This one’s dedicated to all the friends and family members who helped my daughter and her team go to their Destination Imagination Global Tournament in Knoxville, Tennessee last week. It was a thoroughly exhausting, thoroughly wonderful week. They had the time of their lives! THANK YOU!

There were so many things my daughter got to try for the first time last week, like the human hamster ball:

Bungee banana basketball…(the expression on her face)!

Organized thuggery:

NASA was there…

I got to play astronaut too!

Buzz Aldrin was the keynote speaker at the Opening Ceremony!

Over 17,000 people from 17 different countries all over the world came to Knoxville for the tournament.

Pin-trading was serious business:

Registering for the Instant Challenge:

The kids were cheered on as they went to do their instant challenge:

I got to hang out with these lovely mamas all week. We waited in the wings for our little teamsters…

They were ready to cut loose after their challenge:

And then it was on to the Duct Tape Ball! My girl only managed to put a few pieces of duct tape on the shirt she was wearing…(UNDER the fleece)!, but her teammates were far more enterprising:

There were some really elaborate duct tape costumes at the ball:

The next day the kids performed their main challenge. They had worked on the “Creature Feature” technical challenge for which they had to build a creature that performed actions, and to present a story featuring the creature as a character.

Once their challenge was done, they could relax!

On our last night in Knoxville, we went to dinner in Market Square, where we saw this statue:

The girls wanted to say thank you…

On Saturday morning before hitting the road for the six hour drive back to Charlottesville, the kids had one more woman to thank – their wonderful, wonderful, out of all whooping DI coach:

What a week! Goodbye, Knoxville! Hope to see you again…

Last Day in Seoul

On our last day in Seoul, my sister and I took a walk to Gwanghwamun Square. It was overcast and smoggy, but there was plenty to see on our walk toward Gyeongbokgung Palace. The palace and monuments leading up to it are impressively situated with the majestic Bugaksan Mountain as a backdrop.

We walked past the 40th Anniversary Monument of Gojong’s Enthronement. Gojong (1852-1919) was the 26th king of the Joseon Dynasty, and the first emperor of Korea.

For some reason I found myself drawn to these little figures on the gate…

They reminded me of something I couldn’t quite put my finger on…and then I remembered:

Admiral Yi (1545-1598) is one of Korea’s greatest heroes, a naval commander who never lost a single battle. He is famous for his victories over the Japanese navy and for improving upon a warship called the turtle ship or geobukseon:

My dad once told me long ago that we were related to Admiral Yi. Genealogy is a big deal in Korea. Many people have books listing all of their ancestors for generations among their most prized possessions. I know my family has one somewhere. Sure, there are a gazillion Kims, but are you the right kind of Kim? Certain Kim bloodlines have more cachet than others. This information is important when marriages are being considered. You wouldn’t want to marry a Kim from the same ancestral clan, for example. When I was in high school I had to do an oral presentation on our family history. When I asked my dad for some details, he casually told me that we were directly descended not only from the great Admiral Yi, but also from kings and queens of the Silla Dynasty. I was puffed with pride and my classmates were suitably impressed when I wove that fact into my presentation. It was only years later that I realized that EVERY Korean person is somehow related to some king, queen, (or illustrious admiral).

Still, I couldn’t help thinking about the fact that we were related to Admiral Yi as I walked past the exhibits on his life and accomplishments in the museum below street level, underneath his and King Sejong the Great’s statues.

The Admiral was as bad-ass as they come:

He was inventive, resourceful, and creative:

He was a poet…

And look! Great Grandpa Sun-sin loved keeping a diary – it was his most prized possession:

Later that day, with my head full of all the amazing things I had learned about my forebear, I asked my dad to remind me how exactly we were related to Admiral Yi. He told me he was his mother’s great x 17 grandfather. I waited for him to point out all of our ancestor’s excellent traits and qualities and to confirm all the connections I had made myself. Instead he said this would explain why my grandmother was “unusually large and husky” for a Korean woman.

This explains so much! 

You can just start calling me The Admiral from now on.

