Thursday, August 30, 2012

ice cream with new friends

We finally met some American friends here in Busan.  It only took about 2 1/2 months, but who's counting?!  ;) 

My mom kept telling me, "Go stand by the front door downstairs and wait until an American comes in.  Then you'll have a friend."  Yes, I told her she was crazy and that I was NOT going to spend my days standing and waiting at the door.  Well I didn't have to do that after all.  The funny thing is that I met them near the front door as they were getting off the elevator and we were getting on.  There have been plenty of instances where I've seen people I think could be American, but upon waiting and listening to their language during their conversation, I learn that they are indeed not American.  So as we were doing the switcharoo at the elevator, I did my listening thing and could tell that they were definitely from the good ole US of A right off the bat.  It all happened so fast, us getting on and them getting off, that I didn't have enough time to stop them and say, "HEY!  I'm American!  Let's be friends.  Please."

I took the boys upstairs for lunch, all the while thinking, "I should've said something.  I sure hope we cross paths again."  An hour later, the boys and I went downstairs to check the mail.  As we were waiting on the elevator back up, guess who walked back in the door themselves!  Talk about divine intervention!  In the 2.5 seconds it took for the elevator doors to open and them to get on (we couldn't all fit in the elevator together with all the kids and multiple strollers), I quickly told them I was from Texas, I hadn't met another American since I'd been here, and what condo number was ours in case they needed something or just wanted to stop by.  Oh, I also learned that they had just arrived in Busan the day before. 

Knowing that they needed some time to recover from what I'm sure was not a magical, rest filled, scream/whine free airplane ride across the Pacific Ocean (just speaking from experience here....) in addition to the humongous time zone difference, I didn't want to go knocking on their door quite yet.  Plus, I I was so excited that I met an American family that I couldn't quite remember what condo number they lived in.  All I could remember was the floor.  So after a handful of days, I decided to go up to their floor and give trying to find them a shot to check in and make sure everything was going okay so far.  I quickly found them, because they had two strollers parked outside their front door.  Thank goodness!  That spared me from having to knock on every door on the floor to find them. Either that or putting a "WANTED--American family" poster by the elevator.

Anywho, long story short, we have friends!  :)

Today the boys and I walked to the market to visit our favorite Korean man.  We came home with a bunch of fruit, and the sweet man even threw in an apple for free because he saw Connar eyeballing it.  I never thought I'd be so comfortable going to an outdoor Korean market, tell a Korean man what I want, and be able to tell him thank you in his own language.  He tries to speak English back to me, which I think is pretty neat too.

On our walk back home, the boys were itching to get out of the stroller!  Monkey see, monkey do...Except this little monkey's arms aren't quite strong enough to hold himself up like his big brother can yet.  Soon enough, I'm sure.
After the boys had their naps this afternoon, we made our way downstairs to the ice cream shop in our building called Icebean to have a little play date with our new friends.  Meet Cassie and her adorable kiddos, Greenlee and Liam!  I'm sure you'll see them again here from time to time, so I thought I should just go ahead and introduce everyone.  :)  After ice cream, we let the kids run around a bit outside to burn off some energy.  They needed it after being cooped up for the past day.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Typhoon Bolaven

Well folks, we survived our first typhoon.  There wasn't much to actually survive here in Busan, thankfully, because it actually hit the other side of South Korea.  We did, however, get quite a bit of rain, a lot of wind, and we seemed to lose our beach for a day due to the high tide and big waves.

I took these pictures from our condo on the 5th floor.  The wind was so strong that it took quite a bit of muscle to open the window.  Even though I know we're safe here, I couldn't help but think how happy I am that we're up high and have another 11 stories to go up to if the need ever did arise.

This is what it looked like when we woke up Tuesday morning.

