The guys walked in first and bowed to my Korean father.
The audience...mostly extended Korean family.
Afterwards, we take more pictures. This is my extended Korean family.
Next, we bow to our elders and serve them something to drink.
We wore three outfits today. We wore a hanbok, which is a traditional dress that's often worn by Koreans at things like weddings or holidays. Today, we all matched and the four of us wore a hot pink and bright blue hanbok. Pink is a good color in Korea, and it's a good color for men. Of course, that is a little different in Western culture, right? That's why Glenn and Jim were a little embarrassed to wear the pink outfit, but they did look handsome. I promised Glenn I wouldn't post a picture of video of him in the suit. So, sorry!
We took a lot of pictures with the company, but I'll have to post them when we receive them. We were running behind so I didn't have time to take personal pictures at the ceremony.
The ceremony is also a little difficult. First of all, the attire is uncomfortable. For the ceremony, I wore a heavy dress and a very large wig that looked something reminiscent of Star Wars. Pad Mei, anyone? Hyun Jeong's wig weighed 15 pounds. I can't begin to tell you how much strain that puts on your neck. At first, I felt like I was going to get sick. It reminded me of that feeling you get when you're at an amusement park and have been on too many rides. Your neck gets heavy and you think you're going to throw up. At first, that's how I felt. As the bride, you also have to keep your hands and arms up underneath your face. After 20 minutes, it can get uncomfortable. There is also deep bowing involved. Anyway, not to sound like a wimp, I'm just saying, it's a little more physical than your average Western wedding.
After that, we changed again. I don't have any pictures, but we changed into another traditional dress to pay respect to our elders in a paebeck (pay-beck) ceremony. We bowed to our elders and gave them drinks. In return, they gave us good wishes and gifts. I was really touched by what our birth father said. He spoke in English and said that no matter where we are, we could depend on each other. I found out later that Glenn helped him write it. I was really moved. Also, there was a fertility ceremony, of sorts. Traditionally, the parents throw chestnuts at the couple, and the couple tries to catch them. How many you catch tells you how many children you will have. Uh, Jim and I caught 8! Glenn and Hyun Jeong weren't really ready, and I'm not sure they caught any! But, I think they pretended to catch two or three! ha!
In the end, it was a pretty amazing day. It was really great to see Glenn and Hyun Jeong get married. Even though we were a part of the ceremony and got married in front of my Korean family, we were mostly happy about seeing my sister marry Glenn. After all, it is their first wedding (they'll probably have another ceremony in the U.S. one day.) They definitely deserved to enjoy today, and we were just honored they wanted us to be involved with their special occasion!
I've got more videos from today on Facebook. Pictures will come as soon as my adaptor and I find each other again.
(It's 6:15 a.m. Wednesday, Korea time)
Tuesday was another long day, and I think my jet lag really hit me hard. Jim has been better because he's actually been able to sleep.
We did two big things:
1. Go to the Joint Security Area (where North and South Korea meet), also known as the DMZ or Demilitarized Zone.
2. Go to Chongdong Theater for an evening performance of traditional dancing and singing.
Our bus had a lot of Japanese tourists and some English speaking tourists. However, Jim and I were the only ones from the U.S. The tour was split up into two parts-- the one before lunch was a quick look at the Third Tunnel (where North Koreans dug a tunnel to infiltrate and attack South Korea), a Korean War museum, and the Dorasan Station. The Dorasan Station is the train station that connects North and South Korea. It hasn't taken a trip yet because the North has not sent a train. So, there's a brand new train station with no passengers. Kind of creepy when you think of it.
Anyway, then we had lunch. That's when our tour split up. Some people chose not to attend the Joint Security Area. Others could not go because of security reasons. I don't think individual Koreans can go to the JSA because of security issues.
The JSA is incredibly armed... it is intense. There's a lot of passport checking, warnings, oh, and you have to sign a waiver that basically says, "This is a hostile area. We cannot guarantee your protection, and you could get hurt or killed." Sure, why not sign it?! What?
We walk into a room and get briefed on how the DMZ began, how North Korea attacked the South on different occasions, and what we can't do when we get to the border (demarcation line.) NO POINTING, NO SMILING AT NORTH KOREANS, NO GESTURES, etc.
