Sunday, June 6, 2010

Welcome to Seoul!

Sunday started with a large breakfast buffet at our hotel (yes, Jim loves buffets).  There were many different tasty Korean dishes - although most did not seem like breakfast food.  Our hotel room is really nice, and huge!  We had a hard time finding a place to stay on such short notice, so the fact that it is so spacious, has internet access, full kitchen, washer/dryer, and TWO bathrooms has been a bonus.  Here is another view of our building - "Vabien II".
Next we met up with Katie, a family member of Amy's work colleague Evy.  Katie lives in Minneapolis, but is in Korea on a year-long contract teaching English to children.  It was fascinating to hear about Katie's experiences adapting to the Korean culture and what life has been like living just south of Seoul.  Katie's Korean language skills also made the day much easier to navigate than what we expect when on our own.  We are still trying to master hello ("annyeoung haseyo") and thank you ("gamsa hamnida")!  We spent the day on the "Seoul City Tour".  Here are Katie and Amy are at one of the hop-off stops.  (For those paying close attention - Amy hair is winging out a bit is because her hair styler blew our converter's fuse this morning, so unfortunately will not be available on the trip.  The mid 80's with humidity did not help!)
The City Tour was a great way to see and learn about Seoul.  We spent time at the Namdaemun Market, where we tried some delicious street food and marveled at the variety of wares being sold at the numerous vendor stalls.  There was also a Spam sighting (made in MN!) - we had heard it was a local favorite, a fact which Katie promptly confirmed.  Then we hit the National Museum of Korea - a huge building that took 8 years to construct, and features a pristine reflecting pool - here we are in the pagoda overlooking the pool:
Next was Itaewon, a major expat area full of foreigners and ethnic restaurants - we enjoyed a delicious lunch at Thai Wang.  I think Itaewon is the first place I've seen Obama socks for sale...  Finally was Insadong, Korea's 'craft capital', which features many galleries and locally-made wares.  The number of US chain restaurants here has been surprising.  Jim is excited about all the Dunkin Donuts here since we don't have them in MN.  Also fun to see - McDonald's delivers!!  Here are some of the "McDelivery" vehicles (the number is printed on the side if any of you needs anything):
Here is Jim with the largest of the kinetic "Hammering Man" statues in the world.  (If you haven't heard of Hammering Man, the statue's right arm swings and continuously 'hammers' away - this one at a rate of about one stroke per ~80 seconds.)
Sunday night was pretty low-key... preparing for the BIG day we will have tomorrow!  We have our appointment to meet Zander for the first time with his foster mother and our Korean social worker at 9:30am.  We keep imagining what the meeting might be like, and are both excited and nervous.  We spent time this evening preparing our questions for the social worker who will translate them to the foster mom.  Most are pretty basic about Zander's sleeping and eating routines, his likes/dislikes and any other information that may help us as we start to care for him.  We expect it to be a very emotional day!  We also had to wrap many gifts for tomorrow that we will present to the foster family, social worker, and agency workers.  Here is a view inside our unit's family room - you can see the gifts on the left below the TV.
That's it for tonight - we also wanted to thank those of you who have been posting comments to our site - it is so wonderful to hear your well wishes and words of encouragement!  Love, Amy & Jim.


  1. Hi! Sounds like you are having a very adventurous trip so far. Just wanted you to know we are thinking of you and hope everything goes well tomorrow.

    We have had an emotional weekend as our cat has been pretty sick and was diagnosed with a heart condition. Very sad, but he is doing a little better after almost all weekend at the emergency vet.

    We have you in our prayers and can't wait to hear about your meeting!!

    Love, Kim & Dave

  2. Sounds like an amazing adventure so far, get plenty of rest, the best is yet to come! We are all thinking about the 3 of you and can't wait to hear about your first meeting with Zander.
    Love to all from KK & Randy

  3. Wow - what an adventure - and you haven't even got to the really good part yet!! :). Have a great first visit with Zander - he's a very lucky boy.

    Mary, John, and Cole

  4. Amy, your hair is totally winging out...can't believe you would let that happen. HAHA!! Seriously, you guys are a trip!

    We hope Jim was able to fill all of his tanks at the buffet and it really looks like you both enjoyed the city. It's been a few years, but I remember Seoul as a really fun and neat city...glad you both are enjoying it so much!

    We wish you both the best (cry as much as you's about time) on your first visit! Please make sure that Scoob doesn't get too emotional though...doesn't he break out when he cries?

    We are so thrilled for you and can't wait to see the first pictures of you as a family. Tell the foster family that the whole Wilson family thanks them for their love and support and that little Zander will be welcomed with all of the love and support in the world!!

    Check back in with you soon!

    Ryan, Amy, and Adaleigh

  5. We love the updates and couldn't be more excited for the three of you!

    We have been listening to the following song all day today and thinking of you and your first meeting. If you have a chance, check out the lyrics and listen to the song here: It seems to be a very appropriate song.

    Love you!!!

    Uncle Bob, Aunt Heather, and Cousins Luke & Brady

  6. Hi Amy and Jim-
    Greg and I are so glad that you were able to meet with Katie. Isn't she an amazing young lady?
    Thank you for spending so much time on your amazing blog. We feel as if we are right there with you, but without the heat and humidity!
    Evy and Greg Lano