A quick trip for our favorite things in Daegu

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We’re about four months from DEROS (Date of Estimated Return from Overseas). No, we don’t know where we’re moving yet in the United States. But we know we’re leaving relatively soon so we decided to go back to some of our favorite places in Daegu this weekend.

Most military families are in South Korea for two years, though some may extend for three years. Since we are a two months shy of the four year mark, most of our Daegu friends don’t live there anymore so we mostly went for the food.

Saturday morning we drove down to Daegu. The traffic wasn’t bad until we got to Daegu, which is normal. Thankfully Daegu traffic is not as bad as Seoul traffic. When we arrived at Camp Walker, our first order of business was lunch at Awesome Burger, which is near gate 4. We were able to meet up with one of Tim’s friends for lunch. Tim got his usual hellgate burger. I got a regular burger with no bun. Clarissa just ate french fries. We were all very satisfied with our meal.

The next stop was the library. While we lived in Daegu, the Camp Walker Library was pretty much Clarissa and my favorite place. We were there at least once per week. They ordered a bunch of books from my wishlist so I know that I like the selection there. I was disappointed that none of our friends were there. It looks like they may have moved as well. But Clarissa and I still found several books to borrow (you can borrow books from any army library in Korea while stationed on peninsula).

At 3:00, we headed downtown to our hotel, Novotel. We stayed there when we were moving in and out of Daegu so we knew we liked the location. We did forget however, that the temperature is always awful. It was set to about 80 degrees but they did give us a fan for our room. But the view is always great.

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After settling in, we did some shopping. We hit up Daiso (like a Family Dollar), Mango Case (cellphone accessory store- the place to go if you need a screen protector or case for a phone or tablet. They apply it perfectly!), and S Dot (like a Michaels- located next to the Play Station Store). Then we headed to our favorite Korean Barbecue right as they opened at 5:00. If you wait until 6pm or later Kyung Sung Market is packed! (Kyung Sung Market is in Banwoldong a few doors down from Mir Dental)

The food was delicious as usual. Our usual Dunkin Donuts wasn’t there anymore. So we decided on Auntie Anne’s for dessert and walked backed to our hotel. There were some pretty Christmas lights and some people singing Christmas Carols in Hangul on our way.

We did something unusual for us, and just relaxed in the hotel room (we usually run around for hours until we come back to the hotel room and crash when on vacation). Sunday morning, we had McDonald’s for breakfast since it was across the street from the hotel. On our way back to the hotel, it started snowing. Clarissa enjoyed catching snow on her tongue. It was fun to watch the snow from 21 floors up, but you can’t see it as well in the pictures.

After checking out of the hotel we went to our favorite emart (like a Target) in Wolbae. It was a great emart when we left a year and a half ago. It has since been renovated and is even better. It includes a kid cafe and an electromart now so we were happy.

We headed back to Camp Walker for Tim’s favorite pizza. Italy and Italy is right outside gate 4. It was snowing really well by the time we got there. We like it because you can customize your pizza or pasta. The food was great, as always. Tim’s friend came back to see us for lunch.

The snow let up about the time we got out of Daegu. The traffic was only bad in Daegu as well. Since it was primarily a food vacation, we had to go to Tim’s favorite Thai restaurant when we got back into town. Sawatdee (in Osan’s ville) is our favorite.

Random Daegu Adventures

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There are a few places that I have been wanting to check out. Clarissa and I have actually done a lot of exploring with friends in the past two weeks. 

Our first adventure was Racoona Matata, a racoon cafe in downtown Daegu. I honestly don’t recommend it for small children. A friend went to check it out with some adults so we thought it would be fine to bring the kids there. It cost 4,000 won ($4) per person to enter the cafe. The racoons were cute. One was friendly but another was very aggressive and swiped at Clarissa’s face when she got close. The worker gave us what looked like dog food to feed them. I did pet them. Their fur was a little sticky. Clarissa was excited at first, but that only lasted five minutes and then was afraid of the racoons. Her friend liked it though. 

Our next adventure was the Daegu City Tour. For the first year and a half or so in Daegu, Clarissa really enjoyed Tayo. One of the grown up busses on the show is Cito, whose face is on the Daegu City Tour busses. Clarissa would often point and say, “Look! It’s Cito!” 

There are 14 stops on the bus and a full loop takes an hour and 45 minutes. But you can hop on and off the bus as much as you like in one day. It only costs 5,000 won ($5 usd) for an adult. Elementary school students cost 3,000 won and younger children ride for free. We got on at the beginning, Dongdaegu. But I think you can pay and get on at any stop. 

It didn’t matter to me how long we were on the bus, as long as we could say that we rode the Cito bus. It was a rainy day so we just decided on one place to go. I was surprised that there was not a toilet on this double decker bus. The kids needed to use the restroom at stop 10, the Apsan Observatory. Thankfully we found a toilet right near the stop and were able to hop back on before the bus left to continue to our intended destination. We got off on stop 12, Children’s Hall. 

I have not been to Children’s Hall in almost two years. It is a children’s museum. The kids had a great time. I was a little disappointed in that the exhibits that were broken on my last visit were still broken. In addition to the tour bus, there is a subway stop for Children’s Hall on the yellow line. 

Museum entrance is free. There is a “game room” where you can pay to ride mechanical figures. It costs 100 won (about 10 cents). You can also pay that price for the shooting range game. There are things to climb on and ride outside as well. 

We had lunch at Ricco Papa, a chain restaurant in Daegu. They have pasta, pizza, and random other things for decent prices. The best part is that there is a special room for families to eat that is attached to a play place for the kids where they can climb, slide, and jump on a trampoline. 

Our latest adventure was Dalseong Park. There is paid parking available on the street. But Dalseong Park is also a stop on the yellow line. 

The park itself is pretty with trees and rocks. The kids had plenty of space to run, jump, and climb. There is a bathroom facility and a free zoo. But it was a typical Korean zoo so the cages were small and the animals look sad. 

The new Shinsagae Mall 

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We like to go for long walks.  When we lived in Norfolk,  we would head to the oceanfront for a walk on the boardwalk.  When it was too cold,  we would head to an area mall.  We walk a lot in Daegu but didn’t have a place to walk in the cold,  until now. 

Tim used to walk Coex Mall in Seoul a lot when he was stationed at Osan so he was really excited for the new Shinsagae Mall in Daegu.  Surely we would be able to get some great walks in a 9 story mall. 

We were not disappointed and have actually been twice already. The first time was on a weekday so it would not be so crowded. We took the subway to Dongdaegu station,  which connects to the mall. 

There were so many restaurants on B1 to choose from,  but we weren’t quite hungry.  The elevator wait looked like it would be a while so we folded up the stroller and took the escalator and explored the first couple of floors of expensive shops.  Clarissa was very excited.  I hope she doesn’t have expensive tastes as she grows… 

We did finally take an elevator to the 6th floor so that Tim could check out Electro Mart.  It was a great store with all kinds of gadgets.  We actually bought two lamps.  

