Volunteering in Gochang, Korea

Overview

As we were workaway hunting in Korea, Mr. Choi and Mrs. Lee’s profile caught our attention. While all reviews from volunteers were outstanding, our future hosts warned us: “Our house is very old, so uncomfortable. We are old too, so little fun. But if you are OK, we are OK”. Assuming this comment was a reflection of extreme politeness, we replied we were ok and will never regret it.

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Our Korean Family

Eun Seop Choi and Kyung Hee Lee, aka Mr. Choi and Mrs. Lee, are a couple in their late lunar 60’s (to get this line, read #2 here). Whenever they aren’t cycling around the globe, they host the world in Gochang‘s countryside.

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In their cosy home, they provide shelter and delicious Korean food to workawayers, in exchange for some help to embellish their property and renovate a guesthouse they built to accomodate more volunteers and fellow cyclists.

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Old? It depends whether we are talking Korean age or state of mind. Boring? Anything but that. Our time together was a giggle therapy, not to mention the numerous fun activities Mr. Choi and Mrs. Lee constantly surprised us with. Uncomfortable? Not at all. We were indulged with every attention, comfort and kindness throughout.

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Our Typical Day as Volunteers

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  • 8 a.m – Wake up time.
  • 8:30 a.m – Breakfast: The menu changes every day. From Korean style to French toasts with scrambled eggs, Mrs. Lee won’t let you down.
  • 9:30 a.m – Work time. Our tasks were to create a mural representing Pororo and Petty, teaching English to Mrs. Lee, and assisting Nathan and Alex (international carpenter/architect power couple) in insulating the guesthouse.
  • 12:30 p.m – Lunch: eating out, sharing our recipes or enjoying Mrs. Lee’s, worth a few Michelin stars at least.
  • Afternoon – More work or/and extra-curricular activities: public spas, meeting people, sightseeing etc.
  • 6:30 p.m – Dinner: as mouth-watering as lunch.
  • 8 p.m – Laughing while sharing good stories and travel tips over tea or soju.

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Mr. Choi and Mrs. Lee, you are amongst the most inspiring and generous people we have ever met. Thanks for stimulating our creativity in every direction possible. Your trust turned us into the artists we never thought we could be.

 

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