Last Saturday night my family arrived in Korea to visit me for a week. My friend Sung Yoon and I picked up my mother, father, and sister at the Gimhae Airport at approximately 8:00PM and headed straight to Haeundae Beach afterwards to check-in at a hotel. Not surprisingly, everyone called it early and headed to bed around 11:00PM. On Sunday we pretty much just walked around Busan for the day and got ready for our flight to Jeju Island scheduled for 5:00PM on Sunday evening.
We got to Jeju Island around 6:30PM and took off for a bed and breakfast that I booked last week with a Korean friend of mine (check out the website to this amazing place, here: http://healinggarden.co.kr/en/faqs.php). The name of the place we stayed at is "Healing Garden." The woman that runs this B&B is one of the warmest souls that I have ever encountered. On top of the pleasant hospitality, we were treated to a gourmet Korean breakfast two mornings in a row....a fantastic way to start the day. As another added bonus, the woman who owns the place treated us to a green tea session before we left. All of the food that we ate is grown on her property; this place has a laundry list of other sustainable features incorporated into the landscaping and architecture. See some more photos below:
During our time on Jeju Island, we visited a few of the numerous tourist sites. Jeju Island is actually pretty big and there's no way to experience it all without staying for at least a week. With that in mind, my family and I were able to see a lot of places, including (but not limited to): The Cheonjiyeon Waterfalls, Jungmun Daepo Haean Jusangjeollidae, O'Sulloc Green Tea Plantation, and Korea's tallest peak, Hala Mountain. I'll hopefully be making another trip back to Jeju Island this summer to experience this place again.
Jeju was a blast. I cannot really say enough good things about the island. I had more than Korea's most precious natural gem to show my family though. After we were done playing around on Jeju, I brought my family back to my part of Korea to introduce them to some friends and basically just show them my way of life here. I was shocked as to how much they enjoyed everything (minus some of the food - mother & sister don't do exotic grub well). I brought my family out to dinner with some of my students, my sister actually sat in on a couple classes, and we even made some time for shopping at one of Korea's mega retail outlet malls in Gimhae. To top it all off, the cherry blossoms just popped up a few days before my parent's got here so my family got to see Korea at an especially beautiful time of year. Overall, I'm very satisfied with the the trip. I did my best to show my family as much as I could in a week and I think we got a lot done. I was a little sad to see off my mother, father, and sister at the airport this morning but such is life (I should also note that I missed my little brother on trip - would have been nice to see you, AJ). I've begun a journey for myself that's not even close to over so I guess I have to deal with the feeling of missing family and friends back home occasionally. Seeing my family for the first time in six months, however helped me further realize what's important in life. I am just glad that I have been able to connect with people in Korea in the same way that I did in the USA. If my family's visit did anything for me, it helped me come to an even greater understanding of humanity and get closer to and answer of the question, "Why are we all here, anyway?" Life is beautiful and we are all one...