by - April 27, 2018

" have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith."

Today marks 11 years since my husband and I made those vows to each other in Maui. Of course it meant something then, but now that we actually lived through it for 11 years, there is more depth to these words than before. 11 years of fighting, making up, dealing with disappointments and unmet expectations, facing our own problems and weaknesses, learning, forgiving, laughing, sharing, making hard life decisions, and fighting some more have led us to 11 years together. We moved to Korea, served at a church, started a NGO, both finished grad schools, traveled to 9 countries together, had 2 children of our own, and adopted one. I had no idea that I would be here living this life 12 years ago, but it is so much more than what I could've dreamed of. God is indeed faithful. I am so thankful that God has led me to make those vows to Alex 11 years ago and knowing what those words mean now, I would make those vows again in a heartbeat. 

Celebrating our wedding anniversary each year is a good way to look back and count our blessings. Therefore, we always plan ahead to celebrate in big or small ways. We went on a date this year to Naksan Park (낙산공원) and Ehwa Mural Village (이화벽화마을) in Ehwa-dong. It was a perfect spring day. The flowers were in full bloom, and the clear skies and clean air after rain showers helped us enjoy the amazing views of Seoul around Naksan Park. The walking path along the fortress wall and the open view of Seoul that leads to trendy cafes and quirky mural walls in the Ehaw Mural Village makes this area a perfect date spot. I would not say this place is "kid friendly" since the roads are narrow, there is lot of renovation and construction, and there's not much for kids to do. It's more suitable for quiet walks and enjoying coffee with a partner or friend, which is why I picked this place as a date spot. I wanted to go somewhere I normally wouldn't go with the kids. You can go with kids, but just keep in mind that there is lot of walking, cafes and restaurants do not have high chairs, and it's not stroller friendly.

To start off, we had lunch at HoHo Restaurant (호호식당). It's a home cooking style Japanese restaurant in a hanok. We got there around 11:30 am and we still had to wait to be seated. The price ranges from 10,000 won to 20,000 won per dish. I highly recommend salmon on rice. They have paid parking lot across the restaurant for 4,000 won an hour, but parking lot only takes Korean brand cars for some reason.

After delicious lunch, we drove up to Naksan Park. There is a parking lot at the entrance and right by is Cafe Travel (카페 트레블) with a roof top view that you wouldn't want to miss. And of course the coffee is good too!

After, you can catch the view on the other side of Seoul when you hike up to the top of Naksan Park which takes less than 10 minutes to walk up. There is a walking path along the fortress wall with an amazing view of the city. It was beautiful!

When you follow the wall to the top, it will lead you to the mural village with artsy cafes, stores and of course mural walls. You can also rent old style school uniforms to walk around and take pictures in. 

Out of all the cafes, this cafe/gallery surrounded by small cat paintings and figures called Ehwa Jungshim (이화중심), which means center of Ehwa, caught our eye. When you order a drink from here, you can request painting supplies and paint for free. You don't have to, but they highly recommend that you paint a cat. The view from the upstairs balcony was pretty nice too. You can see Namsan Tower on a clear day. It's a perfect place to spend an afternoon having a drink, paint, and people watching (if you like that sort of thing, which I love!).

Another store we stopped by was this ice-cream store, called Milk Gongbang (밀크공방). They have a sign that says "the world's best ice-cream". How can you pass by a sign like that! I loved the interior of this place, but was not that impressed with the ice-cream itself. It was good, but not the world's best!

I hope you enjoyed this post and will go check out Naksan Park and Ehwa Mural Village if you haven't yet. My husband and I enjoyed a few hours of alone time together here walking around, catching up, sharing ice-cream, and taking felt like a real date! 😄 

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