Monday, June 8, 2020

Birthday at the Beach

All I wanted to do for my birthday was go to the beach with my boys! South Korea is a peninsula and thus surrounded on three sides by countless beaches. I don't think people outside of Korea really think of Korea as a beach-y place but so far the several beaches we've been to are stunning. There are so many beaches lining the coasts that I want to explore so we just picked one, loaded up the car with all our gear and headed west. The western coast is about an hour and a half away and you can pretty much pull off on any of the road signs pointing you to different beaches, each usually with their own designated parking and restrooms. We ventured to Anmyeondo Island and after crossing the bridge which connects it to Taen county (and the Taen National Park which is on my list to check out) we found Anmyeon beach
 
It's not yet beach season here in Korea, despite the warmer temperatures, but I was still surprised how empty the beach was. Though the small-ish parking lot was nearly full when we arrived the wide, expansive beach appeared nearly deserted save for a couple other families. We followed their example and set up our chairs and tent as far back from the water as we could. We slapped on some sunscreen, nursed the baby, and after a quick tutorial on sandcastles, we headed down to the surf with bucket and shovel in hand. 
The last time we were really at the beach Tommy was just a couple months older than Will is now and it was a lot of sand-eating and sandy diapers. Will was content to hang in the carrier so we managed to mostly avoid that this time around. Tommy is now a full fledged beach lover like his mama and I have a feeling, from the way he conked out on me to the sound of the waves, that Will is going to feel the same. 
We stuck to the shallow waters which were surprisingly warm and spent a couple hours digging in the sand, splashing in the water, and filling our bucket with shells. Will got to dip his toes in the ocean for the first time in his little life. It's so wild to me that the first ocean he's ever experienced is the East China Sea. I know he probably wont remember any of the years we spend in South Korea but I am still so grateful that we get to have these adventures with our boys and hope it solidifies a love of traveling, being brave, trying new things, and that it opens their eyes to all the wonders of God's creation. 
This is a part of the world I never imagined I'd visit someday let alone call home, yet no matter what ocean I'm looking at, the beach always feels familiar to me, like an old friend I haven't seen in a while. The sound of the waves, the feel of sand, the smell of the saltwater and sunscreen, are all reliably unchanging. And in a world that lately feels very heavy and the news seems like one endless gray cloud, a sunny day at the beach was exactly what I needed.
I imagine if we could read hangul we might have seen the signs and been warned about the roadwork but in the few hours we were at the beach they literally tore up the road we drove in on and turned our hour and a half trip into four!!  It was a major buzzkill but oh well, lesson learned: always check the gps return trip estimates before selecting a beach on an island with only one bridge on and off.  We made it home just in time to rinse off the sand and have birthday cake for dinner.  After that drive, it might take some convincing to get T.J. to make another trip to the beach anytime soon.  But despite that blow I am hanging on to the sweet memories made in the sunshine with my little beach babes.