Friday, June 10, 2011


So I begin this post with what should be the last picture but despite blogging for one year I still can not figure out how to get my photos where I want them. So here is the finished product and you can see the process below. Netta made this beautiful pot on our trip to Suwon.

We took the subway (about 1 hour ride) to Suwon to visit John's friend Mr. Park. He offered to show us around his city and we had heard that there were some cool things there so we finally made it out there.

Mr. Park is coming to Santa Cruz to visit us soon after we return to the US. He is actually bringing our cat for us - even though he hates cats. Luckily we found someone to foster her for the 2 weeks between when we leave and when he is traveling. So all he has to do is meet them and get Swallow in her kennel and deliver her and check her in. Then we will be there to pick him up when he arrives with Swallow. Hopefully it will all work as planned.

Anyway I digress, we had a lovely day in Suwon. We started with a great lunch of calbee which is meat barbequed at the table. Suwon is famous for its calbee and it lived up to its reputation- it was delicious and we all ate way too much. Then we went out to check out the palace that is in Suwon but before we went in there was a water fountain in front and the girls had to get a bit wet. It was a pretty hot day.

Olive near the fountain - this is her excited but kind of wary face.
Below is Netta in the fountain - you could run into this section where you wouldn't get wet if you timed it just right which of course she did.
I think we will all miss these fountains they are good fun on a hot day.

Here is Olive on the steps in the palace. She got new crocs and was pretty bugged by sand getting in them in this area. She kept stopping to clean them out.
So here is the pot making activity. There were a bunch of activities set up for kids inside the palace. Korea is so great that way - everywhere you go there are hands-on experiences for the kids. I have heard many people say that Korea is a great place to be a kid.
I love these photos and the way this woman helped Netta form the pot she made. Netta sometimes complains about people over controlling her artistic process in Korea. They want her to do her art a certain way and she of course resists. In this instance she said she really appreciated this teacher's gentle guidance.
Netta forming the opening.
Creating the lip edge.
I love this one where they are holding hands.
Then Netta had time to decorate the pot with her own design. She spent a long time doing a kind of comb design- it was crazy because then we went to the prehistoric park the week after (I know the blog posts are out of order - sorry) and discovered that the comb design is a very ancient pattern used in Korea. Netta said she had no idea about that- she must have been channeling ancient Koreans while she decorated her piece.

We left the pot with the kind lady and she then glazed it in the ancient celadon style and fired it and mailed it to us in Seoul. It arrived yesterday and looks so great.
This is the throne room of the palace.
Netta still concentrating on her work.
This is what Olive did while Netta was finishing her pot. She sat in the dirt and shoveled it with her croc, watching the sand fall through the holes of her shoe.
More shots of the palace and the trees behind it.
Cute Olive asking me to take a picture of her. These shots are hard to get with Olive always on the move.

Next we walked to the Fortress Museum in Suwon. This is outside the museum - it shows how they moved the stones to build the fortress.
The museum was interesting - I had to spend most of it in the lobby with Olive as she was not remotely interested in the contents of the museum. This was a reminder of how much she has grown in this year. When we arrived in Seoul we could go to museums all the time and she would just sit in her stroller while we puttered around through the displays. This time is no more.......but we had fun looking at the fish in the lobby.
Then we walked to the fortress wall along this stream. It was really beautiful - the flowers are amazing here.
This is a fountain near a gate of the fortress. Unfortunately all I can remember about this part of our walk is that Netta wanted to get a closer look at the water and found a dead, decomposing dog in the water. She was disturbed and talked about it for a long time.
Here is Mr. Park (next to John) and his brother on the bridge over the stream.
Kids in the stream, looking for critters.
Netta in the stream too.
Netta looking at some baby turtles that the kids had in bags. They were not from the stream but they sure were cute.
A flag on the fortress wall. The fortress wall is almost 6 kilometers long. We walked along some of it and it is amazing. There are holes for guns and lookout posts.

Here is Netta - she is actually angry here - I love how the little girl is looking up at her curiously.
John and Olive trotting up to one of the buildings on the wall.
A closer look at the building.
This is an amazing buddha that we saw from afar up on a hill nearby. I wanted to walk up closer but alas the day was not long enough......
Mad Netta. We all had a good laugh about this picture.
So this was a group practicing in the square where we ended up after our fortress walk. They were great!
The flying frisbee trick.

