Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sunday "Hiking"

Around 4:30 a.m. Sunday, we emerge from the noraebang into the late night mess of Daegu's city streets. A thought occurs to me.

"Crap a doodle. I'm climbing a mountain tomorrow."

Rick turns to me. "You are not climbing a mountain tomorrow."

"I so am. I promised Jiny. Besides, I'm not drunk. I'm just tired."

Rebecca says, "I believe in you. You're awesome. You're so climbing a mountain tomorrow."

"Yeah. Yeah, I am."

The next morning I wake up to the alarm at 11:30 a.m. The first thought through my head is I am not going to be one of those friends. You know, the ones who promise to do something and then ditch out at the last second. Rebecca is sleeping on my couch and cheers me on from her comatose state as I get ready for hiking. I hate myself.

I meet Se Jin at the station on time. It's wonderful to see her. I'm glad I came. "I'm so tired." Thank God!

"Me, too! If you want to just go hang around and relax somewhere instead that's fine with me..." Hint, hint.

"No, I want to go to the mountain!" Ok. It was worth a shot. Besides, mountain air is relaxing, right?

After the bus ride out to Donghwasa (which I visited previously when my old camera was on its last legs), I convinced Se Jin to ride the cable car to the top of the mountain. It's like hiking, but with less work. Not that it was terribly difficult to convince someone whose work schedule this month blows more than mine and has insomnia not to climb one of the hardest mountains in Daegu... but still. It was fun. A quick jaunt and we were at the top--with snow!

Too bad it doesn't look quite as beautiful in pictures--can you see the Reunification Buddha down below?

I had already wandered around the temple grounds a couple months ago, so I wasn't really all that excited to do so, but I had my faithful nampyeon.

The temple was decorated with these really colorful lanterns for the New Year.

What a difference a good camera makes.

Check out the wasp's nest under the giant Buddha's hand.

And I always love chatting with a good friend about all my plans for saving the world. Starting with working at an orphanage in Daegu after intensives finish. Turns out Se Jin wants to help--so maybe we will go together.

Isn't she awesome? And isn't this Buddha freaking enormous???

People also left little statues and prayer beads in the gaps of the stone wall surrounding the temple complex.

Tiny Buddhas

To see all of the pictures taken on my fabulous camera (there are some fantastic shots--ignore the fact that I look like crap), check out the album:

Palgongsan and Donghwasa Temple (Winter)

After the "hiking" trip, we grabbed dinner and coffee downtown.

"You know," Se Jin says to me after showing me pictures on her camera she took last week of her family, and I gushed over the cuteness of her nieces and nephews because it's easy to do. "My father asked me the English word for 'daughter' the other day."


"He told me, 'I have five daughters now.' He meant you." Se Jin has three older sisters.

I am close to tearing up--and I can't even explain why. "Tell him I am honored." I am--beyond words I can express to him in Korean. Or English for that matter.


  1. Given the size of the Buddha, that seems like a very big nest entrance. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one that goes around looking at bee and wasp nests. I think it's awesome that you now have a Korean family.

  2. I'm so very glad there are people in Korea to love you, like there are at home, dear.


  3. Eli,

    Heh heh. I thought you might like the wasps' nest. It is quite striking how ridiculously huge it is. No one wants to be the person who has to clean it off, I think. Now it's kind of part of the tour.

    Mom (and Eli, too),

    I am so lucky to have such an amazing Korean family. They're fantastic people and very warm and showing me a side of Korea few foreigners (even the ones living here) get to see. They are why I study Korean so hard...



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