September 5, 2008


Phew! The first week came and went so fast that I didn't even have to time to write about it. Let's see, where did I leave off......

Okay so before I get to teaching I want to tell you about the mini-adventure John and I had on Sunday. So the guy who created Hangul (the Korean alphabet) was a man named King Sejong, and he was buried here in Yeoju. He is one of Korea's most beloved leaders so John and I figured we'd take the chance to see some of the Korean countryside and go see this tomb. But, The tomb is 2 km away from downtown Yeoju, and downtown Yeoju is a car ride away (which is a major problem if you don't have a car). We tried to catch a taxi there, but we don't speak Korean and the cabbies don't speak English. We tried to show the taxi driver the romanization of the name for his tomb, but he couldn't even read English. We kept on walking towards downtown having resolved that we were going to attempt to pronounce the name of his tomb out loud. (It has been noted that Koreans have an especially difficult time understanding mispronunciations of their language.) So we're walking and walking but we can't get a taxi to stop for us.

And then a deus ex machina arrives! It appeared in the form of Ms. Choi (one of the English teachers at Cheungmeung), who swept us up into her car when she saw us on the side of the road. It turns out she was on her way to a wedding reception! She invited us to come along for a free lunch. There we are in our civvies, in a car with a lady we just met, to go to a Korean wedding reception for lunch. At this point we're kind of stumped. How did we get ourselves into this?

Anyway, it was fine. People were dressed across the spectrum of formal and informal, and all we had to do was eat lunch and meet John's principal. We didn't have to pay for anything because Ms. Choi payed for us (She gave 10,000 won, or $10, because Koreans generally give money when they come to a wedding to help the couple pay the cost of the ceremony/party. But it was really cool because many of the women were dressed in hanbok, which is traditional Korean dress. It looks like this:

(I didn't take this picture....I found it on the web.)

So we ate lunch in this sort of cafeteria-esque room in this complex built especially for weddings. Towards the end of lunch a horrible thing happened. I got up to get some water in the little paper cups next to the jug fountain dealy, and I dropped my cup. I spilled all over myself and all over a bunch of men hanging around the jug fountain. I was too horrified to look anyone in the face, but I'm like 70% percent sure I spilled water on John's principal. AWESOME. I got an apology out and sat back down as fast I could and tried not to cry for the rest of the time we were there. It was horrible! I guess it's not the end of the world, though.

So after lunch Ms. Choi was kind enough to drive us to E-Mart, where we had planned to go after King Sejong's tomb. We fumbled around there for a couple of hours trying to find all that we need, but it's tough when everything's in two different places and labeled in Korean! So we found some stuff and some food, stumbled through the check-out, and grabbed a taxi at the nearby bus terminal (John brought along some junk mail he found in his mailbox so we could show the driver where we needed to go - he's so smart!)

And that was how our Sunday went!


Anne said...

sooooo yeah- King Sejong- that is where my Korean Culture Camp got its name! hahaha. annndddd i look so much better/prettier in a hanbok- not sure if that is how you spell it! i miss and love you! it is sooo great hearing about all your adventures!

Dan said...

It sounds like you are having a good time there Sarah. I read your posts so keep going with it. I would like to have your e-mail address and would like to be able to speak with you to ask some questions sometimes and respond to your posts. please send it to me. We miss you a lot here and hope that you will be ok everyday. Love, Dan

Sarah said...


I've been e-mailing you! Check your mail! And your spam folder, too, because maybe that's where my e-mails have gone. Love you!


Greg said...

OK this post just made my day! A trip, a destination, a detour and an accident... live it up! if only my days took turns like that- maybe tomorrow...