Monday, March 11, 2013

Korea Trip Day 1

Last year, my parents suggested hat we visit South Korea on a mission trip. We would be visiting places of interest, but the main agenda would be to visit the Methodist churches there and have fellowship with their people. So on 1st March 2013, we left Kuala Lumpur about 9 am and arrived in Seoul about 4pm. We were joining a Chinese church group from Sibu. Aside from our family, there was also a couple from Singapore and a church worker from PJ.

To be honest, I underestimated how chilly Seoul could be. I got a real good blast of their winds in springtime (mind you it isn't winter). I had to put the thick sweater I got in Melbourne immediately.

After placing our luggage on the bus, we headed out to the suburb of Nonhyeon to visit a church there.

The weary travelers dug into the food immediately.

I was very excited to savor authentic Korean dishes cooked by the kind 'ajima' (aunties). There were lots of vegetables, a soup dish and a pork bulgogi.

 This is how the food looks like when I stuff them on my plate.

This is a simple Korean beansprout soup. The beansprouts there are larger and crispier than the Malaysian ones !

This is Reverend Peter Shin, our tourguide, interpreter, luggage handler, preacher, etc. Our family first met him 7 years ago when he came over to our house for dinner. He is active at work among the local indigenous people of Sarawak. I really admire his tenacity in getting the group together and making sure that we attend all the activities on time.

 Well there is no such thing as a 'free lunch'. The group had to prepare 3 chinese songs as our presenation each time we visited a church.

Nonhyeon suburb was still way up north. In the coming days, we would be travelling south to Seoul and Jeju Island.

After our little practice we had to go up into the church hall for a short service.

In Malaysia its pretty hard to convince churchgoers to attend service in the middle of the week. In South Korea, they attend it by the bucket loads ! Of course, most of the attendees are working adults and senior citizens. The teenagers and children are usually busy attending tuition classes.

 Church choir.

As the main group were chinese educated, I had to train my ears to understand what they were talking about. Of course, I had absolutely no idea what the pastor was saying in Korean.

 Presentation time.

The pastor from Sibu presented his Korean counterpart with a Iban head gear.

 My dad was asked to share a little in English...

 ... and so was the pastor's wife.

 We had a unique one night homestay experience at the apartment of a Mr Yang.

 Look at all the goodies on the table ! We had Korean donuts, fresh fruits, and pumpkin juice. Compared to our local satay and char kuey tiaw we have for dinner, even their supper is very healthy.

Mr Yang's daughter knew sufficient English to have a  meaningful conversation within both families. It was an honor to get to know them during this short period of time.

 Mr and Mrs Yong are florists, hence the abundance of potted plants in their apartment. This is a 'happy tree', and they're very proud of it.

Mom looks very healthy with  her new handbag.

One family portrait for the road. Mr Yang presented my dad a book while my mom got a handmade ladies bag. At the row behind is Mr Yang's son and daughter-in-law.

Mr and Mrs Yang were kind enough to let my parents sleep on their bed while my brother and I were sleeping in their study room. The floors were adequately heated and I'm pleased to say we had a good night's rest.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

First post for 2013

Dear followers,

This is officially my first post for 2013. I could begin with how slow the year began, the subdued Chinese New Year celebrations, or the fact that I just returned from a evangelical trip to South Korea. I was thinking in my head how all the pictures I captured during the trip would be written into several concise posts.

But alas, this is not to be. On Monday, an opportunistic fellow broke into our rented house and carted out all  my precious Olympus glass and E3 camera body I've accumulated over the years. I bear not to list them all - you can see them on my previous posts on Olympus gear.

I've heard of break ins before involving camera equipment. A regular customer lost all his Nikons when he was away on vacation. But he was affluent enough to get them replaced. Its a real pity that I did not get to say goodbye to them. The remaining equipment is with my youngest brother. I pray that he will be able to put to good use whatever that is left.

Its been a sweet journey, that has been brought to an abrupt end. An end that I, and many other photography enthusiasts loath. 

Goodbye Olympus - If I do not find you again, I hope that your new owner takes care of you nicely and not throw you up and about.




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