Just past the statue of Admiral Yi is the statue of King Sejong the Great (1397-1450), which was erected in 2009. King Sejong was an enlightened ruler, who is most famous for creating the simple, phonetic 28 letter Korean alphabet so that everyone could be literate. One of the most interesting features of this alphabet is that the shapes of the letters are meant to depict the shape of the mouth and tongue when making the sounds. Before the creation of Hangul, only the upper classes could read and write, because Korean at the time relied so heavily on the use of Chinese characters. Scholars and noblemen opposed the creation of the alphabet, fearing that it would sour relations with China and go against Confucian principles, but King Sejong persisted in working toward his vision of universal literacy:

The language of our people is different from that of Chinese and hence cannot be expressed properly in Chinese characters. That is why there are many simple-minded people who can not express themselves even if they have things to say. Taking pity on them, I have made twenty eight letters, only hoping that all our people learn them easily and use them comfortably every day.

I can attest to the ease of learning how to read and write Korean – my mother once taught this simple-minded person how to do it in an hour. Now if only I knew what I was reading and writing!

Past the statue of King Sejong is Gyeongbokgung Palace, built in 1395 as the main royal palace of the Joseon Dynasty. It was destroyed by the Japanese in 1592 and after being rebuilt, it was destroyed again by the Japanese in 1915. Restoration to its original form began in 1990 and is ongoing.

On the extensive grounds of the palace are several museums, including the National Folk Museum.

Korean jangseung, or totems like these were often placed at village entrances, often in male and female pairs, to ward off evil spirits, protect against disease, and to ensure a good harvest. The inscriptions are identifiers. The male figure is “Great General Under Heaven” and the female figure is “Great General of the Underworld.” Now that has a certain ring to it, don’t you think?

There was an impressive collection of stone statues of civil servants. Statues such as these are often placed to stand guard at the graves of important people.

One area of the grounds has been designed to recreate a street in the 70s. My family moved to Korea for a couple years when I was a baby in the early 70s. I was too young to remember anything about it, but I thought it might bring back memories for my sister.

She once told me that all the kids had to bring candles to school. They would wax the floors with them on their hands and knees…

The 70s recreation did spark one memory for me…I was very excited to see this poster hanging on a wall. First, check out the Korean version of Audrey Hepburn:

For as long as I can remember, my dad’s been trying to convince me to cut my hair short. He always begins his pitch by talking about how when the movie Roman Holiday came out in Korea, all the women ran out to get their hair cut like Audrey Hepburn’s!


The next morning we headed to the airport…My mom especially wanted to make sure I got a picture of her with her brother and his hat! I love the fact that even in his seventies, he calls my mom noona, (big sister). He very solicitously made sure she didn’t have to wait in long lines like the rest of us schlubs!

I was touched to see that a whole party of people made the hour and a half drive to the airport to see my parents off:

One of the men told me that he had named his son after my grandfather and that his daughter has my mom’s name. He earned his doctorate in Systematic Theology, because my father first taught it to him. There was a lot of love for my parents in that airport. They may have never won any naval battles or sat on any thrones:

…(well, maybe just once), but they’ve lived their lives with integrity, and they’ve earned the respect and love of people on both sides of the globe. I’m proud to be their daughter.

This trip to Korea was an experience I will treasure for a lifetime, and I’m so grateful to have been able to share it with my parents and my sister.

The Great Admiral of the Underworld is signing off for now…Until next time!


I just got back from Knoxville, Tennessee where my daughter’s Destination Imagination team was competing at the Global Finals. I had meant to finish up my Korea posts while I was there, but limited bandwidth in the dorms we were staying in, a packed schedule, and sheer exhaustion delayed things a bit…Without further ado, here is my penultimate Korea post:

The Scoop on Poop

I didn’t know it was possible to be spoiled by a toilet. It is:

After ten days of sitting on a heated seat in the Westin Chosun, regular toilets seem so cold and primitive!

Sometimes the toilets were so high tech, I couldn’t even figure out how they flushed:

The toilets weren’t always so fancy:

I’m not the only one who couldn’t figure out how the toilets worked…Because of the existence of squatter toilets such as these, you sometimes see signs like this:

On our last day in Seoul, my sister and I walked to the National Folk Museum, which also has a Children’s Museum. This was the featured exhibit:

Food, glorious food

The Spam aisle in the Lotte Department Store Grocery:

The 12th and 13th floors have nothing but restaurants:

I was fascinated by the snacks…Mmmmmm, squid gristle!


The 9th floor of Lotte is Duty Free cosmetics. The place was full of people with gigantic suitcases, prepared to drop some serious change on face creams!

