09 December, 2007

Fall photos from Tessa's Englishland

On October 1st, I started a new job, teaching kindergarten at Tessa's Englishland. I have six darling little Korean five year olds, and we've had alot of fun over the last two months. I teach with six other foreign teachers, all Canadian.

I think our first event was Philip's birthday. Philip turned Korean age five, but I suspect he's only 3 1/2 or four. He still has that little baby face and is infamous for falling asleep regularly in class. He passed through his birthday with the blank and emotionless expression of one who just doesn't quite get it yet.

For the mini olympics, all seven kindergartens were mixed up into six teams and given to a teacher to lead. We each chose a country to represent. I chose to be the Denmark Vikings, and we also had Canada, Australia, Macedonia, Switzerland, and Fiji. Team Denmark won three of the five events. Go Vikings!

Next came Halloween. I knew that all the teachers were going to dress up, but not wanting to spend money on an elaborate costume, I put off thinking of something until the last minute. The night before Halloween, I gave Morten puppy eyes and asked him if he could make some butterfly wings for me. With his wings, I managed to pull off a pretty great costume, and for a good price too! Each teacher had to prepare a craft or game to execute with each class. I chose to make slime (which was really just playdough). I had a gas hotplate and all the ingredients laid out, and each kid got to measure and stir in one part of the dough. Then I gave each kid an individual portion in a plastic bag, and they got to squish in their choice of color. It was pretty fun, but after doing it seven times, I was ready to be done.

For pictures of all these events, please click here and browse through the sub albums.

12 November, 2007

Tibet Photo Exhibit, October 5th

I almost forgot about this, so it's going out of order. One night I went down to Samcheondong to attend a Tibet photo exhibit put on by Kyoung and Johan, a Korean-Belgian couple we know. They're not professional photographers, but they were so inspired by a recent trip to Tibet that they put on this very well-organized event to raise money for the children there. They had their photos nicely framed and hung, and offered specially printed books of postcards, all for purchase with all proceeds going to charity. At the opening ceremony I attended, they had a traditional Korean flutist and singer perform, and Kyoung, who is learning how to tango, bravely showed her skills. I think if you click here and here, you can see (poor quality) videos from the evening.

Biking: Han River & Gangnam, October 27th

After a fairly miserable summer and early fall, the last couple of weeks have finally cleared up, offering lots of sun and mild temperatures. Saturday the 27th was just one of those days, and we took advantage of it by taking the bikes out for a spin. We rode down the hill to Itaewon for lunch at the pita place, kept riding down to the river, rode to and crossed over Banpo Bridge into Gangnam where we locked up the bikes and took a long walk around the popular shopping district of Gangnam. The sun set as we rode home, and we stopped for some pictures on Hannam Bridge.

28 October, 2007

Royal Banquet, Grand Hyatt, October 9

On the evening of the 9th, Morten and I attended the Royal Banquet in one of the Hyatt Hotel's ballrooms. The women had thrown such a fuss about what attire was appropriate (floor length? 3/4? short? gloves? sleeves? no sleeves as long as accompanied with a wrap?) that I was nervous about my short dress with no sleeves, but I put it on nonetheless, and Morten, in his 'dark suit', and I walked up to the Hyatt. We presented our invitation along with passports and were given official name tags. After a little mingling in the outer reception, we were instructed to form a line. Then, as we entered the main hall, we passed the Queen and shook her hand. I put on my little sweater for this part, just to make sure I didn't offend her. The MC was a Danish opera singer--a tenor--and throughout the evening he sang with a Danish soprano. The Danish Royal Guard Brass Ensemble played during the food services, and there were also performances by the Niels Landoky Jazz Trio, a Korean jazz singer, and the Royal Ballet. The food was delicious, and I really enjoyed the musical program.

Seoul National University Museum of Art, October 9

I was invited to a gallery opening of Danish art in conjunction with the Queen's visit on October 9th. I wore what I hoped was appropriate clothing, arrived at the requested time, and showed the proper identification for entry. There were several speeches from members of the official delegation including the Deputy Prime Minister, and though the ceremony was not so interesting, it was interesting to see how an event like this is put together. Then while the Queen and the delegation got a private tour of the exhibit, a Danish jazz trio played for us in the auditorium until we got clearance to view the exhibit ourselves. I wasn't able to take photos inside, but I was able to get a shot of the Queen as she exited.

05 October, 2007

Doosan Bears vs. Samsung Lions, September 22nd

A couple weekends ago, the interns at the Embassy invited us out to a baseball game at the Seoul Sports Complex. It rained lightly throughout the game, but we had fun. And, as it's a rare occasion that I know more than anyone about anything, I explained the rules with gusto to anyone who would listen. I don't know who won, because after five hours and ten innings, the game still wasn't over and the non-Americans grew restless. But it was a good game.