While we waited for the elevator we realized why it took so long.  There were always three elevators.  But at least one elevator was an “express”  elevator which meant that it did not stop on every floor. Then when the elevator stops,  it is full and I mean Korea full where there is no room at all. You can easily wait 20 minutes for the elevator. 

The seventh floor has a really nice toy store that is reasonably priced.  They had a rather large Lego section among other things.  Clarissa enjoyed walking through the tunnels and in the big doll house.  It was hard to convince her to leave. 

There was also a really cute furniture store for kids right next to the toy store. 

On the ninth floor was the aquarium,  and one of the main reasons we went to the mall that day.  We had to get a number and wait in line to buy tickets.  It cost 77,000 won (about $70)  for the three of us so I was expecting a great aquarium. 

I was actually very disappointed.  There weren’t any tanks with large fish at all.  Usually there was only a small tank on one side of the wall.  There were a few lizards,  snakes,  raccoons,  and even rabbits.  Even Clarissa was surprised when we got to the end.  

We did find Nemo and Dory,  so it wasn’t a total loss.  There was also a water play area where Clarissa got very wet.  But the fish in the touch tank were small and didn’t want to be touched. 

Also on the 9th floor is a carousel.  It is only for kids aged 2-7. You have to show that you have spent at least 30,000 won at the mall for entry. The ride was probably about 2 minutes.  But Clarissa loved it! 


There is an outdoor play area as you exit the ninth floor.  It looks like they are building a kiddie roller coaster.  There were several things to climb on and the view from the end was really cool.  

They also have arcade games inside on the 9th floor.  Bring plenty of coins.  Most games were 1,000 –  2,000 won.  

The map said there was a bookstore on the 6th floor of the parking garage so we headed there next.  There was not a foreign books section.  I don’t know if the English books are just scattered throughout the store or if they just didn’t have any. 

Also in the parking garage building is Vaunce,  a trampoline place.  Clarissa stayed with Tim so I could check it out before she saw it.  It looked better suited for elementary kids.  Large trampolines,  music,  foam pits,  and ropes to climb.  Plus it costs 11,000 won per hour.  

We did eat lunch and  that day since we were at the mall for almost 8 hours.  Pei Way is like the food court version of PF Changs.  The food was excellent and the prices were reasonable. Dinner was Johnny Rockets which was fine. 

Tim and I went back to the mall for date day. We went back to Electro Mart but mostly hung out on the eighth floor.  There are several restaurants and part of the level is set up to look like a city street.  We had Ron Thai for lunch.  There were several things to choose from. Some menu items were expensive and they would not let you customize orders (like add chicken to curry).  But our food was good. 

There is something called Shinsagae Academy where they have classes you can take.  It looks like they have adult ballet on Saturday afternoon right before they they have Clarissa’s age ballet so we need to look into that after our spring travel is over.  

The main event of our date was Star Wars. Tim wanted to check out the new movie theater.  We really enjoyed the experience.  It was called Dolby Atmos.  The sound was really good as in it seemed to move whether it was supposed to be in front of you or behind you.  The lighting was nice as well.  There was a blue light at appropriate times.  The seats were huge,  leather,  and padded.  Very comfortable.  But not for short people.  My feet barely touched the floor.  Next time,  I think I will put a baby seat on the floor for my feet.  But Tim liked the experience better than IMAX and that’s a pretty big deal.  

So basically,  we highly recommend the new Shinsagae Mall.  Just skip the aquarium and if you can,  leave the strollers at home.  The escalators are much faster. 

Mittens’s first visit with a Korean vet

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We adopted Mittens from the vet on post.  Someone found Mittens and her siblings on the roof of a building on Camp Henry.  

So far,  we have brought Mittens to the vet on post for all of her shots.  Once she went into heat in September,  we knew it was time to get her spayed. I called the vet on post but apparently the waiting list for surgery is so long that they would not even add her to the list until January.  So we decided to take her off post.  

Several people recommended Hyundai Animal Medical Care Center.  I called and was put on hold for the vet assistant that speaks English.  She told me that I could just walk one morning about 10:00 with Mittens any day except Thursday or Saturday.  I just had to make sure that I didn’t feed her after midnight the day before. 

We decided on Veterans Day since I could use the car.  Tim stayed home with Clarissa and Mittens and I set out for our adventure.  I didn’t have an exact address but I knew it was on the main road.  Instead of turning left to go to Camp Henry,  just keep straight and then make a u-turn. 

Two different people told me that there was no parking there but you can just park at the police station next door.  The parking lot was full so I had to venture down the one way streets and find a place to parallel park. The road was so narrow that I had to stop the car and fold my mirrors in.  I was quite impressed with myself for pulling it off without hitting or scratching anything. 

Then Mittens and I walked to the vet clinic.  I had been warned that there was another vet clinic close by,  but the name was different so I knew that wasn’t the place. When we got to the vet clinic,  it was fairly large and clean.  We were greeted in Korean and English.  

The English speaker stayed and had me fill out some paperwork.  Then we went to a small office to discuss the surgery.  With the pre-op blood work,  anesthesia, spaying surgery,  and follow up medication cost 423,000 won ($370). 

They brought Mittens back for her blood work for a few minutes.  I stayed in the office. They brought Mittens to me while they waited for the results.  She was fine until the dogs in the big room started barking at each other.  Then she started getting antsy. They showed me a printout and the Korean doctor went through each item like blood sugar and liver function and said,  “no problem.”

A few minutes later they came back for Mittens.  The surgery itself took about 10 minutes.  Then the doctor came in and said that the surgery was over but she needed some wake up time.  It took about a half hour for her to start to wake up. They took me back to see her and then said I could take her home in about 30 minutes when she was done with her IV.  Most cats don’t eat for a few days,  so the IV will help give her some nourishment. It ended up being another hour. 

I was there for a total of about three hours.  The place was clean,  a pleasant temperature,  and the staff was friendly. Overall,  I was pleased with Mittens’s care. If you have an emergency or your pet needs surgery or an x ray,  I would recommend them. But for many things,  I think that the Camp Walker vet is cheaper. 

Swan boats on Suseong Lake 

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The first time we went to Suseong Lake,  I saw the swan boats and thought they looked pretty cool.  But we were heading to dinner with friends so it wasn’t really an option.  

Clarissa and I met up with some friends at the lake in June so I planned to try them then.  I got Clarissa all excited about the swan boats.  But they weren’t operating on a Friday morning. I figured it was just a weekend thing. 

So when Clarissa and I were invited to Suseong Lake with friends this Monday morning,  I wasn’t thinking about the swan boats.  

We arrived to the lake to see our friends and I saw that the swan boats were out.  I thought that maybe Clarissa and I would have to do them after our friends went home. I didn’t say anything to Clarissa,  but she quickly noticed that they were there and asked to ride them.  

