"Words have no wings, but they can travel a thousand miles" (Korean Proverb)

Welcome to Flying Words, Jon and Aileen's blog of our adventures in South Korea! We will be in South Korea for a year, starting in mid-July, teaching English in a private school. We just graduated from college this past May, and are looking forward to having some adventures before continuing our education. 
We started this blog to keep all our family and friends updated and to share our photos and stories. We hope this is entertaining for you! We will miss you all, and are very thankful to have the internet to keep us in touch. 

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I never thought I'd eat a fried leaf.......

 And I thought that the American South was the capital of frying anything possible. Turns out you can have tempura leaves here. I never quite got what kind of leaf it was...some kind of herb, but it looked like a Birch leaf. Anyway, it came in a Lunchbox dinner I ordered with a million kinds of stuff in the different little compartments. Soooo good! 

   Anyway, Jon and I finally made it downtown Jeonju yesterday. We took a taxi, but had to show him the entry in the dictionary for 'downtown' since we couldn't pronounce it right. After we tried to ask to go to the central market but he couldn't understand us and what I had written down from the phrasebook was in wierd Romanization and he didn't get it. So he drove downtown, and randomly asked some people on the street their opinion. They figured it out, luckily. I've learned to pretty much completely humble myself here and hope that someone will take pity on me and figure out my pantomiming and reading from a phrasebook. Tomorrow I'm going to ask someone from the school if they can help me find a Korean language class. 

  Another consequence of my inability to communicate is that I can't quite get a feel for this place yet. It's crazy...old and new mixed together, the downtown full of nice new buildings next to the traditional peaked roofs and very well-preserved temples. We stumbled upon part of the huge historical village, and it was amazing, so old and beautiful and well-kept. 

  Which brings me to another observation. Korea is definitely very developed...at least, on the developed side of 'developing.' I mean, sure, they have poverty and problems, but so does every country, no matter their 'developing' status. My first clue to this was the unfortunate discovery that things are, almost exactly, the same price they are at home. Dinners out run from about 7-15 American dollars, with more expensive items. Some groceries are more expensive. The paper towels we bought last night definitely were ($3.20 for a two-pack!!). I still feel like I will save a lot of money, since we don't have to pay rent, and transportation between cities is cheap, but still.....a little disappointing. I will end up having the same budget for groceries as I had in the States. When we get more proficient in Korean, we'll tackle the markets, which will hopefully be cheaper. 

Things are also very advanced technologically here-- something I did expect. Our apartment building door, apartment door and office doors all have digital locks, with codes or a key that you just touch to a screen and it opens the door. There are a lot of nice cars. And from what I've observed so far, people have money to spend. There are always lots of people in the many restaurants, and E-Mart (a larger version of Wal-Mart right across from our school) is always busy. 

So. Those are some of my superficial observations. That, and almost all the women carry umbrellas as parasols. :) (The woman who helped us move in, our Director's wife, carried a piece of cardboard from a box in our apartment yesterday because she forgot her parasol :-) ) 

I do very much like the presence of history here. At the part of the historical village we visited yesterday, there very many Koreans. Some with their families, others with friends, sometimes just by themselves, walking through the buildings. There seems to be a lot of appreciation of and pride in their heritage. With good reason. 


Oh, look at the link to my Picasa account (photo website)....I put some photos up!!! 


Mom/Mama Bear said...

Great pictures!! How ya gonna cook without counters?? Funny/informative entry.

Anna said...

that fried leaf you ate better not have been LEAF THE GIRAFFE! is she still with you or did u lose her?????!!!!!!!

Anna said...

was it good?

Jon and Aileen said...

anna, if you look close enough in the photos you can see someone familiar on top of the TV. She's our only decoration :(

yeah, it was good...i mean, it tasted like a crunchy herb or something. like you would expect a fried leaf to taste.

Catherine said...

I miss you guys! It sucks that I just missed you because Dan and I just got home yesterday Aug. 3rd. It sounds like Korea is more developed than Spain! In Spain they didn't have air conditioning hardly anywhere or clothing dryers. They just hang their underwear on the roof.I hope ya'll have a great time in Korea and I'm so glad ya'll have a blog!

Anna said...

hi i saw leaf on the tv. Nice... i got my letter from Hunt today. Im on Nova (which is good) and i have Mr. Pease for homeroom (which is also good) do you know him?
probably not. ? ummmmmmmmm oh yeah do u have to sit on the floor are there any coucnes or chairs???????? thats all BYE

Anna said...


Lyn said...

Wow. I'd be very disappointed with the bathroom. I had to use a shower like that when I was in Venice and it was an absolute disaster! I wish you more luck than I had! :)

Anonymous said...

I love the pictures. The food looks amazing. I cannot wait to visit you guys!

Jon Jordan said...

Glad to see y'all are doing well!!!