Last trip to the Grand Park

We took a break today to head to the Grand Park for one last time and to try out the new water park that has opened there. We got there about 10.40 so had a twenty minute wait until the water play area opened, a very hot wait!

Waiting very patiently.

Waiting very patiently.

The kids were very glad when the water was switched on, there was a mini stampede to start playing.There is a great selection of different ways to get wet – the bucket filling up and then spilling everywhere is always a favourite. Gregor likes the curly slide better but Katrine thought the straight one was more fun.

It is a fantastic water play area, especially considering that it is free (there is a charge for the car-park but that was less the 2000 won). The water play is currently open all week from 11-4, with breaks from twenty to till the hour. It is closest to the swimming pool entrance of the park, in Ok-Dong, and once you enter the park you keep right as if you are walking to the bouncy marshmallows. It is only a few minutes up the hill.

Really nice way to get away from sorting and packing, with happy smiling kids.

Cycle training

Our little lone Brownies has grown from 2 girls upto 7 and it is about time for another Brownie outing. We headed to the Grand Park for cycle training and a picnic (the second of the weekend!) I’m pleased to say all the girls did very well and passed their cycling patch requirements. The boys had to tag along for the day and were quite happy to get out on bikes and join in.

The park was very busy, we managed to find a parking space when we got there at 10.30, but by the time we left at 1.30 the car park was closed, too full. But we pretty much had the road safety part of the park to ourselves so they go to practise all their manoeuvres and road awareness without having to risk Korea driving!

Party in the park

Birthday time in the Haydock household, Gregor turned 7 this weekend. We had an early start – 6:30 – he had been instructed that he wasn’t to get up before this and he came though bang on, so he must have been awake and clock watching beforehand. We made him wait to open his presents until his sister woke up – which was torture. Fortunately she woke just after 7.IMG_0836 IMG_0838

After all the family presents were unwrapped we had a lazy breakfast before  frantic sandwich making and all the last minute preparation for the party. We even had proper UK jelly, that Richard brought back from his last trip.

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The plan had been to have a small party with just Gregor’s close friends and people from the building whom he played with often. But I hadn’t counted on how diverse and many friends Gregor has made in the last ten months! So including my two – there were 20 children; 10 girls, 10 boys with an age range from 5 to 16. So not really the small party I first planned.

We held the party at the Grand Park, as there is great areas to play and covered seat to use as a base and for the party lunch. We only just got there in time, another ten minutes and all the seats would have been gone! The square set of seats are very popular, in fact ours was nabbed as soon as we started packing up.

We were very lucky with the weather, the day before had been hot, hot, hot, with clear skies (the ice-cream cake would not have made it!). The day later the rain came. So we had reasonable temperature (about 26c) with some cloud cover but it stayed dry – I have never been happy to have an outside party on a cloudy day before!

A big thank you to everyone who came to Gregor’s party and gave him have such a special day. And thank you for all the gifts as well, thank you cards are being written.

Getting braver

Today I took the kids up the swimming pool in Ulsan Grand Park, which might not sound that brave but for me it is. Driving to a new place, navigating customs that you don’t know and then just managing the kids in the pool. We met up with friends which made it a lot easier.

A wee note on the driving, a couple of months ago I was terrified but today I had a pushy taxi driver and I refused to move till he reversed. No being flustered or bothered by the beeping, and erratic lane changing. Quite proud of myself really.

Right, enough self congratulatory twaddle and back to the pool. Gregor was a bit miffed that he had to use the female changing room, as he is used to taking himself off to the guy’s.

First difference you have to take your shoes off before you go into the changing room, if you don’t you will get told off. Then, everyone has to wear a swimming cap. So I had to pop back to the shop to buy three; blue for Gregor, yellow for Katrine and purple for me.

The pool is really nice; there is a lap pool that was busy with people doing laps (go figure), a wave pool, a shallow kids pool, a massage pool, a hot tub and a water slide.

The wave pool was switched on at 11 and everyone who goes beyond the line has to wear a lifejacket, even, if as an adult you are never out of your depth. The waves were only on for 20minutes and when it closed the slide was opened, also for 20minutes. Katrine was first down and then Gregor who had last minute nerves, but a gentle shove and he was away, and loved it and had more turns than anyone else.

Then to the showers, obviously Koreans are less prudish. Katrine felt a bit self conscious but then I think she got the fact that if everyone is naked, no one is looking at you.

Really fun day and a great end to the holiday. The children are now tucked up in bed, the school bags are ready and taekwondo uniforms found, so I am writing this and watching Strictly Come Dancing (on the computer as the VPN on the iPad is too slow) with some chocolate and the cat.

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I think she is a fan.

Day 1 of school holidays done, only 4 more to go.

We have a week of school! Yeah! We have three days off due to the Chuseok holiday and then an extra two for teacher training. Normally, I am not down about having a week of school, but, this time, Richard is in the UK and we still haven’t fully found our feet.

