Archive for Mai 2007

Der Abflugtag

Mai 31, 2007

Sayan kontrolliert ihren Pass in Frankfurt. Surin hat ihren kleinen Koffer abfertigen lassen, der jetzt auf dem Laufband liegt. Ein kleiner Transporter wird ihn spaeter zum Frachtraum der Boing bringen.
Einchecken Frankfurt
Vom internationalen Flughafen in Seoul, der Hauptstadt Koreas muessen wir zum Inlandsflughafen Gimpho mit dem Bus. Das Gepaeck immer dabei.
Mit zwei Autos werden wir in Gimhae abgeholt. Vorweg ein Onkel von Sayan und Surin mit den Koffern, eine Tante faehrt den zweiten Wagen. Hier vor einer Kreuzung im Zentrum Gimhaes. Eine Stadt, die etwa soviel Einwohner hat wie Osnabrueck.
Gimhae Zentrum
Vor der Stadt liegt ein Flussdelta, zwischen Flughafen und Zentrum.

Der Container wartet

Mai 31, 2007

Freitag 29. Mai: In drei Stunden soll der Schiffscontainer vollbeladen sein. Freunde und Nachbarn packen mit an

Mit der Karre zum Container
Helena aus Sayans Klasse hilft fleissig mit.
Im Container

Der LKW ist am spaeten Nachmittag abfahrtbereit.


Zum Schluss wird der Container versiegelt. Der Fahrer bringt ihn nach Hamburg. Ein riesiges Containerschiff mit tausenden anderen Behaeltern wird in etwa 30 Tagen in Busan ankommen. Im Hafen werden wir dann mit dem Zoll zusammen das Siegel oeffnen. Bis dahin suchen wir eine neue Wohnung.
Das Siegel


Mai 31, 2007

Wohnzimmer UmzugVorbereiten fuer den Transport mit dem Schiffscontainer

Letzter Tag im Kindergarten

Mai 31, 2007

kindergarten.jpgSurins Spiel- und Sportkindergarten in Osnabrück


Mai 24, 2007


Der endgültige Entschluss

Mai 23, 2007

Warum Korea, jetzt? Wir hatten immer beide Möglichkeiten durchgespielt. Leben hier in Deutschland oder in Korea. Durch Zufall sind wir 14 Jahre in Osnabrück geblieben. Im Laufe der Zeit wurde der Wunsch größer die Seite zu wechseln, die Möglichkeit längere Zeit in Korea zu leben. Der folgende Eintrag in einem Weblog gab den Ausschlag. Eine Koreanerin in New York beschließt nach 17 Jahren das Land zu verlassen und nach Seoul zurückzukehren. Nachdem wir davon erfahren haben, stand fest: Das können wir auch!

Es soll keiner mehr behaupten das Internet sei nicht real, nur virtuell, bei uns trifft das jedenfalls nicht mehr zu.

Hier die New Yorkerin:

I once wrote a post, Moving Out of NYC a while back in last summer, which means that after living in NYC for over 17 years, I finally felt like I need to leave NYC and shake my life a bit and I’ve been thinking and planning my exit for last 12 months actually. I’m a girl of actions… I think a lot before but, by the time you hear me saying about things, I’m already acting on it. I wrote in my previous post that I would write about it if I decide to leave NYC and now I guess I’m finally ready to write about it.

Die Vorgeschichte

Mai 23, 2007

Gehörte ursprünglich zu diesem Buchprojekt 2006/2007:
Galbibbook, Expats über Korea
Die Photos müssen noch eingefügt werden:

In 1996 a North Korean submarine was stranded on the shore in South Korea. Most of the crew members did suicide or were killed by their commander but a few managed to escape. They fled into the mountains and a 49 day long manhunt by the ROK-Army began. The media covered this as a headline hourly every day. This incident seemed pretty serious as such North Korean spy infiltration had almost stopped in the 80s.

While the South Korean military was tracking down the surviving North Koreans, we were spending our vacation on the Songjeong beach near Busan with my parents who flew in two weeks later than we. The tension between North and South was already mounting and people were told, the situation was near to war. But it has been always like that.

Despite all, we were enjoying the gorgeous and crispy September sunny day at the Songjeong beach. It was off season, so empty and quite. Songjeong beach was than reserved area only for the military then. On that day some military unit was drilling because of the incident (this is what I learned from the officer on the photo later on. My wife noticed that one officer had been watching our direction for a while. So I thought he’s going to kick us out any time, because it could be dangerous staying there because they were also shooting some kind of drilling ammunition with a tiny parachute attached to it toward the sea.

He finally came to our direction and approached us with shy smile. My wife acted as if she weren’t Korean all along. He could speak English a little. We chatted a little asking each other the usual where-do-you-come-from sort of questions. We tried to keep the conversation going on. He was searching for something to talk about. Then he told me he has black belt in Taekwondo and asked me whether I wanted to see it. Before I answer to him he pushed his riffle in my hand and showed me his Taekwondo skills. Until that very moment I had never had a weapon in my hand before.

Ten years later we went to the same beach again in August. The military was still there but not to drill instead to spend their summer day off. The beach is more or less open to the civilians now. New roads had been paved direct to the beach front. As a result the beach was as jammed pack with people as Haeundae in Busan.

