May 9, 2010

A couple weekends ago we went with Ben and Janna (the couple who we teach with) to Everland, a giant amusement park near Seoul.  It was a lot of fun.  They had several good roller coasters, a zoo, and a little German village where we got a delicious roasted chicken- nothing Korean about it (we’ve been craving non-Korean food more and more).   It was a beautiful park, built on the side of a mountain.

The tulip festival was in full bloom….I’ve never seen so many.

It was unbelievably crowded.

The next day, we went and walked around a giant fortress wall.  It was built hundreds of years ago to protect the town of Suwon.  The city has very much outgrown the wall.

One of the Korean teachers at the elementary school got married last weekend.  She had the wedding in a big, modern building that had multiple rooms for weddings.  I’m not sure we would have ever found the right room if we hadn’t been with some of the other Korean teachers from our school.  Prior to the wedding, the bride sits in a fancy little room, on a fancy couch up on a little stage and everyone comes and looks at her on display.  (I would have died if I had to do this.)

We learned that a lot of Koreans have two, back-to-back wedding ceremonies.  First, they have a western-style ceremony.  The bride wears a big poofy white dresse, the groom wears a tux and they invite everyone they know.  The ceremony was pretty short: only about 10 or 15 minutes.  And all of the guests talked amongst themselves the whole time.  It was like no one realized the wedding had started.  We asked the other Korean teachers if this was normal and they said yes.  I felt sorry for the bride and groom, and also for the officiant who was talking away to a crowd full of people who weren’t paying him a bit of attention.  It was hard to tell what was going on during the ceremony, both because it was in Korean and because everyone was talking, but I don’t think they said any vows.  The ceremony went about like this:  The groom walked down the ailse.  Then the bride and her dad walked down the ailse.   The couple joined hands and bowed to both sets of parents.  The officiant talked for a little while and then a man came and sang them a song.  The newly married couple turned toward the crowd, everyone clapped.  They walked down the ailse toward to back of the room, had the most platonic kiss I’ve ever seen, then walked back up the ailse toward the front.  They cut the cake, and the ceremony was over.  So, you could tell that it was modeled after a western wedding ceremony, but it was still pretty different.

After the ceremony, all of the non-family guests went to another room for a HUGE lunch buffet.  (The bride and groom changed into traditional Korean outfits, and the family stayed for the traditional Korean ceremony, which is held after the western ceremony).  We were mixed in with guests from the other weddings that were going on in the building.  The room was enormous and it was easily the biggest buffet I’ve ever seen.  They had Korean food, Chinese food and Japanese food.  It was fun to be able to try things that we had been too scared to order at restaurants (or that we didn’t know how to order at restaurants).

Here’s a picture of the bride and groom.

And a family picture.  You can see a lot of the women in the family wore the traditional Korean dress, called a hanbok.

We had another field trip with the kindergarten kids.  I love field trips with the kidergarten kids.   We went to a botanical garden and I was told to stick with the littlest kids all day.  I love the littlest kids.  Here are some obligatory cute kid pictures.

These are some pictures of me and my new best friend on the bus ride home.  (Her english name is Pinky).

Last Wednesday was Childrens’ Day so we had the day off school.  We found a great little park along the Nakdong River, the sad little river that runs through Gumi.

Then we had a great rooftop bbq.

We couldn’t find a real grill, so this was the improvisation.

I’ll end with some of my favorite kids from the elementary school.

Oh, and I have a name to add to the strange english name list.  Scott just told me about a kid in one of his classes named Adolph.  Yes, Adolph.


One Response to “”

  1. Mom Says:

    As always, great update. I LOVE the pictures. The kids are so adorable. Makes me miss my preschool! You are doing a great job of capturing all you are doing, in words and pictures, and letting us “share” your experiences with you. Thanks for that!

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