We have arrived. The travelling part was pretty smooth sailing. Typical, in that it is challenging, but rewarding. The packing, shipping, re-packing (repeat) and other preparations, too numerous to name. Some of it impossible without the help of a few dedicated friends. Many hours on a plane, but with plenty of entertainment, food, and distractions to keep you from screaming your head off. There were a few exceptions… a few babies did scream their heads off. Not literally(!)… I’m sure they’re fine, now.
One true hero, who drove Soyeon and I (about 4 hours South) all the way from the Incheon Airport, named Gimpo to Anjeong was my brother-in-law, I will call Hyeongnim (AKA Jeongsu, which is his given name). I have to get used to calling family members by their titles, instead of their given names, according to local custom. So, “Thank you, Hyeongnim!” I slept in the van for most of the way, because I didn’t get much sleep on the plane. But I had to drag myself out to encounter the highway rest stop scene. The delicious smells of kimchi side dishes, and salty noodle soups dominated the cafeteria. Yep, I was definitely back in the “ROK”.
One highlight was the SFO, ( San Francisco Airport), which much like the city itself, you could spend a good part of a lifetime exploring all the fascinating installations, and the beauty in every corner. The Japanese restaurant, Tomokazu was extra delicious. We “pigged out” on chicken teriyaki, sushi, and noodles.
WAKE UP IN THE COUNTRYSIDE
This morning we awoke to a few roosters, who were crowing repeatedly at 4 am. Hyeongnim’s departure apparently set them off. I am already plotting a strategy to disappear the loudest rooster (in Korean, Sutak).
Sutak is cooped up no more than 50 ft from our chambers, under the persimmon tree, whose fruit is called Gam. The Gaam are everywhere. Trees in every yard and available space in between.
Mr. Park, (my Father-in-Law…or in Korean, Apeoji) processes them in the driveway, while Eomeoni (Mother) skins some in the living room. Large, brightly colored orange fruits of the oblong-shaped persuasion. The flesh is super fresh and crunchy with sweet juice! I can see why Dangsuk (cousin) has invested over $30,000 in a fruit juice refinery and packaging factory right around the corner. He kindly invites Soyeon and I to seek refuge in the comfortable factory lounge to occasionally get away from the Park family home scene. I am grateful, because I can only take so much Korean television in the family room. Especially when Apeoji is watching his American pro-wrestling. that’s right, WWE is “Big in Korea” with the obligatory Korean language announcer covering all the action and the …uh, drama.
These are the characters from our first day in Korea. With every interaction I am learning and trying new things. (Boiled grain corn, radish-green, and eggplant tea, anyone?) There is plenty of agriculture and local food culture in this little corner or Korea called, Anjeong. Enough to keep to keep me blogging every day for the rest of this adventure. Check back regularly for the skinny on me and the “V”.