First of all, our apologies for letting our blog be dormant for so long! We would like to say we've been incredibly busy everyday for the past few months, but that's not completely true. We are still throughly enjoying our time here in Korea and we have learned a lot about life, love, and culture. It has been an incredible experience in our lives and we have no regrets!
So here's some things that have been going on lately....
We were able to travel and see a bit more of Asia when we went to the Philippines. There are over 7,000 islands comprising this country (bet you didn't know that!) and we stayed on the popular island, Boracay. It's relatively new when it comes to tourism hot spots. It was only in the 70's when, it is said, a foreign movie crew accidentally "discovered" this island paradise. It has been rapidly developing as a tourist destination ever since. Needless to say, this was one of the most gorgeous places we have seen on Earth! Here is a photo of the sunset that welcomed us the first night.
OK, now back in Busan....The seasons have changed, finally! And we couldn't be more pleased with this pleasant fall weather. We were told before coming to Busan that there are four distinct seasons and we have felt it for sure this time. After a few days of hot and sticky rain, the cool made it's presence known and fall had arrived.
Also, The Head's made a visit to Kimchi-land! We were so so blessed to have BOTH of our families make the trip to Asia. Thankfully Korea had a national holiday (Chuseok), which is like American Thanksgiving, so we had a few days off work to enjoy with Jim and Tammy (Loren's parents). We began our journey in one of the largest cities in the world and the capital of Korea, Seoul. We hit a few tourist hot-spots like palaces and museums, but the highlight of the trip for everyone was visiting the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone). Also known as the 38th parallel, this border between the north and the south was created in 1953. It is 250 kilometers long (miles? no thanks, we only use metric now) and 4 kilometers wide. It is the most heavily militarized border in the world. We went with the USO tour where we had a wonderful English-speaking Korean guide who was passionate about the reunification between the once united peninsula. Once we arrived at the DMZ we were greeted by US soldiers, which was a very comforting feeling. The tour showed us the Joint Security Area (JSA) where they rarely hold meetings with both countries, Kijong-dong (Propaganda village) which is a North Korean city that is a desolate town established only for looks, and through one of the four known infiltration tunnels the North dug in attempt to attack the South. Here we are at the JSA in the DMZ. Loren is standing in South Korea, Alaina is standing in North Korea.
Being able to throw a rock into North Korea put things in to perspective even more. Living as expats in the south we are keenly aware of the miserable lives lived in the North. If you're interested in the issue, or even you're confused why we feel for these forgotten people, just search for any documentary made about the North. It will open your eyes.
After our couple days in the capital, we hopped a train to our home city....Busan! We were there for less than a day then went to the beautiful island south of Korea, Jeju, to get the most out of our vacation days. We rented a car in Jeju and Loren drove the entire island wonderfully, which is impressive considering neither of us have touched a steering wheel in 10 months. We saw the sunrise over a volcanic crater, an old folk village, a tropical temple, visited the coastal city of Seogwipo and saw the only waterfall in Asia to fall directly into the ocean. We even put the car in neutral to experience "Mystery Road" where things roll uphill. Jeju is one of God's magnificent designs and we were happy to experience it with Loren's parents. The photo below is at the top of a volcanic crater.
One of the many waterfalls on the island. This one flows into the Yellow Sea.
And here is a tropical temple (Yakcheonsa) built only 10 years ago on Jeju island. Or as Jim would say, "Where the surfer monks live."
We returned to our home city (Busan) for a packed weekend of sightseeing and fun! We took the Head's all over the city and they finally were able to meet the students and teachers we have been talking about all year. They even got to meet our church family here!
We were sad to see them leave, but we knew that after they left we only had a little while before we could be reunited again. So the countdown has begun! We have just over two more months here teaching. We plan to travel a bit after our contract and be home for the holidays!
We miss and love you all. Thanks for stopping by our blog :) Have a great day (or night, depending on where you are in this beautiful world)!