Thursday, March 31, 2011


This morning a friend of Mary's, Lisa, picked us up and took us to the "Happy Quilt"-- WOW!!!!!!  It was a bit of a religious experience!

Imagine-- a building FULL of fabrics f every kind-- including Vera Bradley prints.  A lot of the fabrics were precut in  2 yard packages for 6,000 won ($5.47), flannel was 7,000 won ($6.38) and there was a table out front with some end pieces marked from 1,000 won to 4,000 won.  The table outside was 20% off today!  Since I have to start thinking about coming home (sniff, sniff)-- I weighed the my bag when we got back to the apartment-- it weighed about 8.5 lbs.  (I packed my big suitcase to see how I was on weight-- it was 48#--- so, does that mean I shouldn't put anything else in it-- or I can buy 2 more lbs of stuff to bring home??)

Lisa has an Etsy shop and sells quilts.  Her husband's tour here at Osan will be over soon.  She and her boys will be leaving in about 5 weeks.  It was obvious the guy at the fabric shop knew her! She is trying to stock up on fabric before she leaves.

After lunch, Mary, Mav and I walked to the clinic on base so Mav could get his 6 month old shots.  He was such a good little guy!  On the way back, we stopped at the ATM so I could get some money-- the ATM's were down-- now I just gotta wonder if Mike is maybe in cahoots with BoA so I can't buy anything else.

Marshall had to go into work this afternoon.  He is applying for a grant for his schooling and had to get a letter signed by his commander.  He should be home soon. He is going to grill brats tonight!

Mdx and Marshall have been hard at work building her a kitchen out of cardboard boxes. It has really become quite the project!

I've been taking LOTS of pictures and will post them after I get back to the States... more later...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Marshall and I took  a walk to town this afternoon.  We had chicken on a stick and a corndog---YUM!  Then we went to a pottery place-- another one of those places that has a store front, but, "more downstair". The Korean celadon pottery is so pretty! I found some pieces I really liked-- but it was hard to make a decision!  I finally picked out a few pieces and had them wrapped to mail.  Marshall ran up to the base to get me some more cash while the guy was wrapping my stuff.  When he got back, Marshall said--uh, Mom, you didn't have any money---what the??? it was after noon here so it was after midnight at home---so hmmmmm, my paycheck SHOULD have been deposited--- guess I'll try again later.  It has been very strange not just whipping out the credit card every time I want to buy something-- Dave Ramsey would be proud!

We walked out on the street and stopped at one of the "packing guys" and got my stuff ready to mail---first he lined the bubble wrapped packages up on his table, then selected a box that he lined with 1 inch styrofoam, he packed the bubble wrapped packets in then filled the space with newspaper-- we will go to the PO on base tomorrow and send it off to NC.

It is such a beautiful day that we stopped at the "Blue Opera" and sat outside and had a drink--LIT for both of us.  In the restaurants (and bars) there is a button on the corner of each table that you press when you are ready for service-- kind of cool!

Marshall, Mdx, Mav and I are going to Mr Chicken tonight-- good thing we've been doing so much walking-- 'coz we've sure been eating well!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

4/9 Market

Yesterday we went to the 4/9 Market--- basically, on any date that ends in a 4 or a 9 there is a huge street market "on the other side of the tracks".  We walked under the train tracks and were in the middle of the biggest food/fish/flea market ever!  There was vendor after vendor set up selling their wares.  More kinds of fish than I've ever seen.  Even a couple of butchers actually cutting the meat while you waited.  We saw a cow head at one butcher's, but got told in no uncertain terms not to take pictures (after we already had).  There was seaweed being processed and any kind of Kimchi you can imagine.  I think we walked around there for over 2 hours.

Mary and I found a cross stitch store.  There were some really interesting patterns.  We each got a kit.  Marshall and Mary have pointed out to me that people post their phone numbers on the dashboard of their cars so if they are parked and you need them to move, you just call them.  In the cross stitch store , there were all kinds of little pillows and signs to stitch a number on and put in the car--- pretty funny-- one said "sorry parking"-- did that mean the person was sorry they had parked where they did or they had done a sorry job of parking?

Speaking of parking, it seems like if there is space and you want to park, you park, even if it is on the sidewalk, halfway out onto the road or in the crosswalk.

