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Settling In

June 15, 2011
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Eastern Social Welfare Society, the Korean adoption agency

Well, we are finally relaxing in our room at the Eastern Social Welfare Society Guest House, a lovely and remarkably clean building that was recently renovated. Our room has two beds, and a private bathroom. No tub, unfortunately. My back could use a good soak, not to mention the rest of me. Turns out lugging my luggage through the city was quite the workout, and now I’m feeling the burn. However, there is hot water, and as I said, everything is spotless.

There also happens to be wi-fi, if a bit spotty. Each floor has a kitchen with a fridge stocked with breakfast basics, a washer and dryer (though who will have time to do laundry, I don’t know), and a water cooler with potable water. (We have been warned not to drink the tap water.)

So far, I have learned that Inchoen International Airport is actually situated on an island. Dunkin’ Donuts is freakishly popular here, but they don’t open at 5 a.m. because Koreans don’t eat doughnuts for breakfast, but as a snack. There is also Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, FedEx, 7-Eleven, and Starbucks, and that’s just what I saw on the way to the guest house from the airport. Seoul seems like a typical modern city, though so far it’s much quieter than I might have expected. I suppose perhaps it’s a bit like assuming all of New York City is very much like Times Square. There is also much more English than I anticipated seeing. Many, many signs are in both Hangul and English, which makes everything seem much more managable.

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The tour participants in front of the Blue House, the presidental residence

Our group consists of me and my mom; Sharon from New York City and her mom Bev from Florida; Nate from Dallas; Debby from Buffalo; Lia, her daughter Tiana, and her mother Susan from the Bay area; our tour directors Dukkyung and Rosalyn; and our tour guide Jenny. Happily, there has been no trouble getting along so far.

I am already getting used to not being in the minority here. My language and mannerisms are dead giveaways, but at least I can blend a little, if momentarily.

This has been the longest day ever, and I can’t wait to hit the sack, but I’m determined to stay up until 9 so I don’t wake up in the middle of the night. We ended up doing quite a bit of sightseeing, including a two-hour walking tour of Gyeongbokgung Palace. It got pretty warm today, but we did get chances to cool off on the bus and in the air conditioned Folk Museum.

Our Tour Guide

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The National Folk Museum of Korea

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My zodiac animal, the monkey

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Preschoolers also visiting the exhibit about family life

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We saw info about musical instruments

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The part about medicine

Gyeonbokgung Palace

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The banquet hall

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Changing of the guard

Kyobo Bookstore

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Rivals The Strand in size and scope.

Insadong

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This street becomes pedestrian-only on the weekends

Korean pork BBQ

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Dinner!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Julia Bates permalink
    June 19, 2011 9:04 am

    I remember these buildings!

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