Monday, April 7, 2008

In the flow

I had a break-through this weekend. Something just clicked into place and I finally started to feel really comfortable here. I wasn't worried about getting around or stuck somewhere without knowing what to do. I feel as though I know enough Korean to be able to find my way home, eat, and just generally get along. I've found my flow. Of course I might be lost again soon...but for now things are good.

We went to Gyeongju this weekend to see the cherry blossoms. Gyeongju was the seat of the Silla Dynasty which ruled at least part of the Korean penninsula for close to a millenium. The modern city is build around the ancient one so it is sprinkled with numerous tombs, temples, pagodas, gardens, and buddah statues. Jason and I first went to Gyeonju in early February and liked it there immediately. It's so clean and full of beautiful historical relics. It was even prettier this weekend with spring in full force. We went to Bulguksa temple and Bomun lake.

If you'd like to read more on the Silla Dynasty here's a link to wiki...

On Sunday morning I attended my niece Violet's birthday party over skype. I was able to watch her sing happy birthday to herself with her cousins (she's two!). I saw her older sister Ava try to take over her presents and her cousin Ben scold Ava for overstepping her bounds. Ava and Ben are three. :) Abby entertained me with horse sounds and I got to see my new niece Amelia for the first time. She's a real cutie. I love being able to see everyone while I'm over here.

Later on Sunday Jason and I went to Busan. Jason finally got a real camera after five years of waiting since his last one was stolen. Our pictures are going to get much better from here on out - or at least they'd better.

We took the train to Gyeongju and Busan and I have to say it's my favorite way to travel. I don't get car sick, I can stretch my legs out in front of me, and I don't have to worry about getting into an accident like I do when I take the bus. The bus drivers are crazy here. I even got into a fight with one of them...but that's a story I'll tell you in person some day. :)

The road to Bulguksa.

more Magnolia trees...

The main temple of Bulguksa.

Does anyone else think it looks like someone drew a fake mustache on this guy?

I love the ceilings of the temple buildings here. They're like a kaleidoscope full of brightly painted intricate patterns.

Korea's universal sign of love - the kids put their hands together in the shape of a heart. The kids ask me all the time, "Teacher - you and Jason?" and then they put their hands in the shape of a heart. When I say, "Yes." They all crack up and hide their giggles behind their hands.

brooms still in use...

Stacking rocks in this manner is a buddhism ritual - reminiscent of pagodas I believe.

Bring on the nirvana!

...another peaceful swastika

Rubbing this golden boar is supposed to bring good luck and many germs.

I got this sweet ajuma hat from the vendors at the temple. An ajuma is a married Korean woman. Usually this means that they're older, with permed hair, wear a comically large sun visor, and have a big behind.
An ajuma at work.

This is the interesting restaurant we had dinner at on Saturday. It reminded me of the smurfs from the outside and the fraggles on the inside.

After dinner we walked around Bomun Lake and watched the sun set.

What the.....?

Oh...a giant swan boat - now I understand.

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