Monday, December 29, 2008

Where Has the Time Gone?

Wow! The months have certainly flown by. I can't believe I last blogged on Nov 2. My apologies. It's been quite nice actually. Unfortunately, I'm not going to do a lot of back tracking. Our flight home from Korea was very nice. We got to come home! Then the holidays rushed in! Halloween was fun, but we weren't up for much of the day due to jet lag. We had a wonderful party at Daren and Ashlee's house. Then we began the preparations for Thanksgiving. That was a delightful day. My dad went to Cheyenne to visit my sister and the grandchildren. So my mom came with us to James' family for Thanksgiving. It was so nice. Just a perfect setting. Turkey, ham, potatoes, rolls. Pie. Oh the Pie! I was sick the day before and my sweetie got to make the pies. They turned out delicious! That weekend was full of shopping and Christmas-ing. We drove up to the mountains with the family to help pick out trees. The pups had a blast. We followed that up with cocoa and hot dogs over an open fire. Then, of course came the Christmas preparations.

I have been so delighted with this season. I haven't been too sick. I got that over before Christmas. Very nice. Then James and I had a few Christmas parties to go to. We did very well in managing our time while making sure to have enough time for one another. We have felt our Savior in our home and live abundantly. We set a goal to spend less this holiday. And achieved it. I feel like we were able to invite the true meaning of Christmas in, by giving more of ourselves. It's been nice not to be caught up in the commercialism of it all. We are truly blessed to have the savior in our lives. And I'm so very grateful for his atonement. I so blessed to be enriched by loving family members that will always encourage me to go the extra mile and fill me to overflowing with love. What a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Wednesdays Wanderings

Up early, Another nauseating ride through the city of Seoul, and the beautiful sites! Amazing!

I didn't have to get up as early for this tour. I left the hotel at 8 am. And believe it or not, sick again. Very quickly. The Korean people drive so differently than what I'm used to. They don't keep a steady foot on the gas. It's push hard and let go, push hard an let go. Add in a lot of speed up fast, slam on breaks and squeeze into a lane of traffic that should not be legal. Mind over matter my friends. Should have just taken the Dramamine!

Our first stop was the Buddhist Temple. October 29th was actually the first day of October according to the Buddhist calendar. There were so many people there to pray! The people take money and gifts and water and food to put on the alters for the monks. I'm glad I asked. I almost took a water!

The buildings were just beautiful! They also had a place to burn candles and incense to allow their prayers to travel further. It was interesting to see people pushing each other out of the way to get their candle and incense burning before the monk started praying and chanting.

People would also put requests and prayers on lanterns. The people who paid a lot of money got their lanterns inside the temple. The rest were just outside.

I think this is Buddah. There were two or three of them in the main temple and that was it.

After the buddist temple we went to the Geyoungbokgong Palace. It was an absolutely amazing place. It was built in the 1500's. During the war with Japan it was nearly destroyed by fire. Then, during the Josan dynasty, the king remodeled the 7000+ rooms. It was so pretty.

I had looked on the internet at this palace prior to traveling to Korea. I thought it was just beautiful. There was a picture of a cute little "hut" on water. It was very enchanting and wonderful. We had gone through with our tour guide. She took us to the places in the previous pictures and was dropping us off at the Folk Museum just outside of the palace. I was uber upset! I had wasted all this time. Add the nausea and I was not leaving until I got to see what I wanted to. I traveled many miles! So, I told our tour guide that I would meet the group back at that spot at the specific time she instructed us. I went back into the palace and walked to the nice quite area. Here are some of the pictures I took. There were only 4 or 5 people there. It was absolutely peaceful and quiet. In a city of 20 million and skyscrapers as far as the eye can see, it was exactly what I needed. I'm also getting better at taking pictures of myself :)

Then it was off to the hotel. I met back up with James and we went on our own tour of Lotte World. James had a nice long meeting with the guys there. It was good to finally have that over with. We were released and free to go on our temple adventure!