One of our friends wanted to do swan boats as well.  All 5 of us (2 adults and 3 small children)  were able to fit in our swan boat without a problem.  We honestly could have fit another toddler /preschooler if we wanted.  It cost 18,000 won for 30 minutes,  which I think is a reasonable price. I think you pay per boat, regardless of the number of people. They do have life jackets for small children through adults. 

We had a great time around the lake.  The kids each had a turn steering the boat,  which meant we did a lot of circles and stayed on a small section of the lake.  But they had so much fun.  

I did most of the pedaling,  as our friend was too tall.  The four year old could kind of pedal.  Clarissa was a little short and the two year old didn’t try. 

I would definitely recommend the swan boats as a family activity.  We may do it again in the spring once Clarissa grows a few inches.  Next time,  we may hit up the little amusement park as well. 

Clarissa’s first movie theater experience 

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Last summer and fall,  Clarissa was obsessed with the movie Finding Nemo.  There were two copies at the library.  So most weeks at storytime we would return our copy and borrow the other one. She received the DVD as a gift for Christmas so that we didn’t need to borrow it anymore. 

When we heard that Finding Dory was coming out,  we knew she had to see it.  We thought that at almost three years old,  she would be able to sit through the movie in the theater and actually enjoy it. 

The movie was supposed to come out in June.  Tim had a four day weekend for the Fourth of July so we thought that Friday would be perfect because it wouldn’t be as crowded. All week I talked up the movie.  Tim brought home the book from TDY (business trip).  We talked about how the movie would be on the big screen and we would have to sit and be quiet but we would get to eat popcorn. 

Thursday night after I put her to bed,  I went online to look at movie times and was surprised to discover that the movie would not be out in Korea for another week. We were so upset. 

The next morning,  Clarissa woke up ready for her movie and I had to tell her that I made a mistake and we actually couldn’t go to the movie until next week. She was surprisingly satisfied with my explanation. 

All of the English movie times were during the week. Tim took the next Friday afternoon  off and we met him at the subway to go downtown. 

We headed to the food court at Hyundai Department store for lunch.  Tim ordered grilled eel at the bento place.  I ordered bibimbap.  Clarissa ate my rice. 

After lunch we had an hour to kill so we decided to go for a walk.  As we walked past Miso City,  we noticed that there were some traditional houses so we decided to check them out.  There was a bit of a walking tour,  complete with stamps.  Clarissa wanted me to stamp both of her hands. 

After we completed the loop we went back to Hyundai Department Store to buy our movie tickets.  We ordered some popcorn and had to wait a few minutes before we could go to the theater. 

When we bought our tickets,  we received two small posters.  Clarissa would not let me put the Dory poster in my bookbag for safe keeping. 

She did very well in the theater.  She sat in her seat for most of the movie.  She only had to sit in my lap for the last 15 minutes or so. 

Once the movie started Clarissa was too interested in the big screen to eat her popcorn. But she was pretty quiet.  She asked a few questions but was a reasonable noise level throughout the movie. 

It was a great family outing.  I wonder what our next movie will be… 

Car Repair in Daegu

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We bought our car in January, and Tim had his first car accident in Korea about two weeks later. It was a very minor accident involving a taxi. They seem to come out of nowhere often!

Neither our car nor the taxi had major damage, mostly scratched paint. We waited until Tim was off for President’s Day to take it to be fixed.

Several people at work recommended Sanho Garage. If you are coming from Camp Henry, it is on the road right before the turn to Camp Walker gate 4.

We brought the car in about 10:30 that morning. We just parked the car in the back and walked up the stairs to the office. The manager went back downstairs with us and looked at our car. Mr. Chang spoke excellent English. He was very familiar with USAA insurance, but our cost was less than our deductible anyway.

He told us to leave the keys with him and come back for the car after work on Wednesday.

We were very happy with the price and the service. The car looks as good as new. You can’t tell it was in an accident.

They do take credit card.

Parties and Exploring Daegu

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We had quite the exciting weekend.

On Friday, Clarissa and I walked to Daiso to pick out Eva’s birthday present. Clarissa had a hard time remembering that we were choosing things for her friend and not for Clarissa to keep. She may have played with Eva’s magic wand for an hour to make sure that it worked…

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Friday night, Clarissa and I met her friends at Sky Jumping Land. It was my first Friday night traffic driving experience. I must say that I did very well. In the car, Clarissa kept asking me where Sky Jumping Land was in addition to asking me the name of the person who was singing each song multiple times. It was quite funny.

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Sky Jumping Land is a new location. It was very clean and bright. The staff was nice. The address is 1244-4 Igokdong, Dalseogu, Daegu. I just put 1244-4 Igokdong in waze, and it worked though. I ended up parking at the McDonalds next door. It’s near Seongdeo Lotte Cinema, the 3rd floor of the KB bank building.

Saturday afternoon we went to another birthday party. This one was easy to find because it was at the library on base. Irony was that my facebook memory that morning was meeting the birthday girl’s parents at the library last year. Hanna was born four days later. The party was fun. Clarissa enjoyed playing with the toys as well as opening the birthday gifts for Hanna.

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After the party, Clarissa and I headed to KUMFA. In South Korea, the population is declining, so the government gives parents a stipend for their children. Culturally, it is very taboo to get pregnant if you are not married, so single mothers are not eligible for this stipend. When I recently discovered this, I was quite angry and am still trying to figure out what my response to this should be. There is an organization called KUMFA- Korean Unwed Mothers’ Families Association that acts like a crisis pregnancy center to help these women. They don’t receive government funding, so they are in need of donations. We brought all of Clarissa’s baby things with us to Korea, so we decided to bring them everything we were not currently using. Clarissa helped me bag everything and we talked about how all of her things were going to help moms and babies. I don’t think she understood, but that’s okay. If you are interested in dropping off donations, let me know and I can give you the contact information.

On Sunday, we decided to do some exploring. I will say that it is much easier to explore places further out now that we have a car. We finally went to see the Arc. Clarissa was confused when we arrived because one of her favorite books right now is Noah’s Ark. So she wanted to know where the giraffes and elephants were! It didn’t help that when we arrived we heard a rooster crow. She was determined to find that rooster…

The Arc itself looked pretty cool. It was a little hazy so we couldn’t see as far out as we would have liked. But the river was nice and there were plenty of walking trails.

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They had several shops nearby to rent bikes and Segway. There is also another vehicle that is just a wheel that you stand on.

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We also saw the dam while we were there.

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Near our parking lot was a little plot of land. There was a farmer there tilling the soil so Clarissa and watched him for a while and he smiled and waved at us.

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Then, Clarissa finally saw her rooster! She was thrilled but disappointed that I wouldn’t let her get close enough to touch him. There was also a dog. And as we were getting into the car, we saw horses in the distance. Apparently, you can also rent horses there! Clarissa and I got pretty close to the horses as well.

