don't worry, more tears ahead. I think there are at least 6 more upcoming.

So I'm sad. And hoping that maybe next year will be our last overseas for a while. Because I need some hellos. I miss my family too. And the grocery store.

So pass the tissue box. I'll be needing it for the next few weeks as I keep saying goodbye to close friends. We'll email and Facebook, but it's just not the same, is it?
Note: The picture of the sunflower was taken on top of a landfill that's now a park called Haneul Park. There are gardens, windmills and all sorts of interesting stuff there.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Happy Children's Day!

Yesterday was Children’s Day here in Korea. This holiday, Eorininal in Korean, is a devoted to the children of Korea.

So what might one do on this day?

Many kids dress up in their traditional clothing, the hanbok. They get special treats from their parents like favorite meals, parties, or presents. Some families choose to visit the city parks where they can play and enjoy the grassy slopes and wide spaces. Or they might watch a parade, visit the zoo or see a Taekwondo demonstration on Children's Day.

The idea of this holiday was conceived by a man named Bhang Jung Hwan in 1923. Later it was proclaimed as a national holiday in 1975. With a minor change in the date from May 1st to May 5th , this holiday is now a central part of the Korean culture.

Of course, Koreans have used May 5th as a special day for hundreds of years. In olden times, Koreans celebrated Suri-day on May 5th. Suri-day was one of the four ancient Korean celebrations.

My family has taken up this holiday too. Over the years my boys have worn their hanboks and we usually visit World Cup Park.

This year we celebrated with friends. We had a campfire and a yummy cookout. I made hummus with pita bread and tuxedo cheesecake, my boys' favorite treat. We had a blast!

Caleb and Luke love Children's Day.
After all, who can resist celebrating a day made just for them?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Korean Patterns

I find the patterns in Korean clothing, food, and architecture fascinating. When I wrote my middle grade novel on Korea, I had fun incorporating these patterns into the story.

But patterns are more than a shape or color. They convey emotions and meaning. Maybe that's why I like them so much. There's a sense of mystery around them and about those who created them.

This is a design of a peony pattern carved on a diagonal lattice at the Seonghyeolsa temple.

If you'll notice, even Caleb and his friend's hanboks have patterns on them. Clothes with colorful stripped sleeves were worn by children under seven years old. The overcoats are called obangjang durumagi. The name comes from the colors on the coat sleeve symbolizing the five directions.
How about you? Any interesting patterns you've noticed in your life?

Friday, May 1, 2009

I'm in a Cartoon! And Happy Korean Labor Day

My fabulously talented critique partner, Debbie drew up a cartoon of my critique group, MiG Writers. Check it out here. Can you guess which one is me?

And my other fabulously talented critique partner, Beth, is having an amazing contest here.

And while we are celebrating, Happy May Day or if you are Korean, Happy Labor Day!!!!!

Oh the fun!!!!