Oh, I promised to tell you about our dinner out with Kenny- Marshall's realtor.  He picked us up about 8pm and then drove somewhere, out of the downtown area on the other side of the bridge.  I know we passed the bus station where we came in from the airport the night I got here.  He decided on a place then had to find a place to park.  Mdx was sitting in the back seat with me, she said "Grandma, where is Kenny taking us?".  We walked back down to the restaurant and got seated.

Immediately, they brought a portable gas heater over to the table (which has happened in almost every restaurant we've gone into, especially if we have on or both of the kids with us).  Then the guy brought a container of hot charcoals and put them into the "pit" in the center of the table.  Kenny ordered for us and out came the side dishes-kimchi (both cabbage and radish), cabbage salad with a yogurt dressing (love this stuff-- it's kind of like coleslaw), hot peppers, bean sprouts, lettuce (to make wraps), red pepper paste, salt and pickled onion slices (another favorite!).  Then the meat started-- one kind at a time came out-- we had several kinds of pork, some of it looked like bacon, but it wasn't cured and beef. It was quite a feast!

And here is where I throw the Korean under the bus--- The guys had a "few" beers--- at one point Kenny asked Marshall "does your Mom drive?".  Marshall told him yes--- when we got back to his car he opened the driver's door and motioned for me to get in-- I was shocked, he was serious---so, I got in, Kenny got in the passenger seat and gave me directions and a lesson in the rules of the road as I drove.  Not sure how many local and international laws we broke, but we got home in one piece and it was kind of a neat experience! At one point, there was a police car 2 cars behind us with the lights on, Kenny said "they hardly ever pull anyone over"--great! Seems the police drive around with the lights on all the time.

Well, that's probably enough for today-- more later....

Monday, March 28, 2011

Korean Folk Village

This morning Marshall and Mary let Mdx play hooky from school and we went to the Korean Folk Village in Suwon.  We walked to the train station, rode 7 stops and got off at the A K Plaza-- a REALLY upscale mall in Suwon (read really expensive). (The elevators had lights in the floor).  We bought our tickets for the Folk Village, but had about 30 minutes until it left so we walked through the mall for a little bit.

Once we got to the Folk Village we were transported back about 300 years.  Marshall and Mary had been there when Leslie (Mary's Mom) was here in November, but said we saw different things than they saw on that trip.  The "village" is over 200 acres, so it is easy to see how you wouldn't be able to see it all in one trip.  We climbed up a hill and up stone steps to a Buddhist temple-- it was pretty awe inspiring.  I think I took about 300 pictures while we were there.

There was a man there making honey candy.  He started with a piece of honey and working in a container of cornstarch stretched it into thin strands almost as fine as strands of hair.  Then he took a spoonful of a nut mixture and wrapped the strands around it--- it was pretty neat to watch.  We got some of the candy, so who knows, you may be one of the lucky ones to get to try it!

When we got back to Songtan, we took a taxi back to the apartment.  Mary and Mav went to the bowling alley on base-- an outing with the Enlisted Spouses Club.  Marshall Mdx and I went out to dinner with Kenny, the realtor Marshall used to find the apartment- more on that in another post-- it's a doozy!!!

More later.....

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Orangesojulious and the Osan Lounge

Last night after the kids were tucked into bed, Marshall and I headed downtown---- Marshall was determined to get me drunk---- I think he was a little disappointed.  Our first stop was Xenia's-- a smoky, second floor bar-- for an orangesojulious.  According to Marshall, it is Soju, yogurt (drinking kind) and orange juice and maybe some cider. It tasted like an orange creamsicle -- kind of sweet, but not bad.  It was served over ice in a beer mug!

Then we walked to one of the street vendors outside the main gate of the base and got a combination of fried treats-- shrimp, potatoes, peppers, onions, something wrapped in seaweed that was breaded and fried (yuk) and yakimandu.  Marshall got a cheeseburger with an egg on top from the next stall over.

Our final stop was the "new" Osan Lounge.  (The "old" Osan Lounge was a block down the street and was gutted the first day I was here-- it is half way remodeled and may reopen as something else before I leave!).  Behind the bar is a row of slushy machines.  There were 7 different drinks available last night-- Strawberryaid, Tropical fruit, Green Frog (kiwi), East Sea (peach), Mango, Punisher and something else-- the first 5 were made with vodka and the last 2 with 151.  I had a strawberry and an East Sea and tastes of a couple of the others.  The drinks were really good, but I'm sure they would taste even better on awarm summer's eve!  Now, I consider slushy drinks kind of girlie and almost broke out laughing when I saw "dude" with his skull cap, shades, and bling bling jewelry sipping one of them through a straw, but  I restrained myself.  A bunch of guys were playing tabletop shuffleboard and there were a couple of groups in the back area with hookas.

