Wednesday, April 11, 2012

One More Day!

The countdown is on!  We have our appointment to finally meet Kiana tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon at 1:30pm (that's 11:30pm for those of you keeping track in Minneapolis).  We are both excited and nervous!  To help pass the wait, today we visited the beautiful Gyeongbok-gung Palace.  Here we are with some of the guards:
We enjoyed the enormous painted Korean drum... well as the changing of the guard ceremony:
Gyeongbok-gung Palace is very expansive - the further we walked, the further it kept going!
Jim captured a baby being carried in traditional Korean fashion:
The inside of one of the buildings:
Cherry Blossoms!  (We may check out a Cherry Blossom festival this weekend depending on how things go with Kiana)
After Gyeongbok-gung, we headed to our favorite street market from our first visit - Namadaemun:
 Lots of activity and wares:
Jimmy taking it all in:
Jim was very excited to see a familiar logo at the market - his B-school Alma-mater, UCLA!!  Or wait, it looks like that actually says "UCLC..."
Very amusing - we grabbed a photo to share as Jimmy's 10-year MBA reunion is next month:
Ginseng tea is very popular in Seoul.  Here is a whole store dedicated to different kinds of ginseng tea!
After the outdoor market closed, we checked out the 'Happy Sale' at one of the high end department stores, Shinsegae:
When we met with Lisa yesterday, one of the surprising grocery shopping stories she shared with us was the extremely high prices for cantaloupe and watermelon in Seoul.  Sure enough, we spotted some small watermelons today labeled at 50,000 won - using today's conversion rate, that is over $44.00 each!!
We covered a lot of ground today, both on foot and on the very convenient Korail, Seoul's metro system.  Here is Jimmy in one of the cars - he is always easy to spot as he is typically the only person with a lighter hair color:
After a full day of shopping, we worked up quite an appetite and headed out to a highly-recommended Korean BBQ restaurant.  Here you can see all the BBQ stations coming down from the ceiling:
The meal was delicious and really hit the spot!  There were many flavorful side dishes as well:
 Here you can see the beef cooking (along with a bowl of garlic) right on top of the hot coals:
On the walk back to our hotel from the BBQ restaurant, Amy happened to notice a small street sign for SWS - the adoption agency where our meeting is tomorrow.  We followed the sign to the office, so we now know exactly where we are going tomorrow!  (This is great news, as it took us ~3 times longer than planned to find our dinner restaurant tonight despite having the address - some nice man at a Chinese restaurant helped redirect us when we finally asked for help.  Most of the street signs are completely in Hangul (Korean alphabet) which make navigating a challenge.)  Here are a few pictures of the outside of the agency:
We met a couple outside the agency from Chicago - they are adopting a boy from the SWS and were extremely excited to meet him - we can definitely relate!!  Here are a few pictures of some of the children who began their lives at SWS:
The agency is co-located with a hospital where many of the children are born:
At last, back to our hotel for another relaxing evening:
Our last post mentioned that there was a general election today - South Koreans were voting for 300 parliamentary seats.  At this point, the race is still too close to call - President Lee Myung-bak's ruling party may lose control of the National Assembly depending on how the tally ends up.  For now - good night!


  1. great posts from seoul! glad you guys are taking it all in (again) and staying calm before meeting kiana. so excited for you to hold your beautiful daughter!!

  2. What a fun day! Can't wait for the next update...

    -Mary, John, Cole and Fiona