Maria’s Beer Balcony in Germany

We had just come back from London, and my friend Il Jung and her husband stopped by to see us in Oberursel before heading to London themselves.

Within the past 17 years since she left Oberursel, we had seen each other once, which was on a stopover in Seoul while on my way to Japan in 2012.

We had met back in 1998 through the international school life in Oberursel, when she was only a 9th grader… These days, she is a famous jewelry designer and she’s also wearing one of her creations.

We had a good dinner at the Kronenhof in Bad Homburg, including the obligatory Haxen for Jun Hyuk. The rest of the evening we finished off on the Beer Balcony with many new and old stories to tell, much laughter, and promises to see each other again soon.

Well, I do plan on going to a friend’s wedding in Seoul in a few years’ time.

Il Jung Lee and Jun Hyuk from Seoul

If you are interested in Il Jung’s creations, see:

Feverish Jewellry

Brand to Know: Feverish Jewellry

Facebook Feverish Jewellry

Maria’s Beer Balcony in Germany

A week before Christmas, I found out I’d have another beer balcony friend from Korea stop by while touring parts of Europe.  In the end, he brought two more friends and we had a good time on the balcony.

It was a rather mild mid-December day, and there is no snow in the forecast for Christmas 2014 either.

Maria's Beer Balcony

Taesu from Korea on his very first visit to Germany and Hee-Jeong, a local resident

Maria's Beer Balcony

Taesu, Inhyuk, and Hee-Jeong

 ‎건배!

“This is the time to remember because it will not last forever; these are the days to hold on to because we won’t, although we’ll want to.”
– Billy Joel –

  My life remains very interesting, thanks to all my friends.

Maria’s Beer Balcony in Germany

Well, as it was only late afternoon, we sat on the balcony with coffee and juice. Yes, that’s possible too.

My former student and friend Dong Yeon, a Middlebury student (Vt in the USA), but now attending the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität (Mainz), came by for a visit.

We had not seen each other for six years, so when Dong Yeon arrived in Germany on 8 October, we planned our get together. We spent a couple of hours at the school’s Applefest, took a walk through the forest (a very German thing to do), and ended up on the balcony for more conversation.

It is so good to see our friends again.

A friend is someone who understand your past, believes in your future, and accepts you today just the way you are.

Dong Yeon beer balcony

with Dong Yeon, originally from Seoul/Korea, enrolled at an American college, but currently in Mainz/Germany

Excellent Customer Service in Korea

Five weeks ago, in a rush to get to Seoul’s Incheon Airport, we left our daughter’s travel companion Winnie the Pooh behind. He remained at K-haus Gwanghwamun in Seoul until the hotel manager, Ms. Lee, and I cleared by e-mail his transport to Germany.

There were at least a dozen e-mails as I had hoped to have Winnie shipped to my friends’ address in Japan, but time was not on our side. Then we had to resettle the destination (Germany), kind of transport (small parcel by ship), and method of reimbursement (PayPal).

Winnie started his return journey from Seoul on 12 April.

During all these times of communicating, I forgot to mention to ask Ms. Lee to write “used product” on the customs declaration form. So two days ago, a big envelope containing three papers, arrived in the mail. The German customs office here in Oberursel asked me to come in and declare my parcel as it contained no bill, wasn’t marked as a gift, etc.

The customs officer asked me what I expected to get and I told her my little story. Then I was given a parcel knife to open it in front of her. After recognizing that this was indeed a very used plush animal, I was sent on my way, with Winnie in my arms.

Winnie the Pooh, the traveller

Doesn’t Winnie look tired? I thought overseas flights are long enough for us, but he really looks ragged out from this long ocean transfer and truck ride. On top of that, our daughter will employ him as a head rest again tonight.

 

Culture and Commerce in Seoul

The main gate (Kwanghwa-mun) separates Gyeongbok Palace from one of the busiest areas of Seoul. Here we are on the palace grounds and taking a look back at the entrance. Gyeongbok Palace was the primary residence of  King Taejo in 1395 (founder of the Chosun Kingdom). 

The main gate (Kwanghwa-mun) of Gyeongbok Palace, Seoul

Caffé Bene (tel: (02) 3438 – 6850) recycles its coffee grounds by stuffing its ash trays with it.

recycled coffee grounds

Another view onto the mountains in northern Seoul.

Gyeongbak Palace

The city lights looked inviting on this cold and rainy evening in Seoul. Little did we know that it would snow the following day.

Seoul at dusk

In Cheongaecheon, a popular district mainly catering to food, drink, and entertainment.

Seoul at night