Lindsay here, with an update on how much fun we are having with Mom and Dad here. It’s currently nap/rest time on our busy day of hiking, eating and scarf dying. But after a quick rest and a few of Mom’s new favorite Korean cookies, we will be out the door again for a staple Korean meal: kalbi (or, as my students explained to Mom and Dad on Thursday: Korean cow meat, which caused Mom to instantly wince as she has come to know the smells of the Korean version of things.)
We’ve had a great time so far. Tons of fun in Seoul where we hit all the major hightlights, places Whit and I had not yet seen. Then after a draining four-hour bus ride to Gwangju, we headed straight to Songwon Elementary where Mom and Dad were ushered into the vice principal’s office and offered tea and a welcome gift. Mom and Dad were a big part of our class that day as they introduced themselves, showed photos of our family, gave the students candy canes (see it in Nick’s mouth to the left?), and let the kids ask them questions like, “Was Lindsay teacher good kid or bad kid?” “How do you feel about Whit?” “How do you feel about kimchi?”
We went out for a popular meal last night–shabu shabu. This is not actually Korean food but is a very popular Japanese dish in Korea. Mom and Dad ate a bunch of it, though Dad was sweating from his forehead and nose and Mom swears her tongue was on fire.
Today we offered them some French Toast to bring their tongues back West and then headed out on a hike to the mountain in our backyard. It was a cloudy day but the rain held off and we enjoyed a nice brisk hike where most of the Koreans smiled and shouted “HI!” to Mom and Dad.
But it was the scarf dying that was the highlight our day. My Korean friend Han-na set us up with an appointment with a local Korean artist where we dyed silk scarves with natural products. The boys dyed theirs with onion peel to make a beautiful green color while the women chose a red made from Brazilian tree bark. We started the activity with a good hot cup of tea from a type of tree that had been fermenting for five years. Mom tried to hide her disgust. She hates the word ferment now that she knows how kimchi is made.
But she drank two glasses of the tasty tea and I think Dad had about four as we all sat cross-legged around a wooden table.
The artist was very kind. Not only did he patiently teach us the method of natural dying, but he also served us tea and mandarins, washed up after us, and drove us home. Mom and Dad can’t get over the fact that you don’t tip in Korea. Not even for that.
We are having a great time here and Mom and Dad have fought jet lag like champs. Dad has not been affected in the least by the hop across the world, though Mom goes out every evening for dinner with her eyes half-closed. But it doesn’t take long for her to open her nostrils and then her eyes wide to ask, “What is that smell?” And before long, she’s back to normal.
Well, we’re off to our Korean dinner tonight. Tomorrow, we will be going for a half-day hike up the biggest mountain in Gwangju called Mudeungsan (san is the word for mountain).
Hope you enjoy the photos taken from my new camera–a Christmas gift that will just keep on giving!!