Friday, 28 August 2009

Exploring Andeok

As we wound through the snakes of roads wrapped around the multitude of luscious mountains, we would ask our co-teachers from one town to the next, ”Ooooh, is this it?”. They’d murmur softly, “No, no…just a little bit further.” (My face quivered just a little) :S .

As the towns passed us by, each one following seemed a bit more miniature in size. However, the majestic mountains became more interwoven and lush, the red and green apple orchards seemed never-ending, and the number of persistent pools of red chilies drying on the roadsides seemed to indicate how small the area was becoming.

Finally we crossed a small bridge and entered a town made up of one main road. No flashing signs here. No hustle and bustle of students, everyday folk, and businessmen in this area (except for the old ajummas). No crazy nightlife in this small village called Myungdang-ri in the town of Andeok. The main road (measuring the entire village), takes about a 5-minute walk from one end to the other. And what separates our whimsical town of Andeok from others? Mountains. Dense, green, tree-covered mountains - not so easy to cross those on foot.

Our co-teachers were actually apologizing to us about the location of our residence. Ken and I wanted rural, and that’s exactly what we got…even if the area was too rural for many Koreans. At least we had the essentials: a convenience store, a post office, a local bank, and a few restaurants… but most importantly – a soju bar.

We rode Mrs. Jeon’s Korean-made jeep (using a pressurized gas instead of electricity or gasoline), finally making it to the foot of our home’s driveway. Suddenly, two boys on bicycles screeched to a halt in front of us…after seeing Ken (I imagine it was him) and bowed their heads like jackhammers. Through the window, I could hear them asking Mrs. Jeon (Ken’s co-teacher), “English teacher? English teacher?” As she nodded, they bowed even more fiercely, with enough force to cause a major migraine that I’m sure they felt later in the day.

We were shown into our house. It was probably one of the nicest houses in Myungdang-ri, standing exquisitely on the dusty concrete ground with its ruby-red brick coat. A house. We acquired a house.


We’ve decided to keep our house empty…I mean spacious. Our home is complete with a kitchen (no oven though…how am I going to bake my desserts?), living room, study room and master bedroom. Our voices and sounds echo with even the slightest of movements. Perhaps we should purchase one of those monstrous rice-popping cracker machines that Ken truly adores).


The number of Myungdang-ri residents in Andeok peaks at about 150 people, and having about 80 of them living in the retirement home across the street makes for a very tight-knit community. It’s nice to run into everyone pretty much everyday (although our necks are getting a little strained from bowing every few minutes :)).

“Did you know that Cheongsong is FAMOUS for its apples?” (Many Cheongsong English teachers will roll their eyes when you ask this question). I have heard this question, time and time again, from the townsfolk in Andeok, Hyeonseo and Hyeondong, and from my many co-workers at all three schools. I guess they don’t know about the apple orchards beside and behind my house, or about the numerous apple farms Ken and I both saw as we were first entering Cheongsong. Being an apple lover myself, I am always tempted to taste/steal the forbidden fruit from the neighbouring orchards. My mouth also constantly waters at the slight of lush date trees generously producing their fruit, red chili plants lining the apple orchards, vibrant green snap peas doubling the line of chilies, and the wondrous rice field in front of our house (Ken is continuously tempted to run through it…I guess it’s his choice whether or not he wants to drench himself in mud and have mosquito larvae caught in his leg hairs :). Oh Andeok… Our teaching contracts are signed in blood, so we’re here to make this place our lovely abode for one year.

Hey, did you know that Cheongsong is FAMOUS for its apples?

- Jess


  1. Did you know Cheongsong is Famous for apples? I need a spoon to hit those who ask me that from now on

  2. My gosh your house sounds AMAZING!

  3. Yeah we really lucked out. You guys should make a trip out here and we'll have an apple-picking party :)