RABBIT TRAIL: I suffered a computer crash months after my return from Korea, sadly losing my photo gallery. I asked my Mom if she would look through her collection knowing that I would have shared my favorites with her.
Korean Temples, so fascinating to tour and walk among treasure with such history: perfectly manicured sand meditation gardens, gates painted in brilliant colors. This particular temple housed women monks; she was adorable, personable and when I was oohing the practicality of her rubber "Monk" shoes in the next moment she was giving them to me. My brother Mike says I stole shoes from a Monk. Well, I will admit to having a bit of horse trading in my "jeans/genes."
Namdaemun Market, first opened in 1964, is the largest traditional market in Korea with over 10,000 retailers, vendors, and wholesalers. The market, spread out over many blocks, is a dense maze of stalls, vendors, and restaurants. Nowhere else in Korea can you find such a large collection of interesting and traditional Korean items for sale in one place.
My favorite shop, an original, rising store, about twenty steps, only five feet wide, with gift-wrap/wrapping papers, hung, folded, draped, stacked everywhere, exquisitely organized. I wandered carefully up the staircase with only room for a single foot on each riser. A fantastic, delightful paper shop. Beautiful papers, gold embossed papers, florals, pastel polka dots, blues with the sun and green after green after green. Printed Papers-saying: "Happy Birthday," Logo wrappings about Disneyland, papers written with words and poems and beautiful native writings. Korean symbols, Annamae, Hello Kitty, all in this 20 x 5ft staircase. I was enchanted. The proprietor's keen eyes never left me, following my ooh's and aah's, quickly reaching to show me just one more. Every shopkeeper was this way, "let me show you one more." Their wares were the best, least expensive, promising you couldn't find it anywhere else for this price. That was true in this case of a tiny paper store. Wrapping papers are found in other shops, but this creative-space obviously remained, treasured in my thoughts. I purchased several sheets of white linen paper printed with Hangul writings and enjoyed them for many years after. If I have portrayed a busy, industrious and spirited people in your minds, then I have written it well.
What a treat. My brother Mike just sent me a text and said look what I found! Two more pictures from my trip to Korea. Love it!
Mt. Seoraksan, North Korea
I have never experienced so many stairs. If you have a chance to visit Korea this is worth the effort to explore. Plan on getting in shape before you attempt the climb!
The Legend of the mountain:
Two men, Gwon and Kim, Who lived in the same village, fled during the war with their families to the mountains. At the top of the mountain, they realized there was no fortress wall to fend off any attacks by invaders. They agreed to build a fortress wall together, but did not have much time or materials, so they had to use the rocks by the stream. Gwon went down to the stream to gather stones, while Kim constructed the wall by piling the stones upon one another. After some time, they switched roles. They continued to work like this until the sun came up and showed that they had completed the fortress wall was named Gwongeumseong after the two strong men who built the structure.
I'm Kristen Wambach
I'm all grown up (I think?) Along my journey of searching for answers, I found them. I went from spiritual blindness to OMG! With a driving niche as an entrepreneur. I love hanging out with our four sons, riding with my husband on his Harley, and creating all things hospitality. My mission? To help others see "beyond" and own their awesomeness within!
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