Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Sadie Sleeps through DinoSaurLand Park

Y'all. It is hard to tell you how hilariously bad and simultaneously awesome DinoSaurLand Park is! First of all, you see the park all the way from the highway because a lifesize (according to the plaque) Brachiosaurus's neck is sticking up from the tree tops, beckoning you to take the next exit and travel back in time.

The entrance is flanked by two roaring t-rexes and it only gets better from there. The entry fee was only like $5 for all of us, and it was well worth the cost!

notice that Sadie is already asleep before we have even gotten to the ticket booth. She'd been out of the car for approximately 3 minutes at this point. She's a party animal. 

The trail takes you up a hill along paths that are lined with some low-budget dinosaur models and a few outbuildings with various fossil displays. 

All the dinosaurs had creepy blue eyes. Not sure why blue, but they were haunting. 

At one point there is a petting zoo, but really it is a feeding-sad-animals-carrots-through-the-openings-in-their-enclosure zoo, so we didn't spend much time there. The highlights included a 3-D theater with a 15 minute CGI movie about an androgynous child and a robot that get sucked back in time and chased by a ridiculous number of dinosaurs. It was all in Korean so I wasn't totally clear on the plot. 

Tyler was concerned that the movie would be too loud for Sadie, so they chilled outside. 
 There was the Animation Hall ("animated" was putting it generously) which was filled with papier mache dinosaurs with hydraulic pumps in them that made various parts "move." I use the quotation marks because if it weren't for us hearing the hydraulics, we wouldn't know anything was moving!

The lower jaw on this guy moved about 3 centimeters as you walked past and heard the recording of a roar. It was unclear which dinosaur in the hall was supposed to be making the roar. 

Things were a little tired inside the Animation Hall...

Gah! These guys were eating a felled plant eater. 

Then there was these guys:

They made it hard to miss where the toilets were located.

There was still so much more to be seen, but the day was warm and Sadie's patience for our shinanigans was waning, so we ended our circuit of the dinosaur trail relatively quickly, leaving the rest to be seen another day.

Vicariously yours,

Monday, September 18, 2017

Sadie sleeps through the Alive museum

There is a LOT of exploring to do on this island! It is a big vacation place for Korean and Chinese tourists, and as such there are a lot of tourist traps. You won't hear me complaining! These attractions are usually tacky, dated, or just hilarious opportunities for some great people watching, so I LOVE it! Thankfully my sister-in-law is on the same wavelength as me and was more than happy to oblige to some exploration when she visited with my mother-in-law after Sadie and I landed.

And so, dear readers, I give you the first in a very exciting blog series: Sadie Sleeps. I have to admit it's probably only exciting to me because it gives me an excuse to do more exploration with Sadie once we get a car.

The first installation in this little series: Sadie Sleeps Through the Alive Museum.

The car ride hypnotized Sadie and put her right to sleep. 
The Alive Museum was Sadie's first museum and ironically she was dead to the world the entire time.

We didn't know what exactly the Alive Museum would be, but we knew we were in for a treat as soon as we pulled in to the parking lot. We got out of the car and in addition to a GO KART track in the back, there was a classical Greek statue with a cheeky Chanel shopping bag added for...a dramatic touch? A weird combination of ancient and modern? Who knows, but I was instantly pumped to get inside and see what treasures we were going to find.


Lots of things are called "theme parks" here. I do not think that phrase means what they think it means. 
The admission price was only like $10, and it was worth every penny. It wasn't so much a museum as a building dedicated to the selfie/instagram craze. It was a collection of murals that played on some optical illusions and made for some fun photographic opportunities.

Place your hand at the crook of the curtain and become one with the painting... 

There were little plaques at each of the paintings that showed you how to photograph yourself with the art to make it into a funny photo. Then it would give a half-hearted attempt at being museum-y with some fast art fact or information about the painter...

The rooms of the museum kind of had themes. The first one was ocean/sea life surrealism.

The instructions on the plaque said to mime as if I were stuck in the box...surrounded by an octopus...I'm not sure where this box was supposed to be located, but it was a very popular stop on the photo tour of the museum.

