Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas in Gurye!

Sunday's in Gurye. Think about a sleep 1950's farming town in rural Iowa. Except minus the church obsession. People stay in. Businesses are closed. The stoplight operates on reduced hours.

Sunday's in Gurye are beyond boring. The first couple were really tough for me, but I'm starting to get the hang of it. I sleep in, go running, sit through 90 minutes of church where I practice Korean and write to-do lists. Honestly, I only go to church just for a change of scenery. My family either goes to church with their friends or go hiking. Whatever suits their mood. But that's all done by 12:30. Then, from 12:30 until bed time, they watch TV. I can only handle so much Korean TV before I start feeling a bit loopy. So, here I am. Counting down the hours until I can go to bed. I decided to get up and stretch my legs and noticed, to my utter excitement, that the church I go to, which is right outside my apartment, had Christmas lights up!

Christmas lights on the church roof
(Picture taken from balcony)

Sorry for the poor-quality. I figure this way you can see my room, too (reflection). So, yeah. That brightened my quiet Sunday. I'll definitely document any other Christmas decorations.

Now, some pictures from Seoul last weekend. Enjoy!

Road outside the Korean "White House" (called the Blue House)

Friends and me after a visit to Forever 21
The guy pictured...his parents are presidents of F21-Asia. He was also our orientation counselor. Now we're great friends. Especially because he gives us a 10% discount. :)

Opposite of the previous picture. Looking down into the throngs of people in Seoul's main shopping district.

I guess I should probably divulge more on my home stay situation. I don't really know much other than my family is moving on December 27th (Monday after Christmas). I start my internship on the 27th, so that works, I guess. They don't want to tell my brothers until after the older one's birthday (December 14), so it's been kind of hard to just pretend that things are fine.

Fulbright is not involved in the home stay stuff; that's left to the school. So my co-teacher, principal, vice principal and financial officer are upturning Gurye in search of another family. That seems easier said than done. My town is so poor that there are very few families that have the room to spare for me. Especially on such short notice. My Fulbright contract requires them to provide me with my own room, bed and dresser. Luxuries. So, as of now, I have no idea where I'm going to be. I pray pray pray that they'll find something. There's a lot more messy drama behind that, but that's the short of it all. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Nothing I can do by worrying about it.

So Tuesday night I begin my adventure to China with another Fulbright, Rachael. We're going to spend four days in Beijing (Wednesday morning-Sunday morning). I'm so excited! So, yeah. This will probably be the last post for a while. Also, my phone will not work in China, so you won't be able to call.

Believe me, it's so liberating to be out of reach.

I'm secretly hoping that I can find Oreos and M&Ms in China. Or, dare I even think to dream, granola bars. Fingers crossed!

Thanks for reading, and happy Sunday.


  1. Fun update. Just remember you may be feeling liberated when out of communication, but it's a nightmare for your Mom. :0) Enjoy your trip.

  2. 안녕 에이미~

    오랫만이예요.. ~ 그동안 잘 지냈어요?

    I could not follow your postings for long time.. I got jammed with a lot of stuffs at work and lost time track.. Hopefully, things will slow down a bit.

    I am glad to see that you are doing so well.. Even, you will take a trip to China! Great. I wish you have a safe and fun trip during the holidays..

    Merry Christmas & Happy holidays!

    새해 복 많이 받아요~


  3. Amy, We will miss hearing from you. Have a good and safe trip to and from China. Grandpa and I will continue to pray that you find good housing for the rest of your stay. Your Dad said something about being able to stay in a dorm room? We love you- G & G

  4. Have a good trip! Hopefully by the time you get back, there's some progress in the host family search. Enjoy China and tell us all about it when you get back.

  5. Amy, I have it on a very good reference (Salena was in Beijing last year) that Papa Johns, TGIF and McDonalds all hat "real" american food. You can eat all the cheese pizza you want. She also said to check out the Walmart in Beijing, and you will probably be able to find all the snacks you are craving. Walk with linked arms, you and Rachael, so you do not get seperated, and have a great time.

    Love you,

    AS & UJ

  6. Amy, I'm SO hoping your living arrangements get resolved quickly and to the best possible outcome. Next week are finals at Drake which makes today Dead Day. Pisarski