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Journals from Yonsei University, Korea

2009-11-14 Fishing Village Trip

Way back in the beginning of September I went on a government-subsidized trip to a fishing village. Here are some of the highlights: The traffic from Seoul to the ferry about 2 hours away took closer to double that amount. This meant that we missed our ferry and had to find alternative plans for the afternoon. First we went to lunch at a restaurant in a house that was a few hundred years old, beginning the deluge of all seafood meals. I finally learned how to eat a fish served whole, and even enjoyed it a bit. To kill time before the ferry we stopped by a small town on the coast. The group next to us was a boisterous one, carrying one unwilling member at a time to be thrown into the ocean. It was quite the show, great entertainment while enjoying our less than 70-cent ice creams. And of course, being that close to the ocean we all had to at least dip our feet in! Here are some videos from the trip, hopefully making this entry worth the wait! Some things you won't see in the videos: Right after we grilled some of our catch, they told us that breakfast would be available at 8:30 so we needed to go to bed. This was around midnight, but after a long day not too unreasonable of a request. Well, then they opened up the Noribang so all bets for bedtime were off from there. At around 2:30 I decided to call it quits. After all, how many inebriated versions of Disney songs do you need to hear in a lifetime? Well, walking outside I found our government hosts with a bunch of people pouring round after round of soju. In this culture it is impossible to turn down a toast, so if you don't want to drink, it is best to walk away. Long story short: I joined in what would turn out to be the best cultural exchange event of my time so far. The hosts kept bringing out more soju, chips and fireworks for all of us. More bottles were opened at 4 am, with no real end in sight. At around 5 am the hostess brought all of us sprinklers, laughing with us as we lit them on fire (in this country, alcohol and fireworks seem to be a natural combination...). And then she started crying, bewildering all of us English speakers until one of the students started translating. Apparently she had lived in Seoul until getting married, and had been unhappy for a long time. She was used to people who were only interested in themselves, and to see all of us so happy at such simple things (she had protested that they hadn't really done anything special for us, while we all were insistent they had treated us with above and beyond hospitality) moved her to tears. It was in that moment, in the warm morning air in a small fishing on a random island, that I knew why I had come to Korea. Ashley Price Yonsei, Fall 2009

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