Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fall is here!

I can't believe we are 3/4 done with our year here in Korea. The leaves outside are starting to change. There are patches of reds, yellows and purple in the piney mountain-sides of Korea. The drive to and from Busan overloads my mind with desires to stop smack dab in the middle of the highway and take a picture. Trust me... I have contemplated asking Taylor several times when there was a shoulder... but alas, I just take mental note of the scene and settle on taking local leafy pics instead. So... I am hoping to get some fall pics up soon, so that all can enjoy. I have also been encouraged to make a couple video clips of life in Korea... so keep an eye out for that as well. (Not so sure they will be all that great, I am not gifted with motion films!)

Wednesday, Taylor left for Seoul on a school field trip with the grade level giving him the most problems. To say the least, he was not excited to be going to a theme park with them anymore than I was excited to be home alone for three days... but turning down the principal's invite was not really an option. :( Corin and I have been taking walks, playing on the playground, collecting leaves, and watching the farmers gather their rice crops. The combines they use are TINY! I suppose growing up in a farming community in Indiana and riding in my grandpa's HUGE combine spoiled me into thinking all farm equiptment must be the same. Farming has a competely differnt face here. As Corin and I walk down the narrow road leading out behind our apartment, we walk past houses on one side and fields on the other. Each field is maybe 1/2 an acre and is separated from the next field by a concrete barrier or a wall of packed dirt. The rows are raised with small ditches or canals in between. The onions, and garlic are all planted by hand after the farmers have plowed, fertilized, smoothed out the soil. Walk behind tillers are used to create the canals and then the little old women work their magic. In some areas, you will find 20-30 people in the field planting... here, only about 8. Planting each garlic and onion bulb by hand. the women get the raw end of the deal in this case. Now don't get me wrong, I am not sawing women shouldn't be out in the fields... or that we are not cut out for outdoor work. I am not saying they should be in the kitchen or anything of the sort. My only concern is the end result. I have witnessed multiple older women who can not stand with out the aide of a cane or walker holding them above a 45 degree angle. They are literally crippled into this disformed shape due to a lifetime of bending over in the fields and in the home.... trust me, I use the Korean broom... it is torture. now in contrast, they can squat into a frog style sitting position with ease and can stand from that position without trouble.... even at 80. The older women here have some flexible hips and knees due to the "traditional" Korean sitting position. (I have witnessed Corin using the same pose as he plays with his toys... funny how we can pick up on others' habits.) As I watched through the spring and summer, I noticed that ALL crops were planted by hand and other than rice, were harvested by hand as well. It was interesting to see literal bus loads of people swarm from one field to the next during summer harvesting and then load up in the buses at the end of the day. The fields are constanly full of one crop or another. There is no down time. Mounds of manure with plastic covers sit near most fields or barns and is the main fertilizing staple. A field is usually harvested and within a few short days, replanted! I am amazed also at the use of space here. If there is a space for planting food, it is occupied with home gardens, left over seedlings, or fruit trees. Persimmons are everywhere and are such a gorgeous vibrant orange. The fruits are starting to fall off the trees and soon the store shelves and market streets will be filled with the deep orange globes. They look like tomatoes, if you've never seen one, and feel like a tomato too. As soon as I get a hold of a few models, I will be sure to post pictures for your viewing pleasure. Pumpkin vines are everywhere and pupmkins lie alongside the road, near houses, and even on roof overhangs. :) Fall flowers are in full swing... cosmos, merigolds, and other varieties line the roadsides as a welcoming change of roadside scenery. I know some cities back home plant flowers in medians and town centers, but here, even the highways have roadside blossoms! They take pride in making the roads a beautiful place to travel on.

This weekend we will be getting a taste of Korean fireworks at a yearly festival in Busan and the following weekend will partake in a culturally diverse festival our church is participating in. I am excited! :) I love seeing traditional performances and various foods and products. I will plan to udate with details and pictures after that! So have a safe October and enjoy the weather!

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