Richard left very early on Sunday morning and will be gone a full fortnight, so one week with them off school, the weekend (not sure why this is different but it is) then a week with them at school before he gets home – hopefully with an armful of goodies that we can’t get here (like custard powder and dairy milk).

Yesterday’s activities: Katrine wrote a play called the ‘flying cupcakes’ which she then acted out with Gregor, with row upon row of stuff toys for audience. Then we made the real thing, well banana and chocolate chip muffins so close enough, which fortunately didn’t fly off out of the room, as the consequences of that seem to be that an old man turns up, proposing marriage. After muffin making I shoo them off to the playground on level 5 armed with an alarm clock, set for lunchtime so they knew when to return, we have tried watches in the past but they just forget to even look at them.

I also succumbed to pester power and let them try out the moshi membership for free, which I know will just mean when it runs out the pestering will return with even more force for full paid membership, but I will deal with that when I get there, for now it seemed a reasonable thing for them to ask for and did keep them busy and not squabbling.

Later on we went to see Brave at the cinema, we were very nervous when we first took our seats as we were the only non-Korean there, Katrine was getting a bit worried that we might have to watch the movie in Korean. The upside of it being an all Korean audience was that I persuaded her to wear her glasses, as she didn’t know anyone in the room. But then about half the kids from her school bus turned up, I was not popular then. To finish off the evening we went to McDonalds for tea.

 

Today we headed back to the Grand park, on our first outing we got well and truly muddled in the pine forest but this time I had been advised to head to the south gate as it is a lot closer to some great play equipment, we also took out scooters for faster getting around.

Here they are enjoying the sunshine,

 

We then found these giant inflatable bouncy dome things, for want of a better name we have called them the marshmallow jumpers.

 

Action shot and a nice view of the mountains in the background.

 

They then had to try out the scramble nets,

 

These were both really quiet when we first arrived, about 10, but were absolutely mobbed by the time we were heading home.

There is also a really fun cycle/scooter/roller blading course with road safety stuff, and bumps and bridges.

 

 

We then all had a go on the adult play, sorry, exercise equipment.

 

Gregor insisted on taking my photo as well.

 

And there is still a lot of the park we have yet to explore! We bumped into two separate families from out building, which isn’t really a surprise as the weather was perfect for the park; the heat from the summer is passing, there was a gentle breeze and the leaves on the trees are just starting to turn.

 

In the afternoon they raided the craft cupboards and declared they were going to make pipe cleaner bugs, I did point out that we don’t have any pipe cleaners but Katrine is too cleave for me and said they could use straws instead. I had to concede defeat and prepare the kitchen table to glue and mess.

 

The finished bugs.

 

 

 

So a very successful and busy start to the holiday week, which just leaves one question – what are we going to do for the rest of it?

A grand day out

Our first outing! We decided to head to the Ulsan Grand Park, as it is nearby and promised playparks. Yesterday turned out to be rather hot (33c) so we left the apartment just before 9, hoping to avoid the worse of the heat.

It is very easy to get to the park and only a ten minute drive with, and this is a major plus here, loads of parking.

Here are Katrine and Richard as we are just starting out (Gregor was not in a photo mood today so wouldn’t pose for me at all).

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Straight away we saw some squirrels scampering in the pine trees. This is a good example of my poor camera skills, I’m still using my phone until I get the computer in the shipment. Then the rubbish photos are entirely my own fault.

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We headed up into the pine woods, which is fantastic place for walking. With the trees opening up for stunning views over the valley.

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There were several viewing platforms to look at the views.

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We also saw about half a dozen of these earth mounds with a stone ‘door’ and lintel. No idea what they are for / represent though.

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We found a few adult playparks,

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but the children’s one was proving hard to find.

A couple of interesting things, the paths were reasonably busy but only with adults we didn’t see any other families walking. Secondly the men we saw were dressed for walking but the women were totally covered; sunglasses, face scarf, long sleeve tops – all this in 30degree heat! (The blue dolphin is a light.)

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Here I am! Not covered up at all.

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After about an hour and a half walking we were all feeling the heat. Here is a very sweaty Katrine.

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Fortunately, we found a woman selling ice lollies.

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It also gave us a chance to look at a map, which didn’t help for 2 reasons: we couldn’t read anything on it and we didn’t know where we were at all (no ‘you are here’ arrow).

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A few minutes later we came out of the woods and found a war memorial (as you do).

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With a couple of planes.

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Katrine and Gregor were beginning to get tired, hot and grumpy when fortunately we finally found a children’s play area.

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This was 11.30 on a Sunday morning and the place was deserted, not another kid in sight.

We found another map and could now get our bearings so we could find the carpark.

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Even though we were there for 3 hours we only explored a third (if that) of the park so we will we definitely be back.