Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Blog 60 - 7th January 2012

As Damien and I prepare to leave Seoul, we are home alone again after a whirlwind of activity with our sons and their friends. Christmas was indeed white and there has been little snow since, however plenty of cold with below zero temperatures many days. As I write at 4.15pm, the Seoul Metropolitan forecast site tells us that it is minus 2.2C. Brrrr.....! Luckily we have wonderful underfloor heating - the Korean tradtional ondol system.

Christmas Eve we booked to go iceskating outdoors in Seoul Plaza in the centre of the city. It was so cold and lots of fun, especially for the spectators! Here are Jacob, Dominic, Jane, Maaroof and Liam.

Jacob is showing off his newly aquired furry hat that he bought that afternoon in the subway, the best place for a bargain as our visitors reading this will no doubt concur.

Liam, with his finely honed snowboarding and skateboarding balancing skills, easily won the prize as skater of the night!

Christmas Day saw us each telling stories about the presents as we gave them to each other from Australia, Korea and Japan.

Damien got a tweed hat that has not left his head - no he doesn't sleep with it!

Here he is cooking Christmas lunch - a challenge in our Seoul apartment with no oven and vegetarian fare. Yes, there was plenty of drink and cake, even pudding. Thanks to supplies from our sponsors, Monica, Maree, Paula and Mum. A local Irish nun, Sister Nora, has the market covered with Xmas cake and pudding so we still have more to eat.

Books were the popular gift this year and post lunch saw us all reading our own or stealing each others books! Some people were a bit exhausted or hung over from the night before to indulge too much!

Were's Wally? Can you see Jacob asleep under the table?

Father Christmas also found festive socks for everyone in the Seoul subway.

Can you tell that it is New Year's Day, everyone is hung over still and below freezing, and that nobody wants to be out standing in front of the temple while our friend Esther takes some happy snaps? Can you tell that everyone is doing this because their Mum insisted and they love her too much to say no? Can you tell that she not only insisted that they have a family photo as we have not been together for 18 months, but also that we all go across the road to the Nakseongdae Temple to comemorate us together in Korea?

Thanks to all the boys and our intrepid photographer, we all scrubbed up okay.

LinkOur family dinner location was Sanchon, a Buddhist restaurant selected by Dominic who was sick on the night. We were treated to a cultural performance that was short enough to not be boring and varied enough to provide a taste of korean music and culture. Funny how we continue to sdiscover new things even as we are going!

Our friend from Hobart, Michal, spent a morning with us on her way home from Israel where she had been visiting her family and celebrating her father's 80th birthday. How special in the midst of all this activity, to share breakfast, have a walk to the market, a bit into the hills nearby and then back onto the airport limosine to the Incheon Hyatt. The drivers became very familiar with us as Damien and I met and said goodbye at the bus stop at Hoam House across the road from our apartment, eight times in 2 weeks!

Do Kiri, Jane and Roof look happy to be shedding all these layers? Dressing to leave the house requires 10 extra minutes planning as hats, gloves, ear muffs and coats are a necessity in the minus temperatures. Crazy thing is that as some of the Australian continget left to go, it was minus one degree here in Seoul and 41 degrees in Adelaide. At least there is zero humidity!

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