Seollal + Korean Folk Village

21 02 15

This Seollal (설날) we went to Min Jae's Uncle's house in the morning. When we arrived there, the ceremony table was in the middle of being set up. It looks like the setup of Chuseok. (read this post if you are not yet familiar with the ceremony) But with not all the same dishes. For example it's custom to eat tteokguk ( soup with rice cake) for the New Year. 

I really like the sincerity of these Korean ceremonies. Like Chuseok we pay respect by bowing and pouring whine for the ancestors. There is a right order in how things are supposed to go. Min Jae's uncle even uses a manual for the correct placement of the dishes. Nobody in the family takes pictures. (I do sometimes, but never during a ceremony, it feels a little too inappropriate). These ceremonies feel really spiritual to me and I admire the effort and respect that goes into them. 

Afterwards Min Jae and I bowed for his parents, uncles and their wives. (This doesn't happen at Chuseok.) We received money in an envelope and they wished us happiness and let us -very subtle- know they'd like a grandchild this year- No pressure. 


After Seollal greetings and breakfast his parents took us to the Korean folk village in Suwon. It's usually not that far of a drive. But I wouldn't recommend driving there when its Seollal and roads are all coloured red on the GPS-system. But it's definitely fun visiting during Seollal as a lot of people and kids came in hanbok (free entree if you are in hanbok!). They also had a huge bonfire as celebration of the New Year. There was traditional dancing/music, games and horseback riding.

There is an interesting museum explaining a lot of Korean tradition and history. Did you know if you want to get pregnant with a baby boy you are recommended to eat chicken and fish? There are no tips on how to get a girl though. :/ When a boy is born they used to hang peppers on a string on the door. When it was a girl it was coal. Seriously! Or did you know that it was believed sleeping early on the day of  New Year makes you grow old faster. When kids used to doze off the parents sometimes put white powder on their eyebrows to give them a little scare. There are many of these little bits of information that are just fun to know. 

And if you like learning more about Korea's history I'd like to recommend the Topics In Korean History Podcast. Here is the website

Visit the Korean Folk Village website for all the information you could possibly need!
And have a very good start of the new year!



Ordinary weekend // Winter walk

11 01 15

The bliss of an ordinary weekend:
Saturday:
- Sleep longer (MJ wakes up at 11, me at 9)
- Clean the house completely (together, I'm not the clean one in this relationship)
-Do an activity; this weekend a nice walk in sunny weather. Though the winter has had some really cold days and freezing wind. This Saturday the sun was out and it was perfect weather for a walk. We were not the only one with that idea; 3/4 of our fellow walkers were ajosshis and adjummas with their hiking sticks and spiked shoes. 

-Get groceries for the coming week (On Saturday there is a market in front of the apartment)
- Order pizza, watch something, this weekend we discovered the American horror story series. It's really entertaining.

Sunday:
-We put the garbage outside.

~We are such a boring married couple, it's great.~

This one will do

24 12 14
This one will do.

 As Min Jae and I are not visiting Belgium like last year. It's probably going to be just the two of us and a skype connection to home. So just for family and friends at home; Ik mis jullie heel erg, misschien tot skyps vanavond (als we zo lang kunnen wakker blijven) Heel erg veel liefs. xxx M&L


And for those of you I don't know personally, Have a wonderful time with loved ones and eat plenty of dessert! 

I've also recently opened my Instagram account. So in the mean time before I post something new here, You can look at some snippets over there

Footprints

03 12 14
Don't worry spicy food keeps you warm in Winter!
And as every year when the first snow falls, this song is stuck in my head- aah nostalgia...

Jan de Wilde: Eerste sneeuw // First snow

Jeju // 제주도

27 11 14

Sneak peek

26 11 14

It's been awhile since I really focused on drawing. I still feel like the wedding just happened and in fact it has been over a month. Today I worked on a couple of new projects. What you see here is something for a future blog post about the time when I was introduced to the ancestors. Goodnight!

National Hangeul Museum

13 11 14
Neat little books

The national Hangeul Museum opened in October and last night the bloggers from The Korea blog were invited for a guided tour. 

The museum is located right next to the beautiful National museum of Korea (I already posted about their impressive collection and the Korea bloggers welcoming dinner that was held there). The permanent collection of the National museum and the entrance to the Hangeul museum are free. So when you go there to visit you might as well do them both. (Ichon // 이촌역 subway station, exit 2 or the exit for the National Museum.) 


If you are new to what Hangeul is this is the place to get started! Hangeul is the alphabet used for the Korean language. It's actually very simple to learn and if you want to learn Korean, learning Hangeul is the first step. 

Young children will find many activities to playfully learn about Hangeul. And grown ups can easily learn the Korean alphabet here as well. There is also a lot information about it's origins and history available. The museum is not that big so after you visit the National Museum you can do this one as an extra.

Personally I was really charmed by the old printed books, posters, letters, documents etc. There are also a bunch of old typewriters, stamps, and board games. Old stuff, yay! 

It was really nice to meet up with other Korea Bloggers. One of them even brought authentic Belgian waffles-instant homesickness. (Waffle-baker Guy Kusters's blog: K-mood)

~And as always a big thank you to The Korea Blog for organising a nice evening out!



Fire trees

12 11 14

Seeing the seasons change in Korea is very impressive. A lush green landscape turned into a varied colour palette in just a few weeks. I'm perfectly content kicking around leaf mountains and collecting pretty shaped nuts. And fall also means the return of my favorite street food; egg bread (계란빵). So simple yet so delicious and great if you are feeling a little chilly. 

