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Sunday, November 6, 2011


My Korea box is in progress.  I like to make a box when I visit another country, using items from the trip in ways that can show the culture or my experience.  This box is a traditional shape.  I bought it flat and used hand made paper to cover it.  So far, it is graced with a hotel key, some refrigerator magnets and some clay turtles.  The legs are saki cups.

Stuff as it came out of my luggage.  Silk work coccoons, dyed yellow, some satin chilis, and a lot of cell phone hanging jewelry.

Soap made by blind school graduates and a picture of Janice and me.

Cups and turtles.

Little purses and big ones.

Tojung stamps.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Flying back

By the time I was on the plane, I was ready to come home.  Ten hours back.  Due to the headwind, the flight back is shorter than the one out.  My legs were folded down and I spent hours squirming around trying to sleep, get comfortable or maybe just die. 

Finally, we landed in San Francisco.  I gathered my bags and cleared customs.  The US agent said "Welcome back",  their usual greeting.  A good one.  I still like being an American. 

I made my way to my hotel.  The shuttle dropped me on the side of the construction.  The desk clerk gave me keys to the farthest room.  I made three trips and got my bags to my room.  There was an outdoor jaccuzzi and it was 1 PM.  I slipped into a bathing suit and sat in the warm water looking up at the sun for as long as I could.  I went back to my room and fell into a sound sleep.  At 7:30 PM, I called and asked for a 3 AM wake up call.  At 1AM, I woke up hungry and consumed a can of guava juice from the vending machine.  By 4 AM, I was back on the shuttle headed back to the San Francisco airport.

The trip via Southwest airlines took me to Chicago for a plane change and then to Hartford where Fritz picked me up.  He never said a word about all my luggage. 

I fell asleep in the car and woke up in Vermont.  Jet lag has had me in bed by 8 almost every night.  Now I am packing to go to Houston for the International Quilt Festival.  I will be with my friends and will enjoy it.  But in order to do this, I will have to pack, go to Hartford, fold myself into an airplane seat and wait for take off.  After Houston, I might stay home for awhile.  Or not.

First I will dig my car out of the snow, then add luggage, then drive to Hartford.  This is the first October snow in 40 years of this magnitude in Grafton, Vermont.  Maybe it will melt by tomorrow when I leave.

Leaving Korea. Flyiing out of the Morning Calm.

I went to Incheon Airport with my friend Janice.  She waited with me until I could check in and go through security.  My bags were not over limit so I was happy about that.  The airport is huge, modern and beautiful.  Very efficient, nice people. 

Inside security were all the regular duty free stores but there was also a Korean folk craft store.   This lovely young woman is a fine arts student who is part of a group hired to teach passengers how to make a small box covered in rice paper. 

Starch is used for the glue on the wooden box.

She showed me how to put the paper on the sides and insides of the box.  I think she considered me to be a very good student.  I excelled at pasting.

Behind me there was a stage.  A woman played traditional music.

They gave us these great luggage carts.  I agree with the logo on the side.  Anything that will help transport luggage is a smile creator.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sallie says

I've been home for almost 2 weeks now. I'm pretty sure I know what time it is. I was happy to see my family; the dogs were very happy to see me. Mike was waiting in the baggage claim area while Les parked the car. I had asked him to bring Zoe (my Yorkie pup) along. Apparently, when Zoe saw me approaching the car, she lunged past Les, disavowing any friendship that they may have forged while I was away, in her haste to get to me. How gratifying. Then, when I got home, Eddie was so glad to see me, he peed on the floor. Francie tells me it is usually girl dogs that do that; but Francie usually has girl dogs.

I am still remembering things we did in Korea. I worked so hard to pack for the trip, and even harder to pack to get home, and now it's a memory. A good memory. I am hoping to be able to go back next year, when we will be doing our quilt show there. Now, THAT will be fun.

I remember fondlly the sight of a man pushing Francie in a wheelchair all through an art exhibit in what used to be a tobacco warehouse; all four or five floors. The interesting thing about this was that Francie did not really need the wheelchair. The man who was pushing her had to tuck his cane up under his arm while he pushed. My feet started to hurt enough, toward the end of that day, I almost asked if I could get a ride in that chair myself.

I also remember just hanging out with InYoung at the same art exhibit. We ooheed and ahhaed at such a variety of artwork. We were just two girlfriends hanging out. She bought me a music box. I bought her a scarf. I was so happy to find a man selling "chops." I had him carve my Korean name into it, and will use it to sign my own work. I think that was the one thing that I bought that I could not have possibly done without. Oh, unless it was that can of almonds that I bought at THE CONVENIENT STORE; the one that also contained the school of little dried fish.  I brought the chop home. Left the almonds in the kitchenette at the hotel.

