Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Disabled Olympics

Last week we hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the Disabled Olympics here at the Jin nam Sports Complex. The entire campus was beautifully decorated with flowers, fruits and people dressed in traditional Korean clothes. I thought I would share some pictures and video. It was a really cool first week to be here because we were able to see what traditional festivities are like. The dresses are beautiful and there are several stores in town where you can get them custom made. We haven't decided yet if that will be a purchase yet, all that we do know is that they are about $80.00 US at E-mart for a little girls dress and E-mart is the equilavent to Wal-mart! So we are very curious to see how much a custom one is. We are taking our first road trip this weekend because we have a holiday for Chuseok or 추석. It is Korean Thanksgiving, but in a different since then the American Thanksgiving because it is a Thanksgiving to their ancestors. They visit the graves of loved ones and give presents. We plan to take the KTX, high speed train, from Busan to Seoul. We are so excited to see the city. It is supposed to be great! We plan to stay for 3 nights so we should have plenty of time to see the things that we are most excited about. We have heard that the city will be crazy for the holiday, but we think that should make for a great trip because they should have some special things going on for the weekend.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Almost 2 weeks

I am going to begin this one on a bit of a sad note, but not to worry it isn't about us and the end is upbeat. I guess I never really realized the extent of the control that North Korea has over its citizens. Yesterday was a chosen day for a select few citizens to come to South Korea to visit their families. For some it had been decades since they had seen their loved ones. It was incredibly sad to watch because the North Korean government allowed the visit, but waited for their designated time to swoop in and put the people back on the train back to North Korea. Some people were sobbing because the population of North Korea is aging and there is a high likelyhood that they may not see their loved ones again. You can read an article about it at South Korea has become such a world power and developed so much econimically that it is incredibly facinating to see what North Korea is like. They are night and day. One of the people that we work with has a father in law that was able to leave North Korea, but there are still a lot of families that are not as lucky.

So, we are blessed to be in South Korea and to be around such nice people. We were invited to a lunch today with some of the city officials that work with us at Jinnam. There were about 20 people in all at the lunch and we were introduced to everyone by our official Mr. Cho. Here, there is a traditional dish called Bibimbap, which is rice mixed with tons of veggies, meat, red pepper paste, and sesame oil. Most put a twist on their's in some way, but Anthony and I have kept it pretty basic! It is actually delicious! We sat on the floor, which is traditional here. Too bad the tables are a little too small for Anthony! I think they were made for very small and flexable Koreans. Anthony and I both need to work on sitting Indian style for an hour without our legs falling asleep. I'm sure there is a way to train. We were also treated to dinner for the fourth night by our co-workers, Lahn and Mr. Shin. We are definately eating well thats for sure! I have attached a video that is a view from our apartment window so you can see how beautiful the land is here. It has been awesome waking up and looking out my window at such a different picture than what I am used to.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Anthony and I decided to spend the afternoon on Saturday exploring a neighborhood in Yeosu City called Yosu-dong. We strolled there and took time to look in stores we hadn't been in and take in where we were. Walking quickly you can get there in about 10 minutes from our neighborhood, but it took us about 1 hour because we stopped to look around. As we were walking we found tons of garden stores, clothes stores that are SUPER cheap, and a really beautiful huge Catholic Church. We decided that it must be the main one in the city. There was a hill right behind the church with a beautiful statue. Then we got into the heart of the neighborhood. They are really trying to make it nice for the Expo. It is going to be the main neighborhood for all of the visitors to go. There is fashion, good restaurants including PIZZA, bars and clubs! We decided to just walk around aimlessly to find out more about the area. We ended up doing some shopping where I got a really cute top for only $8.00 US. It was great! Then we walked down the main pedestrian boulevard up to a rotunda where there were farmers wives lining the street, seen in the picture, selling everything that they grow in their garden. One thing that has been incredibly interesting here and I have to mention it here because of all of the very old women selling their produce, is that they have such bad osteoporosis. We have been shocked at how bad it is. I'm not sure what the reasoning is, but I'm sure it has to do with not getting enough calcium and manual labor! By the end of our trip to Yosu-dong we decided that if we ever moved into a bigger apartment that we definitely wanted to move to there. It is the nicer, cooler part of town and the night life is great!
Yesterday was Sunday and it poured all day! We were planning to go to Dolsan-do Island, but the weather definitely kept us from doing that. Instead we opted for an outing to E-Mart. It is Korea's Wal-mart equivalent. It was a CRAZY ZOO! The Korean Thanksgiving holiday is coming up this weekend and we should have known that rainy day+ Sunday+ Thanksgiving holiday= BAD day to go to E-Mart! It was so funny to see so many people in one place. I think the whole city of Yeosu was there. One thing that they have that is different from the states is prepackaged "presents" of every product you can think of. Lotions, liquor, red pepper paste, rice cake candies, etc. and they are like 90,000 won a piece! It is customary to give gifts for the holiday we found out later.

We really had a good weekend of just being in Yeosu and enjoying ourselves. We are becoming more familiar with the city and the neighborhoods and feeling more at home! We are also learning more of the language! Stay tuned.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Home and Work

This is our place! It is small, but it is definately becoming home. We are working on it still, trying to find a place for everything, but it is very comfortable! We have pictures of home everywhere!

This beautiful place is where to come to work everyday! It has been so nice just walking around and looking at the flowers and listening to the bugs and birds in the afternoon. As you can see it is very hilly. They really aren't so much mountains, but we have heard that there are some really cool places to hike around. Since we have been here our only day trip has been to Odong-do Island. It is a famous island because the entire island is a botanical garden. This weekend we plan to visit another island called Dolsando. It is supposed to have a temple that you can hike to and it has a beautiful view of the water! We'll see. Check back on Monday to see what we did for the weekend!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

We are new residents of Yeosu, South Korea and LOVING IT! Anthony and I have taken an opportunity to live and teach in Yeosu which is the home of the 2012 Internation World Expo. It is a great time to be living here because the city is growing and changing all of the time. Over the next 2 years the city is building a huge new harbor across from Odong-do Island. The theme of the harbor will be Green Yeosu and everything pertains to keeping the land and ocean clean. We have had many new experiences since we have been here even though it has only been 8 days! We have explored Odong-do Island, eaten enough sushimi to last a life time, spent hours at the PC Bong, eaten moving squid tentacles, and spoken Korean! Who knows what the next year has in store for us! Stay tuned!