Thursday, September 20, 2012

From the archives: Hwacheon / Farewell Paula

I figured out how to email pictures off of my battered-yet-still-ticking cell phone earlier tonight while waiting for a teacher's dinner to begin. The middle school had its festival today and we went out for samgyeopsal to celebrate. The restaurant was in Wasu, so it was in walking distance. I ended up getting there early because my co-teacher gave me a time that later got changed. Oh well. It felt good to get these pictures off the phone because they're some of the best snapshots of Korea. Just about everything on there came from the first few months in-country because one of the camera sensors got busted during the winter and the camera no longer worked.

Anyway, my dear English friend Paula finished her contract last month and has begun traveling around Asia and Australia. We had met on the bus ride from Seoul to Chuncheon after Orientation and made fast friends. I'd seen her once or twice between lectures, but we hadn't spoken until then. I'd excitedly started asking her about all things England and she willingly obliged. This is a bit hard to explain, I suppose, but England's always been something of a touchstone for me: I've always loved the music, the culture, and (admittedly, my slim knowledge of) history of the country. Here was someone from the country of Orwell, Churchill, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, the Who, and fish and chips, and she was all too happy to talk it. She was from Brighton, the site of the '60s Mod-Rockers riots and the setting of Quadrophenia!

But I'm carried away here. Suffice to say, we kept in touch all through last year and visited each other's towns several times. She was the first person I visited who lived outside of Cheorwon. The shopping trip that  I wrote about here happened because it meant we could hang out, shop, and drink beer. Plenty of other trips happened, too: multiple meetings in Chuncheon, the February Suwon excursion, the Hwacheon visit and several trips to Seoul , including the palace visit. Every time was great. I've a feeling that we may see more of her on these pages, for she'll be taking a teaching job in either Russia or Taiwan in a couple months and a visit will be in order.

Here are two pictures from the first Hwacheon visit. Cheers!

In front of the Hwacheon Rotary, October 2011.

The gorgeous river that bisects Hwacheon, October 2011.

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