Sallie and Angus come to Korea

The stars aligned for Angus and Sallie’s visit this past week. Everything just seemed to work out. The weather was perfect, they liked the food, we caught all of our buses and trains and our students put on their best faces. I would say for only spending a week in Korea, they got to see, do and eat quite a bit. Men fawned over Sallie (one taxi driver told her, “You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.”) while men and women told Angus he was a dead ringer for Bruce Willis. How could you not fall in love with Koreans? We were happy to see them roll into Gwangju last Saturday night after being caught in Seoul traffic for over an hour. If they were tired from their 26 hours of traveling, they hardly showed it. We fed them TGI Friday’s right off the bat and headed home for some well-deserved sleep.

The next morning we pedaled up to Dunkin Donuts at Lotte Mart for their last western meal. After deciding to head to Yeosu that afternoon we rested and ate what would become Angus’ favorite meal samgyeopsal(thick strips of bacon).

From there we caught a train to Yeosu and proceeded to catch up among Hite beers and a beautiful May afternoon passing by ajumma working in rice fields, silent grave mounds carved into green hills and children in grassy fields waving at our train. It was one of my favorite moments of their week here. We spent two wonderful days in Yeosu taking in a festival honoring the Admiral Yi Sun Shin and the Buddhist temple Hyangiram. Angus and Sallie bravely tried all of the side dishes and even unknown sea life in the restaurants of Yeosu. They even passed up pastries from a local bakery to eat a Korean breakfast of soup and gimbap. After Yeosu we spent the rest of the week in Gwangju as Lindsay and I had to work. Sallie and Angus maneuvered their way around the city and even to the port town of Mokpo an hour or so south of Gwangju. The highlight of their time in Gwangju, for me, was their visit to our high fifth grade class where the two entranced our students, co-workers and vice principal for a couple of hours. They got sprayed with all the questions we have heard and a few we haven’t. Some highlights.
First question to Angus: “Why don’t you have hair?”

“Are there any gangsters in Tampa?”

To Sallie: “Do you have a secret handshake with your best friend?”

“Do you have a gun?”

“What is Tampa’s culture like?”

“How many children do you want?”

“Do you have pets?” “How many?” A collective “Wow” went up when Angus revealed they have 3 dogs and one cat.” “CHINJA!?!” (Really!?!) After a night of baseball(Tigers won 4-3!!), samgyeopsal and noraebanging we took the KTX(speed train that got up to 300km/hr) up to Seoul for the final leg.
That night, Angus strangely insisted he wanted to eat sannakji (live octopus). As it was his last night in Korea, we hoofed it over to Noryangjin Fish Market and watched Angus nervously await his last Korean meal. “I just want it to be moving,” he insisted as we tried to analyze his hand-wringing. And their they were. All of the tentacles moving violently in front of Angus, like a plate of angry worms.
They went down no problem. The only problem was trying to eat the copious amount of side dishes the waitresses continued to bring out throughout our meal. After a ritzy night in the Ritz (its much cheaper here), we toured around Seoul just before an unwelcomed good-bye.

Lindsay and I loved having them here too. We got to show them all of our favorite places, feed them our favorite dishes and introduce them to our students and friends. They ate kimchi and octopus. Got lost and got acupuncture. They shared tea with a random Korean and drank too much soju. Koreans went to the end of the Earth to help them and they politely learned Korean for “hello” and “thank you.” They saw dancing and drumming at a festival and got to enjoy a small gayagum concert. Not at all bad for a week.

It was a perfect thing for us to do as we are in our last few months. It kind of allowed us to reflect on our time here and be at peace about our decision to move on. Korea has been nothing but great to us, but we are aching to be with family this fall.


  1. Kelsey says:

    Sounds like you guys all had a great time!


  2. Sallie says:

    I find myself checking the blog 18 times a day since our return. Making a comment because I know how much to means to you. Miss you!! xoxox


  3. Sallie says:

    … how much “it” means

    I need another vacation.


  4. sherry says:

    Ah. you have so many fabulous memories to bring home with you. Your lives have been touched and you are all the better for your experiences!
    Sherry Vinson


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