Friday, before school was over, I was asked if I would come in on Saturday and introduce myself to the parents. My elementary school was having a bit of an open house. It would be important to point out that Korean school aged children go to school about half of the Saturdays of a month. Like a good husband who has no idea what is in store for the weekend I replied, “I need to check with my wife first.” To which my co-teacher said, “The head teacher needs to know now. She is making the program.” To which I said, “Ok.”
I showed up Saturday morning with my favorite shirt and tie (which many of you know as my blue button down and my grandpa’s red tie). Sitting in the front row I kept asking my co-teacher, “And what do they want me to say?” Because it seemed to change each time I asked her. I would say, “How about, ‘Annyong haseo(Hello). My name is David Cowger. I am from America. It is great to be here. Thank you for having me. Monaso Bangab sumnida(Nice to meet you)'” And she would say, “Perfect.” The problem was that she said “perfect” to everything. So I got a bit worried. My introduction went well and I was ready to go home.
BreeAnn and I had talked about going to Mokpo, a coastal city only about 50 minutes away. When I got home we packed up a few things and left. Mind you our internet was (and still is) down and we hadn’t asked anyone what to do in Mokpo. But darn it, there is an ocean somewhere around here and we were going to see it! Actually several teachers tried to disuade me because the ocean or at least the Yellow Sea is not as pretty on the west side as the east side of the country. We hopped on a bus. I fell asleep and BreeAnn read a book. After arriving at the Mokpo bus station we both became aware that neither of us really knew what to do once we stepped outside. We both kind of looked at each other with that “So what do you want to do” look. We ended up taking a taxi to the train station because there was an information table located there. Approaching the table a nice Korean woman who spoke English gave us a map and pointed us in the direction we wanted to go, which was towards the coast. She also pointed out on the map that instead of “Amusement Park” it should read “Beach”. So walking out of the train station we headed towards the “Amusement Park” in hopes of a beach.
I have heard, at least in Iowa, that the weather has began to turn. Fortunately, the last couple days I think it is turning for us as well. Unfortunately, this trip happened last weekend before the cool down. So without a car or bus we walked a good ways to the coast under the hot Mokpo sun. Foreheads sweaty and feet aching we heard the coast before we saw it. One of my favorite parts about going to the ocean is seeing BreeAnn get to the ocean. She is so content taking her shoes off and walking in the water. I think if she had a good book, some coffee, and a towel, BreeAnn could spend a day, if not several, enjoying the ocean.
After a long pause and watching the sun go down we walked around a mountain near the shore, took a taxi to another area, and walked around the small boutiques. Not knowing where to eat, how to order, or how to eat it has become a reoccuring frustration, so we took a taxi back to the bus terminal where we got some food at restaurant with pictures and English. Side note: We’re looking forward to our Korean classes starting next month. After dinner we took a late bus home. Again I slept and BreeAnn read.