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Last Christmas

December 22, 2010

While we’re spending the holidays in Miguk this year, last Christmas we were in Seoul. It was my first time in Korea during the winter, and a memorable visit.

Christmas cakes are the rage in Korea with bakeries like Dunkin’ Doughnuts and Paris Baguette selling hundreds of boxed Christmas cakes. You see people all over the streets and subway, carrying the boxes, as we even got a free hat for one of my nieces as part of a special.

Korean Christmas Cake

Korean Christmas Cake

Korean Christmas Cake

Korean Christmas Cake

I love going to Insadong, which is just several hundred yards down from the palaces. It’s definitely a tourist attraction with lots of shops targeting tourists, but there are tons of shops of all kinds: great little tea cafes, art and antique shops, and several yummy vegan restaurants. Last year, we’d been watching Brilliant Legacy, a really good kdrama, and they had a scene of the leads getting their caricatures drawn in Insadong, so we thought we’d give it a try.

Insadong caricature drawing

Here’s what we ended up with:

Insadong caricature

We also got to experience the most snow fall in Seoul in the modern era. It started with me watching KBS news and their weather report in the morning. They kept cutting to this miserable looking reporter who had more and more snow piling up on him each time they cut to him:

What made it even funnier, Sunnie explained, was that his name (Dae-ki) can mean “waiting.” He ended up becoming an Internet phenomenon as Koreans took to the Internet to talk about his misery.

Sunnie had a doctor’s appointment later that day, so we had to head in through the 10+ inches of snow. The streets of Seoul were largely closed down, so the subway was just packed. People would literally just shove and shove until each car was crammed with as many people as possible.

While overall temperatures in Seoul are very similar to Indiana, the winters seem just a bit colder, with winds from Siberia providing a bit more bite, even if the actual temperatures aren’t colder than Indiana, and there’s not as much snow. We sought up some spicy vegan dubu jungol (tofu soup) to help keep warm!

dubu jungol

We’re both kind of missing Seoul this year. There’s something about being in the bustle of a big city during the holidays. I’ll leave you with Christmas Wish, a Christmas song from last year that we like and were listening to at that time by IU and several other singers (Yoon Jong Shin, Jung Ji Chan, Younha, Brian Joo, and Na Yoon Kwon).

Merry Christmas and happy new year!

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