03 October, 2007

Royal Invitation

For the last four or five months, the Danish Embassy here in Seoul has been very busy planning the visit of the Danish Queen. I spent a couple days down there helping them edit schedules and information for the royal party, and I discovered just how many details go into a visit like this. And, as I am connected with the Danish community, I will be able to attend an exhibition of Danish art opening at Seoul National University with the Queen in attendance as well as a royal banquet. It should be pretty cool--it's not everyday that one gets to meet royalty!

23 September, 2007

Denmark, July 27-August 27

Please take your time browsing though the pictures from our vacation to Denmark. Each album and sub-album is linked below so you can look at as many or as few as you'd like. Enjoy.

Main Album Title: Denmark 2007


We spent our first couple of days in Denmark recovering from jetlag and taking walks and bike rides around Morten’s hometown of Holstebro. The town is completely bike-friendly and also has many walking paths and green areas. During our four weeks in Denmark, I spent lots of time reading in Morten’s cute little house, sitting outside in the sun when the weather permitted. One day we went out to the golf course for a round of pay-and-play golf--my first round ever of regular-sized golf. After some driving practice, we hit the course for what turned out to be nine wild holes. I, however, kept the promise I made to Morten to finish with the same ball I started with. Another day we drove to a campground on the fjord whose website promised we could rent a small sailboat. We arrived to find the sailboat out of commission and rented a small motorboat instead. While Morten was slightly disappointed, we still had a great time puttering across the fjord. We ate sandwiches on the opposite side then dropped anchor just offshore on our way back for a chilly swim. I also tried my skills ‘behind the wheel’ where I proved to be a bit erratic.
1. Morten’s house
2. Boating
3. Golfing
4. Around town

After a couple days of jetlag recovery, we borrowed an old Volkswagen from a friend of Morten’s stationed in the States and drove to the very tip of Denmark to meet Morten’s parents, sister and niece where they were camping. We were able to borrow their bikes and have some nice tours of the area. We saw a church that’s slowly sinking into the sand, Skagen Museum, the harbour and town, a beautiful sunset, Old Skagen and the tip of Denmark where the two seas meet visibly in a crash of waves.
1. Camp
2. Sunset
3. Sightseeing
a. Harbor
b. Museum and town
c. Old Skagen
d. Sinking church
e. The strand

Church, migrating sand dune and Lønstrup
On our way back from Skagen, we drove a different route in order to see a few more sights of interest. The first was a church and graveyard that is falling little by little into the sea as the cliff is eaten away by the water and wind. Many of the graves have already been taken, and the edge of the cliff is creeping closer and closer to the church. Just south of the church is a migrating sand dune which is where we stopped next. It is moving inland from the sea and has partially buried a lighthouse. Lastly, we stopped in Lønstrup, a small arts and crafts town full of galleries and boutiques. We looked into a few of them and saw some beautiful glasswork and pottery.
1. Church
2. Migrating sand dune

Since we both love boats and water, Morten has been researching the purchase of a sailboat for awhile now. He located one of interest on the island of Fyn, so we took a day trip down to check it out. It ended up not being the right boat for us, but the drive was incredibly beautiful, and we had a nice walk around downtown Fåborg.

My first visit to Denmark wouldn’t have been complete without a visit to the capital city. We saw a lot in only a couple of days and did a little shopping as well. Since Morten served two years military service with the Royal Guard, he was able to tell me alot of interesting things about them when we watched the changing of the guard. We saw a couple of the places Hans Christian Andersen lived in Nyhavn as well as the famous, though underwhelmingly small, Little Mermaid statue. We saw the crown jewels in the treasury at Rosenborg, but of course no pictures were allowed. Tivoli is an unexpectedly well-rounded amusement park for being in the center of a large city, and I had an unexpectedly good time. We started with a delicious bbq buffet and then walked around looking at the attractions and rides. We were not planning on riding any rides, but my enthusiasm for roller coasters overpowered Morten's lack there-of, and we bought single tickets for one ride. The post-ride photo at the photo booth was hilarious as I was beaming with thrill and Morten looked bored out of his mind. After a few more minutes of walking around and eyeing this specific ride, Morten decided we should go for just one more. It was basically a 65 meter free-fall. The car strapped us in, leaving our legs swinging in the breeze. It rose slowly to the top of the tower, hung suspensefully for a moment, then plunged to the ground, leaving our hearts and stomachs to chase us to the ground. I screamed and started laughing uncontrollably while Morten mumbled who knows what in Danish. It was our last ride of the night. There were fireworks just before the park closed, a lovely ending to a fun night.
1. Church, Amalienborg and changing of the Royal Guard
2. Harbor Cruise
3. Nyhavn
4. Rosenborg and King’s Garden
5. Round Tower
6. Thorvaldsen Museum
7. Tivoli

Århus and Løgstør
During our last week, we drove over to the east coast of Jutland to visit Morten’s 90 year old great aunt in Århus. She made us a nice little lunch, and we had a good visit even though she and I couldn’t speak directly to each other. Then we drove to Løgstør where Morten’s sister lives. We visited the house she was in the process of purchasing, stopped by the harbour and ate dinner at her apartment.

