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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Weekend in the countryside!

Hope you're ready for a long blog!!! :)

This weekend, Aaron and I took the train 4 hours to visit Jess and Carlos in their new countryside location! They live near Jeomcheon now, and are very much in the countryside! It was fun to see their extremely slow paced life, walk through their neighborhood, and meet their Korean friends! So, here's how it went!

I was going to spare you of train pictures, but I couldn't leave this picture, or story, out of this blog! Lately I've been feeling a bit flighty (not my favorite characteristic!) and it's been driving me crazy! For instance, a couple days ago, I poured conditioner into my hands in the shower and then proceeded to put it on my face! And the next day, I was leaving my apartment building and tried to open a VERY broken door that happened to have a gigantic warning sign on it! When I let go, it was literally hanging my 1 hinge and was nearly ready to crash down! There are more stories to tell about my newly found flightyness, but I'll leave you with this one, because it's so horribly funny!

We were on the train, and I got up to go to the bathroom to wash my hands. I proceeded to walk between the train cars (since that's where the bathrooms are located)... although, what I didn't realize was that we were the last passenger car... and that the car behind us was the engine room! I quickly realized that when I opened the door and found myself standing in it, holding my ears to save myself from going def! Freaked out, I quickly turned around and yanked on the door handle, only to find it wouldn't open! I tried pushing and pulling, and at this point, my anxiety was starting to kick in! I was stuck!!

I pulled out my cell phone to call Aaron! When he answered, I yelled "Aaron, come save me! HURRY!" I spotted him through the window, and yelled, "I can't open the door!" He gently reached down to the door handle... and SLID it open! eeehhh, duh! hahaha

This one is for all of you who like mis-spellings!

We finally made it to Jess and Carlos's place and spent the night, lounging around, catching up!

In the morning, we ate breakfast and headed out for a neighborhood walk! This old Korean style home is just a short walk from Jess and Carlos's apartment. I see run down houses like this and wish I knew the stories behind it, you know?

This is their street...

... and these are their neighbors! Jess and Carlos are the youngest in the area, by at least 40 years!

Beautiful "wiggly pine trees" grow all around their area!

We walked down the train tracks to the river...

... and it was freezing!!!

Aaron is such an awesome photographer! There's nothing he won't do for a good picture... including laying on train tracks! Don't worry, I stayed close by to pull him off the tracks if the train snuck up on him! :)

We all climbed down the hill to the water...

and tried to throw rocks at a pole off in the distance! Just another day in the countryside!!! Cheap entertainment!

After our long walk, we headed over to the community center to play some ping pong! We spotted this gorgeous dog along the way, tied to a 3 foot rope. He was so sweet and mild tempered... I tried to give him one of my frosted mini wheats, but he didn't like it.

While the boys were playing ping pong, Jess and I lounged in the massage chairs in the community gym. After being there for about 30 minutes, we got a call from Carlos's bus driver that he was outside Carlos's house, ready to pick us up to go to Mungyeong National Park! When we got there, his entire family (minus his daughter) was there to go with us!

The boys all layed in the back of the van, eating homemade kimbap and talking sports! Notice Alex and Kevin were embarrassed to be in the picture. They quickly warmed up to me though, and smiled for lots of pics later in the day! Kevin is in 6th grade, and Alex is a junior in High School. His english is awesome... probably because he studies all the time! His dad says he doesn't watch TV, or play on the internet... He only studies!

The beginning of the 3 hour walk! For a period of time, this was the only way to walk from Busan to Seoul...

Kevin, pointing to where we were on the map!

This is the 3rd Munhgyeon gate! (There are 3 all together) and we walked through each of them. They are located on a major transportation route that was used during the Three Kingdoms period (18 BC - AD 935). The gates became a really important military barrier (from the Japanese) in the future years. Pretty crazy to think I stood where people fought over 2000 years ago!

These are wishing rock piles! Along hiking paths in Korea, you can always find these rock formations! People, along the way, place a rock on the pile and make a wish for themselves. I guess it's the Korean version of a wishing well... I wished for... (Come on, you really think I'm gonna tell you?!) :)

The pathway ran next to this beautiful river...

After walking an hour or so, we stopped here, in this pagoda, to eat some fruit, drink some coffee, and rest our feet and legs! (Kevin and Aaron)
The Shin family and us in front of the 2nd gate. (Mr Shinn, Alex, Mrs. Shinn, Aaron, Kevin, Carlos, Jess and I.)

This is the 2nd gate!

A gorgeous waterfall along the pathway!

And this is the 1st gate! (We did the walk backwards!)

Just to the right of the picture above, there is a field of apple trees! Jess said that there are lots of bunnies near them. I spotted a kid staring at one, so I quickly ran over to see if I could touch the bunny! This is unfortunately what I found... :(

We jumped in the car and headed over to this Shin's house "for a small party!" That's what Mr. Shin called it! Mrs. Shin did ALL the cooking! It's the Korean way for women to do all the cooking and cleaning. I felt bad for her, and wonder if she feels like a servant all the time. I'll never know, but she smiled a lot, so I'd like to think she's happy in that role.

Koreans love to feed each other! Kevin was flipping the duck meat on the grill, and when it was ready, he picked up a piece with chop sticks and put it infront of my mouth for me to eat! It used to be really awkward, but now I'm used to it! Notice his left hand is folded infront of his stomach? This is a sign of respect for elders in the Korean culture! :)

Koreans typically eat on the floor! In this case, we ate on the living room floor, which also doubles as the mom and dad's bedroom!

Me with the Shin kids! Alex (18), Herry (16) and Kevin (14)

Mmmm, duck!

mmmm, side dishes!

After dinner, we all lounged around and watched a soccer game on their TV that they won at a raffle! They were really proud of their big TV!

Mrs. Shin was incredible... She sliced up fruit for us, as desert! mmmm....

We got back to Carlos and Jess's around 10:45pm and talked for a while before falling asleep! In the morning, Aaron woke up early to watch a basketball game while everyone else slept! When we were all awake, we lounged around (one of our favorite activities together) and I colored Easter eggs with Carlos's art markers! It was Easter afterall!

Once we all decided to get out of our pajamas, we took the bus to a local Korean buffet! It was all you could eat Korean food, for the equivalent of $3.75! What a deal huh?! Then, after lunch, it was time to say our goodbyes, and catch our train back to Busan! Here I am with the scarecrows at the Jeomcheon train station!

After a long train ride back to Busan, Aaron and I jumped on the subway to head back to our apartments... We spotted this Korean Cruella Deville across from us and had to take her picture... stealth style of course! She was the perfect ending to an awesome weekend!

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