Sunday, July 31, 2011

DMZ Part 1

Marshall and I took an all day ITT (Information, Tickets, and Travel) trip up to the DMZ last week.  The ITT office offers trips to many different places all over Korea, and are very affordable. The great part about these trips is that they take care of all the travel arrangements for you, and offer tour guides.  Since I can't possibly remember all the great info that we learned on our trip, I'm going to post a few links, and you can read some of it for yourself.

Having just finished reading Still Life With Rice, this trip was perfectly timed.  This book is fantastic (I highly recommend it!), and helped me come to a greater understanding about what life was like in Korea during the time of the Korean War.  The Korean people have truly been torn apart, and have overcome so much.  Just riding through Seoul on our tour bus, I am amazed at how successfully and quickly South Korea has rebounded from being nearly destroyed.  From everything I have heard and seen, the Korean people want nothing more than to have their entire country united once again, but most of all they want peace.  I hope in my lifetime this happens for them.

The first stop on our trip was at Imjingak Resort.  This is a park filled with monuments and displays, right along the border of the DMZ.  This park is visited by millions of South Koreans each year who come to pray for their lost family members and ancestors buried in North Korea, and to pray for reunification.  They look across the border at the land they cannot visit, and the people they may never see again.

This is a giant bell, waiting to be rung to celebrate reunification.

There is a wall full of stones from different places all over the Earth that have been at war, and now are at peace.

Some of the stones in the Peace Wall.  There is one from Massachusetts, honoring the Revolutionary War in the US.

These are ribbons tied onto the fence separating the two countries.  Each ribbon contains a prayer for a loved one still in North Korea, an ancestor buried there, or a prayer for peace.

This one is in English.  "Pray for God's grace and His peace be upon North Korea".

The park is right next to railroad tracks that run all the way up to the border of North Korea, but are not allowed to cross.  This old train was one originally that used to make the trip across the border, before the two countries were separated.  If the border was opened, trains would be able to travel all the way to China and beyond, like they could before the border was closed.

The South Korean guard actually looks nicer than Marshall.

This bridge goes right up to the edge of the Imjin River bridge,until 1998 it was the only bridge that still crossed the Imjin River into North Korea (of course you are not allowed to cross it).

Fountain shaped like the unified Koreas.

It was a hazy day, but you can see the bridge crossing the Imjin River.  At the end of the Korean war, thousands of captured soldiers crossed this bridge back into the South, into freedom.

At the gift shops outside they sold North Korean beer (or so the sign says). 

We also picked up some North Korean money.

This little gal guarded one of the shops.  Her front and back nails are painted different colors.

That's it for now, more coming soon!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

After drawing all the winners for my prizes, I looked back at who they are- and the results are so funny!  No one can say that it was rigged (sorry Mom, maybe next time), and the diversity of the group of winners really shows how widespread my group of friends truly is!  To fill you in, I'll post how I know each person.  

Here are the winners for all of my Giveaway prizes from this week!

Monday- Magnet set- 19 entries- Winning entry #13- 
Sarah and I became friends when we both played together in the Durham Symphony.  My Father in law has done a keg stand in her backyard.

Tuesday- Chopsticks set- 18 entries- Winning entry #12- 
Jenny and I worked together at Swenson's Ice Cream (my first job!) in Friendly Center AGES ago, and I hung out with her younger sister Tina.  Jenny has three adorable children, and gives great advice.

Wednesday- Pottery bowl- 22 entries- Winning entry #3-
Tiffany and I were both Music Ed majors at UNCG.  She married a violist- insert any number of jokes here.

Thursday- Luggage tags- 22 entries- Winning entry #19- 
I met E about eightish months before we left Langley, and I wish I had met her sooner!  She and I have very similar senses of humor- and she once lent me a zebra print body suit.  True story.

Friday- Name banner- 17 entries- Winning entry #11- 
Ariail's mother and my mother have been friends since they were in High School, so I've known her literally my entire life.  We have baby pictures together.  I can't say that about many people.

To all my lucky winners- send me (via facebook message preferably, but email works too) your mailing address- and I will get these prizes in the mail next week!

If you didn't win and really, really, REALLY want something, I can be convinced to buy it and mail it to you- but you'll have to send me a check, or paypal!  :)  Family members may make Christmas gift requests too.  

Okay, that's it!  Giveaway week is complete!!  MaryMac OUT!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Givewaway week- FRIDAY!

Today is the LAST DAY of Giveaway week, and this has been so much fun!  Entries to all posts from this week close at Midnight Eastern time, so go back and comment if you haven't already!  Thank you to everyone who has participated, and has taken the time to enter.  Some people even posted about it on their blog and facebook- so thank you to you too!  This is my first time trying to do anything like this, and it can get complicated, so thank you ALL for being understanding.  :)

The comments will be numbered and then I'll be using this random number generator to pick the winners.  I'll post the winners here (and also on facebook probably) on Saturday, so stay tuned!  I was going to have people guess how much Mav weighs for this last post (because this boy is a chunk, and that would be funny)- but that just adds another layer of complication.  So- random it is!

Here is the final prize for one lucky winner!

A custom made banner!  We have one for both of the children, and they are really very nice!  This booth is operated by a very elderly man, who paints (painstakingly slowly and carefully) with beautiful rainbow colors on white silk.  Each letter is formed from something from nature, like a bird, bamboo, a tree, a sunset- each thing he paints is unique!  If you win, you get to choose what word or name you want on your banner.  You can hang it up, frame it, or give it away.  And in case you were wondering, yes, his booth is made out of mostly cardboard, plastic, and packing tape.  Genius!!

Here is a picture from Maddox's old room, and you can see her banner hanging on the right.

Oops- forgot to say- the Rules posted previously during the week still apply.  I'm not cutting and pasting it again!

Now, live long and prosper!  Or, go forth and multiply! about this- PAY IT FORWARD!