Musicians outside the palace. Can you see the shells they are playing?
After our day out we had pizza before heading home. I thought this bottle was funny. The brand is Bornitaly but it is 100% America and we found it in Korea. This is a good example of weird items/translations. I wish I had taken pictures of more of these- they are everywhere.

Ok I can tick Suwon blog entry off my long list of things to do. I am still not all caught up with the blog - maybe I will be finishing it in California.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

John on TV

So the film crew was here in our home last week. Pretty fun - except the screaming toddler while they were trying to film.

John is doing an interview for Arirang TV here in Seoul. They are an English language TV station sponsored by the government. John's advisor's wife Tanya works for them and arranged the interview. It is exciting for John to tell about his research and the publicity might help him find work here in Korea.

They filmed him working and talked to him for 30 minutes on camera and then he performed a song at the station for the show too.

It will be shown on the program Heart to Heart on June 21st - the day we leave Korea - at 9:30 pm here. We have watched some Arirang programming on our computer so it may be that people can watch it after that date on their website. They also told us that they will send a copy of the show to us after it airs.
John is also involved in a documentary about his gagok teacher that will be shown here in Korea on a major network. We are going to Massan so John can perform his piece and that will be filmed for the documentary as well. He has already done some filming and interviewing with that crew.

Exciting media attention for John!

Amsa Prehistoric Park

Hi all - I am busily trying to organize and pack before we head home in just 10 days now. Trying to get rid of things we have collected and still trying to see things we don't want to miss before we go.

So I found this trip by the Seoul International Womens Association and decided to go. We went by subway to this site of a prehistoric village that was uncovered during some flooding in 1925. This was during the Japanese Occupation of Korea and so the Japanese basically took all the treasures they could easily find and shipped them back to Japan and then left the site.

Years later in 1967 a group of Korean archaeologists excavated the site and made the park that is there now. They covered the main site of the discovery with a building to protect what they found and then covered part of the site up to be excavated later when the tools for figuring out what is there become more advanced.

If you click on the photo of the sign above it will get larger and you can read the description on the sign about the site.

Here is Netta in the entrance area. I thought these animals made of wood were really cool.
A map of the area.
Wooden animals
These are re-creations of the dugout homes that were built during this time in this area.
Netta inside one of the homes that you could go in and check out.
This is the main site where they found evidence of the dugout houses. This is the ground that they found and they built the museum around it. Of course the fake people have been added....

There were huge groups of school kids there on that day. They dressed them all up in these tiger furs that we thought were funny and cute - little did we know.......
Netta doing a hand drill...just like the one she did at Ohlone Day at Henry Cowell.
Oh - yes - they dressed us up too.. Olive only kept this on long enough to take the photo. But all the SIWA ladies dressed up including me and that was a sight to behold.
Netta in character....
Nearly every place we go has one of these to stick your head in - so cheesy. At the indoor ice skating rink where we went last week they even had one with ice-skating star bodies with your head. Funny.
One of the reasons I joined this tour was that they had activities to do after the tour. We built a dugout house model and a bow and arrow. I knew Netta would love this - as did Olive and I as well.
Netta concentrating hard to make the walls secure from wild animals. They told us if the rice stalks were not placed closely enough snakes and critters would get inside. Netta took this very seriously and spent a long time arranging them perfectly.
All the ladies dressed up and doing crafts....
Olive sanding the bow for our bow and arrow.
Olive concentrating on building our house.
More models of the houses.
Our models of the houses - this one is the one Olive and I made. She really liked adding the little torches all around with the balls of clay as the fire.
Netta's house. I don't think we can bring these home - kind of sad as they came out so great but the photos will last.
Inside the model is the fire pit and holes to hold the cooking vessels that were discovered at the site.
Model village life.

We also built bows and arrows with suction cup tips that we shot at fake animals. It was fun - I enjoyed how they made the experience really hands-on for all of us.

Ok back to organizing things for the trip...........

See you all soon.........