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We didn’t want to go home yet, and a friend had mentioned Emart Traders the day before so we decided to head there next. It very much reminds me of Costco, without the membership fee. Though they do have a credit card that you need to get the maximum discount on certain items. They sell clothes, appliances, and electronics in addition to groceries and household items. They also have many bulk items. The signs label aisles in both Korean and English.

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For our purposes, Emart Traders would probably only be worth the trip if I was hosting a party or event and needed things in bulk. They did have decent prices on produce, but I can get that closer to home.

There was a food court as well, but the line was very long so we decided to skip it. We headed towards Camp Walker and decided on Hami Mami’s for lunch. Tim has been there before, but it was my first time. Hami Mami’s is located outside of Camp Walker, gate 4. It is on the corner of the first little road.

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Tim and I both ordered a breakfast. Tim got eggs, hash browns, sausage, and french toast. I had eggs, hash browns, and bacon. Clarissa had french fries. The food was all delicious.

There is a bathroom, but you have to go outside to get to it. It is also a squatty instead of a western toilet, so you are better off going to the bathroom on base before you go. But the restaurant itself is clean and the staff is friendly. They do speak English. The prices are excellent. Our total was about $20.

After our meal, we stopped at the commissary to pick up some soy milk. Clarissa said that she heard a rooster while we were in the parking lot. I jokingly said, “if the rooster is inside the commissary, he’s in trouble” (because he would be food). Clarissa’s two year old self was quite concerned for the rooster and wanted to go inside very quickly to help him (since I said he was in trouble). She didn’t believe me when I said that there wasn’t a rooster inside the commissary and she actually looked down each aisle to be sure.

Korean eye care

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In November,  Tim was on his last pair of contact lenses.  I was almost two years in to wearing my glasses and was starting to get headaches.  We decided that it was time to visit the eye doctor.  Tim asked around at work and most people just said to go to whatever eye place was closest to your house.

Tim wasn’t satisfied with that answer.  So he did some research and found Yaga.  It was definitely not close to our house.  It was on the first floor of one of the Trump Towers in Suseong Lake area (105 Dusan-dong, Suseong-gu, Daegu).  You can take the yellow subway line to Hwanggeum.

It was very close to a massive Kyochon chicken restaurant that we wanted to check out.  So after Clarissa’s Saturday afternoon nap attempt (notice I didn’t just say nap),  we headed to Kyochon.  After dinner we walked to the SK Leaderview apartments, turned right and walked around Trump World until we found Yaga (the street side of the apartments, first floor).

We walked in and said that we needed contacts. The woman who worked there took us to a wall of contacts and asked us what we wanted. We explained that we needed an eye test.

She took my glasses and examined them in a machine to determine my current prescription. She then instructed me to sit behind the machine where she measured my eyes. Then she gave me an eye test where I read off letters in English.

She said that my prescription was the same. So I decided to just get contacts. She had several different styles of lenses to choose from and they were all at a relatively cheap prices. Tim explained that we had astigmatism and needed special lenses. He Googled what we wanted a she said that she would order them for us and they would be ready by Wednesday. Tim and I each ordered six months of contacts for 220,000 won (about $175). That is less than half of the cost that we paid stateside.

My glasses finally broke this week. Tim superglued the frame back together but I knew it was time to get new frames. I didn’t want to go all the way to Suseong so I thought I would check out the eye place down the street.

This morning I went to Eye Gentry in Dalseo. It is across the street from A Twosome Place, and a few stores down from LG, Nine Road Pizza, and Pizza Hut near Seobu bus terminal /Sangdongmot train station. The address on my receipt says 232 Guma Ro.

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I seriously should have timed it, but I am pretty sure that I was in and out in less than 30 minutes. I walked in and said that I needed new glasses. The older man walked me to the frames. I explained that I needed a test so he took me to his machine. He determined my current prescription and then proceeded to do the eye test. This one was numbers instead of letters.

He tried explaining some things in Korean, and I actually understood some of it. Then we went to the frames. There were at least 200 to choose from. He was very proud of the selection big round ones (very Korean) that don’t look good on my face. I ended up with a style similar to what I already had.

He then tried to explain that my prescription was very thick but I could get thinner lenses. I used my fingers to indicate that I wanted the thinnest ones. He wrote the price on the prescription paper. 115,000 won ($95) is way cheaper than I would have paid back home.

I went to the cashier to pay and he motioned me instead to sit near a table while they proceeded to make my glasses! A few minutes later, they were ready. I paid and walked home.

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I was really impressed with both eye places. The workers were nice. They speak about as much English as I do Korean, but we were able to communicate well enough. I was surprised that you don’t need a prescription for contacts. They will sell you whatever you need. I also surprised that they could do my glasses on the spot. In Virginia Beach, I always had to come back a week or two later to get my glasses or contact lenses.

I have heard great things about getting Lasik done here for less than $1,000 so we may have to look into that too…

 

Clarissa’s first haircut

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I guess that the title of this blog post is not entirely accurate. Memaw cut Clarissa’s bangs twice before we moved to Korea and I have cut them a few times. Her bangs were getting long again and the varying lengths of the rest of her hair was starting to get on my nerves. So at almost two and a half, I decided she should get her first professional haircut.

Around the time of her birthday, we had a play date at Debec department store. Across from the play area they have a place for kid’s haircuts where the kids get to sit in race cars. I made a mental note that we would come back for Clarissa’s first haircut.

We took the 156 bus to Seomun market and took the sky rail to Daebonggyo. Debec doesn’t open until 10:30 and the kid’s stuff doesn’t open until 11. We arrived about 12:15 and it was really busy. The lady I spoke to didn’t speak any English. But I wrote Clarissa’s name on the list in Hangul and decided to wait. A Korean mom explained that it would be 1:30 – 2 before it would be our turn so we would probably want to eat lunch and come back.

We headed down to the food court at B1 and ended up with Namaste Indian food for lunch. I don’t think we have eaten Indian since we arrived, so it was a fun change of pace. The owner spoke excellent English. Tim had spicy chicken vindaloo, I had a not spicy chicken, and Clarissa had some Nan. We were all very satisfied with our lunch.

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Then we headed back to the eighth floor to wait for Clarissa’s haircut. I had decided that if it wasn’t our turn yet, she would get to play in the play yard.

They were ready for her when we got there. Our stylist was beautiful but didn’t really speak English. So I pointed to Clarissa’s bangs and the back of her hair and we communicated that I just wanted a small amount cut off. I figured, Clarissa will look cute regardless and if it is too short, it will grow back.

She first offered Clarissa some candy.

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When Clarissa started to get antsy, the other stylist turned on cartoons. Clarissa did very well. She flinched every time her hair was sprayed with water. But she let the stylist cut her hair.

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When she got really wiggly, the stylist gave her a handful of candy and continued on. She even tried to curl her hair with a straightener and put some ponytails in it.

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I was very happy with the results. It cost 20,000 won (like $16.50).

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We rewarded Clarissa with some time at the play yard. It costs 4,000 won (about $3.30). I think you can drop off your child while you shop, but I never leave her. She enjoyed her playtime. It gave me an excuse to take more hair pictures, though some are blurry because she was playing.

