Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Forest Creature

Today is a nature post! Ahh the great outdoors. Er, well, the great outdoors are rather stiflingly hot as of recently. Summer here means humidity and it makes everything sticky and muggy. Whenever I walk our of my air conditioned classroom or air conditioned apartment, it's like a walk into a hot jello mold and I have to force myself through the thick, warm air. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration... or maybe not! You don't live my life!

Woah, woah, I'm getting hostile. This heat is getting the better of me... It's a good thing I took a mini vacation this weekend and went camping with my coteacher, Elly, her husband and daughter, and two other families! It was such a nice feeling to get to go camping. I love camping and I miss going with my family. But these nice Korean families made me one of their own this weekend, and I couldn't have been more grateful.

But first!
(These were taken today, Tuesday, not during the camping trip)
dress: TJMaxx? Marshall's? I don't remember...
necklace: American Eagle
shoes: Ebay. Duh. 
belt: Toona (Korea)
So yes, camping. Elly and her family go camping every weekend and have invited me along, but hadn't been able to go until now! We went east and into the mountains to Youngwol City in Gangwon Province. We left Friday evening after work, so we got to the site later that night. My tent was already set up ^^ (because one of the other families offered a spare single tent!), so I just kind of hung out. There were two other families that were already there. One couple had two boys and a girl (one of the boys was a toddler who I kept trying to win over so I could hold him, but I never officially got the approval... He did call me "imo" a few times though, which meant "aunt". I'll take it as a small victory ^^). The other couple had two girls. They were kind of cautious at first, too shy to speak English with me. They eventually warmed up and were asking me all kinds of questions like my favorite color and food and where I was from and how much Korean I knew (which I impressed them with by telling them things like "hello", "thank you", "bathroom", "beer, please"... you know, all the important stuff. Oh, lord, and I'm a teacher....).

The next day we went on a trip to a geography museum, because apparently these kids are responsible for learning stuff while they're on vacation. And they actually do it! Then we went wading through a creek after we decided it was too hot to look around a temple. Then we hung out around the campsite, me reading the first book of The Game of Thrones. OoOoh it's so good.. And we also managed to splash around in the creek that ran adjacent to the modestly sized campground. 

Now a word on Korean camping, compared to my camping, compared to real camping:
Koreans seem to mostly camp in tents. Some had small caravans, but mostly tents. But these are no meek, flimsy, cozy little tents. No, these are 4 bedroom netted monsters. It's great! I mean, mine was the single, so it was small and cozy, which is fine by me. I even got a Pororo mat to lay on. Also, they don't really have campfires. I asked Elly about it, and she said campfires are really popular, but I think their campfires are just brought out to cook. Campfires at home are also used to cook, but sometimes they're just for staring at. They didn't have any fire pits to make fires; the families brought out this grill/fire thing that had a table thing around it for eating around. It's not really something you'd just set up to watch or hang out around without cooking. And also the campground itself: the whole set up kind of reminded me of a parking lot with a few skinny trees. The sites were side by side, separated only by a line, and even that was more of a suggestion. There was no privacy (unless you hid away in your mansion tent) and there was no grass and no trails to follow. I mean, it wasn't awful, it just wasn't what I was used to. I'm accustomed to little nooks of nature we back out trailer into and can't see or can barely see our neighbors through the trees or brush. And my way isn't even considered camping by some standards back home; unless you hiked a mile to set up camp, caught a fish for dinner, and took a shit in the woods, you're not camping.

In addition to the many meats we grilled for dinner, one in particular I couldn't stomach: pig intestines. Now I gave it the 'ole college try... I ate it all right, but let me tell you, it was anything but mashisoyo (delicious).  It was tough and chewy and took forever to swallow (a-harrr....). 

BUT all the other food, the pork, steak, chicken, rice, Korean pancake, fruit, and dokboki I had was definitely delicious. I love when people feed me.
elvis hanging out in the creek. his english name is elvis because he plays the guitar; how precious!
the gang minus the husbands and the baby. DOROTHY IS SOOO CUTE! don't the other kids look enthralled too?
But I had a lovely time, and if I'm invited again, I would definitely do it again. Or perhaps some of my other friends can plan some camping trip! I want to make s'mores next time. I feel like s'mores are an essential part of any camping trip. But marshmellows are kind of hard to find/expensive and I couldn't even find graham crackers when I went to Costco (one of the places to shop for foreign food), but I'll try searching elsewhere. I haven't given up yet. I have a feeling Dorothy, Elly's daughter, would love them!

Until next time!

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