Exit through Star Avenue:

These pretty, pretty boys made me feel like a big ugly lumberjack every time I walked past:

Shinsegae Department Store is the grande dame of department stores:

We caught a sweet, temporary installation called Journey in a Dream on the top floor. The Australian installation artist Pip & Pop created depictions of paradise made of colored sugar and figurines she had collected in Korea:

Tomorrow: Last Day in Seoul


Cheong Gye Cheon Stream

The Cheong Gye Cheon Stream traverses central Seoul from West to East for about seven miles. For centuries, people gathered at the Cheong Gye Cheon to wash clothing by hand. From 1900 on shantytowns were erected along the stream. My dad recalls seeing North Korean refugees living in cardboard houses on either side during the Korean War. By 1958 the area had become such an eyesore and health hazard that the stream was covered over with concrete, and an elevated highway was eventually built over it. In 2003, a controversial $900 million, two-year restoration project was begun to remove the highway and concrete to uncover the stream once again. People complained bitterly about the disruption and the displacement of businesses caused by the construction, but today the stream is a treasured and popular landmark in Seoul.

For the month of May, it’s decorated for Buddha’s birthday:

In which Lumpy and Stupid Try Not to Disgrace the Family Name

When it comes to my parents, the only thing we’ve ever been able to count on for sure, is that we should expect the unexpected.

“Kids, we’re moving to Dallas!”

“We’re moving to Korea.”

“We’re moving to Florida.”

“We’re moving to Pennsylvania.”

“Tell your teachers this is your last week of school. We’re moving to Virginia next week.”

“Thanks for picking us up at the airport, but we’re going to drive to Tennessee now. See you at the end of the week.” (At 11 pm).

Surprise! We decided to come home a few days early!” (At 3 am the next day).

“We’ve decided to move to Korea.”

“We’re moving to California.”

“We changed our minds, we’re not going to stay for dinner. What? A two and a half hour drive is no big deal. We got to see you for a whole fifteen minutes!”

One might assume that after a lifetime of dealing with this kind of erratic behavior, one would give up trying to figure out their next move. Perhaps if one weren’t so lumpy and stupid, one would have given up trying, years ago. But every morning of the week we spent in Korea, my sister and I conferred with our parents in a vain attempt to definitively pin down the particulars of the schedule for the day. Every day my parents would say one thing and then casually drop bombshells left and right as the day wore on.

On Wednesday, we knew we would be attending the annual Founder’s Day Festival at the university (in honor of my grandfather), and that my father would be giving some sort of speech.

That morning my dad said, “Oh, by the way, they’re giving me an honorary degree today. They want you girls to go up on stage and help me with my cap and gown.”

“Ummm, Dad, is that really a good idea? We don’t speak Korean. We’ll have no idea what to do. We’re going to make complete fools of ourselves. We wouldn’t want to embarrass you in front of all those peop-”

“Nah. It’ll be fine. I’m sure they’ll tell you what to do.”

We begged our mom to intercede on our behalf…to explain that we were Lumpy and Stupid and could not be trusted to perform in such a public venue on such an important occasion. Not only did she refuse to help us, she craftily seated herself waaaaaaaay in the back of the auditorium, so as to escape notice herself.

It was not terrible.

My sister was not introduced, as she had been all week long, as a “good eater who as a little girl could eat an entire chicken all by herself, and especially loved the greasy skin which she’d rip off with her bare hands.”

When they introduced me, the lame joke I had once made, that after watching a few Korean dramas, I was now fluent enough in Korean to be the next university president, was not repeated as my mother insisted on doing over and over to my horror and everlasting shame to people, who never once cracked a smile at its retelling, and instead politely nodded their heads as they struggled not to betray their shocked disapproval at the rapacious, grasping, (lumpy and stupid) daughter who had made such an audacious claim.

We did not trip on the stairs on our way to the stage.

We bowed awkwardly, and maybe only looked a little bit like boobs as we did so.

We fumbled with the zipper for only a few seconds.

We placed the cap on our dad’s head more or less the right way.

We hugged our dad when we were ordered to in a stage whisper.


We looked only as stiff and awkward as we usually do, AND there was no food stuck between my teeth when we posed for photos.

