Lantern Festival and Fire Friday
Lotus Lantern Festival
Wanting to find something a bit more exciting to do for a weekend, Luke found a Lotus Lantern Festival happening in Seoul and we took the opportunity. It was in Insadong which is one of my favorite parts of Seoul, as it’s so historic but full of shops and eateries and things to do. We headed to Insadong in the early afternoon and walked the main street to check out the various tents setup. There was a fair number of different countries Buddhism tents - Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and more. You could dress up in traditional clothing and learn about the religion. There were craft tents for children and adults both, the most popular being the make-your-own-lotus-lantern tent of course. There was a huge roll of brown paper laid out with tons of signatures on it for people to sign and wish Buddha a happy birthday!
Luke and I just strolled through stopping often to check out the various tents and what was happening in all the hustle and bustle. Eventually we came to a stage and performance area where about 30 people orderly and rhythmically came out and took their places. They spent the next 5 minutes performing their Taekwondo routine peacefully in front of hundreds of people. Among so many Koreans, I was so excited there was a white female out there maybe just a few years older than me who was one of the front performers! (Performers is probably not the word I want but it will suffice.) After they finished their routine, they brought out audience members, ranging from about 4 years old to 60 years old, and they tried the routine with them! It was pretty cool to watch.
We walked around a quiet and traditional residential village with a pretty sweet view of the city and sunset, and as we made our way back to the festival area, the parade was going on! We didn't see the beginning, but we saw the dragon, which was the best part haha.
The next weekend, I learned about "Fire Friday" from some of my fifth graders which is really just saying it's Friday, and lets go have fun. So you're supposed to eat something really good and go do something fun... but "Fire Friday" has a cool ring to it, so I'm using it.
I was feeling like we needed a good, exciting Friday so we went to Korean BBQ "Tonggojib" located at the bottom of our apartment. It is always busy and in the warm weather, slides opens its full length windows so it's like you're sitting outside. We split some beer and soju at dinner and I convinced Luke to go bowling afterwards!
We found a Lucky Strike bowling alley nearby which had glow bowling on one side, and regular, boring, lights-on bowling on the other side. Once we got settled in our lane in the "super cool fun glow bowl" section, we bought some more beer and played two games. After I destroyed Luke in bowling, he wanted revenge, so we played a game of Air Hockey. That didn't go so well for him either, so we moved onto darts. We weren't really sure how to set it up since it was all in Korean, but we started playing and although Luke did a much better job, I technicallyyyy won. So, not to brag but...
Anyway...it was a lot of fun and especially awesome that it was within walking distance from our apartment!
On the walk home, we stopped at a convenience store and Luke got his gigantic Pocari Sweat which he swears by for helping hangovers. I on the other hand, think that stuff tastes like actual sweat, so I opted for a real Korean Hangover drink called "Condition" (the lady version, which has more 'betaine and hyaluronic acid for moisturizing skin and vitamin C'). I drank it as soon as we got home, and by golly, the next morning I felt great! Technically, you're supposed to drink those before going out but taking it anytime during the evening will work. I just hope these are available in the States when we move back!