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She started with four ponytails in her hair. An hour later, she is down to two. But she still looks cute!

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Random November Adventures

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The weather has turned cold in Daegu. But we are still enjoying our adventures.

Clarissa and I continue to go to Story Time at the library on Thursdays. There is usually a craft after the reading. But to celebrate Thanksgiving, we did cookie decorating instead. Clarissa did decide to participate. She tried frosting her cookie but immediately realized that it was “messy” and so tried to wipe the frosting off with her napkin. I took one for the team and ate it while she enjoyed a plain cookie. The other kids had a blast decorating their cookies though. I must confess I forgot to take pictures. I will try again next month when we do it again for Christmas!

This month Tim and I were able to have a date day instead of a date night. Parent’s Day Out was from 9-5 on a Saturday.

We started at the holiday bazaar at the PX parking lot. We were able to custom order Clarissa a Christmas stocking. I am excited to see how that turns out. Tim designed it and I think it will be pretty. There were food samples as well so we tried KyoChon chicken. It was amazing! Better than Chick-fil-a! So we bought a small chicken strips and snacked on our walk to the subway.

We took the train to Jungangno so that we could check the movie times along the way to Hyundai Department Store. We were interested in Hunger Games, Spectre, and Martian. The movie time that worked best with our time restraints was the 2:00 showing of Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 2. The movie was playing in 4dx at that time.

A few weeks ago Tim really liked his Malaysian food at PanAsia Express, so we decided to try that for lunch. But when we got there, the menu was completely different. So after walking around B1 of Hyundai, we decided to see which restaurants were on the eighth floor. We used to really like a sushi place up there but it left. We did eat in the same location though, at a place called Gate 9. It was a really cute Thai place. We have been looking for good Thai since we arrived in Daegu. This is the closest we have found to Thai Arroy in Virginia Beach. Tim got a curry and I had my favorite pad see eew but with beef. Both dishes were great! The service was good too.

After lunch, we went to Lotte Young Plaza to see our movie. When we entered the CGV, we had to take a number. When our number was called, we talked to the ticket lady to choose our seats. We actually got decdent seats for opening weekend. We weren’t planning on seeing the movie in 4d, but it was either that or no movie so we decided to try it.

Short story. 4dx isn’t worth it. The seats move at random times and they don’t always make sense. Thankfully, I was wearing contacts because water kept squirting at my face and every time Katniss shot an arrow, a puff of air would go by my ear. It was actually kind of annoying. Also, we didn’t really enjoy the movie. I’m sure the 4d special effects didn’t help. It has probably been four years since I read the books, but I remember several differences. And it was just darker than I remembered also.

We barely missed the train so we got back to base later than we expected, which meant that I had to run in order to pick Clarissa up on time. I actually did very well for myself and got there with three minutes to spare.

We have never left Clarissa that long with someone not related to us, so we didn’t know how she would do. She had a great time. She didn’t nap for them of course, but she did eat lunch. We took her to the PX to get pizza for dinner where we ran in to our neighbor friends. They were actually in charge of the holiday bazaar that day and gave us a coupon for KyoChon.

After our visit to the dentist, we took the train to Hwanggeum so we could have lunch at KyoChon. They were closed apparently. So we found the bus and decided to go back to Banwaldong to get KyoChon at a different location. We knew the coupon wouldn’t work there, but we were in the mood for their chicken. We were not disappointed. The chicken strips and potato wedges were awesome. Clarissa actually ate both and she hasn’t eaten meat in months!

Saturday we took the 651 bus to Dongdaegu express bus terminal. When we go to Japan next month, we are flying out of Busan. There is a bus that will take you from Daegu directly to the airport and we wanted to buy our tickets ahead of time. It costs 10,200 won ($8.82) and only takes about an hour. It was a pretty quick and painless process. We took the 156 bus back to the apartment. It’s nice to have two options that are so close to our apartment.

Sunday we met our friends at imaming,  which is what my other American friends refer to as a jump jump place.  You pay 3,000 won per hour ($2.56) for your child to run around,  play with toys, or jump on the trampoline. Adults have a flat 2,000 won ($1.70) entrance fee. It is about a five minute walk from our apartment.  We have only been twice but Clarissa loves it.

I like watching her play,  talking to adults,  and people watching. Clarissa usually makes friends wherever we go,  so this was no exception.  There were two little girls there that were probably 9 or 10.  They followed Clarissa everywhere.  They carried her up the slide,  caught he at the bottom,  and even pushed her around in the car.  I love that kids don’t care about age,  race,  or language.  They just play!

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Daegu Arboretum

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The weather changed pretty quickly in November. For my birthday, it was sunny and 80. A week later it was in the 50s most of the time. There were snow flurries on Thanksgiving. But that hasn’t stopped us from having some new adventures.

We decided we either wanted to check out the ARC or the arboretum. Tim was more excited about the ARC, so he studied the bus map and realized that one of the 2 busses takes you right to the ARC. Great. But there are about 10 routes on the 2 bus, so you have to take the right one. So we got to the bus stop and he realized the next one would be at least an hour.

New plan. He had also glanced over the way to the Daegu Arboretum. There were a few options of busses and then we would walk two blocks. No problem. We took the rapid 6 bus to to bus 653. Then, we started walking. The leaves had started to change so it was pretty. Chilly. But we were okay with that because it was so beautiful.

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What we thought was the arboretum was actually a sports complex. But we could see road signs to the arboretum so we kept walking. Two miles later, we reached our destination. The walk actually turned exciting because we passed city hall. Why the big deal? Clarissa had been asking us to take her to city hall for about a month. The busses on Tayo had to go to city hall for something and she was determined to go there too. So we passed it and I made a big deal out of the fact that it was city hall. Granted it was a Sunday and I don’t know if we could have gone in anyway. But Clarissa wasn’t impressed.

On our way in to the arboretum, a woman at a food stand gave Clarissa a free cookie. The arboretum was popular as the parking lot was filling up very quickly. The first section had several sculptures using flowers. They had several different animals. But Clarissa’s favorites was a bus that reminded her of Tayo and a sculpture of Larva.

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There was a wooden walking path around the arboretum as well as dirt paths throughout each section. It was wet and a little muddy so we mostly stuck to the wooden path. The leaves were beautiful.

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There was a couple doing a photoshoot of some kind. Engagement pictures maybe? They thought Clarissa was adorable and pointed to her. I thought they were asking if they could take a picture of her so I said yes. They scooped her up and started taking pictures with her!

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I think it will be worth going back in the spring or summer when all of the leaves bloom again.

 

My Korean dentist

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We moved to Daegu nine months ago,  so I figured it was time to go to the dentist.  I asked for recommendations on facebook and a friend recommended MIR Dental Hospital so we decided to check them out.

At least one of the dentists there speaks English. Some of the hygenists do. At least the woman who cleaned Tim’s teeth did.

