South Korea | Weeks 8 and 9

Have you really been to Korea if you haven’t experienced sweating so much that your sweat falls and hits your toes?!? I asked a local Korean if it would get cooler in September, and she said “Usually, yes. But all over the world is so hot, who knows.” It does look like it’s hot everywhere, well, except for where we used to live in Germany. They’ve had unusually cool temps, which I was a little envious of when I was sweating through my sundress. Aside from the few days when Typhoon Khanun came through, it’s been so muggy and hot that you don’t want to be outside, literally ever. The ‘inside culture’ of South Korea is defiantly making more sense. What is hard to wrap my head around is that it supposedly get incredibly cold too! Something about Siberian winds coming down… I guess I’ll see!  

With a friend visiting, we hit up our local market and I BOUGHT A FISH!! Later, after eating our fish, scouring the internet and having a friend confirm, I can somewhat confidently say that I bought a tuna!  At the market, there are usually two-to-three fishmongers in the market, so I see them every time I go, but this was week I was brave enough to pointy-talkie, google-translate my way into a fish. I was asked if I wanted the head (no) and if I wanted two or three cuts (I picked three), and then if I wanted the fish salted. She ended up salting the fish, but I’m still a little unsure as to why. It was a really hot day and my guess is it was to help preserve the fish?? Any fish conossouirs out there??

We were used to eating salmon pretty regularly in Germany, it was easy to buy (as a filet in a grocery store) and easy to cook. But a similar sized salmon filet is about 30,000₩ (around $25) and imported from Norway, which is no longer close by. The idea of getting a more local fish regularly into our dinners is really appealing. Time will tell if I’m brave enough to buy another fish again…
I also bought some Japanese eggplants for the first time at the market, and they might be my new favorite vegetable! They were so sweet, silky and smooth. I think I definitely prefer them to regular eggplants. 

We tried our first hanok cafe, and I’m already to go back! Hanok cafes are a blends of olden-day teahouses with a modern cafe; the style is traditional Korea and the food and drinks is everything you’d want from a cafe. I’m still thinking about the sourdough goat cheese turnover?? I don’t know what it was called, but it was sooo good! I don’t think there was anything we ate that wasn’t truly delicious. I had my first ever iced matcha and loved it! I’m sure the ambiance had something to do with it too, but I’m hopeful this means I’ll like green tea?? Especially since I’d love to visit a green tea plant.

Back up in Seoul, we walked through the Starfield Coex mall and stopped at the library. I feel like it’s a ‘must-do’ even though it was crowed, and a lot smaller than I expected it to be. Still, who doesn’t swoon a little with floor to ceiling books?? Since I was massively outnumbered, shopping wasn’t on the agenda – although all the good stores were at that mall! Instead, we took the boys to the Coex Aquarium. It was a pretty good aquarium! One of the boys favorite parts was in the Lego exhibit, there was a pool where you could stick your hands in and the little fish would come eat the dead skin off your fingers.
Also, if you haven’t watched a mermaid show, what are you doing with your life???

We finally got our second car!!! Only 4 months later…
A doing his baseball assessment!

The boys are still swimming – and our oldest was finally cleared to be back in the water after getting his burn on his finger (which is healing really well; the scar will be pretty wild). They both will also, for the first time, be playing baseball this fall! It was was a bit of a hard sell, especially over soccer, but I think the experience will be a great one! Especially since…We went to a Korean baseball game!! 

I believe, that part of our Korean baseball experience is influenced by the timing of our game – we went in the summer and it is h-o-t. But still, I have never quite experience a large sporting event quite like this one. Things are are similar to baseball game in the States: they play baseball – nine innings and all – in a baseball stadium. They sell beer. 

The things that are not similar to a baseball game in the States…Where do I begin?? We ate before going to the stadium, but I saw everything from full trays of sushi, to pho, to fried chicken (think like really crispy nuggets). We got churros and they were absolutely delicious.
The Koreans have cheerleaders / dancers for baseball… and throughout all nine innings, whichever team was up to bat, there were dances and cheers and songs, with completely crowd participation, the entire time they were batting. I mean, the crowd was THERE to dance and cheer their team on. The home team (KT Wiz) would shoot off water canons, and firehose water into the crowd anytime a good play happened. It was like a water-rave-cheerleading-dance-party-baseball game?! It was a wild experience and we had so much fun. 

The KT Wiz ended up tying up the game in the eighth inning. In the top of the ninth, the bases were loaded with two strikes, two outs and three balls. It was the last pitch of the ninth and KT Wiz hit a perfect ground ball past second and third base to win the game. I don’t know if there is any water left in Suwon after that play.

With a few families from J’s work, we headed back up to Seoul for a moonlight cruise on the Han River! First stop was food – which were some great dumplings, and the boys cooked their own Bulgogi. What I learned this time, versus the first time we cooked bulgogi, is that you want to get the meat in the broth. That’s what gives it that great, sweet flavor.
We boarded the boat, and all went straight up to the top of the boat so we could have some great views and get a good breeze. (I was literally melting in the humidity and heat!) On the top of the boat is also where the ‘feeding seagulls experience’ area was! You can buy bags of dried sardines to feed to the seagulls that will squawk and swarm to you. As someone who really doesn’t like birds, but loves a good view, I was definately torn.


Eventually sardines eventually ran out, the birds went away, the sun went down, and the views from the water were beautiful. It was a gorgeous way to see another view of Seoul.