With hurricane Katrina and the devastating aftermath, blogging about Korea seemed so frivolous. Since I've been in a Katrina induced haze this past week (and not being able to sleep due to thinking about those poor people and the what-if-it-had-been-me's...after all, Houston is not that far away from where it hit), I thought I'd write a quick update about Korea to cheer myself up.
It was a true blessing to be able to visit my family in Busan, South Korea! My mom's entire side of the family lives there and in Seoul. It was my mom, one of my sisters (Leah) and I. The trip started off well with an on-time departure out of Houston to Tokyo's Narita airport. While it IS a long flight (14 hours or so) it went by quickly! Well, the first class service did help-- I am so spoiled with the perks that come with being an airline employee's spouse! Shhhh....don't tell anyone. Ahem, and then we caught a connection to Busan (2 hour flight). And I must say that the Japanese people are so friendly, industrious and polite! You would not believe the difference in the quality of service you get just from ticket and gate agents over there-- definite in my book.
Korea is a beautiful country with rolling mountains and hills. I was amazed at the number of pine trees in Busan. Beautiful, elegantly crooked pine trees-- the crooked that you see in an asian painting. It amazed me because Busan is a port city and had pine trees near the beaches...we have pine trees in our yard but we've never seen them near the beach in Galveston!
We did not do any tourist-y things...spent most of our time at my uncle's house visiting with family. Well, we did go on the ferry (which was a little for me). We also visited the fish market, did a little shopping (cell phone charms were the souvenir/gifts of choice), and ate a ton of food. My uncle's wife is the BEST cook-- she makes an unbelievable crab soup and the squid was d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s!
Interestingly enough, I had not seen so many high-rise apartments in my life! I did not expect for apartment living to be desired over a house. But the apartments (or condos since you buy them--modest one being over $200K--ouch!) were newer and more modern than the small cramped houses that we saw. As far as the eye could see, condo after condo after condo. My sis said it reminded her of Brazil (she visited Rio last year). Oh and air conditioning was a rare luxury! Most places are not air conditioned over there and if they are, it is not a central a/c unit but a stand alone that you switch on when you are in the immediate vicinity. I don't know if dh could survive the lack of a/c and the hard beds and/or sleeping on the floor...he's been dying to visit but I really don't know if he could hang.
No, I do not speak korean (except for a few phrases) but, thankfully, my cousins and a dear friend did! I am ashamed and embarrassed that I don't speak the language. I wish I did. But living here in TX, I think it's much more practical to teach my kids Espanol, wouldn't you say? We also attended my uncle's church for services on Sunday. While they do things a bit differently (some good, some bad in my opinion), they can SING! Koreans have such amazing singing voices and it was really neat to hear familiar church hymns in a different language and sung with such gusto.
Anyway, that's it for now on Korea. I haven't gotten around to downloading/uploading (whichever it is) the pics from my digital camera. I'll try to post those at a later date.
On another note, I've decided to delay the start of school for another week. Just can't resist the invite to my friend's house for a cookout and swimming tomorrow. Then there are science classes on Tuesday at the museum, Masters Club starts up on Wednesday (I'm teaching the 3yo class), and my baby has some outpatient surgery on Thursday-- please keep him in your prayers! I can't believe I was even planning on starting school tomorrow! I must not have been thinking.
Well, thanks for hanging in there and reading this far!
God bless ya'll!
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