We took the train to Banwoldong and walked through the underground shopping mall until the very end (you pass two sets of giant painted screws that are used as chairs, a few pet stores, and a ton of restaurants). MIR is part of a 10 story building, but clearly labeled. There is parking available.

We walked in and filled out some paperwork. Very minimal. We just had to give them our names, birthdates, cell phone numbers, Korean address, and tell them if we take any medications. Then we were instructed to go the fourth floor.

Tim went first. Clarissa and I waited in the waiting room. The waiting area was very nice. They had couches as well as individual seats. There was a coffee area and a tv as well.

Then it was my turn. Back home, I usually get my teeth cleaned before the dentist sees me. But the dentist examined me first. Dental chairs are pretty standard I guess, because he leaned me back just fine. His English was excellent. No cavities 🙂

I am generally OCD about my glasses getting dirty so I always wear contacts when I go to the dentist. Here, I probably won’t have to. The hygenist put what looked like a paper towel with a hole cut out over my mouth. I couldn’t see much. But I also didn’t get spit and other random fluids all over my face.

The teeth cleaning felt the same as in the States, so she probably used all of the same tools. It was just different because I am used to talking to the hygenist a little. I don’t think mine spoke English though. She did know “finished.”

It was pretty quick. The checkout process was easy too. It was also very reasonably priced. We don’t have dental insurance here so we paid for the cleaning out of pocket. It was only 60,000 won each (about $52). We didn’t get a free tooth brush like I am used to, but we were satisfied with the service.

 

My first Korean physical (Another Korean hospital experience)

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I have never had a full physical done.  I did the ones for sports in high school.  They tested my blood pressure and blood sugar several times when I was pregnant.  But that is the extent of my physical examinations.

Tim needed a physical last month and there were a few surprises so we decided that I should get one too.  Besides,  having a baseline in your early thirties is a good idea.

I took our normal bus this morning.  Riding the bus is radically different by myself than when I am with Clarissa.  My appointment was at 9, so the bus was packed.  I could barely fit on the bus in front of our apartment and I remained standing for the twenty five minute ride.  But I didn’t mind.  It was a breeze since I didn’t have to hold Clarissa. 

We began in the locker room.  I took off my shoes and put on a gown with slippers. My belongings were placed in a locker and I was given a key.  My translator asked me to pull my hair back.  I only had a barrette so I have been adjusting my bun all morning.  Next time,  I need an elastic band.

The first stop was a chest x-ray. 

Then,  we went downstairs and they did my height and weight.  But it was way cooler than the US.  First,  I stood on a machine measured my weight while a pole came down to measure my height.  Then I had to take my socks off and stand on another machine and hold on to some poles to measure my body mass. Next,  I put my arm into a machine for my blood pressure (this is the only result that I have really understood so far. My blood pressure is good.).

After that,  I went to a small room.  Like most places in Korea,  the walls are not painted but have wall paper.  This room was for the EKG. I had to lay down while the nurse hooked my hands,  feet,  and chest up to a machine.  Then,  I sat up and the nurse had me blow in to a straw looking thing for a lung function test.

Then I did a vision test.  I know that I need new glasses so the result on that will be interesting.  I had to do that eye puff test a few times because I kept closing my eyes. The hearing test was pretty standard. At one point, I thought it was over and put the buzzer down. But then the beeps started again and I had to scramble to find it. So my results may be slightly skewed.

The blood draw took forever.  I usually have really good veins so the problem is probably that I was fasting and dehydrated.

We then went upstairs for a bone scan.  That was interesting.  She said it would take six minutes and I had to close my eyes.  I felt like I was in Star Trek being scanned by lasers.

While waiting for my sonogram,  I saw one of my Korean friends from pwoc.  She said she missed Clarissa.  And she said that her physical took three hours this morning.  At that point,  I had only been there an hour.

The sonogram was interesting.  I guess the only time I have had one was during pregnancy to look at Clarissa.  I didn’t know you could look at other things too.  The tech didn’t speak English and my translator was elsewhere. So I think she did my neck,  breasts,  and all the trunk organs.  My glasses were off so I have no idea what things looked like. I will say that it seemed to take an entire roll of paper towels to get all of the gel off and I still felt sticky.

Next,  I had to wait a half hour for the gynecologist. She spoke excellent English so that was the best experience of the day. I was already wearing a gown with my pants. The doctor asked me to put on a skirt on the bottom instead. I thought that was way better than the paper gown the gynecologist in the US gives me. Pap smears are pretty much the same in both countries, but the actual exam was different. She used an ultrasound wand to do the internal exam instead of just looking and feeling. During the ultrasound, she discovered that my iud had moved and that I had recently ovulated. She was concerned that I could be pregnant but we would not be able to find out for sure for at least another week.

That information ended my physical early. I still did my urinalysis but we decided to postpone the endoscopy. Tim got one as part of his physical. The doctor puts you under anesthesia in order to put a camera down your digestive track to see your esophagus and stomach.

I went back a week later for the results. They handed me a 14 page booklet with my results. Overall I am pretty healthy as far as cholesterol and organ function. Apparently I have a couple of cysts that need to be rechecked next year. They did order some follow up tests.

The check out process was pretty painless. The copay for blood work and a vaccination was 9,500 won (like $9). My translator wrote me an English receipt so it was interesting to compare the two.

I am not pregnant so I am going to do the endoscopy and an abdominal CT scan next week.

My birthday at E-world

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So when you turn 32 in a foreign country, what do you do to celebrate? I am sure there are many other options in Daegu, but I chose to take the family to E-world.

We decided to try the umbrella stroller and Clarissa actually cooperated for a bit. I think that we may actually bring the stroller to Japan in December.

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We took the rapid 6 bus to National Health Insurance stop and crossed the street to E-World. My friend told me that if we go to the foreign office, we could get in for half price. So we skipped the long line and went to the annual pass office to the right. It cost 16,500 won for Tim and for myself. We didn’t buy a band for Clarissa. I figured if she was tall enough for a ride, we would pay separately.

I am glad that we didn’t pay for a band for her. She wasn’t tall enough for a single ride! The minimum on the rides was 90-100 cm and at her two year checkup in August, she was only 81.6cm. The highlight of the trip for Clarissa was probably when we found a Tayo to ride.

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It cost 1,000 won for a two minute ride. At first, she said she was scared, so I rode Gani and then she was fine. She rode Tayo twice and also rode Gani before we left.

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The other thing that she really enjoyed was the animals. They had a reptile house (with fish), a small animal house (hamsters, rabbits, gerbils), a bird house, and some outdoor farm animals. I think she would have enjoyed feeding an animal.

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Overall, we were not impressed with E-world. I think it would have helped if Clarissa had been tall enough to ride something. There were two roller coasters, but Tim didn’t like how dirty and rusty they looked so we didn’t try them. I think the main problem is that we are spoiled with amusement parks. We grew up going to Quassy and Knoebels. Plus we’ve been to Busch Gardens and Disney as well. E-world seemed more like a carnival than an amusement park in comparisson.

