Friday 2 February 2018

Back to South Korea to visit the Horton/Kang family!

After spending two fun nights in Macau (the Las Vegas of Asia!) and taking a ferry over to explore Hong Kong for a few days - which you can read about in my two previous posts – we flew onto Seoul in South Korea.

This is our fifth visit to South Korea where our son, James, lives with our daughter in law, Sujeong, and our grandson, Aaron.

Our sweet grandson, Aaron Horton

Being based in Asia over the past couple of years (Malaysia and Thailand mostly) has been great for us as it has been strategically conducive to not missing out too much on our young grandson growing from a baby into a toddler.

During the past few trips, we have also managed not to get lost taking the high-speed KTX train from Seoul to Daegu. We have actually mastered the subway around the city - and we have even managed to do some unchaperoned shopping at the mall or the market too – utilising a few handy Korean phrases!

During this visit, we would get to meet the new addition to our family – Zoey the Beagle – who is an adorable puppy and new best friend for our grandson.

In early to mid-September, the weather is still warm (South Korea has very hot summers and incredibly cold winters) so we were able to take our grandson out to the play park and for lots of walks and even for a day out to Daegu Theme Park - which was great fun - so please excuse proud Jamma and Papa overload! (Aaron's names for us.)

Also, during this visit, we were able to discuss the BIG WEDDING PLANS for April 2018. Our son and his wife have been legally married for a few years but they have never actually had a traditional Korean wedding party for family and friends to attend. So, in April 2018, they will be getting married again with friends and family. The style of the wedding will be traditional, with Korean wedding clothes for the bridal party (white traditional gown and groom in a suit) and also a change into Korean traditional 'hanbok' for the reception and dinner.

It’s also a tradition in South Korea to have the formal wedding photos done in a photographic studio well ahead of the wedding date - and so these few I’m showing you have been recently taken – and don’t they look romantic!

While we were in Korea this time, I went with Sujeong and her mum and her sister to get measured for my traditional Korean ‘mother of the groom hanbok’ – handmade and in colours I have chosen for myself – complete with shoes and handbag to match. The photo on the bottom left shows the fabric I've chosen - and top right are my shoes! The middle photo shows Sujeong trying on a hanbok in the shop.

I’ll feel so privileged to be wearing this traditional outfit at our son’s wedding ceremony alongside Sujeong’s mother, who will be wearing her ‘mother of the bride hanbok’ for the ceremony when we next visit in April 2018.

My daughter-in-law's family - the Kang family - are so lovely and generous and hospitable and we enjoy going out for some meals together - Korean Barbeque food is amazing! On every visit, they have always managed to find somewhere interesting and cultural to take us. On this occasion, to appreciate the leaves starting to turn colour, we went on the Palgongsan Mountain Cable Car. The views over the forest were spectacular. There are two different cable car venues in Daegu – the other is the Aspen Cable Car – which we did on a previous visit and for the high panoramic views of Daegu it is an absolute must see.

We stopped off for lunch at a countryside restaurant. The Kang family had pre-booked this (we had no idea) and we had a private room for us all to enjoy a fabulous and huge traditional meal (with lots of kimchi of course!) with us all sitting on cushions at a low table.

Heading back into Daegu, on the outskirts of the city, we stopped off to walk through a beautiful flower field in the warm sunshine. It made for a fabulous and colourful photo opportunity!

We had a wonderful visit and we are now looking forward to April 2018!

Next on the blog an unexpected twist to our travel adventures!

After applying online for a housesitting assignment for the winter months in South West France - from October 2017 to March 2018 - we got it! This meant flying from Seoul via Kuala Lumpur and via London to Bordeaux France to be the guardians of a 500-year-old French country chateau close to the city of Perigueux in exchange for looking after the house and the resident pussy-cat while the homeowners were back in the UK. 

What a fantastic opportunity and a wonderful place to live!

Our beautiful new home for the winter in SW France
The housesitting assignment is perfect in many ways because we really needed somewhere to settle down for a while as I had just signed a publishing contract with Harper Impulse – the romance imprint of Harper Collins publishers UK - for a book I had yet to write scheduled to be published Summer of 2018.

I needed to be somewhere to focus on my writing so that I could meet my tight end of January 2018 deadline. The new novel is to be called The Backpacking Housewife – a novel based on my own travel experiences.

You can read my author acquisition announcement on the Harper Impulse website HERE.

My husband, Trav, was also very happy about living in France for a while too because he knew he would be kept busy while I was writing. He would be responsible for maintaining the beautiful gardens and the swimming pool and any issues with the rented gites in the grounds of our ch√Ęteau home over the wintertime.

So please join me here on the blog next time – when I’ll be in France!

Love, Janice