July 27, 2007

Sask Landing (Day 2)

After yesterdays all girls post, we decided that we would dedicate this post to the boys.

Today we took off the the lake to see if Trevor's burnt knees could get a little more red. After a morning of family pictures, Raith and Zane were eager to see if Uncle Tony and Uncle Trevor would good for their word and would do some back flips off the boat. The boys were not disappointed and we even saw grandpa bail off the boat in style screaming, "Hunga-munga."

Despite our over-cooked white skin and a mild case of heatstroke, it was an exceptionally good day.

July 26, 2007

Saskatchewan Landing

(Imogen enjoying the breeze)
We received a phone call sometime ago and were informed that Dad had purchased a new boat. "A BOAT!" We exclaimed in shock. "But there are no lakes, or rivers in southern Saskatchewan. It's a desert: trees, cacti, tumbleweeds... I hope you know that the rolling waves of a dune are altogether different from the rolling blue waves of a lake."

(Baby Rowan taking a break with Mom in the shade)
As it turns out we had a lot to learn about the geography of a quint city we thought we had figured out. Swift Current really does have a lake and I can't think of a better way to spend my summer in the scorching hot south than boating around and 'cannonballing' with a bundle of cute kids .


Being up at 4 am has its advantages. For instance this beautiful prairie sunrise. Seoul is, in its own way, a beautiful place to live but this is one thing that I had missed without realizing it.

Red Deer

July 18, 2007

A $1000.00 Carrot

Monday night we returned home from a farewell dinner with Trevor's staff to discover our little Kimchi was very ill; unresponsively laying on the floor, vomiting large amounts of blood and refusing to eat or drink.

Because of the late hour, and without a contact number for our regular vet we were at a loss as to what to do. So at 2 am we called a good Korean friend, Jay, who located and escorted us to a 24 hour animal emergency hospital. Kimchi was admitted immediately and has now been there for three days. A ton of X-rays, medicine, I.V.'s, and endoscopic equipment later we were relieved to find that Kimchi will be fine. It was not poison as we first dreaded, nor was it internal bleeding or some kind of chronic illness. It was in fact a carrot of all things!

Now that the ordeal is all finished, it is rather comical that a seemingly harmless carrot stick could cause so many tears, sleepless hours, and so much stress. Not to mention that everything considered the bill is going to range in the $1000 area. Now that is one expensive carrot!

July 13, 2007

A Sunkist Set

There are many obnoxious advertisements out there. Some of them may cause you to mute the television whiles others provoke you to turn the channel or even turn off the TV set. But, this commercial is enough to make a grown man cry out in pain; and after prolonged exposer, it can eventually lead to insanity.


July 9, 2007

Volcanic Remains

After a year of living in a foreign place we are starting to feel bruised and battered by the many odd, startling and just down right weird differences between our two cultures. How we were raised and how we are being told to live are at loggerheads and we feel like we are stuck in between. I suppose that in technical terms what we are experiencing is called a twinge of home-sickness with a huge helping of ethnocentrism. This said, we needed to get out of the city, away from the crowds, the expectations, and the ever peering eyes of the hundreds of Koreans that watch us daily.

Jeju-do, we thought, was just going to be another Korean outing. Put on a smile, act politely and battle the crowds to get a shot of some cheesy statue. Quite the contrary.

As a small sub-tropical volcanic mass on the southern tip of Korea, Jeju boasts the tallest mountain peak in our new country. In the past I had heard it compared to Hawaii, but since I had never cared to visit the famed tourist-ridden islands this charmed comparison held nothing for me. Nevertheless, post-trip the comparison holds true; yet, I can not imagine that even Hawaii could have provided us with the new perspective that we gained while on Jeju. Sun-drenched beaches, dramatic waterfalls, an absence of time, expectation and responsibly, this island helped to refocus us, and remind us that the whole world is not a concrete jungle. I have a feeling that we will be escaping to the south a little more often next year.

(P.S. Mom, they had a Cinnabon).

Jeju Island

So... we justified this as our anniversary trip and splurged on a hotel. However, the best thing about the hotel was not the huge room that rivaled our apartment in size. It was not the crazy comfortable bed or the luxurious monster-sized bathroom. Nor was it the fact that we were treated like royalty all weekend with trips to the spa, room service and chauffeured cars.

No, the best thing about our hotel was the fact that it was situated on a lavish cliff above a untarnished endless ocean. On one side of the hotel was what we refer to as "our beach". We spent the majority of our time there, playing, digging, rock-throwing and soaking up the fresh ocean air on the beautiful black volcanic sand.

Korea, for those of you who don't know, is over ladened with its own populace. Regardless, due to some miracle, we were only happened upon by two visitors while on this beach; an older Korean man and his Filipino friend. Both very friendly and both passionate about God and the blessing that he had created when he made Jeju. In fact between broken English, some pathetic Korean (that's on our part), and a little Filipino we managed to follow our visitors past a waterfall and to an amazing site where the Korean man claimed to have found God. "Impossible," was the the term that he used, impossible for anyone but an all powerful God to create this majesty.

When we did leave our beach it was only for a short time. On the opposite side of the hotel was a sparkling white sand oceanfront, Jungmun Beach. While it was beautiful and lived up to its title as one of the top twelve beaches in South Korea the International Surfing competition (which was ironically comprised of all Koreans) drove us back to our perfectly secluded beach.


Jeju is known for its great mandarin oranges, fantastic seafood, and most of all its harubang, or ancient statues. The harubang is a cheerful little man which is traditionally carved out of volcanic rock. Each stature is typically above three feet high, and wears a wide brimmed island style hat. They are known for their large eyes and the fact that they hold their hands on their plump tummies, one just slightly above the other.

The original purpose of these welcoming friends is uncertain. Some say that they were placed around the island as protection. Others speculate that they hold religious significance, while still other theories claim them as fertility gods or simply physical landmarks used for points of reference. No matter what the original purpose was Koreans today believe that if you hold the nose and make a wish, that wish will come true.

July 6, 2007

We're Coming Home

The count down is on... 15 days. 15 very busy days until we arrive home on the eve of July 21st. Our flights have been booked and paid for and we are now trying to tie up loose ends. Our replacement teachers have arrived, our students have been prepped, we are frantically trying to finish next months report cards, and we have found a surrogate but very temporary home for Kimchi.

As if this is not enough we are trying to squeeze in a few last minute trips around Korea to enjoy the summer weather, our good friends and the beaches. In five hours we are hopping a plane to Jeju, Korea's Hawaii. The following weekend we are planning on attending, for a second year, the mud fest. We figured it would be a nice way to be introduced to Korea and a great memory to exit on.

So with all of this left to accomplish I should sign off and get some sleep so I can enjoy the beaches, mountains and naps of Jeju. See you all soon!!