Yul’s first time in the countryside for Lunar New Year!
We headed back to the countryside for Lunar New Year recently. It was the time Yul had been down south to the area where Hugh’s parents live, and where we had previously lived for 2 years. Usually we would catch the bus but decided to take the fast KTX train instead as it’s more comfortable for traveling with a baby.
I also hadn’t been back in the countryside for a while as I hadn’t been able to travel when pregnant. It was great to get out of Seoul and breathe the countryside air again. It was also a lot warmer than in Seoul. Hugh’s parents had seen Yul once before but this time they got to spend a whole week with him. They were over the moon and so incredibly proud to be grandparents. Hugh’s sister and her husband live in the area as well so we got to spend some time with them too.
As you can see in the video, Yul was given lots of money! It is a tradition for children to do a big bow for relatives and are then given some money. We will probably use it to buy some things for him. We also did the Jesa ceremony in the morning which is a way to pay respects to deceased family members. And of course we ate lots of food. In future we will have a car and be able to drive down south more regularly hopefully.
We were sent some suitcases from SHAPL, which could not have come at a better time! I was dreading pulling out our old battered suitcases and had been meaning to buy some more anyway. These new ones were so smooth and nice to use and made traveling so much easier. You can check out more designs on the SHAPL website and also get these suitcases through the Kickstarter.
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When Josh, Ollie and Joel needed a farm to film on, we were only too happy to volunteer. It also gave us the chance to head back to the countryside for a weekend.
The Korean Englishman channel is HUGE in Korea. It was school holidays when they visited, but I’ve been giggled to myself seeing some comments from local high school students who now realise that Josh and Ollie and Joel were right near their school but they didn’t know!
I filmed a snapshot of my day video on Chuseok. We traveled back to the countryside for it. There was the ancestral rites memorial for deceased family members in the morning, then lots of food, relaxing and visits from family. I put on my hanbok to do a big bow to Hugh’s parents and we took the opportunity to take some photos in a field of flowers near the village.
This was a very spur of the moment video. We were showing a friend around the village and started talking about ghosts so I filmed a bit with my phone. We covered only a few ghost stories in this area as there are many more. There are many falling down, creepy houses too. Although I make a webtoon that has ghosts and supernatural beings, I’m actually quite a skeptical person and take these stories with a grain of salt. (But I mean… Of course all the characters in the Nicholalala webtoon are real!!! haha).
I’m sure many people know who Josh and Ollie are, from the Korean Englishman YouTube channel, and if you don’t, I’m sure you’ve stumbled across one of their insanely popular videos at some point. Hugh’s good friend Joel is also in some of their videos and contacted Hugh because they wanted to film on a farm. Oh, we have a farm! So we headed back to the countryside so the boys could film in Hugh’s village. We will have a video of some of the behind the scenes stuff up later, once their farm videos come out. But for now, here is a sneak peek.
We complain more about the heat also. I wanted to point out that it’s almost impossible to keep air con on constantly in Korea. Hugh was telling me that there is an outdated law from the 1970’s where electricity bills double and then triple for people, but businesses are exempt. So Korean homes can be very hot in the summer because people try to rely on fans rather than constant air con. It has been way more uncomfortable than in Australia.
In this video we also talked about the yellow dust pollution and how it affects Hugh more. I do have a theory why: Hugh’s father used to be a smoker so Hugh grew up around a lot more cigarette smoke than me so maybe that’s why, because his throat and lungs have already been compromised, even though Hugh is not a smoker himself. In comparison, I have had very little exposure to smoke my whole life.
We also attend Cory and Marie’s wedding. It was a lovely wedding, and even in the heat, we had so much fun.
About 2 weeks ago we traveled to the area where Hugh’s mother is from and where Hugh spend a large amount of his childhood. It has been many years since they had been back. We visited his grandparents’ burial mounds and paid respects, we also saw many elderly relatives and found the house that Hugh lived in as a small boy.
When Hugh was only about 1 year old, his father became very ill and he had to go live with his grandparents as his mother spent all her time looking after his father. It’s not unusual for children to live with grandparents in Korea, either back then or today. You still see grandparents doing a lot of the child minding in Korea and sometimes children live with their grandparents for years like Hugh did. It was very strange for him to see that area again. He was close to his grandparents and grew up thinking they were his real parents, so the transition of moving back with his parents was difficult for him. His grandfather passed away when he was quite young and his grandmother passed away while he was doing his military service.
Korea has had such rapid development in the past few decades, so it’s interesting to think about what Hugh’s childhood was like in the 1980’s and how it differed from mine in Australia.
New video up on the Nicholalala YouTube channel. I show you what’s been happening in the countryside, answer some questions and talk about what I will miss (and won’t miss) in the Korean countryside.