Blog-abration #4: Yeoju, South Korea: A Photo Tour of Our Korean Hometown

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Asia » South Korea » Gyeonggi-do
October 4th 2009
Published: October 5th 2009EDIT THIS ENTRY

Home Sweet YeojuHome Sweet YeojuHome Sweet Yeoju

This picture, not this one but one exactly like it, was the first ever visual evidence I had of town. I got it about a month before leaving for Korea on Google earth. Little did I know it was from the Yeongwaloo pavillion overlooking town. Sure gonna miss this little place!
Before coming to Korea, we couldn’t find any information on the designated town we were to call home for the next year. Literally, the only two solid bits of information, if you can call them that, in which we knew for sure was that Yeoju is the home for some kind of world ceramic festival and there is a premium outlet shopping mall in town. You could say we were going in pretty blind, but in the end, it was an absolute blessing.

Before I get into Yeoju a little, we’re currently enroute to Japan, the final leg of our Asian experience. Those blogs are coming right up, sorry I’m a little behind on the writing- been a little busy. We officially have left Korea, Yeoju, our jobs, and friends which was all quite sad. As most of you have gotten from the gist of these blogs we’ve really cherished this incredible opportunity (most of the time) is. It has been difficult at times, but we’ve learned an astronomical amount about the world, different Asian cultures, and have met some fantastic people along the way.

I don’t know if I will ever be able to accurately describe what this
Overpass ArtworkOverpass ArtworkOverpass Artwork

The new artwork on one of the bridges in town. They finished a bunch of artwork for the ceramic festival that really touched up the walk to EMart!
year has provided, but maybe I’m just not supposed to. Ask any traveler why they travel and it certainly won’t sound as worthy as it is in actuality. Words so often thrown around, and accurately so, are things like, “perspective, growth, self realization, knowledge.” Even those don’t do the justice a year abroad living or working or traveling really offers; they still lack in some way I can’t quite put my finger on. What I really do know is this, the man writing this blog one year ago, is much different than the one writing now, and it is because of these things and so much more.

I wrote in the last paragraph of my article on Bootsnall, “is the personal growth that happens as a result of the humbling, the first hand experience, the uncomfortable job and life, when you start to realize living and working in a different country may have just been the best decision of your life.”

So… we are excited to get back to the comforts of home, to see Denali and everyone we’ve missed this past year, but it is hard to say goodbye to such great friends when you don’t know
Sejong RiceSejong RiceSejong Rice

Yeoju's famous crop, along with peanuts and sweet potatoes, that is known around the country.
when you’ll see each other again. I suppose that is the journey of life and the growing process, but that doesn’t make it any easier. The comforting thought is that we all know that we will make an effort to stay in everyone’s life, in one way or another.

But I’m getting off track…

Yeoju, about 40 miles east-southeast of Seoul is an area of about 100,000 people. We soon found out that was the county of Yeoju (or Yeoju-goon), and not the city (known in korean as Yeoju-eup), which was smaller at about 50-70,000 people. It is ‘very country’ by Korean standards, but having everything you could ask for and only an hour bus ride from the city, it suited us wonderfully. You can run into the city for shopping, a night out, Superstar K, or a Jason Mraz show and be back in no time. One of the best things that happened to us was probably having our recruiter from Reach To Teach saying, “I realize you’re both from Montana, so I thought you’d like a placement a little outside of Seoul.” You couldn’t have been more right, Mitch.

We’ve really enjoyed it, and it has a
King SejongKing SejongKing Sejong

Overlooking his city. He is the king that invented the Hangeul language (written korean) and is the only modern language with a documented date of invention. The reason was to differentiate the Korean language from Chinese and for easier communication between Koreans. He is currently buried in town.
lot of little treasures in and around it. I’ve learned this little blog has cropped up on some of the teachers/families Google searches for Yeoju. That’s pretty cool. Cass and I are most definitely going to continue posting to this blog (despite the “joncasssouthkorea” name), and keep sharing our adventures from wherever we are (as long as people keep reading it, I suppose) and I just want everyone and anyone out there to know I’m more than willing to field any questions now or in the future about it, Korea, or the general ESL experience (or really anything for that matter). Feel free to shoot me a message or comment- no worries.

