Monday, August 30, 2010

The Day We've Been Waiting For!

I'm not going to beat around the bush here.  I know what you've all been waiting for (I've been a blog stalker for waaaaay too long).  You want the pictures.  So here they are......  I'll talk about our day AFTER the pictures!

OK, now that we've got that out of the way. YES, we met Maddyx for the very first time today!! I was so nervous this morning leading up to the meeting. But, I did keep reminding myself that he is just a baby, and although this is a HUGE day for us, it's really just me meeting and interacting with a sweet little baby boy. No pressure. Yea, RIGHT! I actually wasn't too worried about him, as he's been pretty consistent in his demeanor throughout the videos we've seen. Very calm, content and easy going. Well, I'm sad to say that he did cry a couple of times. It was almost like he knew. I could tell from the get go he was very uneasy and he was whimpery (not sure that's a word). Foster Mom kept saying it was his nap time and he was tired, but I think he felt something different about today. Or, it could have been he was completely frightened by the blonde-haired, green eyed girl that he'd never seen before! In any case, all was forgotten after foster mom whipped out a bottle for him.  After that he was like a new man! She actually let me feed him the second half of his bottle (and so did he). Wow, what a moment. After I fed him he warmed up to me and that's when you see him letting me hold him and read him the books. Was there ever any doubt that food would be the way to this big guy's heart?!?

We had an hour to ask foster mom questions and get as much information as we could in such a short amount of time. Here's what I found out...

• Sleeps with foster mom.
• Goes to bed around 9pm-10pm and wakes at 6am.
• Likes to sleep with a pillow. She actually gave us one to take home for him. So sweet.
• Wakes around 2am for water (really?).
• Easy going baby.
• Likes to go see neighbors little dog, but gets scared (great...what does that mean for our 70lb, first born, boxer?! He'll adjust...)
• Is scared of loud noises, and the talking bear we sent him. Lol...
• Still has bottles every 3-4 hours and also loves Korean fish and steamed rice. She reiterated he loves food.....yes, we can see that.
• He likes to go outside and also likes to go to Wal-Mart with his foster mom.
• He poops once a day in the morning. Yes, I asked this question.

So after our meeting we met with Dr. Kim of Eastern Social Welfare Society and also had lunch with several other adoptive families. It was so great to meet other families going through all of the same things as us. We also met my blogger friend Katy and shared a great celebratory dinner at the dumpling place with her this evening.

OH, and the big news..............drum roll please.................we are picking Maddyx up tomorrow at 2:40 p.m. FOREVER! They asked us when we wanted to pick him up and I was quite honestly horrified by this question. Had no idea what the right answer was. I asked Kasey what he wanted, and he wasn't sure. So I resorted to asking foster mom what she thought was best for Maddyx. They said since he does have some stranger anxiety it might be best that we take him the night before and allow him some time to get comfortable with us before we leave. Perfect! That's what we're doing!! We're planning on staying in for the evening, and just getting to know each other. Can't wait! And I'm a bit scared!

For now I am heading to bed for the very last time as just Michelle. Tomorrow I will be a Mom......

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Streets of Seoul Day 2

Well we woke up this morning to pouring rain.  Non-stop pouring rain.  Way worse than yesterday.  The kind you just don't want to go out in.  We decided to be brave, throw on a hat, and run over a couple of blocks to Dunkin Donuts.  We had some coffee and breakfast and then headed back to the room to put together our game plan for the day.  Despite the sideways pouring rain, we decided to head over to Namdaemun market to check it out.  The positive to the pouring rain, there were very few people out shopping.  Very good for my spacial issues.  The negative, it's pouring rain and with very few shoppers out almost every retailer wanted to make us (actually me) some sort of deal.  The easiest american place that I can compare it to is a huge flea market or swapmeet.  Tons and tons of never ending rows/alleys of tables and shops set up.  I looked at a lot of fake purses.  I mean A LOT.  Never did find anything.  Well, that's a lie.  I found one that I really loved but it was more than I wanted to spend.  Even at the "great deal" the guy was offering me.  While we were shopping Kasey decided he wanted to give one of the food vendors a try.  So we headed down an alley of food places. More like a back alley...  I mean really back alley.  There were rows of food places and the ladies were almost begging us to come in.  The bargaining tool they used for the two americans...."we have english menu."  Must have heard that 20 times.  I finally gave in to one lady.  I had to.  She worked so darn hard and was so determined to get us to go in, how could I not give her our business!  I really wanted to get a picture of this place, because again, those of you who know me would be SHOCKED that I went in and ate there.  Not gonna lie, I was a little scared.  But, I told myself I was going to really embrace the culture while I was here.  What better way then to eat korean food in a back alley of a flea market.  Right?  Plus I had to make up for the panini and club sandwich dinner we had last night.  Anyway, the food was super good.  We had pork dumplings and fried rice with vegetables.  We both enjoyed it.  We did a bit more walking around and exploring of the streets as we made our way back to the hotel.  Took some photos of what we saw along the way, and also a picture of the traditional korean hanbok we bought for Maddyx at the market.