The coast is not guarded permantly anymore, times has changed.
Korean soldiers
Near Pohang the soldiers were allowed to have some drinks spending their sparetime. It’s a beach where army members with family can join. They enjoyed their one day off.
Korean Army
And another scene from Songjeong beach 2006
Songjeong Beach

Small factory 1993

Entrepeneur 1994 Korea
My 42-year-old brother-in-law ran a factory in Busan with about a dozen employees which produced handles for pots and pans. Business was done by telephone only. No computer,no fax. He always had cash problems like many other small business owners because he was seldom paid by cash for his products by the pot makers. Even in the 90s it was still a practice to make a payment by so-called „promisary note“, a sheet of paper which promises cash payment in 3 to 6 months whereby the parts suppliers had to buy the raw material with cash. Sometimes the pot makers couldn’t pay him on time so he got pots and pans as a payment. So my 72-year-old mother-in-law sometimes sold them to the neighbors by word-of-mouth. She even once opened a shop to sell them because there were just too many of them.

Small factory Korea 1994
Small factory Korea 1994
My mother-in-law opens the shop with a ceremony.
She threw some salt towards the door after the first customer did not buy anything. It was to keep the bad ghosts away.
Opening ceremony of a small shop
And the factory in Seoul
Small factory Seoul 1994 Korea
Even today these small manufacturer can be found everywhere, Busan, Yong-do

History and TV drama 1996
Seoul 1996
Koreans living far away from their home country sooth their homesickness by watching TV dramas. Copied dramas are circulated among expat Koreans in US, Germany etc. When they get a whole set of new mini drama, they most probably watch them throughout the night until they eyes ach. It’s mostly about triangle love stories with delicate family-and-friends relationships. But the other popular TV dramas are about the history: from Koguryo to Chosun and the Japanese occupation to present. It seems that the popularity of the history dramas didn’t subdue ever since I got to know the country. Germany has a difficult history too but it is focused only on last century. A drama about the killing of the Emporess Min was being filmed when I visited the one of the palaces in Seoul. This image shows japanese military assaulting the palace one hundred years ago.

Changing Seoul
Historical buildings
Mid 90s the old Japanese colonial government building on the Gyungbok palace ground which housed the national museum then was a thorn in the eyes of the Koreans. The last sign of the Japanese occupation was being tearing down five decades after the independence. A similar development happens in Berlin where they are dismantling the People’s Palace of the GDR in the center of the city right now.
Tearing down the old National Museum

Korean history
We were hitch hiking through South Korea in 1994. Visiting some ancient ruins. Here a stronghold of the Paekche period. It was a ruin and we felt sorrow that history would vanish this way. We got to know recently that this site has been rebuild and changed for better.

Ancient walls, Korea
A restaurant 1996-2006
This restaurant has survived the Asian crisis of the last decade. Always it has offered rawfish as main dish. Often they get fresh sea food from the coast near Busan. Therefor some divers are taking a small boat early in the morning. If the restaurant is packed with guests they try to serve as fast as possible. When they are too exhausted later they go to sleep at the same place after midnight.
The most exposed place for having dinner or lunch in Busan

Sense for improvisation
The first surprise in Korea was to see how they are doing things like connecting a new phone number to the net. In one day. In Germany we had to wait for weeks after moving in a new home. The man from the telephone company just climbed up the telegraph-pole, one foot on a huge nail or something alike. 1993
New phone number in one day

It can’t be in Europe 1993
There are Buddhists and recently new Christians statues too, spreading throughout the cities
Buddha in Busan 1993

If you are staying far away from Korea occasionally bad news reach you through media. Some accidents, a collapse of a shopping mall. This time a taifun which caused a terrible impact on the ships in all Busan bays. Some people did not survive the incident.
Taifun aftermath

On my first stay we bumped into a demonstration in Busan during night. The change toward democracy was done already but people were not sure if a set back could happen. Just too close to the recent past. The athmosphere was tensed but nothing happened.
Protest in Busan 1993

Beeing a miguksaram: Some like the attention they get as foreigner in Korea, some not. This girl did not know that the kindergarten children were looking at her. Or was it the popcorn? In a park in Seoul 1993
Seoul Kindergarten 1993

No food but this guy chared his rice on Chiri-san, South Korea, early in the morning.June 1994.
We were reaching Chirisan peak awaiting a hostel with food to buy. All wrong. We ended up in a big hall during night, left side men, right side women. We had no sleepingbags. So she was allowed to sleep between us at the man side to get some heat from the bodies. It was damn cold. When all people left the place for catching the sunrise, we three stayed at the place having breakfast. The soldier, who had his one week vacation of the year shared his food with us. The home of his family down in the valley below.
Naive mountain hikers

To spend time on a hobby is a new experience in Korea. It’s obvious that there are not many sailing boats along the coast. Here are some beginners trying to master a recently unknown sport.1996
Learning to have spare time

Learning for school is much harder for Koreans than German students. During evening they are coming home. They enter the subway and busses in a certain rhythm. First the younger ones and before midnight 16, 17 years old students. But it seems they like their school even during summer holidays. The children were playing with the equipment of the kindergarten which is in the same building. 2006
Kindergarten and school

Sports, summer and daytime

Siesta in Spain, it is because of the heat, no activity during lunchtime. In Korea the summer has temperatures as high as in Southern Europe but often plus the unbearable humidity. The photo was taken around 1pm on a mountain peak above Gimhae. 34-36°C.

In Europe they often say Korea would have no tradition in soccer. This was 10 years ago, a playground in an apartment complex.
Nowadays the enthusiasm for the national soccer team is even greater than in Europe. The Korean fans are louder, more creative and more enduring than the boys from England.
Two Koreans in Germany preparing for a worldcup match in Hanover 2006.
Korea vs. Suisse
To be a fan of the national team, ‚Be the Reds‘
Be prepared, no action without food
Be there, not alone
Get a flag
Follow his instructions
Do not forget to sing, here is a list of songs
At the end you are waiting impatiently for the final whistle. Cause you have lost your voice from cheering and shouting, you are close to dehydration. And at the end the south korean team won her first worldcup game outside the homeland. Great.
[Jens-Olaf Walter]