We went up 83 Daegu Tower. It is 83 stories high so you can see all of Daegu from up there. It was pretty hazy so we couldn’t see everything clearly. We found our apartment, but the picture didn’t come out. We need to go back on a clear day and also at night to see the view. It cost 19,000 won for the three of us (Clarissa was free) to get in. While we were up there, we had a professional photograph taken. We were the only ones up there for a while, so he took his time and took like eight different shots until we had one that we liked with all three of us looking!

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The highlight for Tim was probably lunch. We ate at a place called Globurger. They had one inside the Daegu Tower, but it wasn’t open. There was one closer to the park entrance, so we ate there. It was decorated like a 1950s burger place. The hilarious part to me was that half the time we were there, there was Disco music on the radio. Like most Korean fast food, it took about twenty minutes for our food to be ready. Tim got two spicy chicken burgers, I ordered the original hamburger, and we all split the french fries. The food was good. We need to find one outside of Eworld.

We took the bus to Seobu and went to Baskin Robbins for dessert. We let Clarissa order her very own children’s sundae instead of just sharing mine. It’s a pretty popular corner, so as Clarissa was eating, people kept stopping at the window to look at her and try to talk to her through the glass.

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We walked home from there. Clarissa actually took a nap that afternoon so I could watch a movie that has been on my list for a while, The Dropbox.

 

Ant-Man (Our first date night in Daegu)

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We moved to Daegu on February 26. Our first date night was September 18. It was long overdue!

Since we finally brought Clarissa to the doctor for her two year check up, we could turn in the paperwork for the Child Development Center (daycare/preschool on base). This makes her eligible to attend the monthly Parent’s Night Out, which means we can now have a monthly date!

Drop off for Parent’s Night Out isn’t until 6:30, so we all had dinner together at the PX. Clarissa isn’t allowed to bring outside food to the CDC so I wanted to make sure she ate before she went (though they did serve dinner). She was thrilled with her pizza.

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The sky was beautiful. Tim and I took a taxi to Hyundai Department Store (kind of like a mall). When you buy your movie ticket, you choose your seat like on an airplane.

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Tim wanted a snack, so we tried the grilled squid. It was actually pretty good. I really can’t think of a taste to compare it to. But it was probably similar to the shape and texture of french fries. It comes in different flavors. I think we had a buttery one.

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Then we had to go down an escalator and to the left to our theater. We were the only Americans there (well I should say that we were the only white people, it’s possible there were other Americans in there).

The previews were different than in the United States. It was mostly commercials for products like you would see on television. There were two previews for American movies. One was dubbed in Korean. The other was in English with Korean subtitles. The previews both seemed really short.

The movie itself was in English and had Korean subtitles. The screen was probably the same size as an American movie theater and the seats were comfortable. I have heard that some theaters have couches you can lay on, but this wasn’t one of them.

Ant-Man was excellent! Tim and I have different preferences when it comes to movies. But we can usually agree on a Marvel movie. We recently watched Lost again so it was fun to see Evangeline Lily in the movie. The story was great and there wasn’t a ton of language or any sex at all. I think Clarissa will like it in a few years.

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We had to pick Clarissa up by 10:00 and the pedestrian gate also closes at that time on Friday nights, so we took another taxi back to base. Clarissa did really well. Her best friend was there, which I am sure helped a ton for her first time there. Apparently she did cry when Haven left. But she was fine when we got there. They did one of her favorite activities, painting.

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Our first (and second) Korean Hospital Experience

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We must be healthy people because we lived in South Korea for six months before we needed to see a doctor. Even then it was because Clarissa had a birthday and needed her two year check up.

Our insurance has direct billing agreements with four different hospitals in Daegu. Two of them deliver babies. I asked around and decided we should check out Hyosung Hospital. I called the international center to make an appointment and didn’t really know what to expect. They had immediate openings for both Tim and Clarissa’s check ups.

On the morning of the appointments, we took the 564 bus to Jongdong market and then walked a couple of blocks to the hospital. It wasn’t as big as I thought it would be. Where we are from in Norfolk, the hospitals are huge! But there are only like six of them and they offer a range of services from labor and delivery, surgery, medical, and emergency room services. Here there seems to be a hospital around every corner. I’m not exaggerating. I can see four from my apartment window! But the hospitals are very small and specialize in one or two things. They don’t all have emergency room services.

Hyosung Hospital is two small buildings connected by a walkway on the second floor. I think one building has five floors and the other has seven. We walked into the reception area, found the pediatrician’s office, and tried to check in. We took a number and sat down. When our number came on the screen, we went to the desk and told them Clarissa’s name. They gave us another slip of paper and told us to sit down. At this point no one spoke English so I knew we were in the wrong place.

We then went to the other building to check in to the international center. We filled out some paperwork and then our translator walked us back to the pediatric section. First, we did Clarissa’s height and weight. She had to stand with her back against a wall and stand on two feet that were glued to the floor. Then, she was supposed to stand there while this machine came down to see how tall she was. She wasn’t really cooperative and was an inch or two too short for the machine anyway. (I should have taken a picture but I was too busy trying to keep her in place. I will have to remember next time)

Then, we went to where the babies do height and weight. I had to put her in a metal basket and the machine told us she weighs 10.5 kg (23.148 pounds) and is 81.6 cm (32.125 inches) tall.

Then we had to wait our turn. There were probably twenty Korean children there plus parents. They all stayed together in an area watching a television. I am not sure if the internationals get to cut in line because of the translator or if it is because we have an appointment and the Koreans just walk in, but we only waited about five minutes.

The pediatrician was very nice. She had a Tayo sticker on her name tag, so Clarissa was thrilled. She did all of the usual stuff; checked her ears, throat, and lungs. Then she asked me a few questions through the translator about what I thought about Clarissa’s development. She read Clarissa’s shot record and recommended the second hepatitis A and Japanese encephalitis vaccines and gave Clarissa a lollipop.

The Koreans really are smart about how they do things. Clarissa sucked on her lollipop while they checked her blood pressure and pulse. Then when it was time to get her shots, they had her sit calmly in my lap, still sucking on her lollipop. She didn’t even cry! She started to get a little concerned at the end and they just gave her another lollipop. Problem solved!

Then we went to Tim’s appointment. Again it was only about a five minute wait. The doctor was really nice. I think he understood English but just didn’t speak it well because he would listen to Tim and immediately respond in Korean. It wasn’t that strange to have the conversation translated. It seemed like the doctor was really listening and understanding what Tim said. Then we had to go across the street to the pharmacy and wait about five minutes for the prescription.

We went back today for a follow-up visit. Today we found out that Korean regulations say that you can only get 21 days worth of a medicine at a time. They don’t write you a prescription with refills like in the United States. You have to go back for another appointment. That might get old.

But everyone we met seemed friendly. Random Koreans thought Clarissa was beautiful and would stop and ask me how old she was. In Korea, she is three years old (when you are born you are one, and then everyone adds a year during the lunar new year). But some of the moms would also ask how many months old she is.