18 September, 2007

Yeongduk Windfarm, July 24

For some reason, I can't get photobucket to post my album, so hopefully this link will work.

Just before we left for Denmark, Morten and I went to check on one of the windfarms on the southeast coast. While we were in the office, a couple of technicians were getting ready to go up in one of the turbines, and Morten asked me if I wanted to go with them. Of course I did! I got harnessed up and made the 80 meter ladder climb. At the top of the turbine, I climbed out of the shaft and down into the nose where I could see out into the blades. It was a very cool experience.

26 August, 2007

Mud Festival, July 15th

This year's mud festival experience was quite different from last year's (which you can read about in the archived posts). We just went down to Daecheon Beach for the day and enjoyed the sun and water (first sea swim of the year)and mud. The only down side was the five hour return drive which should only have taken 2 or 2 1/2 hours.

Gawip Wind Farm, Anmok Beach, July 12th

Since I wasn't doing much, I went with Morten on a day trip to visit the wind farm near Gangneung. It was an extremely foggy day, but while Morten was working in the substation, I took the car out for a drive through the turbines. Even though the long views were quite obscured, I still got some interesting pictures. Then before we headed back to Seoul, we took a drive to our favorite beach from last summer. It was windy and grey, but it was good to visit.

25 August, 2007

Indonesia Peace Run, May 27th

This was so long ago that I almost forgot about it. Oh well if it's out of order. An invitation was extended to the Danish Embassy to participate in the Indonesia Peace Run, and Morten signed up to run the 10km along with Steffen, the Embassy intern. Two other Korean employees of the Embassy also signed up, but they didn't show up, later saying that the day had been too hot for running. And certainly it was a warm day, but it was beautiful and there was a good turn out. The race started and finished in the park just outside the World Cup Stadium. Morten and Steffen both ran well.

Incheon Beaches, July 8th

One day after driving our friend Jeppe out to Incheon Airport, we kept driving to the edge of the island in our continuing quest for a decent beach within reasonable proximity on the west coast. We at least found sand this time, but we preferred to take pictures and watch the locals swim rather than sample the water ourselves.

Wolmido, June 2nd

As the spring turned to summer, we started craving the lovely beaches we knew from the east coast, but the closest sand beaches to Seoul are at least several hours away. We settled for Wolmido in Incheon, and while we were disappointed not to find a real beach, we still managed to have some fun.

22 July, 2007

My new keyboard

Well, it's not completely new. I think I got it in May. But it's been WONDERFUL in light of the fact that for the previous year and a half I had nothing. I've dusted off the Mozart and am slowly working the rust out of my joints. Of course I would prefer an actual acoustic piano, but it has weighted keys and a nice real-piano sound, and it takes up less space and cost less money than a piano. I don't have much to play for right now, but just playing for myself has been great and is something I needed back in my life.

22 June, 2007

Beijing, China, May 2007

In mid-May, I accompanied Morten on a business trip to Beijing. We were able to do some sight-seeing as well as attend the Vestas global company party. I had a great time on my first trip to China. There are several links following where you can view my photos by event.

Ming Tombs, Beijing May 2007

Jade Factory, Beijing May 2007

The Great Wall at Badaling, Beijing May 2007

Tianenmen Square, Beijing May 2007

Forbidden City, Beijing May 2007

Random Pics, Beijing May 2007

19 June, 2007

Random Pictures from Feb to June 2007

As I sit here and blog, I'm enjoying 90 degrees and moderate yellow dust. The haze I see out the window brings visual confirmation to the dryness in my throat I thought I might be imagining. And rumor has it that rainy season is just around the corner--next week even?! Now if you'll excuse me--I have to go cut off all my pants to high-water length. Happy summer everyone!

05 June, 2007

Roadtrip pictures of the road, March-April 2007

As I drove nearly 3,000 miles through four states, I saw many scenes that inspired me to shakily point my camera out the window of my moving car. Here are a few of those shots.

Roadtrip/Long Beach, April 2007

The Long Beach area was the last stop of my roadtrip. Erin, a good college friend of mine, and her husband Jordan were kind enough to let me crash for a couple nights on the floor of their small Norwalk apartment. Over the next couple of days I took a tour of The Queen Mary, took a drive along the coast, went to the Long Beach waterfront, ate many great meals, and spent a day at Magic Mountain. That was a highlight for me and Erin--with excellent logistical planning, we were able to ride eleven roller coasters in six hours! I was sad to say goodbye, but after two weeks on the road, I needed to head back to Idaho.