Back in May Hubby and I took a trip to India via Shanghai for our 20th wedding anniversary. 

When traveling when on  your way to another location you can stop in China for 72 hours without getting a visa so we took advantage of this since Visa's for China a pretty pricy! 

We arrived into China after dark - after hoping on a bus and getting dropped off in some location that was not near our hotel we flagged a cab.  The sites of Shanghai at night are amazing!  We drove past several parks where loads of people were doing Thai-chi and dancing!  How fun is that?!

This building light up as a lotus flower caught my eye first!
We were staying in an old hotel off the Bund.  The Astor House Hotel. I swear it was haunted!  It was such a cool old hotel, I would recommend staying here while in Shanghai (even though there are ghost!)
After checking into our hotel we headed out to check out Shanghai at night.  The Bund was AMAZING!  We were blessed to be here on such a clear night!
I was even able to capture this picture WITHOUT a tripod.
Just roaming around....
We happened upon this intersection where they were selling all kinds of street food! And if you know anything about us, you know how much we love street food.
This guys chicken on a stick was delicious!!
This was not the best dish ever.
The  next morning.  The Bund is so much more beautiful by night, but she's still pretty in the daylight. 
We saw tons of people getting their wedding pictures taken in the Bund area, but the red dresses struck me.  We so no less than 20 ladies in red dresses.  A quick google search tells me that in China red is a symbol of love and prosperity. 
So after hearing about all the crazy things you can eat in China I was a bit disappointed as this is the strangest thing we had found all morning.  Fish cakes....been there, done that.
I loved this area...you can see old and new China.
Hubby couldn't wait to introduce me to 'drinking' dumplings.  We were so excited to find a place that serves them.  In fact we ordered this "Seven taste color set".

To my delight the drinking dumplings were everything I was expecting and a little more!
Dumpling making!
Our lunchtime view!
Notice the Starbucks? They are EVERYWHERE.
Taking it to the streets:
So, we did it, we tried starfish.
Take it from us, you don't EVER need to try starfish.
Laundry.
Lost?  No worries, they have signs.
Haha!
So, China was pretty amazing.

Here are a few things I will leave you with:

Shanghai was much cleaner than I imagined it was, but with that being said I did see a mom holding her toddler over a trashcan in a very busy area to let him poop.  I'm talking I had a FULL view of him pooping.  When mom got tired of holding him up, his dad came over and held him up.

I saw barbershops in alleys.  No buildings, just barber chairs in alleys.

I did not get or even see one fortune cookie.

I really wish I had learn a few simple phrases before going to China. 

There is very little internet in China.

I suck at conversions and haggling wears me out.

Next stop....India!
 
Throughout his 12 years in school, he changed schools 8  times.
He moved 6 times with 2 of those being international moves.
He left behind too many good friends to count.
He is the epitome  of a military brat.
He didn't ask for this life, but he lives it with pride.
He packs his bags, he moves, he makes friends, he is happy, he is heartbroken, he is sad,
he loves with all his heart,he thrives no matter where he is.
 
Today he graduates.
Today this chapter of life as a military brat is coming to an end...
Next month he will start a new chapter.
In his new chapter we will be watching from afar.
Watching him thrive, watching him succeed,
Watching him become a man that this world can't wait to meet!

I love you More Boy 1.
Congratulations, you make your Mom proud.
I am a military child
My hometown is nowhere, my friends are everywhere
I grew up with the knowledge that home is where the
Heart and family are, with no dependence on the dwelling.
Mobility is my way of life.
Some would wonder about my roots,
Yet they are as deep and strong as the mighty oak.
I sink them in quickly, absorbing all the area has to offer
And hopefully giving enrichment in return.
Travel has taught me to be open,
Shaking hands with the universe.
I find brotherhood in all people.
Farewells are never easy
Yet even in sorrow comes the strength and ability to face
Tomorrow with anticipation.
If when I leave one place, I feel that half of my world has left,
I also know that the other half is waiting to be met.
Friendships are formed in hours and kept for decades.
I will never grow up with someone, but will mature with many.
Be it inevitable that paths part,
There is constant hope that we will meet again.
~Author Unknown

 
If you have yet figured out where I am, this is sure to give it away...
 
OK....here are a few clues....
Same city different area.
Lots of people local people barefoot in this country.
We ate lots of street food, went to local markets and we were dripping with sweat. 

