From Eumseong to Chungju

Published on 3 April 2023 at 08:39

This morning I had breakfast in Caroline's favorite café while she was at school. It was decorated with plants, China cup and plate collections, and comfortable chairs. The lady who ran the cafe was lovely and her smile made me feel welcome. It was a great way to start my day!

Caroline left school early to spend time with me. On the way to the bus station, we took a walk through Seolseong Park to see the freshly-bloomed cherry blossoms.

The cherry blossoms on these trees are unique because the branches hang down like a Weeping Willow tree.

This is a Statue of Peace, sometimes called a Comfort Woman Statue. It represents victims of sexual slavery (comfort women) from when Korea was under Japanese rule. On the chair beside her, someone had made her a blanket to keep warm during winter. It's spring now, so she doesn't need it anymore!

These are the Eumseong mascots, Pumba and Kwari. Every year, Eumseong holds a Pumba Festival. "Pumba" doesn't really have a meaning, but Caroline's students told her the closest translation is 'beggar.' When Korea was impoverished, street singers would beg for food, money, etc. all while keeping a steady rhythm, chanting: "Pumba." This festival honors that part of Eumseong's history. Later, Pumba and Kwari, two street-singing children, became the mascots of this festival, and of Eumseong itself.

We took the bus to Chungju for dinner, shopping, and noraebang. In Korean the word 노래 (norae) stands for “song” and the word 방 (bang) means “room.” So the Korean word for karaoke literally means “a song room.” And sing, we did! Caroline is amazing and sings beautifully in both English and Korean. On the other hand, I can't sing well, but I can sing loudly! 

Walking home across the bridge which has new lights to show the pride of Eumseong's location and festivals, we saw more beautiful cherry blossoms and Caroline's favorite neighborhood cat.