There was a classical art section...

The scary lion/human thing crawling out of the hole in the wall was a nice touch, I thought. 

There was a dinosaur area...

Then things got eclectic...

Every corner we turned, my sister-in-law and I just laughed! Near the end of the displays was a section called the "Black Wonderland." I'm not sure why it was called that; very little of it was painted black or incorporated black lights, but it was like a funhouse meets Alice in Wonderland meets instagram heaven.

The first room looked like something out of Elmo's World...

Although I don't know that Elmo would have, interestingly enough, what appears to be a hardbound Playboy on his shelf...

There was a carousel surrounded by mirrors...

A mirrored room with LED roses...
And this:

But by far the highlight of the museum was the One Hundred Year Old Organ. It was tucked away in a corner of the museum in its own room with lots of build up on the way to the entrance! At first we were a little concerned we were about to walk in to a room full of human entrails...but in fact this was a musical organ that had entertained people for decades...allegedly. We sat down for the music show to start and were nearly blown off our seats when the pipes started to sing.

It was so loud!! And it played the most random selection of music! It was surreal and hilarious and we loved every minute!

By the end of the visit Sadie had woken up, just in time for the requisite exit through the gift shop.

Keep an eye out for the next installation of Sadie Sleeps when we take a family visit back to the Land Before Time...

Vicariously yours,

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Fun new aspect of our life

So, I don't know if this is a whole-Korea thing, or just unique to the part of the country where we are living, but they are very particular about the trash situation here. I'm hoping that some or all of it is going into a recycling facility, but I don't know. I just know that when I arrived, there was a mountain of trash in our apartment, and the explanation was, "I keep missing the trash days!" And now that I'm living with the system, I can understand (a little bit) how the mountain was formed. It's complicated, y'all! Like there was a whole session during the new recruit orientation dedicated just to explaining how the trash works.

This is the trash guide that everyone was given to help keep track of all the trash days. You have to separate your trash into categories and each category has a day that you're allowed to throw it out. You can take the trash for that day out between 3pm and 4am the next day. There are specific dumpsters out on the street for each day's category, and woe to the household that gets it wrong and puts the wrong category in the wrong dumpster or throws out the wrong recyclables on the wrong day!

I guess I can't blame the garbage guys for being grumpy about the foreigners screwing up their system. It's not like in the States where an automated garbage truck picks up the cans and shakes them out. The garbage men here physically pick up the dumpsters and dump them over by hand, crawling into the back of the garbage truck to stamp it down when the bed gets too full! I'd be annoyed, too, if I had to pick through someone else's trash when they didn't get the system right. The other tricky part is that the dumpsters for our little apartment complex are on the road, and people pull over all the time to throw away trash from their car, or maybe it's the trash from their house. We've watched as those motorists just throw the trash in whatever dumpster is closest to them or open so they can toss it from the window without getting out of the car. As a result, the trash guys complain to the school about our dumpsters being a mess, but a lot of it isn't our fault!

So in an effort to not be Those Foreigners, we've adopted a system to make sure we separate our trash correctly and don't forget to take it out on the right day.

We have taped little signs to the wall of our laundry room with the category, the bag it is supposed to be thrown out in, and the days on which it is collected. Under each sign is a command hook on which to hang the bags. I was hoping to find actual trash bags, but those don't seem to exist in this country. Now that we've used this system for a few weeks, I can sort of understand. By the time you'd be able to fill up a big trash bag full of the trash in each category, your house would stink or you'd feel like you belong on an episode of AE's Hoarders.

So far the system has worked relatively well. I think we are sending out the correct trash on the correct day. We no longer have a mountain of trash driving me crazy, and I love that we have this new little routine to remind of us the fun quirks we enjoy living overseas.

Vicariously yours,

Sunday, September 10, 2017


Call us crazy, but Tyler and I are cloth diapering. Partly because we feel like we need to do at least a small something to leave Sadie with some semblance of a planet and decrease our contribution to climate change when possible. But if we're honest, we have chosen to cloth diaper mostly because I am entirely too cheap to use disposables. After I've got the full stash of diapers, we will have spent maybe a grand on the whole set up to last us the entire time Sadie is in diapers...with disposables I'd spend about a grand in one YEAR.

We use gDiapers, and we both love them for the convenience but also for how stinkin' cute she looks in them!

In the interest of vicariousity, I thought I'd share my current WR (wash routine, for all of you who aren't up on the cloth diapering lingo). It is definitely a unique one and it's safe to say one that would make a lot of the moms in the CD (cloth diapering) facebook groups cringe.

The washing machine provided to us by the school. It's huge and awesome. Only glitch: not a word of helpful English on it.

Step 1: Rinse

After 2 or 3 days, it's time to wash the cloth liners that go into Sadie's diapers. Because they're covered in poop and pee, I rinse them a couple times before actually washing them.

10 points to anyone who can identify the "rinse" button. 

We were given a "manual" that translated what all the buttons on the machine mean, but little more clarification on how to use the machine. You'd think that with my washing diapers every two days I would have the buttons memorized by now, but I have to look up the guide in the manual every time. The second black button says "rinse" and the far left grey button sets the temperature to hot. The second grey button from the right sets it to "stubborn stains" so that it gives them an extra soak.

That takes an hour and 14 minutes.

Step 2: Wash only

The washer sings a happy little song when the cycle is finished and now it is time to wash. I fill the little cup with bleach-free, fragrance-free, sensitive skin powdered detergent (as is often recommended by the CD groups) and the first black button sets the wash cycle.

I use the grey buttons to set it to hot water and stubborn stains again and go about my business for another hour and 12 minutes. Now this is where I get confused because the manual says that the first black button "is for wash only," so I interpret that to mean that the machine suds up and that's it. No rinsing or spinning. I base this on the fact that usually when I just wash a regular load of clothes, this is what I find after I hear the little song at the end of the cycle:

But when the machine sings its little tune at the end of a stubborn stains cycle, this is what I get:

I dunno. So just to be safe, I move on to

Step 3: Rinse again

This time just on cold and non-stubborn stains. I get this:

A wash tub full of water and diapers. It doesn't even drain! I don't understand! Who wants to dig their hand around in a tub full of lukewarm water to fish out their soggy clothes? So, I move on to...

Step 4: Spin

This is kind of cool, actually. I can spin the clothes up to 5 times, so when I'm doing a normal load of non-diaper laundry, I have to wash, spin once, rinse, and then spin again, but I spin it 5 times because we have no dryer so I need to get as much moisture out of the load as possible.

Step 5: Dry

Now, the island where we live is ridiculously humid, so it does seem a bit illogical to dry clothes on a line outside. And during the summer months, you're right. Even with the sun in full force the humidity often means it can take a day or two for a load of laundry to dry. However, with cloth diapers, it's recommended to dry them in the sun because the sun will naturally bleach the poop stains out of the liners. That's a fact I never thought I'd need to know, but it's pretty cool to put out stained liners and bring in shiny white cloths at the end of it all.

Only problem is, as you can see in the photos above, my wash routine takes so long that often I miss the sun and end up hanging the liners out overnight.

Meh. She's got something to poop on at the end of (or in this case at the beginning of) the day.

Hardcore cloth diaperers would probably comment to tell me that I simply MUST test the hardness of my water and adjust my routine accordingly. Or that I should play with "the stew" (the ratio of water to suds to diapers in the wash) to make sure....actually I'm not sure what having the right stew does. It doesn't really matter because I'm an international cloth diapering mom, which means that even if my "stew" was imbalanced, I wouldn't know how to fix it because my machine speaks Korean. And even if my water was too hard or too soft, I probably wouldn't be able to find the tablets needed to get the right pH because that's not a priority in this culture. What's a priority to us is that our daughter has a clean place to do her business and we can have a clean conscience about the impact her bathroom habits have on the planet. For that reason, I'm A-OK with be a mediocre cloth diapering mama.

Vicariously yours,