Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Mansour Family Visit Part 1

Hello everyone!

We feel so guilty that we haven’t been posting as much as usual. We want to document so much more of our time here in Korea, but sometimes life is just so crazy! :)

We’ve had a exciting past few weeks here! Tyler’s mom and brother came all the way to Korea to visit us! This was wonderful for us as we have been missing our families very much lately!

They arrived in Incheon Saturday evening November 22nd. We tracked their flight the whole way and gained excitement by the hour! Once they landed, we were able to communicate through wifi using Kakoa talk and they texted us again when the were going through customs. But, that was the last we heard of them for a long time. They had proceeded to figure out (by themselves!) how to catch an express bus to Gwangju bus terminal. This is about a 4-4.5 hour bus ride from the airport, however, Tyler and I didn’t know that...we thought it was 3.5 max! So we were in Gwangju pretty early ready to welcome them. We took some time to shop at E-mart for some essentials and then around 8:30 we got some ice cream and sat down at the arrivals gate at the bus terminal! At that point, we thought we had about an hour till they arrived, so we sat and watched many busses arrive and people come through the doors. We were getting really excited at about 9:30, thinking they were going to step through the door anytime now. With no communication since about 6pm, we assumed they had got on a bus and didn’t have wifi anymore, but that they should be there anytime! So we waited...and waited... but after 9:30 came and went, we started to get worried! What if they couldn’t find the bus? What if they got held up in customs? How are we ever going to find them?! Well an hour later, a bus pulled into the station with the words Incheon Airport-->Gwangju on it and we saw them hop off the bus! We were so relieved and so happy to see them!
Tracking their flight!

Got ice cream while we waited!

We got their bags and headed up to Burger King to have some food before going back to Hwasun. Tyler and I had just ate there that evening, so the workers probably thought it was funny that we were back again! They enjoyed their food and we heard all about their flight! They both were in first class, just like we were coming to Korea, so it was fun to compare experiences! We then went out to the street to find a taxi. We found one easily, but we weren’t so sure it was going to work with all 4 of us and luggage! The luggage barely fit in the trunk (the trunk was wide open the whole time!) and we even had a suitcase sitting on our laps in the back! Not to mention our shopping bags from E-mart and their carry-ons! It was a very cramped taxi ride but, this is Korea!! We were worried the whole time that the luggage might just fly out the back, especially on the highway! But thankfully, it was all safe!

We found them! :)

When we arrived in Hwasun, we gave them the grand tour of our apartment and they unloaded about a whole suitcase of goodies for us! We were given bags of chocolate chips, some cookie dough mix, christmas candy, marshmallows, my new Taylor Swift C.D, shoes, clothes, ranch and italian salad dressing and lots more! It was like Christmas in November! We then lead them to our spare apartment a few blocks away. So we helped them lug their luggage down the streets of Hwasun and showed them their new home for the next week! It was about 12:30am by that time and we all were exhausted, so it was time for bed!
Look at all those wonderful things! So happy! 
The next morning they came over and we ate rice pancakes, bacon, and eggs! We also got to start watching some of our wedding video together (which they brought to us as well!). After breakfast it was time to head downtown Gwangju! We chose to go downtown that day since they needed to learn how to get around by themselves and it’s a fun place to go, of course!

Had to take them to our favorite Churro place..."BIG Churro"

Snacks anyone? 

Downtown Gwagju! 
As we walked around downtown they got to experience the busy crowded city of Gwangju! We saw the fun food carts selling everything from bowls of corn to dried octopus tentacles! We looked around the many fun little shops here and even convinced Tim to buy a selfie stick (which like we’ve said before, we think they are silly but so very helpful, therefore, no shame!).
For lunch we tried some “express” Korean food which included a pork cutlet stuffed with cheese, a fried fish fillet, and some mandu! We wouldn’t call this traditional Korean food, but it was good!

Korean food experience #1! 
Later day we took a walk around Hwasun up to the reservoir! It was beautiful up there with the leaves all different colors. We got some pretty photos! That night we enjoyed pizza from our favorite pizza place and enjoyed watching an episode of The Amazing Race together! It felt like we were at home all together again doing the things we always used to do! Very fun! <3

Our cute little city! 

The reservoir! 

Unfortunately, the next day we had to go back to work! But Tim and Donna had fun exploring on their own! They were very adventurous and didn’t waste time getting out there and doing things! They explored Unjusa Temple, a unique temple in the county of Hwasun. What they didn’t know is that it was going to rain that day, and they got soaked by the sudden rainstorm that occurred! So, they bought an extra umbrella after that experience! After their morning of exploring they bravely got on the bus we had showed them the day before and headed out to Tyler’s school in Iyang (I-young). I remember how nerve wracking it was the first day taking Tyler to his school, not really knowing where we were going or where to get off, so I give major props to them for doing it! At Tyler’s school they met the middle school staff, and had tea with them, met the high school staff, and drank tea with them, and then finally met the principal of the school, and enjoyed some more tea with him as well! Haha! They got to tour the school with Ty before they all got separated into different teachers cars and transported to our next stop, dinner! One of Tyler’s co-teachers came to get me at my school and then we drove to the restaurant. Tyler’s English co-teachers wanted to treat us all to dinner, which was very kind of them, so we were treated to a wonderful meal!  Dinner was a very beautiful and extensive combination of dishes! It was very traditional food with a modern twist. We really didn’t know much of what we were eating, but we each found some things we enjoyed! The food just kept coming! After one session was done, the waitresses would clear the table and re-set it again with more! There were definitely a few dishes we weren’t so keen on, like whole cooked fish (with eyes!), but I even got Tim to try a bite! ;) After dinner we went to the upstairs room where there were pretty couches and tables and we enjoyed some more* tea together. It was a nice time to chat with them and we thanked them again for their generosity!


