My daughter-in-law suggested I get a wheel-chair, and I gave in. Saved me much grief and pain. The wedding was a Korea-traditional and Christian wedding which melded the two into an opulance, unseen in America. As I write this, I am planning to put up an Internet page, which will be a feast of colors to the onlooker, who is devoid of such an experience. So, ... with this, I will jump the wedding and explain "What We Did Not Find In South Korea!
First and foremost, we DID NOT find American automobiles. With back streets and side streets made for Rickshas in Inchion, we found commerce at all levels along the streets and rising into the 3rd floor of buildings.
One of the silliest notions in the United States' housing market is the drum-beat to "sell up" on the housing market. First we buy a fixer-upper, and then we move up to a house that will meet our working class stature, and finally, we move into our "dream home," - the hundred thousand dollar baby. Not so, in South Korea.
We found middle class families living in 5 room, apartments that the family makes their home. As the family grows, with the income, the apartment is remodelled. The flooring is the modern-day, made-for covering, wooden veneer, which has heating pipes under it. No carpet or rugs. Shoes off at the door. And gastronomic gadgets that blow American ingenuity away. A special, top-of-the line rice cooker? How about a stool, with multi-digital settings on the seat itself. YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME? 6 different settings? Sorry, ... I did not have the opportunity to use the magic seat settings.
No beds. Sorry Mathis Brothers Furniture, no selling "Posturepedics here." The floor changes into beds with mats! Yep, individual, comfortable mats. The two daughters shared a bed room with an Oriental Windows Computers (yuck) and a regular bed. The floors are heated.
No time for magazines or books. The learning children are booked to death at school. Children queued up, up and down the streets with their distinctive school suits, from grade school to high school. School starts at 8:30 am and goes until 3:30, at which time the teachers go home. The students stay after school to get ready for their important SCAT test. School is serious business.
We did not find a shower curtain in the bathroom. The entire bathroom is shower-resistant, where all shower waters will be drained out, down a central floor grid. Good idea.
Stuff! With a family of four, as our kids grew, we accumulated stuff. Lots of stuff. Stuff everywhere. To get rid of the "stuff," we have garage sales. No garage sales in Korea. No garages and no stuff. Garage sales is out for us, because of our location. Macintosh computers can be found in virtually every room, with a Macintosh Museum on our second story.
Next to our in-laws, a sign making business was bustling and brimming with work. Every where, small businesses. Everywhere, even two or three stories up. Signs everywhere of a burgeoning entrepreneurial-ship, from early in the morning to late at night.
Hate Americans! NOT! They love Americans and have a huge memorial for General McArthur. Americans are honored in South Korea. But we haven't invaded North Korea, yet, because it doesn't hide a large quantity of oil resources. North Korea? Who knows, though? This administration has made goofier, goofs!
"American show interest in my business by taking picture, I give you special deal with the stuff you have already bought."
Thanksgiving! I screwed up. With my gray beard, I should have brought my Santa cap. Even without it, I had parents bring their kids over to sit on my knee, to ask Santa what they wanted for Christmas. My daughter-in-law interpreted. Christmas is a big deal in South Korea.
No backing up car-accidents are being eliminated. A video gadget on the back of hatch back type cars, does away with not knowing what is behind and in the "blind spot."
No parking meters or tickets for parking the wrong way on the small streets. Cars are facing different directions. Koreans are in love with their automobiles and rightly so. The 3 we rode in were exquisite. And the Koreans jealously support Korean made products. I even came back with a 16 hole chromatic harmonica that certainly compares, in quality, to Germany's Hohners and other harmonicas, including the Swan line from China.
Lack of things to do. We celebrated our 36th marriage year with our first and only honeymoon, with our son and his wife at JiJu, Island, the Hawaii of Korea. The island was teaming with things to do, PLUS!, it was tangerine season. No yards to mow. Any place without a building, is used for growing tangerines, and, ...how great they tasted.
Korea leaves me in the Stone Age, with virtually all of the Seoul and Inchion, fully cyber-updated. Get on the Internet, anywhere and anytime.
"There have been 3,135 coalition deaths, 2,888 Americans, two Australians, 125 Britons, 13 Bulgarians, six Danes, two Dutch, two Estonians, one Fijian, one Hungarian, 32 Italians, one Kazakh, one Latvian, 18 Poles, two Romanians, five Salvadoran, four Slovaks, 11 Spaniards, two Thai and 18 Ukrainians in the war in Iraq as of November 30, 2006, according to a CNN count." Notice that South Korea is not and has not been represented in Iraq.
Bush and Cheney? Nope, not a word about our crooked president and even his "Darth Vader" source of power. We've all witnessed the South Korean members of their Congress get in physical fights over political policies. It is just too bad that some of our Legislators and Senators, didn't pull off their shoes and do the "ol' shoe-heal in-the-el-moutho routine for the idiocy of the Neocons. Remember, I've voted for Al for the last two presidential races.
So, what now? We are back home, and it is time to get serious about impeaching a president and his side kick, along with Dr. Rice. Can you believe Time is considering her Person Of The Year? Go to Time.com/poy, and leave a message about the 1000 people she ignored while buying her 2000 dollar shoes. And remind them of her ignorant, parroting of everything neocon. All, epitomy of incompetence.
Now, we are looking forward to a United States' wedding, which means three: Traditional Korean Wedding, Christian Korean Wedding, and finally, a United States wedding. I'll take a daughter-in-law who has 3 weddings and no divorces, in an instant! Not bad for a proud papa-in-law, wouldn't you say?