About mid day, it stopped raining and a sliver of sun shined its head on us, so out came people on bicycles, people lunching on the sea wall, and people cleaning up the trash that washed ashore.  Oh, the birds came out too to eat whatever they could find that didn't make its way back in the water.
It wasn't long before another wave of yucky weather came with even higher tides that reached the sea wall.  There was a time when I couldn't see any sand.  Talk about a complete difference from how it looked just four days ago with all the people and umbrellas!
Here's what the beach looked like the day after all this yuckiness.  Back to normal.  Woo hoo!
Trash was piled up here and there that had washed ashore during the storm.
The police car was out patrolling the beach.  Every now and then, from inside my condo, I'd hear its sirens going off, and I'd look out to see the men getting out of their little cart to tell people to come back in closer from being out in the water.  I'm not sure if they didn't want people so far out due to the recent storm or if this is something they're going to do from now on since the lifeguards are no longer on the beaches for the summer.  Who knows.  That's Korea for you.  There are just some things we can't explain here, and this seems to be one of them.
Oh, and I have to leave you with this little nugget.  This also survived the typhoon....the crazy lady that sits on THIS bench every single day.  Well, except for the time she walked up to us on the beach and offered the boys some candy.  Yes, I'm serious.  With all the stuff she carries with her, I'm inclined to believe she's homeless, but, again, who knows.  Some days she's silent (like she was when the umbrella was covering her face below).  Five minutes later she starts yelling who knows what in Korean really loud to her invisible friend.  And that, my friends, is why I've named her Crazy --- as in, "Hey babe. We saw Crazy at the beach today."

Sunday, August 26, 2012

National Maritime Museum

Korea's only maritime museum is located here in Busan on Yeong-do, an island, and just opened in July.  Needless to say, they've been super busy with people wanting to check out the new museum in town.  We should know--we tried to go last weekend two hours after they opened, saw the line of cars wrapped around the block waiting on parking, and decided to come back this weekend.  So this morning we arrived right when they opened and got busy exploring.  It was a neat place with interesting stuff to look at and plenty of room for C & P to run around.

The museum and the park surrounding it occupy nearly 500,000 square feet on the water of the harbor. There are eight permanent exhibitions, a children’s museum, a rooftop observation deck, a maritime library, a walk-through aquarium, a 4D theater, an auditorium, and a variety of restaurants and cafes.  We did not stop to see the library or the restaurants (time constraints with two hungry little ones), and the 4D theater and auditorium didn't have anything going on at the time.  Oh, and the best part?  This museum has free admission!  How awesome is that?! 

The shape of the museum is not your normal square....very visually interesting.
As we were looking at the fish, stingrays, and shark, we noticed there was a diver in there swimming around too.  The boys weren't too sure what to do when he waved at them.
I don't know if I've ever seen a yellow stingray before.  Very pretty!

P was on his tippy toes trying to get as close as he could, and look at C leaning over with his face basically up against the window.  They just love this kind of stuff!
T took a picture of us through the water from the other side.
  They have a little water area where you can pick up shells, little fish (if you can catch them!), and starfish.
 You can drive little motorized boats in this water.
 T was showing the boys how to use the tiller to steer the rudder on the boat.  If you watch the screen in front of the boat (which they didn't...they both wanted to be in charge of the tiller--imagine that!), you can steer it through the water around obstacles.
 And we're off!  It's a good thing the museum wasn't too packed at this point, because the boys needed some room to run every now and then.
The Joseon Missional Ship was selected as the representative ship of traditional Korean ships and a replica half the size of the original was produced for the exhibition.
Connar's reaction to the skull: "Dat's gwoss!"

"Hwo?" (Hello)
The rooftop observation deck was pretty cool too.
  The rooftop deck also had miniature replicas of lighthouses around the country.
 This photo op was hilarious!
There was a small play area outside the museum:
This was so funny to watch.  The kids were trying to outweigh the man, so more and more kids were piling on.  I think there were two more on here by the time it was all done.  They were all just giggling away!
I guess he needed to take a break from walking around.  :)
Such a boy... He needed a minute to stop and play with his car.  :)
He is not throwing a fit here, although it does look like it.  He's actually trying to look between the cracks in the wood.  :)
 While waiting on our turn to get into the Children's Museum part of this huge museum, Talton took Parker walking around.  I looked over to find them surrounded by a group of girls.  :)
The Children's Museum...
So C sat down with all the Korean kids while this lady was giving a presentation.  This is what he did after about 20 seconds of listening to her speak Korean and the kids respond in unison in Korean...
He stood up and looked around like, "I'm not sure what's going on here."  It was hilarious, because he just walked off to find something by himself. 
I think C sees all the other kids posing for pictures with peace signs, so this is his version.  Ha!
Our drive home... :)  These boys make my world go round.  They were in serious needs of lunch and naps but managed a few smiles. 
And he's out!
 Found these gems at the grocery store today!  They have "EXPORT" stamped on them, so because T was not sure if this was a one time deal that the store would have them or not, he grabbed 4!  That's his football food.  :)