We went shopping in the fabric district. There was so much to see; I forgot to blink. I still regret not buying a bouquet of zippers, but I do have pictures. My foot started to hurt. Not surprising, really; we had been walking a lot. I obtained a swatch of flannel from a kind fabric merchant. The flannel had red and hot pink flowers. I didn't care. It could have had pictures of dried fish and I still would have been thrilled to have it. I was able to wrap the tender area of my foot with the hot pink flowers and it kept me from crying until we got to a store that carried BAND-LAND bandages. A cafe latte and a rest (and putting my feet up for a while) made all the difference, and I was ready for more fun. Back to In Sa Don we went!

Just as we got enough supplies to get started, I had to start packing to go home. But I did paint a fan. Using water colors, I painted two big pink temple-style flowers with green stems and lots of curliques. I added some calligraphy that I copied from a shopping bag that we got from In Sa Don. I loved the way the calligraphy looked on my fan. I have no idea what I wrote. I hope it was nothing rude. Two days ago, to my surprise  and delight, the Union, Maine mail lady pulled into our driveway and brought something up to the porch. I went out to see what it was and there was my fan, hanging from the doorknob. Francie had put my address on the fan, with some Korean stamps, and she mailed it to me from Seoul. Thank you Francie! It is hanging on my wall now.

I still wonder what I said on that fan.

Ha. What day was this? We walked down a less-touristy street; I think it was the fabric day. It was lunch time. People were standing on the street with their hibachis, grilling large fish whole, complete with fins, tails, and heads. Mmmm.. fast food. I declined. We thought about it for a minute, and Francie went back and took pictures. We stopped in a little restaurant and had a refreshing coca-cola, which we do know is very bad for our health. But it was an emergency.

On the day we visited the blind school, we met a man, in his early 40s, who had been a student of Francie's when she was a teacher there. This man had has been completely blind from birth. He is now a very successful businessman; he owns a massage business next door to the blind school, and has many employees. He was dressed impeccably in business attire. He remembered being Francie's student at the age of 10 years old. He told her that she had made a very big impression in his life. This we learned through Brian, the English teacher, who was kindly acting as interpreter for us that day. The businessman/former student went to lunch with us. There were about 10 of us at the table; Brian was very busy; he was acting as interpreter for us all. Through him, the businessman told Francie, "your sister is much more beautiful than you are." We all laughed, and Francie said, "like you'd know, since you are blind, ahaha." More laughter. Then he explained; in Korean tradition, the third daughter is always the most beautiful. I am the third daughter in my family. It proved he had paid attention to what was being said, and he figured out, somehow, that I was the third of five sisters. It was cute and very entertaining; and even if this compliment came from a blind man, heck, I'll take it!

I was glad, on the day we went to the blind school, that I had on comfortable shoes because, after lunch, Don Jin and Brian took us to a temple on the side of a mountain. We were walking up a dirt and gravel path. The weather was just lovely; bright sunshine, a little tang to the air, and, when we got about halfway up the mountain and looked down, the view spread out over brilliant green meadows with horses grazing and picnickers with blankets spread out, having their lunch. I was taking pictures; couldn't get enough when I suddenly got the message "change batteries," Oh, too bad. But Brian said "no problem, I'll go and get more batteries." I started to tell him it was not necessary, but he was already halfway down the hill, running in the direction of a little gift shop. In no time at all, he was back, with a package of batteries and, being only 38 years old, he was barely winded. He did look down, ruefully, at his feet however, and said "I forgot to take off my slippers when we left the school!" Again we shaired a multilingual laugh because there, on Brian's poor feet, were indeed bedroom slippers and he had been running up and down a mountain!!! He had taken his task of host/interpreter very seriously, and he left no stone unturned in his efforts to make our visit as comfortable and pleasant as possible; and he succeeded, as did the others. Such is the type of people I met in Korea.

More Details

Roof tile

Map painting


Sewing machine in window display.

Cell phone googas.

Monk on a mission.

Temple office


Incense holders
Window fretwork.

Cup at the blind school.  Zen

Thursday, October 27, 2011

More Details

Clay Roof Tiles



Lovebird alone.

High cost imported yellow fruit.

Lovebird Duet.
Art paper store in In Sa Dong.

World traveler.


Lucky bamboo in front of folk medicine shop.


Plastic food models.

A wall in the Shinsagae Department Store

Street napper.

Wreath in In Sa Dong.

Metal flower in In Sa Dong.


Flowers for Buddah

My Hanbok purse

My hotel looms behind Temple booths, set up for chrysanthemum festival.

Temple wall detail

Flatware usually gets propped up.

Lighting equipment in front of chrysanthemums.

Temple wall detail.

Robe on display at Chojun Museum

Minature thatched house in hotel garden.