Monday, July 06, 2009

Korea trip – Day 10: Miryang City Road Trip

Today was a big day. After yet another Dunkin Donuts breakfast, we met a driver and translator to do some site visits to places significant to the kids early lives. The driver works for our Korean adoption agency, Holt Childrens Services and the translator is a volunteer there.

Our first stop was Chunhae Hospital. R. spent a week here after she was born with a couple of (thankfully minor) medical problems. We met one of the hospital administrators, who was extremely gracious and took us on a tour of some of the areas where R. might have spent time when she was there. She also gave us R.’s original medical chart, which should give us a bit of interesting information about her time there once we get it translated.

One thing that has struck me about the Korean people we have met who had some involvement in the kids early lives is how much they care for the kids and how happy they are to see that they have grown into such fine young people. It’s really touching to me how they react to the kids and the genuine concern and love these people have for them.

The next place we went was the area of Busan where R. was born. We stopped in at a city administrative center where we were able to get a map of the area. We also stopped by to look around at Pusan National University, a major state-run school in Korea and also in the neighborhood R. grew up in.

Our last stop in Busan was lunch. The bus driver suggested a place for lunch, so we stopped there. I have never seen so many varieties of food at one meal in my life. Just when we thought that they must be done bringing out new dishes, out would come the cart with a few more things! Along with some of our favorite Korean standards, like bibim bop and bulgogi, we had many things we had never tried before. My favorites were a kind of chicken salad and something that resembled potato salad but was made with pumpkin. There were also some items that we weren’t interested in, but our Korean companions were more than happy to eat what we didn’t like.

We then drove to Miryang City, J.’s birthplace. The first place we stopped there was the midwife clinic where he was born. The director of the clinic showed us around and told us about the work they do there. She also gave all of us some beautiful Korean fans, hand decorated by her husband. It was an incredibly thoughtful gift and something I’m sure we’ll all treasure.

After grabbing some ice cream treats in a local market, we drove around the city a bit, including stopping by the Miryang River to take a few pictures. After that, we returned to our hotel in Busan.

This whole process was incredibly moving to me. Seeing these places connected with the kids lives before we were able to pick them up just reinforces how well cared for they were. I feel truly blessed that we decided to adopt from this country.

We got back to the hotel around 4, which meant we still had time to go to the beach! We rented a couple of beach chairs and a couple of inner tubes for the kids and they had a blast bobbing around in the East Sea (or the Sea of Japan – the name depends on who you ask). We enjoyed sitting on the beach and relaxing for a couple of hours. There hasn’t been much opportunity for that on this trip.

After our Korean feast for lunch, we tried to go to a TGI Friday’s nearby for lunch. What we found out was that Friday’s apparently has the same crappy service across the entire planet. J. wanted to get buffalo wings for dinner, but they were out of those. So he (reluctantly) ordered a burger, but they were out of buns! There really wasn’t anything else he wanted to eat, so we told the waitress that we were going to pay for our drinks and leave. She looked incredibly upset that we were leaving and talked to her manager, who said we didn’t need to pay for the drinks. We ended up at Bennigan’s instead, where they actually had the food we ordered!

We have a few things to do in Busan tomorrow, and then we take the bullet train back to Seoul! After 15 years of taking the MBTA commuter rail, I’m looking forward to riding a train that goes 170 MPH!


At 10:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howard, I have been reading your post and looking at your pictures.I love them!! What an absolutly wonderful trip you have been on and are experiencing with the children. It is wonderful. You know I was with a friend yesterday who has two children adopted from Russia. She mentioned that they are planning a Ties trip in 5 yrs (2015). I told her about your trip ( what I was reading about). The Ties program certainly looks like it is top rate. Enjoy the rest of your trip with your family!!!

At 10:10 AM, Blogger Mr. L said...

Howard, I forgot to sign my name in the last post. Sorry

Wendy L


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