Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bo Go Ship Da

I miss you, South Korea. This blog has served as a diary for my time spent in South Korea. It is a a record of all my adventures and the wonderful times I had in Korea. Of course, there were some tough times but I learned from everything I experienced and am forever changed. I left my heart in Korea and plan on returning a few times a year to visit the life long friends I had made during my stay.

I've been back in the States for a month and a half and there are so many things I miss:
1. The food: from kimchi to buddae jjigae, the food of Korea is incredible!
2. The television dramas: I am totally hooked and look forward to what comes in the future. Thank goodness for where I can go and watch with subtitles.
3. The crafts: I learned maedeup (Korean knotting) and chilbo (Korean enameling) and will continue to improve my skills.
4. The people: So many opened their hearts to us and I will forever remember their kindness.
5. The traffic: no this isn't a joke! I will NEVER complain about traffic here in the States again.
6. Ajummas: The older Korean women who are headstrong, sassy, and a thing to behold. I brought back a little ajumma in me so watch out world!
7. Coffee: It always followed dinner with our Korean friends and was a time to share.
8. Noribang: Which usually followed coffee where you could get a room and sing your lungs out to your favorite songs.
9. Korean newscasters: They always bow at the end of the broadcast and I miss it.
10. Korean food on television: You could always turn to a channel and see a reporter checking out a small restaurant showing how the food is prepared. I could watch it for hours.
11. Bowing: I still catch myself doing it. I may never stop.
12. Public transportation: From the bus to the subway. It's convenient and cheap. Now, I have to drive everywhere I want to go.
13. Korean yoga: I thought it would kill me but I survived and continue with my exercises here. I still don't think I will every be as good as my 70 year old plus classmates.
14. Korean palaces and gates (forts): We don't have anything that old here in the U.S. and it was all around me.
15. Kim Bum Soo: My favorite SINGER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My adventures in crafting will continue on my new blog:

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Parting Gifts

Our Korean friends gave us some wonderful gifts to remember our time in Korea. I wanted to bring back a Korean tea set before we left Korea and never had taken the time to get one. We were so lucky to be given this tea set by one of my husband's co-workers.

This was from another of my husband's co-workers. The ducks are for good luck.

Mr. Choi, my yoga buddy, gave this to us.

We were given this by the entire staff at my husband's plant. It is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen and I can't wait for our ocean shipment to come (is it really another month?) so I can be reunited with these gifts. I have been VERY homesick for Korea and my friends I left. I miss Korea so much and all that I learned every day that I was there. I can honestly say that every time I left my apartment I never knew what to expect. It was exciting and wonderful.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Say Cheese!

Koreans LOVE to take pictures of themselves or have their picture taken. I have no idea how to use the camera that comes with my phone but I knew I just had to ask one of my Korean girlfriends and she could show me. They are also not shy about taking pictures of themselves in public. I can't tell you how many times I've seen Koreans holding up their phones especially on the subway and snapping away. I've also had the privilege to be invited into Korean homes and the first thing I noticed in most homes was huge family portraits on the wall.

The Korean wedding and 1st birthday pictures rival any professional model shoot here in the States I've seen. They are taken by a professional photographer and it puts my wedding pictures and any that I've had taken of my children professionally to shame.

I was at one of my Korean friend's home and the shade was pulled. The shade was a black and white picture of her little girl. It was the cutest thing I had ever seen!

I have a big family reunion coming up in June. My parents, sisters and their families and hopefully my kids too. We have booked a photographer and it's not a conventional everyone sit together and smile. Oh, they can do that, but they are known for their unusual posing. We'll see if my family is up to it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Our Korean Apartment

Shorty before we left Korea I videotaped our apartment mostly for myself to remember when the memories start to fade. I'm really glad that I did it and it gives you glimpse into our life in Korea. We had a wonderful apartment and being the only foreigners everyone knew us.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Move

Jeff and Jennifer came down to coordinate our move on April 2nd. They work for the agency that helped us move in and with any problems we encountered during our stay in Korea. I just had to play a joke on Jeff and when I saw these stickers, I was able to sneak one on his back. Don't you love his perm? It's quite the thing for guys to do since that recent Korean drama "Boys Over Flowers." The lead character had a perm.

The packing begins.

I found another sticker. We did finally tell him about it.

Jeff and Jennifer handling our move.

It was noisy in the apartment and I walked by the bathroom and found Jeff talking on his cellphone to my bathtub.

We also had our first pipe leak on moving day. This is Jennifer and Jeff fixing the leak in the kitchen sink.

Everything boxed up. We left with a lot more boxes than we came with. I told my husband that they must use smaller boxes in Korea than back in the States. It couldn't be due to all the great shopping I took advantage of.
One of the movers had blue toe socks. I wore them in the 70's and hadn't seen them since. I found out that he wore them for athlete's foot. You learn something new every day in Korea.

Me and Curt. Everything is gone.

We all went out for dinner and had a great time. Hannah was also there to help us in the move.
Me, Curt and Jeff.

Jeff, Hannah and Jennifer.

Hannah and me at the airport right before our flight. We both were crying after this picture as we said goodbye to each other.

Our luggage at O'Hare waiting for the bus to take us to Rockford, Il. We flew into Chicago and took the bus to Rockford to visit the folks for a few days. We then rented a car to drive to the Twin Cities.

It was great to get back to celebrate our grandson's 3rd birthday.

Luke, our son, with Noah. It's so good to be back but I miss many things about Korea. I still have a few blogs in me before I wrap up this adventure and start the next.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I'll Miss Yeo Jong

Yeo Jong and her mom invited me over to their house for lunch.

I couldn't believe all the food and how much work it took. She wouldn't let me help so I played with Yeo Jong.

I love her strawberry chair!

She loved me taking pictures of her and then showing them to her. We also play with her toys and had a wonderful afternoon. She is going to have a little sister in September. I will miss her very much!

Monday, April 6, 2009

I'll Miss Yoga

Here are three of my yoga teachers.

We do twenty minutes of warm-ups before class starts. Most of the people don't show up until the class has already started. I've always tried to make it to the warm-ups.

This is Grace, one of the yoga instructors. She speaks English very well and also gives a great massage.

This is part of the class. The rest were washing the floor which we do after class and they just wouldn't quit for the picture.
One of my yoga buddies.

Me with Grace.

The lady on the left is the manager of the yoga studio and on the right is one of my instructors. I didn't cry at all until we were all in the changing room and while I was trying to change into my street clothes, the women kept hugging. That was all it took for my eyes to fill with tears. They told me that grandmothers never cry and they all took turns wiping away my tears with their thumbs.
Someone told Grace because she came in suddenly looking very concerned but I told her it was hard to say goodbye. She was also the one to tell me that the women were saying that grandmothers do not cry. She said she had never heard that before so I don't know why they were telling me that. I think they felt bad that I was so emotional. These Korean women are tough! I will miss them all dearly.
My yoga buddy, Choi, was pretty upset about my leaving and he was having a hard time keeping his emotions in check. We went out for coffee while I waited for my lunch appointment. I will miss him so much!

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