But, since this is a “Photo Tour of Yeoju” I won’t right any more. I will rather share this cool little place we called home with you in the captions of these photos we’ve taken throughout the year.

From Gucci to Coca Cola and the ancient King Sejong, from farming famous rice to the world's greatest ceramic coffee mugs, please let me introduce to you…

Blog-abration #4- Yeoju, South Korea, A Photo Tour

p.s. don't forget there are 3
Garbage ManGarbage ManGarbage Man

If you read the back sign it says Sejong. This is the garbage men's truck, sort of. So much of the work here is done by hand, this is a hand cart packed with trash the worker walks around town with all day, so tough.
pages of Yeoju pictures and some stories about them to check out.

p.p.s. - Here's a ploy at getting you to subscribe the the blog. It's the easiest way to know if I change it up ever, since I will continue this into the future. Just go to the front page of the blog, there is a blue square button that says 'subscribe' (under all the links I put up and the green trip links)- click it and give your email. Then, everytime I post a new blog entry, you'll get an email! Easy, painless... and I think it's probably the best way to keep in touch out there! Thanks so much!

Oh, and p.p.p.s. (is that right?), Yeoju rhymes with Soju… coincidence???

Additional photos below
Photos: 49, Displayed: 26


Restaurant StreetRestaurant Street
Restaurant Street

Downtown Yeoju seemed to have this one street with an abnormally large percentage of restaurants, marked with this little green archway. About a black down was the scene of our late night romp after the fourth of July- picture soju infused hot greasy grilled bacon and Lance... good times
Bus Stop, Yeoju StyleBus Stop, Yeoju Style
Bus Stop, Yeoju Style

We spent quite a bit of time under these. The public transportation here is amazing, and pair that up with our bikes... and all of Korea is ours.
Yeoju-eup RiceYeoju-eup Rice
Yeoju-eup Rice

This is not far from our apartment, in a rice terrace one the main road of town. "Yeoju is very country."
Overpass ArtworkOverpass Artwork
Overpass Artwork

Hyway 42, Yeoju-eup, Yeoju-goon, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
Streetside PeppersStreetside Peppers
Streetside Peppers

The before product of that famous red pepper paste... yummy

It's currently harvest season, Korean Thanksgiving called Chusok, so this guy is getting things ready.
Street fruitStreet fruit
Street fruit

We were dumbfounded by the seasonality of the food in Korea. There were definitely strawberry, peach, watermelon, grape seasons and this different yellowish fruit that was good. So many of the street vendors just bag it up and let it sit on the street or the back of trucks until its sold. The fruit is so so good here, so so good.

The downtown sidewalk, locals strolling, relaxing beauty of rural Korea
Nam Han River through townNam Han River through town
Nam Han River through town

The floating fish restaurants on the river. Just outside of the picture is where we celebrated the 4th on the beach.
Park FountainPark Fountain
Park Fountain

The city park in downtown Yeoju had this cool fountain, the most dangerous playground I've ever seen, and numerous badminton courts.

King Sejong style
The Infamous One TimeThe Infamous One Time
The Infamous One Time

Just a convienience store, keep in mind. This is the place, once the weather got nice enough to drink outside, all the weigookins (foreigners) would meet to put down some soju around the cheap plastic tables they set up outside. Lots of memories and debauchery here...
Korean SunsetKorean Sunset
Korean Sunset

During one of our BBQ's at the Yeongwolu Park in town, I grabbed this shot of a sunset. It could be one of the most asianistic pictures I have.
Street vendorsStreet vendors
Street vendors

Every fifth day, the Yeoju market street erupts with life becasue of the market day. stinky fish booths, clothes, anything you can imagine from the locals is being sold... I even heard there is a section of live animals, like stock animals, that are sold at the end of the street, but we never got that far. It's good fun just for strolling and passing time and getting some wicked culture too

6th October 2009

Love the Pics
Love the pictures you guys were able to take. Looks like a comfy, and yet beautiful city. I hope I get to visit Korea soon. Thanks for the travel blog!
2nd February 2010

Well done...
Your love of the place and the people shines. I'm an old Peace Corps/Korea volunteer, married to an almost as old Peace Corps/Korea language teacher, and we intend to retire to a farm/orchard with relatives within the next few years. Looks like a real good fit!

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