Every year my family meets for a long weekend at Jirisan Mountain National Park. This year because of the four of us and my mom visiting from the US we had a total of 27. It was a spectacular weekend of family fun, hiking, and of course eating.
Wang E is my cousin’s husband. That is not his actual name but a nickname which basically means “King E.” Wang E’s Great Aunt actually owns the Inn where we all stayed and run by his sister-in-law who does all the cooking. When we arrived we were greeted with the local fermented alcohol drink made with rice and local berries along with pig feet slices and Korean scallion pancakes. Great treat after a long drive from Seoul. Can’t you tell how happy it made Michael feel!
After most of our family arrived we set up for dinner where the Inn Keeper put out a giant spread of food. A massive table for all 27 seven of us. Cousins, kids, aunts and uncles whom I have not seen in 28 years! We all sat and feverishly devoured the food laughing and talking over each other with excitement for the weekend. Everything you see on the table is locally harvested locally and/or foraged by Wang E’s Great Aunt.
Wang E’s Great Aunt actually forages a lot in the mountains of Jirisan. She takes finds roots and other wild plants with medical qualities and makes tinctures. Some of these have been have been soaking for decades. She also finds wild plants and puts them in pots outside of the kitchen. I was totally fascinated!
The next morning we woke up and all headed for a visit to Suncheon Bay Eco Park. There was a caravan of 5 cars that all belonged to our large family. We took a long walk checking out all the little creatures that have a home in the bay. The sun was strong and it was packed with people simply taking a nice stroll and checking out the bay.
For lunch we walked across the street. Half of the group decided to eat Korean and the other American. Michael and I choose the seafood noodles but Zoe and Ty were determined to try American food in Korea. Zoe and Ty said the burgers were not bad, just different toppings and sauces. The amazing thing for me was the price, only about $2 for a fried chicken sandwich.
The next day we took a 4.5 hour hike up Jirisan and back. It was tiring but so much fun. Afterwards we dipped our feet in the icy cold creek which really helped our sore legs. Actually I ended up dunking my whole body in at one point.
We spent the last night hanging out and laughing. And of course it would not be a Kwan family get together without massive amounts of tasty food and playing Haw-tu a, Korean card game!
Bittersweet leaving Jirisan after such a amazing reunion. I really am so blessed to have such an incredible family who truly love to be together and enjoy each other’s company. This is what life is all about. This is TRUE BLISS LIVING.