Now that we’ve digitized the photos, I want- ed to find out the stories behind them. I want- ed to know why my father made the choices he made, so I asked him a few questions about that part of our lives. Here’s what he had to say. Peter DeMarco: What brought you to Jeju in 1979? Tony DeMarco: An independent study course for my masters in international studies at Cen- tral Connecticut State University. My adviser, Dr. K.L. Koh, knew I’d been a Korean linguist in the army and had spent a year in Pyeo- ngtaek. He asked me to go to his home is- land of Jeju to begin an exchange relationship teaching English at Jeju National University. In addition, I wanted to do an article for Na- tional Geographic and continue a Korean art business I’d started with four of my buddies. What was your first impression when you arrived in Jeju? You went over first and then we came a couple months later. I was scared and really alone. I felt like I was on a different planet. No one spoke En- glish. Your mom was pregnant with your little brother; I felt really guilty about leaving her and you. My first night there was stormy, cold and dark, and my first meal in Jeju City was something I’ll never forget: I ordered from a picture menu, lobster and octopus, and when they came to my table, both were moving. What did you know about Korea before you went? I’d spent a year as a Korean linguist for the U.S. Army Security Agency in Pyeong- taek at Camp Humphreys. Your mom came a few weeks after I got there in 1972, and because Korea was so primitive then, depen- dents were not a llowed for enlisted men. So we lived off base in Korean-style housing with yeontan (coal briquette heating) and an out- house. It was really hard, but we learned a lot about how Koreans lived back then. What was it like teaching English at Jeju National University? I was really shocked at what I found. The “language lab” was a bunch of broken-down tape machines. Nothing worked. All my stu- dents looked at me as if they’d never heard English. Park Chung-hee was a full dictator by then, and there was a big pro-democracy movement led by academics and students. The Jeju kids, although backward then, were catching on to things, too. Then the massa- cre in Daegu happened and things got really serious, and Park got assassinated. Really turbulent times. Locals in front of choga-jip or Jeju stone house Boxes of fish Housing development pla ns Street festival in Jeju City www.groovekorea.com / August 2014 68 DESTINATIONS Edited by Shelley DeWees (shelley@groovekorea.com) MorE INFo j To see more of Tony’s photos, visit TheNomadWithin.com.