Thursday, February 6, 2014

Gyeongbukgong Palace...again

This is our last week of normalcy for awhile. While all the rest of you Seattle-ites are suffering from "Seahawk fever"--taking the day off to attend parades and such--we're still in our normal routine, for a few more days. Next week, I start soccer again--high school, varsity soccer. More time than I'm prepared to invest right now--my heart races at just the thought of trying to keep up with everything! I have a feeling I'm going to get way more "I told you so" than I've ever heard (or deserved) in the next ten weeks.

I realized last night, after having made homemade naan and tikka masala, red beans and rice (from scratch), Greek pasta salad, and beef stroganoff this week, that I might be cooking out of guilt in preparation for the next couple of months. With practice ending at 6:00 every night (except game nights when it's even later), I'm not going to be doing much cooking for the next ten weeks. Eric is going to have to start stretching his cooking skills again. I'm not sure why, but he has still not started cooking here, even though he did the majority of the cooking while we were in the States. Okay, maybe it's because he had to do the majority of the cooking, and he doesn't have to now.

You may have noticed--especially based on these posts from when Travis was here--that I don't normally cook often enough. And when I do manage to cook five out of seven nights, at least a couple of those are things like tacos or pasta with sauce from a jar, so for me to cook that many legitimate meals from scratch in one week is pretty impressive. (I probably shouldn't admit that!) But, I will say that we have such a wide range of options for takeout here (and some of them are even healthy), that I don't even feel guilty about it anymore--until someone comes to visit.

Travis' trip was 26 days, I believe--he counted, not me--and I am 6 posts in, covering about 7 days, I think. It's time to pick up the pace! It's made easy by the fact that I didn't take pictures for two days. The boys took the kids to Bukhansan to go hiking one day, and I stayed home to grade essays. I'm sure they took some good pictures, but I don't have them.

We spent the next day doing a few random things. We went swimming for a few hours in the morning at the school pool. When I say "we," I mean "they." I sat near the pool grading essays while they swam and played with a few other staff families. Then, we went home had lunch and soon after the boys headed back to the War Memorial (trip #3, I think?). Cade desperately wanted to go sledding there, so Eric took him sledding while Travis finished up the museum. Kennedy and I stayed home and worked on our puzzle, of course. We had gyros for dinner (see? we have healthy options!), and then the boys went out for a guys' night with some of Eric's friends from school. None of it picture worthy.

The next day it was back to the tourist thing--I had a list, we had things to check off, and we were wasting time! (I say tongue-in-cheek, but really I mean it...) We headed back to Gyeongbukgong, confident it was not going to start snowing this time. The only thing we weren't confident in was our route for getting there.

Eric was pretty sure that he'd seen the palace on the bus route they'd taken returning from the mountain a couple of days previous, so he chose our bus and where to get off. It was true, he had seen a palace, but it wasn't the one I was planning to go to. Again, if the weather had been warm, it would have been fine, but we really needed to go the one that also has a museum, so that we could go inside and warm up. We didn't have any luck orienting ourselves on iPhone maps, nor did I see a bus that I knew went to the other palace, so we hopped in a cab and arrived there shortly after (all of the palaces are conveniently within close proximity--the benefits of replicas).

There's something about this particular palace, though--maybe it is the fact that there is a museum there--or just because it's so big, but we always end up splitting--with someone going back early. This time it was Eric and the kids. We went through the children's museum while Trav did (1/3 of) the regular museum. By the time we were done with our paper cranes (great light in there!), they were done and Travis hadn't even seen the palace yet.

So they headed home while we finished up. Travis was fully intending to go back and finish the museum (it's so nice that they're free!), but it never happened. We'd skipped lunch, so he stopped and got a chicken skewer from a street vendor, missing out on an ideal opportunity to try some silkworm larvae; I couldn't believe it! (We still haven't tried it, either. Apparently, if you can get past the smell, they're not so bad, but the smell is awful!)

That evening, we had a "family play date" with Kennedy's friend--the one whose family we had an impromptu lunch with the week before. They have quite a large house, as he works for one of the most prominent businesses in Korea, so they invited us over to play and have dinner. It was another long meal, but we had good food and good conversation, and the kids had a blast! We had to be up early the next morning, though, so we had to end the fun before it got too late.

I had better get some more of these pictures edited, if you're ever going to see them! The week after soccer starts, I have essays due in class, so my posts will probably be less wordy in the near future. (And just know that we're dying over here--one of the biggest events in Seattle sports history--and we're in South Korea. Sheesh.)

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