Day Trips With Mother: Bukchon Hanok Village

Shortly after my arrival in Korea, Mother and I went to Bukchon Hanok Village together so I could go to an embroidery museum (specifically Han Sangsu Embroidery Museum).

I don’t know why I’d never made it out to Bukchon before. It’s easy to get to, right off of Anguk Station on the orange line.

The hanok village is an area of Seoul where hanoks were protected. I adore hanoks and really want to live in one, so I enjoyed wandering around.

At the museum, I was able to buy a kit to do some embroidery. The instructor only spoke Korean, but I was able to keep up with what she was saying. She thought Mother was there to interpret but quickly realized she wasn’t.

Practicing Embroidery

Mother and the instructor rattled on and on about where they were from (the instructor was from Jejudo if I remember correctly), their kids, why Good Man and I don’t have kids…

I practiced listening, only interjecting occasionally. Finally, the instructor said, “Mother? Why do you keep calling her mother?”

“Oh, I’m her mother-in-law.”

“Ahhhhh, wow! You must be so happy to have a daughter-in-law who studies Korean.”

“No, no,” I said, “I don’t speak it well.” If there’s one thing I can do in Korean, it’s put myself down like a good Korean.

A Kimono

French Knots!

Dragon Motif

The museum had a no photography sign (which I only saw as we were leaving), but I asked for permission, and like always, it was granted. The museum was small but full of really beautiful embroidery samples.

The flower made up entirely of French knots was gorgeous! My French knots are terrible, so I won’t be making that any time soon…

Embroidery in Progress

There was also a room in the back area where a woman was working in an embroidery project, and several other projects could be seen in progress. Mother wanted me to pose and pretend I was do it, but I said, “It’s not my work!” The instructor merely chuckled, but I couldn’t take credit for this perfection!

Old and New

Are those skylights in this photo? Interesting…

Hanoks

Lotus Flowers

Pinecone in a Hole in the Wall

President Lee Myung-Bak’s Childhood Home

After I’d gotten the gist of the embroidery (but not finished my hankie), we explored the area some more. At one point, a Japanese-speaking tour guide and an English-speaking tour guide walked past us. (I saw some more later when Sister and I went shopping. Who are these wandering tour guides? Did they exist when I lived in Seoul?)

Mother rapidly said something, and the English-speaking tour guide grabbed my map and said, “Ohhhh, maybe you need an English one.” I didn’t correct her, and she said, “So she says you want to visit Lee Myung-Bak’s old home?”

I looked at Mother, then back at the guide. “I guess I do…”

The whole time we were walking to the home, Mother thought I was going in the wrong direction. “Mother, I speak English. She spoke English, I know where I am going.”

When we got there, it was actually two homes right next to each other that he’d lived in. Mother whistled low and said, “Our president grew up rich.”

Teddy’s Hung Out to Dry

맑은하늘길
(Clear/Bright Sky Drive)

We were walking along 맑은하늘길 which sort of runs along the side of a mountain. We needed to get back down and I headed down these stairs. They are far steeper than they look (darn the cloudy day with no shadows) and Mother balked. “Amanda! It is so steep!”

(I didn’t see the traffic cone on the roof when I took the photo.)

Doorway

We made it down to a patjuk (red bean paste porridge) restaurant and on the way, I saw this mask hanging on a wall, and these tiles built into a building. The bright colors of the mask, and the lines of the tiles really caught my eye.

Mask

Tiles