Sunday, October 31, 2010

Blog 31 - 1st November

As Seoul prepares for the G20 on 11th and 12th November, these women are not demonstrating but are government sponsored to tell everyone to drive safely for the G20. Now that our car is fixed, we'll be sure to obey!

Our second try to go to the countryside was successful and we found our way to Heyri, an artist's village about one hour to the north of Seoul. We spent a wonderful autumn day wandering around galleries and drinking coffee. Here is the link

Parts of Heyri felt more like Scandinavia or Europe than Korea, apart from the kimchi pots!

We were invited to the ex-President's traditional hanok house for a garden dinner by Societas Koreana. The son of the ex-President was born here and gave a wonderful speech about traditional architecture that was pitched perfectly for laypeople. It looked like a wedding with candles and flowers arranged on our tables.

Here is our local gardening shop! Even though this old woman speaks no English, we manage to be her best customers. She adds everything up and we hand her some money, trusting that she has given us a fair price. This is how we do lots of our shopping here and although it may sound naive, Koreans do not seem to charge foreigners extra. We were most impressed with her cupboard filing system!

Today is the nine month anniversary of this blog that had its beginning on 1st Feb. How time flies when you're having fun!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Blog 30 - 17th October

I have two different stories to report - one happy and one sad. The first three photos are of a photography class I attended, hosted by SIWA (Seoul International Women's Association) and led by professional fine art photographer Mihe Shin. Can you notice how my photography skills have improved? Here is the link Check out the amazing array of activities and events to cater for everyone!

We were guided around Buckon Dong, a traditional area with hanoks, old Korean houses, followed by a wonderful dinner at a modern Italian restaurant overlooking rooftops.

I have showed photos of traffic in previous posts, however this time it has more meaning as we have recently purchased a car. Hooray! Our lives have been transformed as we enjoy a new freedom. It is a 14 year old Hyundai with 223,000 kilometers on the clock. Damien's colleague offered it to us for AU$100 as an alternative to the wreckers. We have been successfully negotiating driving on the other side of the road (i.e. the right) and avoiding the 10 million crazy Seoul drivers. Until today!

We had planned a trip to the countryside and set off with map and provisions early Sunday morning to avoid the traffic. Here is our lovely car, broken down on the side of the road. We had planned to leave it and return tomorrow, however the police had other ideas! After a fruitless drive around the neighbourhood in the police car, searching for open car repair places, (us in the back seat with no handles on the doors!) the police kindly phoned our insurance company and in a few minutes the tow truck arrived. To add some fun and another layer of complexity, all these interactions were in Korean , however , the young policewoman had some English which was an amazing help.

And so we wait with baited breath to see the outcome after business opens tomorrow.

Repair work had just been completed on Friday by the Hyundai service center. Stay tuned for the next exciting episode.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Blog 29 - 3rd October

Since my last posting Damien and I have returned unexpectedly to Australia for Damien's mother's funeral. Muriel was 91 and died peacefully on 18th September. Here she is pictured at Portland, Victoria in 1953 on the far left with cousins Dorothy, Bernard, Kevin and Brian and her own children, Damien (sitting in front of his Mum) Geraldine, Jacinta, Anne Maree, Julian and Carol plus their grandmother and her sister Mary.

Fast forward to now with Dorothy lunching with Judy who kindly chauffeured me 3 hours from Melbourne to Warrnambool. Thanks Judy. We had been so looking forward to her husband Michael visiting us in Seoul. As it turned out Michael had our whole apartment to himself for a week!

Mureil was buried at Tower Hill Cemetery, near the famous volcano on a cold and windy Warrnambool day.

The funeral was followed by suitable feasting at Nonna Casalinga. Here are the seven Mugavins with partners.

An added bonus was seeing Jacob and Dominic, two of our sons, who travelled from Canberra and Adelaide respectively.

A visit to Warrnambool would not be complete without a brisk walk along the beach!

An unexpected passenger and co-driver on our road trip back to Adelaide was Damien's cousin Kevin whose Blue Tadpole Wog Boy Car (yes - his car has this name!) was dying of thirst - the water pump broke. Here he is photographing water on the Coorong with Damien. Which way is the water??

Travelling back to Adelaide we spotted a long long row of dead foxes on a farm fence. Feel free to look at Kevin's wonderful photos (with his permission)

More family reunions and more eating and drinking with my family once we returned to Adelaide!

Visiting Australia now in spring time and walking with Spook along our river was wonderful. Stay posted for autumn photos of Korea.