My mom did not escape with impunity. They managed to hunt her down…

I exacted my revenge by taking photos of the takedown:


The Founder’s Day Festival:

After the ceremony, we celebrated our small victory with dinner:

And just a little more revenge:

Lumpy and Stupid Visit the Country, Part 2

I remember once long ago asking my father what part of Korea he was from. He told me and then added, “There’s absolutely no reason why you would have ever heard of it.” On Tuesday we drove two and a half hours south of Seoul to Yesan-gun in South Chungcheong Province to visit my father’s last living sibling. As we were driving there I looked it up on wikipedia and found that in 2009, it earned the designation of a “‘slow city,’ one in which traditional cultures and communities are preserved.” Its most famous native son is the resistance fighter Yoon Bong-Gil. In 1932 during the Japanese Occupation, he carried out a bombing in Shanghai which killed a Japanese general and a Chancellor. Left seriously wounded were an army commander, the Japanese Consul-General, and a special envoy. As we got closer, the view out the window was mostly muddy rice paddies and greenhouses. In the midst of this agricultural landscape, it was quite a startling sight to see the monolithic memorial in Yoon Bong-Gil’s honor decorated with what looked like a million Korean flags.

We pulled into a narrow alley and came to a stop here:

This is a newer house that was built in the place of the old hanok, where my father lived as a child. It is now occupied by the widow of one of his older brothers, the second woman to the left:

My father’s brother (furthest to the right) and his wife (furthest to the left) drove the short distance from their own house to meet us there.

I was delighted when my aunt brought out an ancient-looking photo album. We have very few photos of my father, and none of him as a child. I had never seen this photo before:

My dad is not in this photo, but pictured are a lot of my aunts and uncles. My grandmother is in the center, fifth from the left.

Here’s one of just my grandmother. My dad has always said I look like her:

What do you think?

We admired the garden and the cats in the courtyard before heading to lunch. The calico’s name is “Nabi,” or Butterfly – a generic cat name in Korea. I wish I knew what the other kitty’s name is…My mom says it was probably also Nabi!

The county’s other claim to fame is Sudeoksa, a Buddhist temple, which has been designated a National Treasure. We drove there for lunch along with busloads of tourists who had the same idea:

A pama (perm) and a bright colored jacket – the official uniform for tourism.

We took a few photos:

and then went to my uncle’s house:

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a picture of the whole house, which is perched on supports with the entryway on the second floor.

This is the view from the front entrance:

Inside the house we were thrilled to find:

25 day old poodle puppies!

and a sweet Yorkie.

Both dogs immediately took to my dad, who has always been a dog-lover. Now I’m thinking it’s genetic…

After letting the mother poodle finish up his yogurt…

…my uncle kept hand feeding her and the Yorkie something else. He would crunch something in his own mouth and then spit it into his own hand to feed both of the dogs in turn. I was dying to know what it was. Later my dad told me it was candy.

After hugs and farewells, we headed back to Seoul with a stop for dinner:

…where this:

became this:

Lumpy and Stupid Visit the Country, Part I

On Monday we drove two hours to the north of Seoul to visit the graves of my mother’s parents and brother. On Tuesday we drove two and a half hours to the south of Seoul to visit my father’s last living sibling – a brother who is three years older than he is.

En route we stopped at a rest area, where I couldn’t resist snapping photos like a hayseed visiting the big city for the first time.

Hmmm…Which side to pick?


The right side was equipped with this device, as many of the public restrooms are:

In the land of perfect people, with a push of a button, unpleasant bathroom noises can be masked with the pleasing sound of flowing water.

Here’s a good idea:

No Popeye’s Fried Chicken or Sbarros in this rest area:

We tried these cunning little walnut cakes, a specialty of the region:

Alas, like most Korean desserts, they were filled with sweet red bean paste.

More on Lumpy and Stupid’s visit to the country tomorrow.

Lumpy and Stupid

Mr. Lee used to be my parents’ driver when they lived in Korea. He has since become the editor of a monthly publication put out by the university. With his degree in Korean literature, it’s a position he’s well suited for. But then again, he could probably do any job well. While we’ve been here, he’s resumed his former role as my parents’ driver and my mother’s perfect child/best friend/right-hand man. While my sister and I stumble and bumble around like a couple of useless, non-Korean-speaking oafs, he magically smooths the way for us. When we go to restaurants he orders all of her favorite foods and a pair of the wooden chopsticks she prefers to use over the metal ones that are usually given. He leaps out of his seat and rushes over to open my mother’s door and discretely, solicitously helps her out of her own seat. He knows exactly what my mother wants before she even knows it herself.