This morning we walked to the base library then to the BX.  Mdx played in the kid's area while Marshall and Mary did their shopping and Mav and I watched the kids playing.

Marshall grilled dinner for us tonight-- we had steak, kielbassy, potatoes, green pepper and onions.  It was quite a feast.  Mx and I baked sugar cookies.

The weather is supposed to warm up this week and we are going to the Korean Folk Village in Suwon tomorrow--- it is 7 train stops and a bus away.

I will post pictures once I'm back-- Marshall is having some problems with his computer (I thought Mac's weren't supposed to have issues-- oh well).  More later....

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hospitality House

Since coming to Korea, Mary and Marshall have been spending Friday evenings at the Hospitality House.  It is a Christian Ministry of Cadence International providing a gathering place for military members, their spouses and dependents around the world-- kind of a home away from home.  Here in Songtan, Friday evening is for families and Saturday evening for unaccompanied military.  There are quite a few unaccompanied members who have left families at home who come on Friday evenings so they can get a little "kid" time.  Mdx was right at home there and had PLENTY of attention all evening!  Dinner last night was a taco bar and salad.  The guys especially seemed to really appreciate a home cooked meal and an opportunity to relax.  We got back to the apartment about 9:45--(2145 around here).  The kids and Grandma were exhausted!

This morning Marshall and Mary went to spin class and then worked out some at the gym.  After they got back we walked to town for pizza.  Mary is giving a violin lesson to the son of one of the people from the hospitality house.  The kids are taking naps (including Marshall) and I am enjoying the quiet.

We Skyped with Grandpa, Grandma Mac, Aunt Marcia, Uncle John and David this morning--- Mdx enjoyed having an audience and I'm sure they enjoyed being that audience!

Later today Marshall and Mary are going to go to the commissary--the kids and I are going to stay here.  Then Marshall has plans to take me out somewhere---to a bar for soju kettles---we'll see if that really happens!

More later.....

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Friday Morning

Happy Friday morning all!  Remember, we are 13 hours ahead of the eastern US.

Yesterday was a stay at home kind of day.  Marshall and Mary went to the gym and I stayed with Mav.  After they got home, Marshall and I went up on the roof-- you can see quite a lot from up there!

I had promised Mdx a treat if she took a nap at school--- when I picked her up I asked if she took a nap, she said "I couldn't take a nap there was a pea under my mattress"--- I asked her what was going to happen since she didn't take a nap.  She said "no candy, sorry".  Later she was playing in her room before dinner and got really quiet, I went in to check on her and she was laying on her bed like she was asleep-- I came out and told Marshall she was sleeping.  He got up and went in her room and she was sitting up laughing at me--- as Great-Oma would say--- "she's a corker"!

It was snowing when Mdx and I came out of the school and continued snowing through the evening. Mary went to book club on base and got a ride home from one of the other women-- she would have taken a cab, but here in Korea, the cabs stop running when it snows.

Marshall had to go in to work this morning, he is on his way home now.

We are going to the Hospitality House this evening and maybe to a Korean Folk Village tomorrow.  Sunday we will probably walk down town to the markets.

I've been taking lots of pictures! Maybe Marshall will help me upload some later!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Korean Update

Good morning all-- at least it is morning as I am writing this!

Tuesday morning we took the train to EMart-- kind of like a Target and IKEA and a department store and a grocery store with a food court.  We walked around the store for a couple of hours and purposely did not take a cart so we wouldn't be tempted to pick up too much. There must have been 20 kinds of Kimchi for sale in the grocery section!  Everywhere you looked there were "extras" taped to packages-- like ramen noodles taped to beer, laundry bag taped to detergent, hot sauce taped to hot sauce-- pretty funny.  But the best was the "feminine hygiene product" aisle--- there were samples of all the different kinds of pads so you could feel them and see how thick they were --- hysterical!!!!!!  For lunch I had bibimbap-- vegetables over rice with a fried egg on top-- didn't care for the seaweed on top of it or the seaweed soup, but LOVED the radish Kimchi!!

