Year Two, Week Seventeen—Amber


It seems like each week it comes down to a photo either with the better story or the better photo. So again, I sacrifice my photographer pride and post this iPhone photo in order to treat you all to the better Korean experience and story. This week we packed up our family of six and headed several hours to the east to go to the Hwacheon Ice Fishing Festival . Like many Korean festivals, it is just you and thousands (and thousands) of your closest Korean friends converging on the area. Thankfully the foreigner area was a little less crowded than the above photo. We bought our plastic poles and headed out onto the ice where we waited ever so patiently (4 small kids? Patient? Yeah, no) to catch trout. We ended up catching four total trout with several others that got away. The real shenanigans began when I caught my trout. I hoisted it out of the hole, whooping with glee. My husband lunged for the camera, slipped on the ice and knocked down our youngest while doing it. He then comforted our youngest while taking photos of me and another one of our kids with the fish. At some point during the picture taking, the toddler escaped his embrace and 2 seconds later we all heard screaming and crying coming from her. We looked down to see her laying on the ice with her left leg completely submerged in an ice fishing hole. Picture toddler crying and screaming, fish flopping, the other fish we had caught somehow escaped from the bag and flopping all over, mama panicking about freezing cold youngest, other children panicking about the other escaping fish, and everyone else in the area watching with amazement (shock? disdain?). My husband manages to still have a functioning brain during times of panic (mine disappears and I freeze) and gave us all calm instructions. I headed into the foreigner tent with my toddler and my older daughter to strip her down and warm her clothes and body by the heater. While we were in there waiting for the clothes to dry, my older daughter decided to warm up her gloves on the heater while I held my toddler who was now napping. Shortly thereafter, a smoke smell fills the room and we realize it is the smell of my older daughter’s glove melting on the heater. She grabbed it and threw it to the ground where another foreigner stepped on the smoldering, shrunken glove and I looked on with disbelief. Thankfully we all recovered. Baby’s clothes dried, older child borrowed my mittens, and we continued to have an awesome (and thankfully less adventurous) time at the ice fishing festival.

  • Sherri - NOO!!!! We think most of our encounters with Koreans are potential “clusters,” but this one you did all by yourselves. SO FUNNY to picture this happening and imagine the Koreans staring (and taking pictures with their phones). Thanks for a great story and prompting picture!ReplyCancel

  • Dina Farmer - WOW! I am not so sure I would do that. We went to a Salmon festival once in Japan I was like um never again it was just to crazy for me and the sea of people was overwhelming. With a child now I think I would just lose it! You are so brave! I wouldn’t be able to do it!ReplyCancel

  • Bethany - Hahaha! This is one of those stories that you will be telling for years! I want you to know that I first heard about your trip from a very cute boy, who remembered none of the stress and was only too happy to talk about the big fish that were caught.ReplyCancel

  • Theresa - Mitch calm under pressure reminded me of the snow globe incident! Never give a teething baby a snow globe.ReplyCancel