This is his "your making me do eat this" face. ;) 

The next day Tim and Donna had planned to come to my travel school with me! They were just supposed to come for a few hours and be back in Hwasun for lunch! This little adventure turned out to be a much longer time commitment than expected...here’s the story! We left for the bus at 7:05 and got to school at 8:05! We had a long time to prep as my first class doesn’t start until 9am. So they helped me cut out some activities and I taught them the games we were playing for the day. Around 9:45 we went downstairs to “Take a bow,” which is my normal daily routine here. We went to the teachers room, bowed and said good morning and then went to the principal’s office. He wasn’t there at the time, but we were told to sit down anyways and wait (because that’s not awkward). Lol. But a few minutes later he came in all happy and slightly surprised to see us sitting there. The principal at this school is so nice and can speak a little english! He was so excited that they came to the school with me and wanted to visit more so we were all brought tea from the secretary and had a little conversation with him. At this point, we only had 10 min until class begin but we continued to talk. Then, 5 min until class begin, my co-teacher, Hye-Ji,  came in to take a bow, and she saw us sitting there! So she sat down as well and we continued talking. This would probably never happen in the US, as teachers would need to be in the classroom preparing for the students, but, this is Korea! At the end, the principal asked to take Tim and Donna on a tour of the school (by themselves!) so they came up to see the first 10 minutes of my 3rd grade class and then were pulled out to go on the tour! They got to meet all 40 of the students the the school (including kindergarten!) and walked all around! They were also informed that the computer room was being remodeled to be the English room (since I teach in the library!). They knew before I did! Haha! They came back just in time for 4th grade and were able to stay the whole time for that class! They did a great job playing the game with the students (there are only four 4th graders, so we each had 1 as our partner!) and my students had fun with them there! After class it was time to see them off to the bus stop. Though I wasn’t sure when the bus would come, I was pretty confident that I’ve seen/heard my bus pass through the town a few times a day, so I figured maybe a half out max and it would be there. They walked down the street and there they stood for THREE HOURS! I had taught 2 periods of 6th grade and ate lunch in the time they had been standing there! My co-teacher and I had no idea they were there for that long! We were just chatting in the staff room when a teacher told my co-teacher (in Korean) that she saw them at the bus stop. We both were confused and asked “You mean you saw them this morning?” and they said no, right now! Hye-ji (my co-teacher) and I about had a panic attack and ran down the street to discover them still standing there! We couldn’t believe it! I felt so terrible! They hadn’t ate any lunch and had been standing out in the cold for so long! We brought them back inside and the teachers there quickly cut up a persimmon for them and gave them some sweet snacks to eat along with some tea (since lunch was over and there was no more food to serve). We finally found out that the bus wouldn’t come again until after 2pm! So in the meantime, they came up to my class again and watched/helped out with 5th grade until they needed to leave again. It was quite the adventure for them and I definitely know it wasn’t the most fun, but their positive attitudes and ability to find humor in the situation was amazing! I’m happy to say that they finally did catch the bus and go home safely!

The next few days we spent the evenings preparing for Thanksgiving! Donna and I made homemade pumpkin pie together and Tyler and Tim picked up the last few items for our dinner!
Didn't have a pastry cutter, so we used a fork! We REALLY made this homemade!

The Pie Makers! 

We even took them out to traditional Korean BBQ! 

And our favorite pasta place of course! 


On Thursday, Tim and Donna went to downtown Gwangju again to go to the First Alleyway Restaurant to pick up our Turkey dinner! This restaurant is a foreigner restaurant downtown that serves the most authentic western food in the area! They had an amazing thanksgiving special that allowed us to purchase a turkey and they would stuff and cook it for us! They even carved the turkey, made us gravy, and packed everything up for us in a very nice way for us to take home! Unfortunately, it all came a giant cooler that Tim had to carry through downtown Gwangju and onto the bus! Thank you Tim! :D When we all got home from work/Gwangju the fun began! Tyler peeled and cooked the potatoes, Donna and I made green bean casserole, we all helped decorate and set the table. Brad and Maranda even joined us and brought a delicious salad, stuffing, fruit, and punch! We had a wonderful time eating a traditional thanksgiving dinner together and sharing lots of stories! We are so thankful for such great friends and family and the ability to celebrate our holiday even in another country! Everything turned out wonderfully, even our homemade pumpkin pies! :)
We borrowed Brad and Maranda's table to make sure we all fit! Dinner was in the living room/bedroom! 

Pretty fall flowers Tim and Donna picked up on their hike! 

Thanksgiving in Korea! 

Yay for delicious food!

Everyone! :)

Our homemade pies! One pie was made with homemade pumpkin puree and the other with canned/pre-spiced puree. 

So good! :)

The next day, Friday began the last part of their trip, which was a visit to Seoul! Tyler is working on writing that so stay tuned for part 2! :)

In the meantime, if you haven't seen our latest YouTube videos, check them out! :)

Jeju Island Vacation 2014

Our Apartment Tour video!

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