October 29, 2012

More Korea

Filed under: Uncategorized — irenejk @ 9:42 pm

Before I talk about our trip, I’d like to talk about how much it SUCKS to prep for a sub. By the way, did I tell you I’m a teacher? Yeah, a real legitimate instructor of children. I teach 1st grade in a French immersion class which means I never speak English and I’m constantly misunderstood. Anyway, we planned our trip before I was hired, which means I missed 6 days of school, which means the week before was equivalent to a real job where you work after 4 PM. It was the worst!! But seriously, I had parent-teacher conferences, and had to plan for six days of absence, which meant I put in 13 hour days and many hours on Saturdays… but in the end, I left to go to Korea, and the only thing I had to worry about were my constant nightmares of things going wrong in my class.

I prepped until I got kicked out on Friday night, and packed until 2 AM, and then left 2 hours later to catch a flight at 5:50.  24 hours later and 2 layovers at 4 hours each – we finally arrived in Seoul! Only to finally sleep in a horizontal position and wake up the next morning to go on a 4-day road trip to the other side of the country!

We first went to this island called Geoje. It doesn’t really matter the name, but my dad actually grew up here for a few years.  Did you know he was born in North Korea? Yeahhhh. Which means he had to hop on a cargo ship and escape to the South. This island was where his refuge camp was during the war.

There is now a POW memorial here.

I’m glad Koreans think it’s “Belgie”.

This is where my dad went to school! They’ve revamped the building, but it’s right where it used to be.

Pops in front of a windmill. (Self-explanatory I guess.)

We stayed in a cabin type place and the trees were so pretty!

The next day, we went to a temple.

My mom, her high school friend and chauffeur, and my dad.

Dad telling us something really important.

The next day, we went to Pusan, which is trapped by water and mountains, so the city is like a long, squiggly line.

We walked down a trail that got pretty close to the water. The wind was crazy!

My brother says these old ladies dive in the ocean and find food. What did I say about old people! They’re so useful!

Walking along rocks and stuff.

Cool wall on the way out.

My parents are on that rock!

Sculpture outside our hotel in Pusan.

Bridge in Pusan.

The next day we went to the historic city of Gyeungju, which was the capital city of the Shilla dynasty.  Basically lots of old stuff, museums, and tombs. It was really cool.

This first picture illustrates a myth that the king would sit at the higher end, let his cup go all the way around the circle, and somehow the cup would go back UPSTREAM to the king.

There were a million kids on field trips that day. They all pointed at Brandon and said, “Hello! Hello!” Brandon saw one in a Jazz hat and tried to take a picture, only to get yelled at and scolded by the teacher because they were in a hurry. Whoops.

Brandon really was quite novel for these kiddies.

Playing with some lights

Museum stuff. They say if you just dig in this city you’ll find stuff.  Pretty cool to think about people sitting around carving these things.

Shoes that were put on before the burial.

Love the color in this photo. These are hats!

Inside/outside a tomb.


More temples. This one was having construction done behind it, which explains that big modern while building in the background.

Old and new.

Golden boar.

Chinese lanterns! We walked up this mountain and then some more steps to see a giant Buddha that had been carved into the stone of the mountain. Brandon says it reminded him of something out of Indiana Jones.  Apparently the sunlight hits the Buddha on a certain day at a certain time, which then reflects onto the city to show a buried treasure… or something… We couldn’t take pictures of the Buddha, so I just got the lanterns.

People are short in Korea. Brandon’s head was constantly threatened.

This pictures show the genius of Koreans and their heat.  Even back in the day the heat was distributed through the floor. Same thing today. It was the best. Especially because we slept on the floor 9 out of the 10 nights we were there

And of course… KITTIES! They exist in Korea too! And they don’t eat them!

More from Seoul to come…



  1. Oh man, I miss your parents. They are the greatest. I love this post!

    Comment by annie — October 30, 2012 @ 5:12 am

  2. So cool Irene! Pusan sounds really familiar I think that’s where my step-brother was on his mission. You are a fabulous documenter! Love it

    Comment by Mary — October 31, 2012 @ 9:45 pm

  3. I forgot about how westerners are superstars in Korea. That must have been a fun thing- I know it gets old after a while, but you were only there for a short time. How did Brandon feel being famous-ish? Good pictures! I love Korea. It is so much fun. I wish you’d had a chance to hear some pan-sori or a performance of Korean drums while you were there. Did you? That kind of stuff always hits me in the gut and makes me cry for some reason. It’s like all the ancestors singing to me. Also, doesn’t preparing for a sub make you really, really appreciate your old teachers, especially those who had their own children? We had a good education and many good teachers, what a blessing.

    Comment by Michelle Kaneyuki — November 1, 2012 @ 8:15 am

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