As you know, tomorrow morning is our first meeting with Maddyx.  We'll leave our hotel around 8:30 for our 10:00am meeting.  I think it's only about a 20 minute drive, but I do not want to be late!  I'm trying not to think about it too much.  I know, sounds weird.  But if I do, I'll be so nervous and sick to my stomach (more than I already am) that I wont be able to enjoy my time here at all.  As a side note, I've had a lot of new emotions surface since I've been here.  That's a post for another day.  But I will share at some point.  For now, I'm signing off and headed to our lounge to grab a glass of wine (or two) and try to relax for the rest of the evening.

Streets of Seoul, day 2, through my eyes.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Seoul Through My Eyes - Day 1

Let me start this post by saying it rained ALL day today! Don't get me wrong, I don't mind a little rain here and there, but seriously....we're trying to sight see here. That said, the city does not stop because of rain. Let me paint a picture for you. TONS of people EVERYWHERE walking the streets with their umbrellas, and women in their skirts and high heels. Yep, that's how it is here. These are not t-shirt and jeans sort of girls. Not that I always am, but hey, comfort comes first when I'm walking for eight hours. And, I am totally convinced that there is no respect for personal space here. Then add an umbrella into the mix. Those things are dangerous! Are you getting my picture? For those of you that know me, you know that I NEED my personal space. You know that imaginary circle around you that divides you from others? Doesn't exist here. LOL! I just had to share because it really was entertaining. I did good.
I'd say we had a pretty productive day today.  I was able to mark two things off of my "to-do" list. Yaay! First, I really wanted to see the Cheonggyecheon stream, and we made it there with no problems. Five minute walk from our hotel. It's about a 3.6 mile walk along a stream that is about 15ft below street level. It was a really nice to walk. However, it did start raining pretty hard while we were there and they requested (over a loud speaker) that everyone leave the stream at the nearest exit. OK, I guess we're done there. I put pictures below.

Second on the list, Insadong Market. Wanted to try a couple different food places and do some shopping. Let me preface this by saying my lovely husband and I have always joked about signing up for the Amazing Race (TV show), however, have not actually agreed that we'd enter together. I don't think he trusts that I'll remain calm under pressure (and he's probably right). Back to Insadong....the first goal was to find the place. I don't know if we are completely retarded over here in Seoul, or what, but finding this dang area was a major journey. Holy Cow. Totally would have lost Amazing Race if this was the task. Went to the subway... never took the subway. Exited the subway....went to the wrong place. Not looking so good. Decided to sit down and take a breather and recompose ourselves (I'm seriously annoyed by hard can it be to find this place?!?) and FINALLY found a sign that actually labeled "Insadong" as a real life place (hadn't been able to find it before that). We headed in a new direction (in the rain) and found Insadong Market. Whoooa....this place is insane! People, EVERYWHERE. And don't forget about the cars and motorcycles that will seriously run your @*! over if you don't move out of their way. Oh boy.....this is bit overwhelming for me, but I can do it! At least this is what I told myself. =) So we walked up and down the main alley and then up and down a lot of the side alley ways. We were searching for two specific food places recommended by fellow bloggers and I am really embarrassed to say we never found them! Really? I just walked around in total chaos for 3 hours to find nothing? Mind you, we hadn't eaten since 7am and it's now close to 5pm, so we we're hungry, dehydrated, and I was getting very grouchy! We finally decided to leave, with tail between our legs in total defeat without any food or fun gifts. How lame! We're definitely going back before we leave to give it another go around. Thinking during the week so it won’t be as crowded. Blogger friends Kelly and Michelle, can you help us find the dumpling place and the Chop Shop for name stamp? I found a couple stamp places but didn't know which one was the right one??
We ended the night by heading back to our hotel to take advantage of our "club member" happy hour. Had a couple of drinks, grabbed a Panini and a club sandwich and now we're back in our room. Kasey's asleep and I'm writing this post as I listen to a live concert that's going on just across the street. Pretty cool.

Here are some pictures of Seoul through our eyes on day one of our journey.

Friday, August 27, 2010

We made it to Seoul!

Just wanted to let everyone know that we made it in last night!  It's currently 6:30 am in Seoul and we managed to get a pretty good nights sleep.  Considering we were traveling for about 18 hours total yesterday, and awake for over 24hrs, we were in desperate need of that sleep!  Now I'm sipping on an espresso from our very nice espresso machine in our room. Yum.

The flight - The flight was good, just long.  I managed to watch three movies, play computer poker and another game the flight had to offer.  Also snuck an hour long nap in there too.  The bad part was that at one point I had sworn we were at least 8-9 hours into our 11 hour and 40 min flight.  Nope, still had 6 hours to go.  Wow, was that a major dissapointment!  I managed to break that down in my head by movies.  Three more movies until we're off this plane!  Then I kept thinking, we have to do this all over again and next time with a baby! OMG!

Today - we plan on doing some exploring.  I'm thinking we're going to try and find the bus tour, so we can have some sort of idea of the city before we venture out on our own.

Below are a couple of photos I took from our room (our view) and a couple inside of our room at the Westin.  I also posted a cool picture of our new currency. 

We are in downtown Seoul, in the heart of business district.