Also..I am not good at this whole iPad thing and I cannot figure out how to turn my picture so you will need to turn you head. 
 
 
 
I know I am a million months behind on the blog.
It drives me crazy.
I want to write every.single.day.....
BUT most days life gets in the way.
However sometimes there are some things that are just too good.
Too good to pass up.
Like this NQR moment we found in the unisex bathroom tonight.
I mean really folks you would be mad if I didn't show this to you tonight - right? 
Because EVERYONE needs a laugh....AND....
OMGoodness!
I love Seoul.
 
Picture


Meet my friend awesome friend Shannon.  She wrote this piece.
She is amazing, witty, talented and just down right fun to be around.
When I read this I did a hand to forehead and thought "why haven't I written a piece like this"?!  

If you just found out you are moving to South Korea, you’ve probably been busy scouring the Internet for information.  If you’re like me, you went straight to Google and typed in things like “What is it like to live in South Korea?” or “What is kimchi anyway?”  Maybe you typed in “Is the winter that cold and the summer really that hot?”  Let me stop you right there and say yes, I’ve lived through one summer and It. Is. Extremely. Hot.

The good news is that there are endless articles and blogs (like this one!) out there that will help manage your expectations and prepare you for your move.  I spent countless hours on my quest for information and felt relatively prepared for my move.  That feeling stayed with me right up to the point it was time to get off the plane and I hit the ladies room!  Once I really got into living everyday life here, I encountered so many new and RANDOM things that I had never read about on the Internet…and honestly, why would I?  For the first several months, I felt a little ridiculous every time I stepped out of my apartment and attempted something new.  Let’s just say I made a lot of rookie mistakes.  But hey, that’s all part of the fun!

In an effort to save face for all you other Internet researches out there, I’ve created a list of completely random things that you will undoubtedly come across during your adventures here in South Korea.  Now, I know you will read some of the items on this list and think, “uh duh, that one is completely obvious!”  Okay, let me explain myself.  When you are new here and are ready to venture out, the experience can quickly turn into sensory overload.  Your brain will be working overtime to take in ALL the sights and sounds of this foreign environment.  If you are going to be living in the city, let me tell you…it is busy, busy, busy!  In this moment, you will understandably overlook the completely obvious…hence my list!

1.  Check Please.    Your first eating experience in South Korea will most likely be at a restaurant.  Now if you went straight for the fast food, proceed as normal.  If you are eating at a sit down restaurant with a wait staff, checks are not paid at the table but at a cash register by the door.  This took us a couple days to catch on to but we get leniency for jet lag on this one.  And don’t forget….no tipping at restaurants in Korea – how awesome is that?!

2.  Sliding Doors.  Now, I’m sure you’re thinking “I got this one!”  But hear me out.  We all know about sliding doors, but you’re probably thinking about the automatic ones they have in the United States.  In South Korea you need to look for the button on the left or right hand side of the doors so you can push it to OPEN said doors.  I’ve looked like a complete fool standing and waiting in front of sliding doors on more than one occasion.  I will go ahead and throw escalators into this category too.  SOME escalators do not move until you physically stand in front of it….I know, duh!

3.  Square to Spare?  I could probably spend a few pages writing about the public restrooms here in South Korea but I will keep it short and sweet. The restroom idiosyncrasies I’m pointing out are not consistent across the board, but you will undoubtedly come across them at some point.  First, and perhaps most important, be sure to check for the location of the toilet paper upon entering the restroom because SOMETIMES it will be located OUTSIDE of the stall.  By the time you realize this, it is usually too late!  It’s okay, we’ve all been there.  If you survive the toilet paper debacle and approach the sink, you may see a contraption that looks like a pole with soap sticking out of the bottom of it.  And yes, it is indeed soap-on-a-pole.  I’ve also encountered soap-on-a-magnet (so it can stick to a magnet holder on the wall).  You will also see an everyday bar of soap sitting in a plain ole’ soap dish.  The common theme here is public soap people.  You’re either for it or against it but either way, it takes you off guard the first time you see it in a VERY public setting.  The term “public bar of soap” seems a little counter-intuitive to be, but when in Rome….  As a back up, I like to carry a little hand sanitizer in my purse….just sayin’.

4.  What’s Your Number?  The first time I took the kids out by myself in Seoul, I felt so accomplished!  As I waited in line at the ticket counter at the aquarium, I thought “no big deal here.”  After waiting in what I thought was the ticket line, I approached the counter to finally buy my tickets only for the women behind the counter to point out the ticket machine.  Make sure before you hop in a line to look around for the ticket machine and pull a number!