We walk out into the open, and low and behold, there are several armed South Korean guards standing at attention, all facing the North. There is a North Korean soldier, staring back at us with his binoculars. We all walk into a room, where important, joint meetings are held. That is the only time we are allowed to cross over into North Korea, since the room is split it half!
It's called the Demilitarized Zone, but as our guide said, it is actually one of the most heavily armed areas in the world. When I asked Jim later what he thought about it, he said it was a lot more serious than he thought it would be. He didn't realize it was going to be so serious, but he really liked it.
It is rather creepy and scary to realize that you're staring at a North Korean soldier, and according to the U.S. and ROK (Republic of Korea) soldiers, they might just attack you if you do something stupid. We couldn't bring purses because the North Koreans might think we have guns or weapons inside. Military personnel evaluate our clothing to make sure it is appropriate since the North watch us. It's crazy!
North Koreans also built a propaganda village on the border to make it appear that they were a really rich country. No one lives there. When they dug tunnels into the South, they lied and said the Japanese dug them. They also said they were digging coal mines (and even painted the tunnels black.) The area doesn't have coal... just granite.
There's so much I want to write about the DMZ, but it's already jumbled in my head. Bottom line: It's not for the kids. It's scary, but it's incredibly cool to think you could be at the edge of one of the most isolated (and arguably, weird) countries in the world. And it's heartbreaking to think that the two countries were separated by war and bloodshed. Reunification is the ultimate goal.
Oh, and I dropped my camera at the Dorasan Station, so the JSA pictures are on a disposal cam. Great.
Next, we went to the Chongdong Theater to see the musical, MISO. This is a famous theater in Seoul, known for traditional dancing. I can't believe the seats Mr. Chae got us. They were front row, center! I've never had seats like that. Amazing.
I couldn't take any video of the show, but this is from the show and Jim's favorite part:
The dancers are incredible. The drummers are flawless. The show was endlessly entertaining. This is the kind of show that makes me wish I knew more about Korean culture. Or, I guess, a part of Korean culture somehow. It's so beautiful. The way the girls dance with their eyes... they way they intricately move their feet under their hanboks... it's such a beautiful and difficult way to dance, but the women look like they're floating! Jim said he was go glad we went, so that makes me happy. I was worried he wouldn't want to see a show, but he said he really enjoyed it.
Wednesday we head off to Gyeongu, the Capital of the Ancient Shilla Dynasty. This is about 3 or 4 hours south of Seoul and is a beautiful city. More to come later.
*You can see more pictures and video on my Facebook page.
The ranch was awesome. Jim and I had a rustic cabin... though it had all the amenities anyone would want. We had two bedrooms, a DVD player, a full kitchen, screened-in porch, grill, etc.
I brought some movies with me so we could just hang out and drink a little wine. I actually could not drink because I had some sort of flu-bug and felt sick... but I was not going to let that spoil our fun!
Anyway, the next morning, we met with our handsome horse trainer, named Ryan. I only add that "handsome" detail in there, because in my mind, I was thinking of the other women who might want to take retreats there (which the ranch provides.) They'd probably get a kick out of it.
That's neither here nor there... anyway, Ryan showed us how to communicate with our horse. We practiced for a bit in an arena, and then the three of us took off down a trail! It was so much fun and a little more rugged than I expected. It wasn't scary at all, but we did go through a few little streams and down some semi-steep hills. It made us feel like we were really riding. It was so relaxing and fun.
I would definitely go back there again. The place was great... not only does the ranch hold company retreats, it also hosts family reunions, women's retreats, and horse training clinics. Advanced riders can even learn more about cattle drives. If you go on a women's retreat, massage therapists and guest speakers will even come out!
Arvell and Karry Bass are the owners. Arvell was out of town during our stay, but Karry was there...and she was awesome. She's someone I'd like to hang out with! She says that she often books other things for people to do, too. Let's say, you want to go fishing, she'll arrange a guided fishing tour of the White River... I should also mention, I think people go hunting and fishing on the ranch's property, too.
Anyway, I give Stone Creek Ranch a thumbs up. Great experience!
This is my personal blog! I like to write about my family, friends, and passions. No hidden agendas, though I'm a crazy advocate for adoption. I'm here to make friends and peace, and I hope you do the same when you leave a comment!