Well, we left Korea back in April, and it's past time for me to leave it here on the blog, also.
Our plane was leaving Incheon International Airport on Thursday, April 16. We needed to wake up in either Seoul, or Incheon that morning in order to make our flight at noon. That meant leaving Mrs. Kim and her husband in Sacheon Valley the day before, and traveling back across the country to spend the night. We both really wished we could have stayed another night with Mrs. Kim, but we'd never have made our flight.
We got up early there in Mrs. Kim's house, and packed our bags while she made us breakfast. There was no real hurry to leave at any particular time, but we figured we'd catch the bus when he came by at noon. That would give us time to get a bus from Gangneung to Seoul, and get checked into a hotel over there before dark.
We were done packing and eating by 9:30, so I figured I had a chance for a last walk around the neighborhood before we left. I'm glad I did, because I got some last, good pictures of the valley, and the neighborhood. Since our last trip in 2001, they have cut a new road across Sacheon Valley, in a north/south direction, which is perpendicular to the road which runs up the valley from the coast in an east/west direction. I took a walk up that road, and climbed a hill for the the shot above, looking south, towards Gangneung City. It's a pretty good view of the valley from up there. After strolling around for about an hour taking pictures, I made my way back to the house.
Mrs. Kim made us some coffee, and we had a chance to visit for just a little while longer, say our good-byes, and then we were gone. The bus came, we climbed aboard with our bags, and headed down the valley towards the highway into Gangneung City. As the bus passed in front of their house, Mrs. Kim and her husband came out onto their little front porch to wave us good-bye. It really broke my heart to be leaving them, and I know Ok Hwa was pretty broken up too. She had been crying off and on all morning, and as we drove away, the tears flowed freely.
We were a couple of very sad travelers as we arrived at the bus terminal in Gangneung, to board the bus to Seoul. We resolved then to make the trip back to Korea an annual affair. We just can not allow so much time to pass before our next visit. Eight years has passed since our last visit, and that's just too long. It's sad to think of the two of them up there in their rural home, growing older, and wondering if those boys have come to see them. Oh, well, we'll do our part, and come back every year, and wish it could be sooner.
For a slide show of Sacheon Valley pictures, including the last heartbreaking picture I took of Mrs. Kim and her husband from the bus, click here:
For a video walk up Mrs. Kim's road in Sacheon Valley, click here:
The official website of the Republic of Korea: http://www.korea.net/.