Monday, October 19, 2009

Journey Into Bukhansan

We did a day hike at Bukhansan National Park over the weekend. The densely forested mountains are just a few subway stops north of Seoul's city center, and in addition to amazing views of nature the park gave us an incredible perspective of the city. We hiked just a small, southern portion of the park, and the great thing is there's so much more to explore.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Farewell, family

Hanging out on our couch.

Matching Banana sweaters!

Mike's parents left for Chicago today after their week-long trip to Seoul. It was really nice having some family in town, albeit for such a short time.

We're counting down the days until we have more visitors around Christmas. In the mean time, we'll be busy working, studying and taking the occasional weekend trip (next stop Hong Kong!).

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Giving Thanks

This is a picture of a Korean pear (alongside a standard computer mouse for comparison). As you can see, it is almost ridiculously large. Now, you may have seen pears like this, usually marketed as "Asian pears", at the supermarket. I've had and loved those pears, too, but had no idea what I'd been missing out on until coming here and tasting these pears. Like I said, they're huge, but they're also extremely sweet and juicy. The inside flesh is almost comparable to that a watermelon. A few weeks ago I accidentally dropped one of these in the kitchen and it started leaking juice like a fresh spring -- now that's some serious juiciness.

Over the last week or so, people have been lugging special gift boxes of these pears and all other kinds of fruit around Seoul in preparation for the Chuseok holiday. It's a lot like American Thanksgiving, and people typically go back to their Korean hometowns to see their families and partake in a feast. My parents actually came here a few days ago so we were able to celebrate together with them and my uncle's family for the last couple days. Nissa and I also had a chance to see the house my mother grew up in here in Seoul's Yongsan neighborhood yesterday. It took some wandering around side streets to find the place, but eventually we did.

Because of the holiday, Seoul has felt like a virtual ghost town this weekend, with the subway mostly empty, most stores closed, and a lot fewer cars and buses than normal cruising outside our apartment. Suffice it to say, it's been nice to have some peace and quiet for a change. And just like Thanksgiving back in the States, my aunt last night sent us home with a bag full of leftovers.

Thankfully, though, not this kind: