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Monday, December 14, 2009

Friday Field Trip!

Last Friday, I was chosen to go on a Korean Historical field trip with about 100 other foreign English teachers, employed by EPIK! Friday is one of my busiest days of teaching, so I was pleasantly surprised when my Principal told me I could go! :)

We all met up at the Pusan Office of Education, jumped on these really nice tour buses...

...and rode 2 hours north into a city called Goryeong, which was one of the lesser chiefdom's of the Gaya Confederacy during the Korean Three Kingdoms period. Legend indicates that it was founded by King Taejo. An alliance of marriage was established between the Silla Dynasty and Goryeong Gaya in 522. (1st stop: Daegaya Museum!)

This museum was really interesting! It was filled with artifacts from over 1,000 years ago, dug up from people's graves!! Yes, you heard me right! This was actually a casket holding the remains of a great king and his wife dating back 1500 years ago.

In Korea, during the kingdom times, the king's wives, servants and animals were all buried with the deceased king. Sometimes they were buried alive with him, while other times they were hit on the head or stabbed in order to die quickly. This was a very common thing back then, so nobody thought twice about it. It was believed that the king would need his servants, animals, and wife during his afterlife. Sometimes children as young as 11 were buried. So sad huh?! This is how they would place them in the ground.

I thought this was VERY interesting! Apparently, there are only 10 pure gold crowns in the entire world, and 8 of them are from Korean dynasties! These crowns were never worn while the kings were alive. They were actually given to them to wear in their grave as an honor.

These are the traditional garments of the Korean Kings and Queens. (The king and queen are in the middle. The 2 to the left are close family members, and the 2 to the right are servants.)

After we walked through the museum, they took us up onto the hill to see the graves 1st hand!

The hike was gorgeous!

Graves in Korea look much different than in America. They dig about 3 feet under ground (very very wide), put the bodies inside and then build a huge mound of dirt on top of it, creating a small hill of sorts. These graves were built during the Daegaya Period (42AD-562AD). So, yes, that's me, standing between 2 graves that date back over 1,500 years ago and have dead Kings in them! Kinda eerie huh?!

There are over 600 graves on this mountain, belonging all to family members of different dynasties. 400 of them have been exavated to date.

I had to do it! Guess which one I am?!

After the museum, we went to an awesome traditional style village where Koreans actually live! They had all the traditional field games! These two guys were sooo funny! They were running and jumping, trying to get the other person to fly off into the air! It usually ended with one of them on their butts, sometimes both!

Who doesn't love a swing they can stand on?!

Introducing Ann and Crystal! These girls are sooo awesome! We spent the day together, laughing, and getting to know each other! Ann is from Wisconsin and Crystal is from Australia.

This was the traditional village we hung out and had lunch at. Isn't is beautiful!?

While we were in the village, the ajumas (grandmothers) of the village taught us how to make traditional honey candy! I had seen this done before, and had tasted it, but had never had the chance to make it... so I was super excited!

The process is messy, and actually really hard!

This is what it looks like at the end!

We were told that the more holes you have in your candy, the better it is! (Mine is the one on the left - WITH ABSOLUTELY NO HOLES!! oops!)

After making candy and having lunch, it was off to the amusement park, which really wasn't much of an amusement park, but it was amusing! They took us to see a huge collection of bonzai trees while we were there. This man was sculpting one! Apparently you have to have perfect posture to be a sculpter.

I thought this one was really unique and beautiful!

If I could have purchased one, I would have made this one my very own! I love those little red berries!

Then, we were taken to see a 4D movie! I'm not sure what the difference is between 3D and 4D, but it made for a good laugh, so we didn't mind! The movie was basically a Korean cartoon with no English subtitles! So, none of us knew what was going on! It was definitely state of the art: with moving seats, fake wind, and stuff that felt like it was biting your ankles! (Think Honey I Shrunk the Kids at Disneyland!)

Ann and I were loving the 4D glasses!

After the field trip, Ann, Crystal, and another guy named Jesse (who I see at my bus stop sometimes) all went to dinner in Seomyeon! I had such an awesome day, away from work, playing and learning about Korea and getting to meet new friends!!

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