Oh, at EMart there is what looks like a big refrigerator that is actually an ultraviolet sterilizing unit for the metal drinking glasses.

We walked back to the train then back to the apartment stopping at Heavenly Bread for a not so sweet treat and coffee.

I collapsed when we got back to the apartment--- seems I've got the "Korean Crud"-- runny nose, cough and congestion.

Yesterday, Wednesday, Marshall and Mary went to the gym and I stayed with Mav.  After they got back and showered, Marshall and I walked to town and had a bite to eat at Sunny and Hunny's-- a "European Cuisine" Restaurant-- I had Lumpia and Marshall had  gyro and fried ravioli--- all made right there.

Then we were off for some serious shopping!  We stopped  blanket shop and then to a place selling Coach bags-- when we went in Marshall said "the good stuff" and she took us through another store, outside and into a little tiny room-- I didn't find anything that struck my fancy there, so we moved on.  At the next place, Marshall asked if the store next door was open.  They said, "Oh yes" and led us out the front door and in next door, then we waited upstairs for a few minutes with one guy while the other guy went downstairs and moved some shelves.  They called us down and we had to climb through a little door about 3 feet tall into a tiny room about 5 feet wide and 4 feet deep.  In there we made "the deal".  It was hilarious-----and a little sketchy--- when we went back upstairs, the first guy looked all around through the door before he let us out.  Before coming back to the apartment, Marshall stopped and got a really nice Michigan hoodie and work out outfit.  We got some strawberries from a guy selling produce from the back of his truck--- 3,000 won for a kilo--$2.66 for 2.2 pounds.

I went by myself to pick Mdx up from school.  I asked the teacher if she took a nap, the teacher said no (and Mdx did too).  Mdx said "I want candy", I told her since she didn't take a nap, she couldn't have a treat.  She started crying and suddenly there were 3 teachers hovering over her asking her what was wrong, she said "I want candy" and off one of the teachers went to get her a piece of candy--- UMMM guess who runs the school------ she is something else!  Today we made a deal, if she takes a nap, I will take her to the store for a treat--- guess we'll see how that goes!

Not sure what today's adventure will be.  Mary has book club tonight.

More later,

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Korean Adventure Begins

Greetings from the land of the morning calm!  Okay, so I've been here for four days, but I promise to catch you up.

Only one hiccup on the trip here--- when I checked in for my international flight at JFK, the ticket person at Asisana Airlines said that I was checking in late and my bags may not make it onto the plane-- UMMMM- can you say minor panic attack-- since I would be staying over an hour south of Seoul and she said if my bags didn't come off the plane, to ask the airline people when I arrived--- I figured I couldn't do anything about it at that point so I got on the plane and hoped for the best.  My bags were there and so was Marshall to meet me.

We took the bus to Songtan and got a cab from the bus station to a little restaurant near their apartment.  Then walked up the hill.  Mary and Marshall had not told Maddox I was coming-- she did a double take when I walked in the door and then ran to me and said "Grandma, you're in Korea".

Saturday morning we were up early-- at least early in my book!  Maddox has a clock at her bedside and is not supposed to get up before she sees a "7"---- but sometimes gets up and plays in her room for a while.  Mary went to spin class and Marshall and I walked into town with the kids.  We went to the realtor's office and exchanged dollars for won.  Then we bought Maddox some new house shoes for school--- Koreans do not wear their street shoes indoors, so the kids have house shoes at school and change just inside the front door.  We walked back home for lunch and naps.  We went back to town for dinner at a Peruvian restaurant-----really good!!!!!

Sunday morning we got up and headed for Seoul.  It was raining, so Marshall called a taxi to take us to the train station.  The fare for around town is $2.30--American, no matter how many people you cram in.   Three trains later we were in Seoul at the Coex Mall.  We went to the food court ( the train ride was about 2 hours and cost 1,900 won-- $1.69 American).  The food was served on real plates and when we were done we had to return them to where we had ordered.  Also, all the restaurants gave us a small cup for water and there were water coolers all over the food court. After we ate we went to the aquarium-- it was really interesting, and crowded.  Koreans only have one day a week off.  It took four trains to get back to Songtan and then another cab back home.

Monday morning Marshall and I walked Maddox to school then walked to the base to get my visitor's pass.  We ran a couple of errands and then went to a  couple of shops in town.  I got a few things to bring home- including a small Kimchi crock and some Korean water glasses.

That's all for now--- soju is calling!