We did an awesome job getting to the correct subway station that would lead us to the temple. The instructions on said to get off at the Sinchon subway station and walk west ten minutes. So, it was dark. May I remind you that all the buildings seemed to be over 30 stories high. Add the fact that no one at this stop can speak English. We got off the subway about 1 1/2 hours before the session at the temple started. We walked, and walked, and walked. I felt like a pioneer, in high heels! James did all he could to find the temple for me. He's my hero. After more walking and walking, we finally found it. It was off an alley way the first direction we went. We just didn't go far enough. BY HALF A BLOCK!!! Anyway, we found it. We walked in to find that we were 20 minutes last for the last session. The building was small, but beautiful. And the temple president was so kind to us. He gave us a tour of as much of the temple as possible. It was really dark, but we got a few pictures to capture our memories.

Stay posted for pictures from Lotte World, the trip home and Halloween Happenings!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday's Travels

First and foremost, James was able to go to work today and feel like he accomplished something. He stayed up almost all night waiting for word from home to let him know whether or not the topper for the frog would work. Gratefully, it did. So that is much better.

My day started out early! I got up, ready and had breakfast before 7 am. I hurried along with my breakfast to get my shuttle ride to my DMZ tour. I stepped on the bus and seriously thought I was in the wrong country! The bus looked like it was right out of India!

Sadly by the time we got to the next hotel pickup, I was super nauseous. I don't know what happened. I was feeling great, then got on the bus and wanted to hurl. The bus was basically brand new, but the way the driver drove was just uggghh. Stop and go and so very jerky. It was also super warm. I thought I was going to break out in a sweat and loose what breakfast I had. Mind over matter. I made it through. It got better when we got onto the highway. I was still a little queezy, but feeling much better.

Our first stop was the Freedom Bridge. It's a super cool place. From my understanding, a few years ago the North Korean's released their prisoners. They ran across this bridge yelling, "FREEDOM!!!" It used to have a different name, but after this experience has been known as Freedom Bridge.

The next stop was the Dora Observatory. At this point one can view the actual DMZ and see into North Korea. The unfortunate part is that you could not take pictures past a certain point. I was too short to get a very good picture. But it was still amazing to view.

I met a really nice family on my adventure. Bill, Sherry, and Erika. Erika had been in Korea for the last 5 months doing an internship with her church. Her parents came out to do a bit of touring with her and then they'll all go home together. They were so very nice and included me in their family for this trip. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I REALLY DO APPRECIATE YOU! We also ran into a few busloads of school children. They were so excited to see Americans. They took every opportunity they could to say hello. They were even taking pictures of us. (I kinda felt like an exhibit at the zoo) So after a bit, we started taking pictures of them taking pictures of us :)

The kids


We next traveled to the 3rd infiltration tunnel. North Korea has built at least 4 tunnels to try to get into South Korea, and mainly Seoul. The tunnel was super awesome. We had to put on goofy helmets in order to go down. We were able to walk quite a way into the tunnel. But were not permitted to take pictures inside. There were yellow markings on the tunnel walls that represented the direction they were digging. (from North to South Korea.) The North Koreans had tried to tell the South Koreans that the tunnel was simply a coal mining tunnel. However, they had only painted it black to try to make them believe that. Quite dishonest me thinks.

Helmet Time! Susi and Erika

Our final DMZ stop was at Dorasan Station. This is a train station intended to bridge the gap between North and South Korea for the Trans Eurasian Railway Network. This will connect all of Europe, Asia and Russia. While that is fantastic, it is currently a brand new, empty station. It was slightly erie. The railway is only open at this time to transport cargo. I hope things get better here soon so that the station doesn't rust away before it can be used for the public.

We got to see many rice paddies on our way. Also, an interesting point. The Han River flows through the middle of Seoul. It also flows through North Korea. So from the DMZ all the way into Seoul, the river is lined on both sides with barbed wire fence. It also has watch/guard stations. Just in case any North Koreans try to come in through the river.

I was dropped off near City Hall and the Deoksugung Palace. Very amazing. I gave myself a guided tour. Which means absolutely nothing. But I got some nice pictures!
I also go to see the man made inner city stream. It's called Cheonggyeehon Stream.

I then got myself back onto the subway. I did so awesome! It's such a smooth ride. I was able to just kick back and relax to my iPod the whole way back to my hotel.

