December 25, 2015
My heart is heavy as I type this because our dog is currently missing. He has always been a skittish, fearful dog, and he got really spooked as an employee of the vet's office where he is being boarded took him out for a walk. He chewed through his leash and ran away, and wouldn't come back to them when called. We've got people looking out for him, and my brother has spent hours looking on Christmas. (Thank you so much, Z.) It feels wrong to enjoy ourselves while he's alone and afraid out there. Please say a prayer for Reggie's safe return.
Christmas morning was magical. I think the age of four is one of the best ages for Christmas. True wonder and awe at everything. Here are some photos of the morning:
We played around with our new toys and then went to breakfast at a place called Butterfinger Pancakes.
On the way there, we took a family selfie with our Christmas hats on:
We also saw more cool buildings:
And this weird foot sculpture that Dusty said I'd love. (I have this thing with feet. But not in a good way.)
Cars just drive up on the sidewalks and park where they want here. It's bizarre:
Some photos of breakfast:
There were cool ceiling lights:
On the way back, I took this photo of the kids, which might end up being my favorite of the trip.
This one's not bad either:
On the way home, I got some missed phone calls from a number I didn't recognize. I didn't want to answer them because international rates are ridiculous (I was kind of surprised that the call came through, actually) So when we got back to the hotel and on wifi, I texted the number and that's when we found out Reggie was missing. The rest of the day was fun, but we are understandably worried about our dog.
We came back home, took short naps, and then watched "It's a Wonderful Life" together. Yet another Christmas tradition that we couldn't leave at home.
Our evening activities were planned near a University where Brie and Tyler have been going to an English mass. We took the subway there, and I took special note of the accessibility features (apparently work is often on my mind!) Seoul is awesome for accessibility. There are ridges all over the sidewalks and in the subway. Dashes are for a path to follow and dots indicate an intersected path, a doorway, or the ends of a sidewalk.
Lots of Braille prominently placed everywhere too:
The subway was more crowded than I have ever seen in New York, Boston, of San Francisco, which are the only cities where I've done public transportation. People are super nice here, though, and always offered a seat for whoever had Natalie with them. Also, on our way back, my subway card didn't work properly and a woman helped direct me to where I could have a subway worker let me through a gate that he operated. We have "TOURIST" stamped on our foreheads here, but people seem to go out of there way to be nice to us. Something to think about. America, I'm talking to you. We don't always treat our tourists this way.
There was a Christmas celebration going on near the University and so we pushed through a throng of people to get to the place where we had dinner. It felt like Mardi Gras. But colder. And with FAR fewer drunk people.
This lighted Christmas tree was cool:
We ate at a Korean BBQ place which was awesome. There are small charcoal fires at each table and they bring you marinated meat of your choice along with some other condiments, sauces, and vegetables to have with it. I also tried kimchee and was surprised that I liked it! I mean, I wouldn't eat it every day like they do here, but it wasn't bad! (kimchee is a Korean specialty of fermented cabbage with spicy sauce.)
After we ate, we went to an English mass. The tradition of mass was a comfort in such a different place. There were some neat people there. We took a family photo in front of the Nativity afterward:
There was another beautiful Nativity outside on the campus:
We were pretty beat on our way back to the hotel, and so I didn't take many photos, but this is the kind of scenery that we saw (neon lights, lots of activity) :
Nati crashed hard during mass and Tyler carried her all the way back to the hotel:
We got back and crashed hard. I got more sleep last night than the previous two nights, but was up checking on the status of Reggie a few times. I feel fairly well rested, though. So that's good. Once again, if you can say a prayer for the safe return of Reggie, that'd be great.
I'm not sure what we have planned for today. Maybe the Star Wars movie? Apparently Korean movie theaters are fancy and cool. More to come tomorrow.