My Trip to Korea Visiting my birth country for the first time…

My Trip to Korea
Naju
June 22 – Departure
June 22 – Departure

We had breakfast and then caught the bullet train at the Naju station.  Ms. Kang insisted on photos before we left. Group shot (with Ehwa office staff).   In front of Naju Station with Ms. Kang.   We arrived in Seoul around 1:15 pm and were back at the SWS guesthouse around 2.  Lauren and […]

June 21 – Shopping in Gwangju
June 21 – Shopping in Gwangju

Jennifer Moon met us at a bus station in Naju and together we rode a bus to Gwangju to go shopping.   I didn’t take many pictures because I wasn’t particularly impressed by anything.  The shopping center was a department store, much like American department stores. We had a nice time – I found a […]

June 20 – Jeop Chae & Kimbap
June 20 – Jeop Chae & Kimbap

We made two traditional Korean dishes today – Jeop Jae in the morning and Kimbap in the afternoon. Jeop Jae Crab stick, onion, red and green bell peppers.   Cut into thin slices.   Vegetables, sweet potato noodles, pork, and wilted leafy green.   Mixing greens with sesame oil, garlic, and sugar.   Ready to […]

June 19 – Pajon
June 19 - Pajon

We helped cook pajon for dinner.   The batter was already made, but we (mainly Lauren) assisted with frying.  

June 17-18 – Traditional Korean House
June 17-18 – Traditional Korean House

After dinner, Jessica, Lauren, and I were dropped off at the “traditional house” in Naju with Hai Chu and Hanada.  We had pajamas, and a box of Candy.  “See you tomorrow!”  our escort said.  The traditional house was very nice.  The floors were ondol, heated from below, and our bedding was comfortable. Front view of […]

June 17 – Celedon Museum and the End of the Earth
June 17 – Celedon Museum and the End of the Earth

We went with volunteers, Candy and her father, and two of the children to the Ganjin Celadon Museum, and then to Ttangkkeut Hainan, “The End of the Earth,” which is the tip of the Korean peninsula.   The most significant features of Goryeo celadon ware are its glaze and inlaid decoration on the surface.  The […]

June 16 – Kimchi
June 16 - Kimchi

We assisted the cook with making kimchi. Started out with buckets full of greens.   And a bucket of salt.   Procedure for preparing greens:   Step1: Rinse greens with water.   Step 2: Move greens to large bucket.   Step 3: Throw on handfuls of salt   Step 4: Well, I’m not so sure.  […]

June 14 – Traditional Cookie Making
June 14 – Traditional Cookie Making

We took three of the kids, Hai Chu, Unnie, and Sae Joon to make tradition Korean cookies, called Hahn Gwah.  Our instructor did the first batch so we could see the process. First, “Korean special syrup” (secret recipe) was heated in a saucepan along with sesame oil, sugar, and a flavored powder.   We used […]

June 13 – Traditional Tea Ceremony
June 13 – Traditional Tea Ceremony

Mid-morning, Seung Hui drove Lauren, Jessica, and me into Naju.  She parked in the street and then led us out of the city, through a gate and into small, enclosed community of traditional homes with gardens, trees, and dirt walkways.  It felt as though when we passed through that gate we had entered another world.  […]

June 12 – Buddha Hike
June 12 – Buddha Hike

Unjusa Woonjoo temple, once known for its 1,000 buddhas, 1,000 pagodas, and Dosun monk, is situated in daechori Daommyun Hwasun country of Jeonnam.  Today, the temple has only 100 Buddha and 21 pagodas remaining in the hills and valleys.  Legend says that the crying of a hen at daybreak disrupted the construction of all pagodas.  […]

June 11 – 100 Days Celebration
June 11 – 100 Days Celebration

Koreans celebrate when a child reaches one hundred days of life.  Lauren and I learned how to make a traditional 100-day-old birthday cake.   Ingredients: Black Beans Sugar Rice flour Directions: Line open-bottomed ceramic pot with a cheesecloth.  Mix black beans with sugar.  Place a layer of black bean mixture in bottom of pot and […]

June 10 – Bamboo Forest
June 10 - Bamboo Forest

Main entrance.   The bamboo was as tall as trees and provided excellent shade from the sun during our walk.   Sai Chu and me.   Don’t worry, the pandas are not real.   Unnie, Rockstar.   After the bamboo forest and some ice cream, we went for another walk.

June 9 – Adoption Camp
June 9 - Adoption Camp

Once a year, SWS hosts a “family day.” Families with adopted children travel from different parts of South Korea to participate. The Shin family drove Lauren and me to the location, approximately one hour from Ehwa.  We had lunch with the other families (there were probably 150-200 people total) at a restaurant near the base […]

June 8 – Natural Dye
June 8 – Natural Dye

Jennifer Moon and her mother, volunteers, picked us up from the orphanage to go to their home to make traditional Korean food.   We stopped at a grocery store to pick up ingredients for jeop chae. Jennifer, we learned, is 16-years-old (American years), plays electric guitar in a band, and hopes to go to MIT in […]

June 7 – Lunch with the government official and dinner with the Shin family
June 7 – Lunch with the government official and dinner with the Shin family

We had lunch with a “government official” at a restaurant in downtown Naju.  We were informed that the meat, kalbi (similar to thick slabs of bacon), was special-order.  I thought maybe this indicated that the government official was important.  His employees ate together in a separate room.  He spoke only Korean, Lauren and I spoke […]

June 6 – Green Tea Garden & Folk Village
June 6 - Green Tea Garden & Folk Village

The Bosun Green Tea Garden was about 45 minutes drive from Ehwa.  Two volunteers, and man and his teen-aged daughter, Candy, met us at the orphanage and away we went – three of the older/potty-trained girls, Seung Hui (social worker), Candy, her father, Lauren, and me.   The hike to the green tea field led […]

Naju Food
Naju Food

The main cook worked five days a week preparing three meals per day for the children and all the staff.  She didn’t speak any English but her presence was comforting.  She smiled a lot, made sure we had a bowl of soup with every meal, and frequently encouraged us to ‘eat more!’ (spoken in Korean). […]

Jogging Route
Jogging Route

Most mornings I would head out early for a jog.  I loved to have this time all to myself.  The countryside was beautiful, quiet, and peaceful.  Though half a world away, I often was reminded of mornings back home in Oswego.  The air was fresh, dewy, and full of familiar, comforting scents – wet hay, […]

Our Living Quarters
Our Living Quarters

While in Naju, Lauren and I lived in the Ehwa’s new building, a large, unfinished multi-story complex.  It was situated on the side of a mountain overlooking an agricultural valley.  When we arrived on June 4, Ms. Kang, the orphanage director, informed us that we were the first to stay in the new building.  We […]

The Children
The Children

There were nine children, ages ranging from 1 to 6, and two infants living in Ehwa’s main building.  The children were divided into two groups, and the infants were cared for separately.  During our stay, Lauren and I mainly interacted with only one group of children – Hai Chu, Unnie, Sae Joon, Wubin, and Hanada. […]

Main Building
Main Building

We lived in a small village consisting of approximately 20 residential homes, plus the Ehwa buildings – two orphanages, and one home for the “Little Moms.” Entrance from highway.   The main building contained the office, kitchen, and childrens’ rooms.   We didn’t have Internet access in our building and used the office computers to […]

Naju – June 4-22

Tomorrow I leave for rural Naju in Southern Korea (3 hour trip by bullet train) where Lauren and I will intern in the SWS babies’ home for 18 days.  Will not have wireless Internet and thereby, no blogging. I will return to Seoul for another week beginning on June 22. To Be Continued…