Friday, March 02, 2007

A fun day........or that was the plan!!!!!

On Thursday both myself and Sung Hyun had the day off work...................WHOAAA!!!!! I told him not to have anything planned because I wanted to take him out for the day and treat him to lunch. Well after we finally got our buts outta bed we headed to Itaewon (foreigners district -- I'm not a big fan) at around 1 pm. The previous week I had eaten at a great Indian and Pakastanian restaurant, so I figured I would take Sung Hyun there to try it out. I ended up ordering the same two dishes and the vegetable dish came out completely different than the week before. Instead of having fresh veggies mixed with some potatoes in a spicy sauce, I had and a frozen vegetable mix. It was so gross..................yuck!!!! When I told him that I didn't like it, he brought us some sweet and sour soup to enjoy for free......................which was even more discusting than the veggies itself. It was like they opened a bottle of sweet and sour sauce, heated it up and added a cooked egg. Let's just say that we left the restaurant with a sour taste in our mouth (partly from the soup..........hehe). I definately won't be going back there again!!!!

So our next stop was a newly renovated bar. It is pretty neat because you take off your shoes and put your feet in this heated white sand and sit on swings that are attached to the ceiling...............so relaxing. Well we walked by the bar only to discover that it didn't open for another 2.5 hours. OH GREAT!!!!!!

We decided to hop on a bus and head to the WAR MUSEUM, which was not too far away, to kill some time. I had been looking forward to reading and educating myself more about the Korean War. I think Sung Hyun was more interested in attempting to peek up the skirts of the Japanese school girls group tour.



Here we are outside the building. It is very very large and would take a good 3 or 4 trips inorder to fully see everything. Dad you would absolutely love this place. It combines two of your favorite things -- war and museums. If you came to visit me in Korea I could drop you off here on Monday and pick you up at the end of the week. Whatta you think?





Since I hadn't planned on walking around all day I wore high-heeled shoes, smooth move Jen!!! About halfway through our tour my feet were killing me and I had to stop every 5 minutes to rest. Leave it up to Sung Hyun to make it better...........................what does he do? Decides that he would let me wear his comfy PUMA shoes and so we traded. I didn't think he was serious but he insisted. For the rest of the tour he pranced around in my girlie shoes making clinking sounds while I gave my feet a rest. There is no way that I could convince and Canadian boy to do this even if I paid him.......................man I love my guy.


Sung Hyun was so excited to see the Canadian flag and he just kept taking pictures of it the whole way through the museum (which is probably why we ran out of batteries).



Here I am at the 38th parallel. -- the demarcation line between North and South Korea. As you can see I am standing on the North side of this line, thus I am in North Korea, hehe...................Sung Hyun refused to cross it.
But when he eventually did, this is what he saw on the other side -- a village full of starvation and poverty staring directly at us.
For me, I had images and flashes of what life in North Korea must be for a majority of the people now.
However, this was more real for Sung Hyun. He went on the further explain that this is how his mother grew up...............with NOTHING. As a result of the Korean war she was unable to attend school so to this day she can't even read Korean. Her life has been filled with poverty and hard-ships. She met her husband (who was a key maker and from a similar social position) and they married and had 6 children (5 girls and 1 boy -- Sung Hyun). When Sung Hyun was 10 his father passed away, making him the only male of the household and leaving his mother the daunting task of raising 6 children ALONE.
I could tell Sung Hyun's mom had a hard life when I met her. She is a skinny, frail, weathered, hunched over little lady. But her zest for life and her compassion to make a better life for her children was evident. From the second I walked into the room until I left I felt welcome. The huge hug and pat on the back that I received from her as I entered her teritory put my at ease and made me feel as though I belonged there. I was privileged to get a peek into her world and athough I was in an old, cramped, tiny, apartment it didn't seem to bother me. The joy and love that I felt that day far outweighed any materialistic possesions that most of us place so much value on.

I could see the change in Sung Hyun as he walked through this village. It was almost as if he was picturing himself in his mothers shoes and wondering what it must have been like growing up in such circumstances. WOW, and I thought my life was hard!!!!



After the tour we sat outside and played around with our dinky remote control cars that we bought to pass the time. The kids had a blast chasing them and we had fun doing stunts and racing. We headed back to Itaewon the check out the cool sand bar, only to be further disappointed. Since they just opened the sand wasn't warm and the drinks (which were $9 a peice) left us with headaches. Forty dollars later and and $10 cab ride home we were called it a night -- cuddled up in bed with a movie and a doughnut and fell asleep.

2 comments:

Beloved said...

It seems in spite of all the disappointments, you managed to have a fun day together, but where are the pics of Sung-Hyun wearing your shoes?!?

Sounds like Sung-Hyun and my husband had a similar upbringing. Family of six children, growing up in poverty, father passing away when they were young (my husband even has Sung as the first part of his name!). I always marveled at how rapidly Korea has grown and industralized. The contrast to how my husband grew up and how he and his peers lived in the 90s was amazing!
By the way, thanks for your kind words on my blog. My husband and I have had very few cultural issues, but choosing a place to live has been a difficult and ongoing problem for us. It's good that you are thinking about these things early though. Good to hear that Sung-Hyun will visit Canada. That'll be fun.

undauntedoh said...

not that i am going to write sth pertaining to your thread..
wondering you buried the hatchet with your bf :)