(look! new pictures!)
Hey guys, how's it going? I know it's been a while since I've written. It's a combination of the fact that I've gotten a lot more busy at work and the fact that we still haven't gotten internet in our apartment. When we tell people that last one, they look at us like we just said we.....I don't even know....I guess like we just said we had never seen an electric lightbulb.
Anyway, last weekend was a Korean holiday called Chuseok. It's essentially a harvest celebration, much like American Thanksgiving. Traditionally, families get together, get up really early to bow to their ancestors and offer them food, and then eat a huge meal and play traditional games the rest of the day. And, I'm sure, drink a lot of soju (traditional rice liquor).
We had this Monday and Tuesday off for the holiday, and one of our 2 directors invited us to his house. We weren't really sure for how long, or what was going on, because he barely speaks English. He just kind of pointed at the calendar and said "my house" and pointed at Friday and said "train."
So, accordingly, Friday night, right after classes, we took a train to Suncheon where Mr. Kim and his family live. He has a wife and three sons, two of which are currently in private Christian schools in the US (one in Colombia, South Carolina...small world. We saw pictures of him and his friends at Carowinds :) ). His youngest son Eric (that's his English name) is 9 and in third grade. He is a lot of fun-- he speaks some English, and was teaching us some Korean. But mostly he wanted to play games, which Jon was more than happy to oblige. Mrs. Kim is very nice and fun. We had met them both when they picked us up at the airport back in August and then helped us settle in the next day.
We ended up staying until Monday morning, and seeing a lot of the surrounding area. On Saturday we went to Mr. Kim's father's apartment in a town about an hour away and dropped off the food for Chuseok, then left Eric with Mr Kim's father and went to a seaside park where we walked across a bridge to an island, walked around the island and watched a really cool musical fountain. It was gorgeous. There were caves around the island, and steep rock cliffs. The coast of Korea is dotted with islands but also very mountainous. All the islands are mountains, and there are mountains all along the coast.
That night we went out to eat with Mr. Kim the elder and Eric. We ate grilled eel...it was really surprisingly good! Then we visited Mr Kim's sister and her family. She had just had a baby 2 weeks ago...she was adorable.
The next day we drove to visit Mrs Kim's uncle at the church where he is the senior pastor. We stayed there for a while because the Kims wanted to meet a friend of the uncle's who lives in Seattle, near where their other son goes to school. I take it they were talking about college in America because I kept hearing "SAT," "Community College" and other such words.
After that most educational visit (of which we couldn't understand a word and during which Eric crawled under the table because he got bored), we went to a....(drumroll please)....green tea plantation!!!! It was sooooooooo gorgeous and amazing. I felt like I was in a movie (coincidentally, that plantation is used a lot for filming movies). Jon and I bought lots of tea and two mugs. We all had green tea ice cream, and ate homemade noodles made using green tea powder. There was even green tea salt to better season the noodle soup if you wanted.
That night, we saw Mama Mia. That movie is a huge hit here. The Kims absolutely loved it, and were singing all the songs afterwards (in that kind of phoenetical way you sing songs when you don't actually speak the language they're written in).