July 15, 2017
Jeff’s Korean Excursion Part 3-Guangyang & Chunju
Thursday, I headed to Guangyang, which is on the southern tip of Korea. I arrived at a school with children in grades 1-4 after the one-hour drive from Yeosu. The school was very nice because the local steel factory employs a large portion of the island and donates a hefty sum of money. I spent two days there with a fourth-grade teacher named Mr. Go.
When I arrived at the school for the first time, the kids flocked around me and dragged me to each classroom to introduce all the teachers. I gave a brief introduction about myself to a few of the classes and later played soccer with the students (Korean boys seem to LOVE soccer).
I finally met another foreigner from the US here named Paul, so I was able to speak complete and fluent English with him. He’s a 25-year-old opera singer working as an English teacher while on break from his tour. It felt great to have full understanding in a conversation after missing it for so long. One girl drew a picture of me and Paul, which makes me look very handsome!
The students kept asking for my autograph on my last day in Guangyang, which was a fun experience. I’ve been staying with Mr. Go, one of the teachers at the school, during my time in Guangyang. He’s a great man and was incredibly kind to me throughout my stay. I traveled to Gwangju with him after my time at the school to attend his emotional strength seminar.
It’s a five hour car ride to Gwangju. During our car ride we stopped at the nearby city of Chunju. Chunju is renowned for its bebimbap so we went to one of the best spots for lunch. We arrived at Gwangju later that night and stayed at a Hanuk. A Hanuk is a traditional wooden home, but the one we stayed at was modernized. However, the Hanuk didn’t have beds. Guests at Hanuks sleep on blankets laid out on the floor.
Mr. Go’s seminar the following morning was in Korean, so I left early to explore downtown Chunju. There was mainly one market full of designer stores and a second market which sold traditional Korean clothing and food.
Later in the day, Mr. Go and I visited Mrs. Han’s family. Her mother is a renowned calligraphist and has her own gallery in Gwangju so we stopped by to look at her work.