The last time we visited my parents when they were still living in Korea, my mother was so sick, she spent most of her days in bed. I remember visiting her at her apartment one day and when she opened her door, she noticed a row of those large water bottles that are used in office water coolers lined up in the hallway. My parents had a water cooler in their apartment and they always used the excellent water from my grandfather’s mountain that would periodically be brought back to Seoul.

“Oh my goodness,” she murmured, “I just mentioned this morning that I was going to need more water soon, and he must have gone right away and brought it back while I was sleeping.”

So…just because my mother mentioned in passing that she was eventually going to run out of water, Mr. Lee immediately got into the car and drove FOUR hours to get her water so she wouldn’t have to worry about running out.

In short, Mr. Lee is an effortlessly perfect human being. We have yet to find a single fault in him, though believe me, my Harpy sister and I have tried.

Another woman, a former student of my dad’s who is now a professor at the university, has been meeting us whenever we’ve had occasion to go there. She too is effortlessly perfect. She is slim, elegant, and beautiful. She is perfectly dressed, perfectly coiffed, perfectly gracious. She speaks in beautiful modulated tones. She welcomes us with sliced fruit, coffee, and tea. She insists on pulling a tiny rickety stool out of another office to perch upon, while the rest of us sprawl like enormous beached whales on the comfy armchairs in my dad’s former office. (It’s been left vacant, with his name still on the door)!

After a day or two of being driven around and hosted by the perfect Mr. Lee and the perfect Dr. Yoo, my sister jokingly said to my mother, “I bet you’re sad that your daughters are lumpy and stupid and not perfect like Mr. Lee and Dr. Yoo.”

“Ah well,” she replied as we walked along…without even cracking a smile, “Come on, Lumpy. Come on, Stupid. Let’s go have dinner.”

Next: Lumpy and Stupid visit the country.

Visiting the Gravesite

On Monday we drove two hours north of Seoul to visit the graves of my maternal grandparents and uncle. There we met up with my mother’s brother and his wife, as well as some others, who accompanied them.

The Korean tradition is for graves to be sited on mountainsides. My grandfather’s church bought this mountain for their burial ground. The last time we visited the gravesite, my mother was so ill we thought it would be the last time she would be able to make the trip up the mountain. On that day, (was it six or seven years ago?), we ran into someone she recognized from her father’s church who was there tending to the graves. To our surprise and dismay she called to him and pointed out the spot she had picked, not too far from her parents, where she wanted to be buried. We were all desperately sad that day. It was one of the most painful days of my life.

It was a somber occasion this time, but I could tell it meant the world to my mother to be able to visit her parents’ and beloved brother’s graves again. It meant the world to us that we could be there with her. I think back to the last time we were there, and I realize that life is so unpredictable. It sucker punches you; it showers you with unexpected blessings. All you can do is roll with it. Kind of like this trip, actually. Every morning my sister and I naively ask what the plan for the day is. My parents tell us what we’ll be doing – and it never, never goes as they said it would…We’re rolling with it.

The last time we were here, my dad pointed out where our names are carved into the stone marker between my grandparents’ two graves. This time my mom was able to point them out to us herself:

With her cane, she pointed out my oldest sister’s name, my second sister’s name directly under hers, and mine below theirs.

“Hmmm, she said. “I guess they didn’t put Teddy’s name on it.” (That’s our brother).

She looked puzzled as she continued to read the names of all of my grandparents’ children and their children inscribed upon the stone.

“Oh, there it is!” she said as she pointed out our brother’s name and laughed. “They put it higher on the stone, because he’s a boy.”


We headed down the mountain to visit my uncle’s grave. One of the kind gentlemen in our party did his best to sweep aside the slippery dry pine needles so my mom wouldn’t fall.

That’s my uncle and aunt to the left, and my parents to the right.