Take me out to the ball game

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About a month ago, Tim sent me an email from work that everyone was invited to attend a Samsung Lions game on July 30 and asked if I wanted to go. I thought it would be a great opportunity to see my first Korean baseball game. I have been to a few Tides games, and thought it might be fun. Plus, I wanted to see how Clarissa would respond.

Tim got off two hours early on Thursday so that we could go together instead of meeting him there. We took the bus to Seongdangmot and had dinner at Loterria (kind of like a McDonalds, but the food is better…). Then we took the subway to Myeongdok and took another bus to the stadium.

We met up with our group to get our tickets. The Daegu Transportation Organization was there for a special event and gave away free ballloons that you whack together to make noise. One of Tim’s coworkers had two and gave them to Clarissa. She was thrilled with them!

It was 95 degrees that day, so we were all drenched with sweat before the game even started. Thankfully, it cooled off a little as the sun went down.

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The field was really nice.  Tim said the monitor was 4K resolution, which is amazing. The Samsung Lions are in the Major Leagues of South Korea. But, it seemed like a minor league game to me. Granted I have never been to a Major League game in the United States. But it seemed very similar to a Tides game to me.

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We were in the blue section, which basically means the fanatic fan section, I guess. The seats were pretty good, almost right next to third base. But at times it was very difficult to see the game. There were cheerleaders that did lots of song and dance. One song I recognized, “obla di, obla da, life goes on…” Of course, it was the Korean version and so none of those words were sung by anyone but me. The fans were really into it. Most were standing up and chanting. It was interesting to see. At first, Clarissa didn’t really like the chaos. But after a while, she noticed the birds, the lights, and the dragonflies, and she had a great time.

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At first, I thought that the Lions were going to win by a landslide, because after the third inning, they were beating the NC Twins 5-0. But in the fourth inning, the Twins started to pick up and it was 5-2.

The game didn’t start until 6:30 and Clarissa usually starts her bath at 7:30, so we knew we wouldn’t stay for the whole game. We were planning to leave at 7:30, but Clarissa was with the wife of one of Tim’s coworkers checking out the field at that time. So we stayed until they got back around 7:45. I could tell that Clarissa didn’t really want to leave, because when Erin went to move her, Clarissa grabbed the fence netting. We figured it was better to leave while she was still in a good mood since we had a 45 minute trip back home.

Later that evening I checked the final score. The Lions won, 10-7.

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We all enjoyed the game and plan to go to another one eventually. We think we will try one in the fall when it isn’t so humid. We would also like to sit in a different section so that we can enjoy the game more.

Adventures in Daegu

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After our extended weekend in Seoul, we were ready to get back to exploring Daegu.

Every time we ride the bus, we pass the Seobu Bus Terminal. You can take an express bus here to Seoul, Busan, Pohang, and a few places I have not heard of. There is also a market just outside the terminal that I have wanted to check out for quite some time.

After the week of 95 degrees, 80 almost felt chilly on Saturday morning which made it a great day for exploring. Surprisingly, Clarissa stayed in her stroller for our entire three hour trip. It was about a twenty five minute walk to the bus terminal. It was an interesting walk. Tim and I have been learning to read Korean so we had several conversations like this:

“Hey, I think that says…”

“Cool. What does that mean?”

“I don’t know.”

We arrived at the bus terminal and saw my favorite sign (there is a sign you can see from our busses that says T.I.M.). Upon further inspection, there is a coffee shop named Cafe T.I.M. It’s on our list of places to check out, but we didn’t stop for a drink this trip.

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The market was pretty cool. There were several people selling fish. Most were alive. We didn’t buy any so I don’t know if they kill them when you buy them or not. Some were really big and they had air pumping into their big troughs as well!

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Other places had refrigerated fish. They were dead. But it was interesting because each fish still had all of his scales and eyes.

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They even sold octopus!

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It was interesting to see all of the different vegetables, grains, and foods they were selling at the market. I have been bugging Tim to go because we bought a Korean cookbook in Seoul. I wanted to find some ingredients. The problem is that I don’t know how to ask for everything I want, nor do I know what it looks like raw. So we didn’t buy much. I guess we need to work on our vocabulary to make it a more fruitful trip next time. Hopefully by fall I will be able to buy my produce at the market instead of the commissary or emart.

We did buy some chips. I think they were sweet potato and beet. But there may also have been another root in the mix. The chips didn’t taste greasy and fried. They were actually kind of sweet. Almost like they had been dipped in honey? We all enjoyed them.

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We also bought the largest and tastiest grapes I have ever seen. They were also an excellent price, almost half that of the commissary and emart.

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After naptime, we headed to City Center. Tim wanted to check out an electronics store. On the way there we walked through Monument 2.28 park (across from Novotel where we stayed our first two weeks in Korea). There was a music group there performing. As we got closer, I recognized their song. They were singing “Days of Elijah,” in Korean of course. But it was neat to hear a worship song that I recognized while on the other side of the world. I stopped to take a video. I am glad I did it then because they were packing up on our way back through the park.

We did more errands than exploring on Sunday. We walked down to a different Home Plus and our normal emart to buy some things we can’t get at the commissary. Perhaps my favorite thing about Sunday was our bed. Our mattress has been on the floor for a month now because when our household goods arrived, the screws to our bed were missing. We tried to find a hardware store, but were unsuccessful so I eventually ordered some off of Amazon (although now I have 100 screws, nuts, and washers, so if you need one let me know!). They arrived on Friday so we put the bed together during naptime on Sunday. It is nice because now the room feels more put together.

This week was pretty normal for us in that Clarissa and I played outside a lot. One morning I tricked her into letting me do her hair. I braided my hair and asked if she wanted her hair to be pretty like mommy’s. She said, “please,” and sat really quiet and still so I could french braid her hair. Then I put her in the stroller and we headed downstairs to take out the trash. By the time we got to B1, she had taken the braid out of her hair. But it looked cute for five minutes anyway.

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Clarissa has really matured lately. She enjoys coloring and playing with bubbles. We did both outside this week. She has also learned to climb the steps and go down the slide all by herself! Today it was raining so we went to the indoor playground and she figured out how to climb up on that one as well. It is built differently so I was surprised she figured it out. It might have helped that there was a three year old in there so she could see how to do it. But she had a great time playing with her new friend. Not that they could talk to each other, but her mother spoke some English.

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On Thursday, my friend who lives in our building (that I met at story time three days before she had her baby in March) drove Clarissa and I to story time. It was the first time Clarissa sat in her carseat in three months and she did really well. I must say that it made life so much easier to drive to story time and to be able to put our groceries in the car for a change instead of taking the bus on a 95 degree day. I also enjoyed having lunch with my friend. I think I have had the best luck at making friends at the library’s story time than anywhere else so far. Clasrissa has a little friend too and we are going to get together for a play date soon.