Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May School Field Trip

For our school's May field trip the kiddos took a bus ride up to Pocheon to visit the Africa Cultural Center. Who would of guessed there was a little slice of that great continent here in Korea?

Like the previous field trip we were swept around from place to place, but this time the kids got to take part in several activities.

The first activity involved making a wooden-beaded necklace, which was pretty simple to do but also a lot of fun.

The Africa Cultural Center had actual African people there, which gave instructions to some of the activities and led a performance, as you will see later. After the kids finished their necklaces we went to an open area and they had a group picture with the African staff. I found this a little odd, but oh well.

Next was drumming! When you think about it, this was the perfect activity for this kind of crowd.

After the big drums came a session with smaller drums and a reed percussion instrument. 

The kids were all fired up from drumming and interacting with the staff, but that energy was squandered as their next trip was around the artifact museum.

There was one last stop before lunch time and that was a drumming and dancing performance by the staff. It was very rhythmic, loud and exciting. The kids seemed eye struck by it all.

Finally, lunchtime rolled around and the kids were able to beat their hunger. I would say if you were thinking of going to this place without kids than you might find yourself in an awkward position. However, I suppose you could go and see this little slice of another world plunked inside Korea.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Portrait Event for the Kolleen Park Exhibit

As part of the Kolleen Park Portrait Exhibit the organizers put on a sketching event. People were invited to come out and practice doing portraiture art.

Located at the Shinhan gallery in Yeoksam, Gangnam a small group gathered and enjoyed drawing from a live model. Mike Stewart led the way by giving us examples and pointers.

At first we sketched on white paper and then moved on to color, using conte-crayons. White pigment was for the highlights and dark for the shadows. I surely enjoyed practicing on the color paper and it gave me some ideas for my own art.

After all was said and done, we gathered up the artworks and put them next to each other. Can you figure out which one is mine?

Hint: It's the blue one...
Everyone got a complementary gift bag from Shinhan bank and we were allowed to take home our little box of conte-crayons, which was pretty cool. After everything, I stopped in over at the Kolleen Park portrait exhibit.

Although the pieces I submitted didn't get enough online votes to be put in to the gallery I think there was enough variety to warrant satisfaction.

I especially liked a few three-dimensional pieces such as the following pillow piece and one that uses applied crystals.

This event was a pleasure to go to, even though I feel more people could have showed up. Also I think folks were kind of shy and we didn't really get around to discussing the exhibit or our experience. 

Anyways, the show is still running if you want to see it.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cultural Difference: The First Bite

As JH and I were served our meals at an Outback Steakhouse today something happened that made me realize an interesting cultural difference between us two. First let me say that I generally do not like going to Outback Steakhouse, Fridays or any of those chains here in Korea. Mostly because they are expensive, but also due to that the food is often really greasy and too salty. With that said, we usually just order salads since we have found they are the freshest thing on the menu.

There I was ready to take my first bite when JH shoved his fork (with a piece of meat on it) in front of my face asking, "Do you want to try it?" I leaned back and exclaimed, "No!"

This isn't the first time JH has done this, and I always reject his attempts to feed me like that. I think today I got a little peeved because I would have figured by now he got the message. But then I realized this must be some cultural difference hoopla. As far as I know, back home we don't usually try to feed each other. If we do want someone to taste our dish I think we usually take a small portion and put it on the other persons plate. But rarely was I taught or had the experience of a bite being rapidly put in front of my face.

Immediately, I discussed this with JH and pointed out the cultural difference. Certainly he didn't know about it and figured it was normal. Also, he remarked on how it is something couples do.

I just have to wonder if this is something shared by other cross-cultural couples in Korea, or am I just the only one? hmmm

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Naminara Republic Experience Part 3

Here we are at the final entry about Nami Island and my time there a few weeks ago. The last bits of our moments on the island were spent strolling through a ceramics museum and taking in the view of a nice park.

Along the way running into a few oddball things and a pool where kids paddled around.

We stopped for ice-cream and I found out that if you order the "cone size" you get double the amount.

Nearby was live music being performed with a nice-sized crowd listening. 
At the Art Handicraft Studio we saw works that were very beautiful but also quite expensive. But this might be due to that they were made by the artist Kim Pan Ki, who may or may not be famous or a living treasure.

Afterwards, we found ourselves in a gift shop that had a lot of cute stuff.

 Actually, I regret not buying one of these necklaces.

We found ourselves at this park where couples and families were having picnics. It was a great stretch of green space and had a nostalgic feeling to it, like I was in a park back home.
Except, there was one aspect that was quite strange and that is the site of Ahjumma groups doing their "initiation" rituals. This has been growing in popularity in Korea, where groups of middle-aged women and men come together, go to a park and take part in bonding games. Except these bonding games can seem a bit strange, and often include singing and dancing. Yet, it does add to the whole cultural experience.
We went back to the ferry dock and waited in line to leave the great Naminara Republic and head back to our normal lives. 

I hope you have enjoyed my series and wasn't to inundated with Nami Island. Thanks.

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