Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts. …
Originally from South Africa, I left its shores after I graduated, to experience the great wide world. What was supposed to be a gap year, turned into 9 years and counting. I came to Korea to teach for a year, fell in love with its people and culture, and the rest is as the saying goes is “history”.
Living in Korea is pretty cool. Other than the humid summers I have nothing to complain about BUT I don’t see my family as much as what I would like to. My two siblings are growing up at the speed of light and to be extremely honest, I have been worried that we haven’t built a strong connection yet as they are heading into the last of their teenage years. I wanted to make sure that I left a deep foundation for them to fall back on. I wanted them to see that you REALLY can be WHATEVER it is that you want to be. To teach them that the only way up is with hard work. That taking care of themselves is the most important thing in life and I wanted to know that even though I have chosen to live in another country we can still be close and that they can depend on me for whatever they need (until they become rich 😛 ). Therefore I decided to plan a trip of a lifetime for our little family and I brought them out to Korea this past April for a very precious 2 weeks. Mom had been several times before but this was my siblings’ very first trip abroad!
One thing that has always stuck with me through the years is the memory of when I was growing up, my aunt would come to visit and my mom and her would wake up at the crack of dawn and convince themselves they have solved conspiracy theories and gossip about our weird family. When I woke up they would already be 3 coffees ahead and a slice of tart or so, and my aunt would pull out the chair and I would listen to them go on about all their funny business. It’s something I miss terribly with my mom and I was most excited to talk about life over coffee and cookies in the morning. FAIL! Jet-lag hit mom hard but we did have some tea and long talks at night and this time we were pulling out a chair for my sister. It was absolutely wonderful.
Seeing these two teenagers experience a whole bunch of “firsts” was super cool! They had the opportunity to learn how other cultures do things, broaden their perspectives on life and their beliefs and super fast wi-fi (which let’s be honest was the highlight for them 😉 ). With very limited time at our disposal, I decided that I wasn’t going to try to show them everything Korea has to offer. We stayed Jeollanamdo and Gwangju and I still managed to keep them busy. So much so, that they asked me a few times “can we just stay in today?”. It was all about enjoying each other rather than sightseeing.
Here are a few precious pictures of our time together:
A girl’s day with Vietnamese food and the traditional coffee-shop-after-lunch visit:
We strolled around Yanglim-dong near downtown to see some Korean houses and quirky art:
They experienced a Korean baseball game:
My sister wanted to visit the green tea plantations so I drove them to Boseong for her to get her Instagram pics for the day:
One the most special parts of the trip was a visit to my favorite place on the mainland, Naejangsa. It was very special to me to share this space with
We had some fun in Jeonju with my Korean-bestie:
A “must see” is the bamboo forest in Damyang
On their last night it was rainy, so what else was there to do that have some makgeolli and jeon? We met up again with my Korean friend and “second place” was of course chicken and beer.
And just like that, 2 weeks flew by! Bonds were made stronger, so many laughs were shared and I was so happy to show my siblings what life is like abroad. <3