To Grandmother's House We Go

Once in the cab, the Master and I sped away from Mokpo in an easterly direction. We were headed to his mother's house where he and his wife were living and running the family persimmon juice dyeing business. Clearly many things had changed since the '97 halcyon down on Jeju Island. Business was still the same, but Kimi was in NYC studying fashion in her mother's footsteps. Yong-i was doing his military duty. They no longer lived in the glory of the Jeju rock mansion with views of Halla Mountain. The Master's mom no longer lived in the sick ocean-view manor with the guest quarters where I slept one night (where the puppy ate my Nikes).

I suspect something happened down on Jeju to precipitate the move and change (downgrade) of housing standards but everyone was tightlipped about the reasons behind the move. Benefit of the doubt credits filial piety. I left it at that. I got the feeling that this new house was actually more like the family's original property. The village it was located in (can't remember the name) was tiny. No more than 30 or 40 houses. But it was a very short drive up to the family grave site where the Master's father was buried (more on that later). The house was pretty rundown but it sat on a fairly large lot. They had built a huge storage shed to one side and had paved out the whole other side yard area to do the dyeing on. The main building had 3 total bedrooms; one right off the kitchen where the Master's mom slept. The master and his wife slept next to that room, and I shared the other guest room with any young protege who happened to be helping out at the moment.

The "facilities" took the form of an outhouse. No shower or bath; just a faucet for the occasional Saesu. There was also another side building that would work great as another guest room as it had a small sink and kitchen area, but it was stuffed to the gills with boxes of books and other junk. So it was not ever really used by any humans. I'll post more pictures later, but here is one that gives my first impressions of the living conditions, crowded as they were by the need to do business. The sandals on the ground in the very center show the entry to the kitchen where we took rice and where the Master's mom slept. Hard to make out, but off to the right was one bedroom, off to the left was the one I slept in. All the bags and cloth and stuff are all part of doing the dyeing (more on that later).

As it turns out, the cab driver lives in the same village and knows the family well. He drove right to the front gate and we went in to greet Grandmother...

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