Thursday, May 6, 2010

Korea Part III: People

Our trip would not have been so memorable if not with the people we met in Korea. They include our families and friends. Since it was our first trip together since our marriage, we both had a chance to meet for the first time some of our relative-in-laws. Although many of them we had never met before, they all greeted us with love, care and kindness which made us feel as if we had all along known each other. They made us reflect on what families mean to us in our culture. They are inseparable part of us with which we can trace where we come from and what brought us where we are today.

Above is a picture of Min's grandfather (first from the right) from his high school yearbook. The yearbook is almost 80 years old which dates back to the Japanese colonial period in the early 1900s. I was surprised at how well Min's uncle has kept it in a good condition. Although Min's grandfather passed away when Min was very little, his legacy continues on in the family. I figured Min's love for tennis may after all run in the family.

From the left are Min's third aunt, first aunt, Min's mom, Min, myself, and the first uncle. We tried to get a family photo after breakfast at Min's uncle's ranch house, but this picture is still missing the second and third uncles...

Min's third uncle showed us around his ranch in Soonchun where he grows everything organic with his hands.

That's my second uncle with my little cousin Donghyup. When we were visiting, Donghyup had just come back from his TaeKwonDo academy.

My second grandparents (the younger brother of my grandfather) are the eldest in my side the family since my grandparents passed away. When Min and I get old, I wish we become as wise and caring as they are.

These are my friends whom I met 10 years ago in Europe on a bike tour. We were once again reunited for another fun bicycle event in Yeongwang.

Our tennis buddy from the US. We celebrated our reunion in Korea by playing tennis on a clay court. Unlike in the US, most tennis courts are clay based in Korea.

My roommate family from New York now lives in Jeonju. We've come a long way to meet again. Wooin (the daughter) used to be a little girl back when we were in New York, but she has grown up to be much taller than me. They were very kind enough to treat us to a famous traditional restaurant in Jeonju which specializes in Korean royal cuisine.

It was the freakiest thing ever happened to us in Korea. When we were walking around the hanok village in Jeonju with my old roommate family from New York, we randomly ran into my other old roommate whom I lived with in New York after parting with the family. The lady in the middle is my other roommate. Somehow I ended up reuniting with all my roommates from New York in the City of Jeonju, Korea.

This is Min's cousin who offered us, or more likely sacrificed, everything he has -his room, computer, TV, etc. - so that we could crash at his place as if we were at our own home.

There are many other people not in these pictures but whom we shared many fond memories during our trip. Thanks to these people, we felt so welcomed and at home in Korea.

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