From Jamie's Philippines Pics

We have also had the opportunity to travel to some amazing places in China, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Bali. We have archived all of our travels and living experiences abroad; and if you wish, you can read about our adventures by finding the archives on the right of this page and by checking our Photo Album.

We appreciate all of our family and friends who have stayed in touch and emailed us with encouraging words throughout the year. We hope you will continue to keep us in your thoughts as we continue our adventure of living abroad teaching at an international school. For those who have stumbled upon our site, check out the "About Eric and Jamie" section on the right for more information.

Thanks for checking us out!

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness."
- Mark Twain

"Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends."
- Maya Angelou






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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

South Korea Study Trip - Day 2

March 10, 2012 – Day 2

Long and busy day today, but one where I think the kids really enjoyed.  They were ready to go by 9:00 am, and we wound our way through the traffic to the Gyeongbokgung Palace.  The Korea has a republic government today, but before Japanese occupation in the early 1900’s, they had a monarchy.  The  Gyeongbokgung Palace is what remains of the previous kings’ royal grounds.  Similar to the Forbidden City in Beijing, the Korean government has spent some time, resources, and money trying to restore it to its original form.

At 10:00, we were able to see the “changing of the guard.”  I have posted a ton of pictures of this, and the students will have some videos too.  The traditional ceremony is unlike any other changing of the guard I’ve seen, and quite impressive.

We then followed Michelle through the palace grounds seeing the important buildings and hearing the symbolism of many of the statues and pictures. I think the kids learned quite a bit here despite the fact that some of the tuned out from time to time.

After a quick stop at the Korean Folk Museum, where we were able to learn a little bit about the Korean alphabet and the students saw their name written in Korean on this high tech touch screen, we exited the  Gyeongbokgung Palace and saw the outside of the Blue House.  The Blue House is the residence of the Korean president, called Blue House due to its blue roof, which is a traditional style roof color for Koreans.

We then made our way to Insa street, an old historic street that was once an avenue for government offices but has since transformed into a major shopping area for Korean goods. We will actually go back there for some shopping, but we stopped here today for lunch at a restaurant where we had fresh mackerel fish and Korean side dishes.  We stopped by for dessert at a stand where the workers make powdered sugar into 16,000 strands wrapped around some crushed nuts.  The kids were impressed and it made for a tasty snack.

An hour’s journey south brought us to the Samsung TaeKwonDo Studio where we all participated in a 2 hour lesson.  After several stretches, kicks, punches, and lunges later, the students were able to try and break a board with their hands.  They were all successful and signed their board in commemoration.  A cool souvenir!  I determined I am too old to begin Tae Kwon Do.

The ride back to Seoul was a 1.5 hours and we made our way to a Korean BBQ restaurant where the kids watched their meal being cooked on an open grill right on the table.  Most of the kids enjoyed the meat and the Korean way of eating BBQ. We stopped by and bought some cake (sweet potato cake and some other sort of strawberry cake) to take back to the rooms for dessert.

Great day overall.  I believe the kids got more out of the Palace than they think after discussing some of the things with them, but the highlight of the day for them was definitely the Tae Kwon Do.

Tomorrow, we head for the mountains for some hiking and probably see some snow.

Hope all is well back home.   

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