James and I got out and did a little bit of exploring for the evening. But it did wait until after a nice nap. I was EXHAUSTED! We found ourselves a Pizza Hut for dinner and quite enjoyed ourselves. What a nice pizza joint!

On our way back to the hotel we happened upon a little noodle shop. Didn't try it. Don't think James will. But they were making the noodles. It was so amazing. We stopped to watch for a while.

We walked for a bit on the walkway that surrounds the "Magic Kingdom" part of Lotte World. It's set up as an exercise walk/runway around this two part lake. It was quite relaxing and energizing at the same time.

We got back to the hotel and took a few cool pictures of the building. Then went and CRASHED!!!

Much Love!
James n Sus

Monday, October 27, 2008

Subway Life

Well, I think we weathered the subway quite well. Considering that we went down the wrong way from the very first moment. We adjusted our route and did the best we could with the slightly out of date map we were given at the information booth. The people here are so nice and very kind. Each time that we looked at the map and were confused there was someone right behind us asking if they could help. Turns out we were headed the right direction each time. They just confirmed it for us. We went up to a little place called Itaewon. We tried a little bit of bartering. I'm not very good at it yet. We will have to see if I can get better. We were pleased to find a Burger King. Talk about simple pleasures! After the plane food and funny tasting scrambled eggs this morning, the Whopper Jr. minus onions + cheese was divine!! I think James enjoyed his chicken sandwich too.

I am scheduled to go on a tour of the DMZ (De Militarized Zone) tomorrow. I hope to get a small education of the situation there and also gain a respect for the history of this country.

Until next time. . . 작별

Flight, Hotel & Day 1

So, Korean Air is absolutely amazing! I loved it. The flight attendants were so kind and really adorable. It was pretty neat. The plane was huge! I've never seen such an amazing plane. One thing is for sure, They know how to make even economy class feel worth something.

How spacious

They had all this waiting on our seats. Pillow, blanket, headset and complimentary packet with toothbrush and socks and other neat things!

The entertainment on the plane was great too. Each seat had a personal monitor. We could watch movies, play games, listen to music, track the flight etc. . . There was so much fun stuff to be had that I didn't even need the book or movies we brought.

We were served two meals. Lunch and dinner. It was interesting. For lunch the attendant asked if we wanted beef or rice. We both said beef, then James changed his mind to the rice. Our plates were given to us and the look on his face was absolutely priceless! He actually looked scared. So I traded him. The rice plate was a special one that's called Bibimbap. It was quite interesting. I couldn't even eat much of it. It didn't agree with my taste buds. it also came with a side of "seeweed soup." I was gutsy and tried it. Very fishy and weird. I couldn't put my mind over the matter. So, James enjoyed the beef and I took one for the team. It was worth it though. We enjoyed a chicken and rice plate for dinner. It was much better than lunch.

Bibimbap before

Bibimbap after

After the flight was over we were very excited to get to our hotel. We took a bus. It wasn't too bad at all. We were only afraid for our lives a few times. The hotel is really beautiful too. We are staying on the 27th floor. As you could see from the previous post, it does have quite the view. It's just nice. The best thing is that the toilet has a bidet and a heated seat! I've never tried a bidet before. Quite interesting.

So today has been quite interesting. Being is a foreign country is intimidating. We don't speak the language, don't know where we are and don't know anyone! That's enough so strike some fear in me. We met up with Austin from Lotte World and went to James' work site. There we found the ride has basically been installed. There are just a few technicalities to be worked out. He's really feeling out of place and worthless because he usually does the ride instillation and training. It's kinda difficult to feel worthwhile when everything has already been done. His main concern is that the park has paid so much money to have him come to do the instillation as set forth in the contract and he's not doing anything to help them. Hopefully tomorrow will go better. I think we are going to head out tonight and try to find a shopping place. Subway, here we come!

Sunday, October 26, 2008


We have safely arrived in Seoul, South Korea. What a long flight! There was much entertainment there! I will try to blog about that later. We are off to bed. We've been up for almost 24 hours straight. Here is a little of what we are viewing from our room! Sorry the pictures aren't so great. I'm exhausted and shaky.

Korea by night

Lotte World's own "Disney Castle"