A dinner of Suwon Beef,
A trick to learn the days of the week in Hangul,
A Korean language workbook,
And a pair of purple crystal earings!
Not everyone exchanges gifts for Chuseok, but the Art teacher is SUPER nice and she took me out with her family to have a really nice day.
Suwon Palace and the Hwaseong Fortress were constructed in the 17th century by King Jeongjo, the 22nd King of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). The king was considering moving the capital from Seoul to Suwon and so he constructed this fortified city with a palace in the center. The gates are not as big as the ones in Seoul, but the walls here are still fully intact.
On the left there is the main entrance to the fortress.
That is a guard tower on the right. It's great to see how history meets the modern world with the bus traveling right underneath it.
I had to take a picture of this bell because, as historical as it is, it reminded me of home. Check out my post about the pictures from Long Beach, CA to see an almost identical bell.
It's a little hard to see, but that brown part in the middle is supposed to have been rice fields. When you walk along the walls of the fortress and look inside it is amazing how much modern city fits inside. Once you realize the fortress is big enough to hold rice fields which prodcued enough rice for the whole city, then you can comprehend its size a little better. (I think this picture is upside down.)
After walking around half of the fortress, which took about 2 hours, we went to the palace.
Here is the entrance:
There are many palaces in Korea, and I go to church next to one, so I see them all the time. What made this one special for me was that they had a lot of scene mock-ups:
I thought: I'm really going to impress the art teacher by saying, "Hwa Jang Shil?" and then pointing to that.
However, those are rice pots.
They are EVERYWHERE in the palace, like bathrooms... but not.
Further, it is said that whenever King Jeongjo saw a rice storage box, he felt pained. So this picture is one of the 5 rice storage boxes in the same area. There are signs that encourage you to climb into the rice box to "feel King Jeongjo's sorrow."
I did NOT feel his sorrow (because I wouldn' crawl in the box).
I did however have a wonderful trip. And we finished our tour of Suwon with a Suwon beef dinner at this fancy restaurant which IMPORTS its beef ...from ... Los Angeles. So I went all the way to Suwon to have LA beef.
After dinner we went back to the art teacher's house and had the gift I gave them for Chuseok: a blueberry yogurt cake from Paris Baguette.
Then the Art teacher gave me my other gifts: the book to learn Korean and the earrings her sister designed.
Chuseok sure feels a lot like Chirstmas to me!