Fall in Korea // Sky park

06 11 14
On a beautiful October afternoon we went to Sky park
Although I can appreciate each season for their own character (especially in Korea where the seasons are really defined) I appreciate autumn just a little bit more. A time to cool down from the hot Summer (again especially true here in Korea). Fall has this cosy little attitude. And in October there were so many gorgeous fall days like when we visited Sky park. 

Even thought there were many visitors, the park was big enough to not make it feel crowded. There are many beautiful views on Namsan, Bukhansan, and Gwanaksan mountain and Seoul of course. I recommand it with an Autumn sun and a coffee. 

Rustle, rustle

Subway stop: 
World Cup Stadium Station  Line 6, exit 1

Address:
95, Haneulgongwon-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul 
서울특별시 마포구 하늘공원로 95 (상암동)

More information here


Our Korean wedding

01/11/14
These days Korean marriages are usually a mix of Western influences and Korean tradition.
I've been away from this blog for quite some time. But October was a hectic month with the wedding and family visiting because of that. I have some catching up to do. Let's start with the wedding! I know a couple of my Belgian friends really regret not being able to attend because of work, adult life and expensive air plane tickets. But ladies let me tell you that it was so frigging fast and hectic, this recap will provide some solace. :p

Just to compare: An average Belgian wedding starts in the morning at church, in the afternoon there is a reception with appetisers and drinks. In the evening we sit hours upon hours at the dinning table. At night there is dancing and in most cases until the early hours. 

We have enough group photos to fill two albums
A Korean wedding takes 4-5 hours! It goes like this: First make up & hair,-picture time!- rush rush- To the altar -picture time!- rush rush change to hanbok -Thank God these heels are killing me- go to the dinning hall where everybody is eating, go greet all the tables -Smile, smile, Thank you thank you -picture time!- rush rush to the traditional ceremony- serve tea, smile, great! -picture time!- get changed go downstairs to eat -omg, I'm starving- guests have left what? Have dinner with the close family in a big empty hall with a majestic buffet. Stroll home. 

Another big difference is that instead of presents guest bring money. At the entrance accountants wrote down in a book how much every guest paid. And depending on how close they are to the family they give more money. It made me feel a little awkward to invite people. I don't really have close friends in Korea yet. And I was a little conflicted if it's polite to ask people you don't know that well but you'd like to attend. But then they have to pay to attend... It's a little weird, Min Jae felt the same in deciding on inviting or not inviting some people. 

So everybody who came, thank you very much!

While Min Jae was out there greeting everybody I had to sit in this shiny box so everybody could come say hi and take a picture.
The bling bling part:

About the dress: My mother, my mother-in law and her friend and I went out together to rent a dress. Renting a dress is very common in Korea, in Belgium buying is the most common (and maybe your daughter can wear it after you, if you have the same size and taste).  I never really dreamed about getting married and finding the perfect dress so renting seemed like the most logical option. I originally wanted to get something simple but that was a no-no

They literally told me the church was boring looking so I should make up with some bling bling. Which the people of the shop totally agreed with. Disagreeing would have been impossible. And somebody advised me to just go with the flow which is exactly what I did. Besides trying on a bunch of  sugarcoated, pearl-princess dresses was pretty fun. In the end we settled for something with a lot of bling but not crazy over the top. Everybody happy, only downside was the lack of oxygen and the balancing act I had to perform on a 10 cm heel. >___<

The church service was nice and short. 40 minutes maximum. 

After the church service I got to put on my hanbok and we went to the dinning hall to greet the guests. Then it was time for the Korean ceremony.

The wooden birds are Mandarin ducks, who unlike other ducks mate for life.
The traditional part // the Korean Pyebaek (폐백) ceremony

This part was done in a separate room and only open to close family and friends. And it felt just a little more special. We changed in a hanbok wedding attire for the ceremony.

Originally this ceremony was for the bride to pay respects to her family in law, as she used to live with the groom's family after marriage. This part has been modernised a bit.

Pouring drinks for Min Jae's parents
The ritual started with Min Jae and I pouring out tea for his parents. They drank and ate some dried fruit, meat or nuts from the centrepieces.

Then we bowed, they gave their blessings, advice and some money. 
Some kids please!
We held up a cloth and had to catch the nuts (for boys) and dates (for girls) they threw at us. The amount we caught represented the number of children we are going to have. We caught them all and are going to have 12. We better get started :/ We did the same ritual with my mother. 

This ritual really emphasises the union of the two families not just that of the couple.
Except for the children throwing part we did the same ritual with my aunt and brother, and many more uncles and aunts. I thought it was interesting when we bowed for my aunt and brother, my brother had to stand up because he is younger than us. All gave blessings and money. By the way, the aunts who came from the countryside who are all respectable old ladies pulled of the hanbok game the best.

"Don't eat it" 
After that Min Jae and I poured tea for each other and he put a date between my teeth. "Don't eat it" he whispered. Then he took it out of my mouth and ate it. We ended with him carrying me around on his back 

And that's how you get married in Korea!
The ending:

Quickest wedding ever, like I said when we came down most guest were gone (this is apparently common) and we had the buffet to ourselves. We walked home and my aunt bought us a huge Ice cream pie from baskin robbins. You guys, the Belgian wedding is just going to be a casual BBQ, okay?

Thank you family and friends for taking many pictures and video! 


More pictures on my facebookpage