After laying the flowers we had brought and saying a prayer, we drove on a short distance to my grandfather’s mountain. He bought this property, located fairly near the DMZ, shortly after the Korean War. After the war, it had been completely denuded of all trees. He spent the rest of his life replanting trees on that mountain like a Korean Johnny Appleseed. My mother remembers being taken there often with her siblings to help him plant trees. After he founded a university, it became a tradition for his students to plant trees there as well. I remember hearing as a child long ago, that someone who had been camping on the property, accidentally burned down a huge swathe of trees. For my grandfather it was years of his life and effort going up in flames. He was absolutely devastated.

Today the mountain is being used as a retreat center for the students who attend my grandfather’s university, located in the middle of Seoul. Two hours away from the city, they come to a mountain lush with trees and vegetation. We drove along rough, narrow roads lined with birch saplings that have been recently planted by students and stopped to admire the view. We could hear nothing but the sound of birds singing in the trees.

We drove on to find lunch at a “mushroom shabu shabu restaurant” out in the middle of nowhere.

We stopped to say hello to these dogs that were being kept in the courtyard…

Most of the clientele were army soldiers stationed near the DMZ. I looked at all the identical black boots that had been taken off and left by the dining room, (the custom in Korea), and wondered how they would figure out whose were whose after lunch.

Mushroom shabu shabu:

After all the mushrooms and vegetables are finished, and you think it’s very possible that you might explode from eating too much, noodles are added to the broth to finish off the meal.

You manage to finish the noodles and are surprised and relieved to discover that although your stomach is grossly distended, it is still intact.

And then they bring a huge bowl of rice to the table and add it to the little broth there is left. They continue to stir it until it acquires the consistency of delicious Korean risotto…

…which you can’t NOT eat, obviously.

After all of this, I thought for sure my mother would want to drive the two hours back to the city and collapse in a heap until the next morning. As is so often the case, I was wrong.

As we came to a stop here:

…my sister and I gave each other a wary look. That morning when we had asked my parents what the day’s itinerary would be, we were told we would visit the gravesite and return to the city, period. My parents wanted to stop at this nursery:

where they were selling dandelions in flats alongside other less identifiable plants:

They wanted these to buy some seeds to plant a little of Korea in their own backyard in America:

Now, surely, the day was done.


We stopped one more time at a store called Hanaro. It’s kind of like Walmart. And kind of not:

My mom’s mission was to buy dried anchovies and seaweed. There are entire aisles devoted to nothing but dried anchovies and seaweed.

“Uh, mom, there’s a little place not too far from where you live in Virginia called H Mart where you can buy all of these things…” my sister said.

“They’re cheaper here,” she replied serenely.

Last night my sister and I wandered around the Lotte Department store Duty Free section and witnessed a shopping frenzy like we had never seen before. Bargain-hunters, the vast majority of them Chinese, had brought gigantic suitcases to the store and were stuffing them full of fancy Korean cosmetics they had stood in long lines waiting to buy. My mom’s entire suitcase is going to be crammed full of dried fish and seaweed.




We’re rolling with it.


Weekend Snapshots 23


We are staying at the beautiful Westin Chosun Seoul, which happens to be in my mother’s childhood neighborhood. From our window, we can see City Hall, the building in the foreground. My mom’s family used to live in a traditional Korean style house (hanok), right across the street.

The old house is long gone. City Hall and a few of the historical sites which survived bombings are the only buildings that are left from my mother’s childhood.

My father recalls catching a ride on a fishing boat and sailing to Inchon right after the Korean War. From there he hiked to the top of Namsan (South) Mountain to survey the city. He remembers seeing nothing but ashes and the stone walls and chimneys that didn’t get burned down the ground by the bombings.

It’s hard to imagine that scene now, when you see the bustling city:

The Westin Chosun is adjacent to the Hwangudan, or Altar, built in 1897 by Emperor Gojung (1852-1919). The American bombers deliberately made an effort to spare this and other historical sites. Seoul is full of these spots where the old and new are squeezed together:

We saw a group of schoolchildren cleaning the pagoda:

The Deoksugung Palace is right down the street:

Check out the cell phones…

We found a little restaurant across from the hotel. No menu, just this:

Right next door to the hotel is the Lotte Department Store. The Food Court is spectacular:

But where’s the potato salad?

How about fried squid on a stick instead?


Mother’s Day with my mama:

It was nice to see my dad behind the pulpit again…He was the minister of this university church for a few years:

At night we went to the Jogyesa Temple which is decorated for Buddha’s birthday with thousands of colorful lanterns:

At the entrance to the temple: