Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Water World aka The best day of Grace's Life (according to Grace)

Jim here, filling in for Irish because she made me.

Before we left Korea for the summer, just over a week ago-feels like longer- we made plans to meet up with The Trotters and O'Connors at Waterworld, a huge water park just north of Denver. Getting up early Thursday morning was challenging, our sleep was still all wrong with jet lag, and the night before Irish had made me go to a cross-fit gym which nearly broke me.  Still, we had agreed to go and at the very least I thought I could fall asleep in a lawn chair

I lived in Denver for 12 years before leaving for Korea but I had never been to Waterworld. I knew it was here, just never got around to going. Turns out I was missing out. It's not cheap, with the girls over 48 inches tall we had to pay full admission price, but that also meant they could go on any of the rides, even if it seemed a little dangerous for a six year old.

Grace and Lia
We started the day with a fun but fairly tame ride, four or five of us together in a raft. It was fun enough that we did it a few times, And then we moved on to the big time...

Jen and the girls-Lia, Ruby and Grace



We brought along our waterproof camera so I could record as I rode a few of the bigger rides.


Years ago I went down a steep slide like the one below and the seams on my swimsuit ripped, I was left wearing a loin cloth. this time the swimsuit held up.





After the steep slides we spent some time in a pool. Everyone got to practice their swim lesson skills, August put his head under water a lot, the girls floated around, I just kept counting and recounting kids to make sure I hadn't lost anyone.

August and Irish
Practicing going under water
Ruby swimming
We had a picnic lunch in a nice area. The day was absolutely perfect-no clouds, warm but not too hot.


Jim
The O'Connor's
Frustratingly after lunch the battery on the camera died. August and Irish went to another pool while the girls and I started with a dinosaur themed ride that the other kids were reluctant to go on- I may have pushed them a little, but they handled it really well. That success led to some reckless bravery.

We went on to the ride pictured here. In all honesty it scared me a little but the girls were allowed to go since they are over 48 inches tall, and they seemed enthusiastic about it.  When we got to the top there was a group in front of us who backed out at the last minute. It doesn't really look it in the picture, but from the top the drop seems almost vertical.  We decided to go down backwards, which seemed a little less scary. I was closest to the drop with the girls in front of me facing away. As we went over the edge I watched Ruby get airborne, just a few inches off the raft but enough to scare me badly, and then suddenly we were at the bottom and Ruby dropped back into the raft, then we were going up the other side and then down again. And then it was over. Grace was thrilled, Ruby really scared, but excited.


After that we kept up the courage with a ride we called the toilet bowl, that wasn't it's real name. Again,Grace was intensely excited, Ruby a little freaked out. After a dark ride through a tunnel you are shot out into the bowl seen below.


We wrapped up the day with a few more rides and then dinner with the Trotters who are sadly moving to Turkey next year. Our friends are spreading out around the world.

For the past few days Grace has been asking to go back to Waterworld, money is no object to her. We will be back next year though, something for her to look forward to.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Reunited! We go to Target

I love Target. Doesn't everyone love Target? There are no Targets at all in Korea and Katie indicated to me that Target in Australia isn't quite the same as our USA Target. When I went to Target, I took some pictures to show what makes this place so great to those of you who either a) have never been to an American Target or b) never even been to Target at all.

First of all, there was no confusion that I was at an American Target store, because look at what was parked in the parking lot:

How many guns do you think are under the front seat?

Target here is huge-in both popularity and actual square footage. It's vast:
And they have everything:
Clothes:

Toys:

And here, this is just 1/4 of the makeup they have:

There is not enough space to go over the cute crap you can buy at Target.
Adorable robot decorations:

Adorable coordinating party decorations:

Adorable "celebration gum balls" that coordinate with your adorable party decorations:

Adorable jars to keep your adorable celebration gum balls in:

Adorable thank you cards:

In the end, we got a little of this and that. We didn't have working phones at this point and I couldn't find Jim (the store is that big). This guy offered to page Jim for me and allowed me to take his picture doing it. (OK after it. After he paged Jim I said, "Oh, I should have taken a picture of that!" And he said, "I can pretend" and posed for this picture.)
 Speaking of this guy, he is totally the Target Lady. (If this video won't play in your country, google it and you'll find some poor quality videos of it on youtube, worth the effort). This guy rang up our order and go so excited about the sales and deals. It really made up for the past year of not being near a Target.




Back to the USA for summer

Our travel home couldn't have gone better, but a 10 hour flight is still a 10 hour flight.
Ready to go. Here we are in the taxi to the airport
We got to the airport early and the flight took off on time. We first went from Seoul to Tokyo. After declaring "today is yesterday" at the beginning of the flight, August looked out the window at the end of the flight and said "I see America! I see grandma's house!" I told him he was looking at Japan and he said, "Maybe it's Yuki's house..."

We had about a two hour layover at Narita airport, so we got McDonald's. The portion sizes are comparable to the U.S., which surprised me.
Then, right on time, we boarded The Dreamliner. We were on this plane last August, if you've talked to me at any time since then, I've told you about this plane. It's really nice. There's tons of legroom, bigger windows and more comfortable seats.
Each seat has it's own touch screen tv. There's a huge selection of movies, tv shows, music and games. I watched eleven episodes of Sex and the City. Eleven. And two movies: The Pretty One, which I recommend and That Awkward Moment, which I don't recommend.
Look at all the different selections!
Here's a brief video I took to show you how roomy this airplane is:

Just about 10 hours later we were in Denver. It was so nice to land right at home!
And look who was waiting for us at the airport! It's Grandma!
Some of you may know about the Denver International Airport. It was built like 15 years ago and there are some weird features. The murals, for one.
Look closely at this creepy picture. I should have had something to show the size. If you look closely you can see the hand rail that goes along the wall. this is a floor to ceiling mural.
The shape is supposed to look like mountains, this is the main part of the airport. These ceilings are huge tents.

There's also this art piece of this really scary blue horse with red eyes. The creator was actually KILLED by this piece when it fell on him.

The airport is on the eastern plains of Colorado. It's wide open and beautiful out there (when you first get back, after living here a while, I doesn't seem as beautiful).


It's nice to be home! The summer is off to a great start.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Guest blogger KATIE HOBBS covers the Etude House Makeup Class

This week we have a special guest blogger, Katie Hobss!

Hello friends and family of the Farleys.  I am honored to be a guest blogger this week. I hope I live up to the high standards that Jim and Irish have placed before me. I will be writing about our trip to a free makeup class put on by Etude House (pronounced E-tude-ue). I am quite thankful that I got such an interesting and thought provoking topic to write on.

Etude House is a cutesy Korean makeup store that are found all over Seoul. You can get things like BB creme, cute lip balm, and placenta face masks. Alix saw this free make up tutorial class online and immediately emailed Irish since she is the queen of all things make up, and we had to go!  I joined as well as her other friend Alix since we needed to learn how to look so darn beautiful and awake like all of the Koreans we see.    

Etude house calls makeup "play" because they want it to be fun and exciting.  Like playing.
This class took place in the "Little America" of Korea, and was all foreigners. We were a bit late and we got a call that said that we needed to hurry up. When we got in the room we saw about 25 foreigners squished all together, with no makeup, waiting patiently to figure out how to look so darn cute like the Korean Etude House ladies.

We listened to a tutorial slide show given by employees of Etude house. Then we watched a real live make over.  The lady giving the makeover was very nice and explained things very thoroughly in Korean, and into a microphone, while the translator translated into English, to foreigners, without a microphone. 
This it he palate that was given to us so we could follow along with the tutorial.  

This is the make up professional explaining all of the different styles of make up.  Like  "smoky", "bright", and "summer".

Now she is explaining how to place on eyeliner.

The time finally arrived to try all of our new skills on a real person!

Here is the volunteer that is getting half of her face done.  She was given a comfort pillow just in case she gets scared.
Honestly, the girl model did look fantastic afterwards.  My personal favorite was the rub on tattoo that they placed on her cheek that said "fighting!" ( the Korean equivalent of "go!") It was in honor of the world cup.

Then it was our turn to try out these new techniques that were going to change our lives. Unfortunately they only had one color for everyone, and we all just shared the same makeup. Lets home we didn't share the barfing flu too. But we all made it work and had fun. They even held a competition for the best makeup. We all think Irish got robbed. It turned more into a "who tried the hardest" competition.  Which is fine, but just call it that next time, ok?

Alix and Irish after!  Va va voom!
Afterwards we went to On the Border and got bottomless chips and salsa to stretch our stomachs in preparation of arriving back in America.  We are officially ready to come home now!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Grace and Ruby turn 6 years and 11 months old!

Grace and Ruby are turning 7 this July and we decided to have a party here before we left so they could celebrate with all their friends. We invited the entire 1st grade! We had the party at the same park as the party last year and when I look at the pictures from last year, we had almost the same food too. 



This year instead of painting their hands, we did temporary tattoos for the kids (and adults).




Everyone looked like the were having a great time, there was enough food and the weather was perfect. It was a great send off for the end of the year. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Party Room

Our friend Bonny is getting married at the end of the summer and we wanted to have a bachelorette party for her here before the school year is over. We wanted it to include all of her favorite Korean things: jjimjilbangs (spa), Gusto Tacos, and noribangs (karaoke). Katie mentioned this to a Korean friend and she suggested a "party room". Apparently there are these rooms you can rent around Seoul for exactly this situation.

We started the night at Gusto Taco in Hongdae. They might have better tacos than in Denver. What?!
Jamie and Katie


Bonny and Tiffany

Ricki, me, Bony
Becca and Meredith

We left Gusto taco and Katie and I went back to her apartment to get snacks to take to the party room and took a taxi to the hotel. The hotel was in the seediest part of Seoul I've seen. There were a few bars, but mostly just love motels. In fact, I'm pretty sure this party room was in a love motel. But this wouldn't be my first time sharing a room with Katie and Meredith in a love motel.

The party room was spectacular.
A huge hot tub:

The ceiling opens above the hot tub so you can look up at the stars
Karaoke!
A huge table
A huge couch
The place sleeps 6, this is just one of the 2 bedrooms:

Bonny

Awesome decor
We really got into singing





As soon as we woke up in the morning, we sang karaoke again. 
It really was fun. I have a theory that all the love motels and these party rooms are needed in Seoul because it is customary for people to live at home with their parents until they get married, so they don't like to entertain at home.

After checking out, Katie and I shared a taxi back to her place where I had left my car. As we were walking up the stairs to her apartment to get the car keys, I see the parking ticket people pull up. I ran out yelling my newest Korean phrase "wait a minute!" The guy said, very harshly, "no parking!"
 If you look closely in the picture above, you'll see that parking on the sidewalk is the only place to park in Katie's neighborhood. This is how it's done. I said "I know, I'm leaving right now" and he said "too long!" I also knew that while he may not have me on the illegal location, it had been there for at least 12 hours while we were at the party room. I kept yelling "wait just a minute!" in Korean and ran up for the keys.
I got  out of the ticket. I gave him a little respectful bow and he shooed me off yelling "drive! drive!"

This is the ticketing car. See the huge camera on the top?
It's not a great picture because I
was taking it while I was saying "just a minute!"
Anyway, the party room was awesome. We had such a terrific time, we'll miss our good friend Bonny-but she's from Colorado, so it's not goodbye, it's see you soon.

In case you're interested, we were at Gil-dong IMT in the Cloud 9 Party Room. It's near Gildong- station line number 5.