Wow did we have a busy day today. We woke up and had some time to talk to my mom on facebook which was nice. Then we enjoyed a quick breakfast and headed to Holt to meet our volunteer tour guide for the day. Jihyeon Oh was our tour guide, she is trying to get to know English better so helping us was in turn helping her. She was an absolute delight and her English was fantastic. We started out our day with a tour of Gyeongbokgung Palace. Wow it was beautiful and we learned so much about old Korean culture. We also got to see in the distance the Blue House which is equivalent to the White House where their president lives. All of this was in the middle of city.
After the palace tour it was time to shop! I was pretty excited to buy some gifts. The shopping area is called Insadong and it reminds me of a flea market but with small indoor stores instead of all being outside. Everything is pretty reasonably priced. It has a lot of souvenir items. Jason and I bought some gifts for people and then purchased come authentic Korean items for our home. We bought: a wall hanging that says in Korean: My Happy Home, a beautiful wooden chopstick set that serves six people, a small picture that has ducks flying home in it which symbolizes family finally coming together or returning home (we are hoping to display this in our home with our names written in Korean), and we bought some wonderful Korean sweets to bring home and have everyone try.
We wanted to buy a traditional hanbok for each of us and Gus. Insadong had some but they were very pricy. With the help of our tour guide we were able to find a place that sold them at a much cheaper price. We went over to a different market which was much more flea market style. This had everything from fresh fish, to bedding, to fabric and other souvenirs. We came across a little stand selling hanbok and between the owner of the shop and Jihyeon Oh we were able to pick one out for me, very feminine and colorful, one for Gus to fit him in a couple of years (we should get his from his first birthday party and we are hoping that will still fit him now), and one for Jason which matches both Gus' and mine. It was a great deal where we got it but still a splurge for something that we will not wear very often. We both felt it was well worth it and that we would treasure them forever, much like we do our dutch costumes :)
While out shopping we were able to eat another traditional Korean meal, it was very tasty and gave us a chance to warm up from being outside in the cold all day.
When we got back to the hotel around 4:00 we were both pretty tired and cold, we soaked in the hot tub, tried to learn a little Korean with a book we picked up, and took a little nap. We ended our day by going across the street to a little sandwich shop for dinner. Although we have been enjoying the Korean food it was nice to taste something a little more normal for our palettes. We took it back to our hotel room for a late dinner.
We are winding down and thinking about hitting the hay soon. Tomorrow morning we are going on a tour of the DMZ. We leave at 8:00am and return to our hotel around 2:30pm, it will be a lot of history, walking and being outside in the cold again. We also hope to get over to the world cup stadium. Can you guess who planned our day for tomorrow?
We are both ready for it to be Friday when we get to take Gus with us. We do have one prayer request: our plane tickets for the ride home do not have us sitting together on any of our flights, we are fairly close but not next to each other. Please pray that people will have compassion on us and be willing to switch seats to get us together and on an aisle so we can walk with Gus if we need to. God has been so great to us throughout this trip and we feel that has so much to do with all of prayer support we have back home. Thank you. You all have a wonderful Wednesday!