5.  Wait for the green man!  This tip is really more of a public service announcement.  Seoul is full of pedestrians…and if you are moving here, you’ll be one of them.  There will come a time when you are waiting at a crosswalk for the green man to tell you it’s safe to cross.  If you’re like me, you’ll look both ways and think, “no cars coming, I got this…” but DON’T be tempted!  As soon as you step off the curb, a speeding car and/or motorcycle will literally come out of nowhere.  Ask me how I know this!  Stay safe and wait for the green walking man.

6. License and Registration.  If you happen to build up the courage to obtain a license and drive (good for you and God Speed!), this one is for you.  There may come a time when you look in your rearview and notice flashing police lights.  Here in Korea, flashing police lights do not mean pull over, you’re in trouble…they simply mean “hey, I’m a police car driving around with my lights on” or something like that.

7.  What street do you live on?  Gotcha – that’s a trick question!  There are NO street names in South Korea.  To navigate your way around, you need to know the City (known as the “si”), the district (known as the “gu”), the neighborhood (known as the “dong”), and the number (or range of numbers).  There are other abbreviations, but these are the main ones and are needed for GPS navigation.  If you are walking, the directions will mostly likely be based on landmarks.  For example,  “take a left at the alley just past the McDonalds and look for a large blue sign, it will be three shops down from that!”  Most of the time, this actually works

In an effort to save you from RANDOM information overload, I will bring my list to a close and leave you with this….living in Korea is a full-on adventure like no other!  Remember to explore and take baby steps everyday and before you know it, you will forget that these type of things seemed “odd and out of place” when you first got here!

Shannon originally wrote this piece for Koreaye, another FANTASTIC source for those of you living  he  re in Seoul!
 
감자탕  or neckbone soup as I know it.
However when I googled it, Wikipedia says it is 'pork bone soup'.  SO, I guess maybe it can be made with any type of pork bones?  Who knows.  All I know is it is good and if you like Korean food then you should try this.
A while back I wrote about this Bulgogi and Squid place.
The  Gamjatang place is RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET.
(In Hannam)

Take note:  The orange sign says
감자탕
Go in that alley.
When it dead ends take a left you will see this:
This is the restaurant.
Check out the menu, they even have it highlighted with red around what you need to order.
감자탕 = 6,000 won.
When you order 감자탕, you get this:
Neckbone soup - pork neck bone, vegetables, green onions, hot peppers (although this was not very spicy at all), potatoes and wild sesame seeds.  You will need to eat this with chopsticks and a spoon.  Chopsticks to pick the very tender meat out with, a spoon to eat the delicious broth.
The first time I went we ordered it in a larger size with noodles.  I liked this better, but I'm not sure how to order this.  I'm going to take the picture in next time to show them unless someone on here can tell me what it is.  Super and we added rice at the end when there was only a small amount of broth left to make it even more scrumptious. 
To drive here from post:
Exit Commissary gate - turn left
Stay right - Turn right onto Itaewon Street 
Turn left on Daesagwan-ro - this street has a light. 
(You will be going through a street with many lights and lots of people walking - near Hannam Village)
At the light pretty far down just before you come to the big intersection (Daesagwan-ro)   turn left a - it's kind of a crazy light - I think it is just flashing, maybe not even a light at all - but more of a 4 way stop.
The restaurant is on your left just a few stores down.  
Park on the street.
 
I'm not a huge mayo fan so it took me a long time to actually start making mayo, but now that I do I typically have a batch in the fridge! This chicken salad is reason enough to make your own mayo.

The original mayo recipe comes from Paleo Comfort Foods - a cookbook and blog I love.

1 large egg, room temperature
juice from 1 lemon
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 cup light olive oil
1/2 cup garlic infused avocado oil (I find this at the international market in Itaewon) 

I use my Vitamix to make this, but you can also use a food processor.  When using the vitamix I just keep it on low.

Combine egg, lemon juice and mustard until frothy.
Drizzle the oil in SLOWLY.....I'm talking like a teaspoon at a time.
DO NOT RUSH.
That's it.
Seriously.
Put it in a plastic container and stick in the fridge. 
I keep it for about a week if it last that long.


You can mix up the flavor by adding different types of infused avocado oils, or just toss in different spices! 
Once you make your own mayo you will never go back.  ;)