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I've spend Autum and Winter in Korea and a tiny bit of Summer, everytime I was amazed by the changed, the most amazing -to me- was from Summer to Autum, the city changed from green to Yellow in the blink of an eye but then Winter came to fast, from Yellowish-reddish to Dead and brown, we had very little snow in Seoul, I was expecting lots of snow but that never happened, it might be a good thing because I don't think I was ready for huge amounts of snow.
And today, I realized Spring was just around the corner, flowers are blooming, fruits are getting a bit cheaper, not everyone is wearing 20 layers of clothes and Hot Americanos are being changed for ICED Americanos.
I know most people who have been in Korea for a long time feel annoyed by that Seasons question, but I'm new here and I'm enjoying the changes way too much^^, those are the kind of things we should enjoy, hopefully you are doing it too and you are not waiting until a Viral video with a baby girl enjoying it tells you to do it....
I guess today was a good day, I came back from Kiki's with a box full of Seaweed lol.
Korea’s most famed temple: Bulguksa Temple.
Hello Again Everyone!!
The very first temple I ever visited in Korea way back in the fall of 2003 was Bulguksa Temple in Gyeongju. Korea today is very different than Korea from even a year ago, so you can imagine just how much change has gone on over the course of ten years. Not much was known about Korea. This was before Facebook, Twitter, and the regular supply of most western foods. Back then there were only a couple English channels on TV, and Costco only existed in North America. So suffice is to say, I didn’t know all that much about Korean temples, or even about the famed Bulguksa Temple at that point in time. So when my roommate asked me if I wanted to go to Gyeongju on Saturday and see the beautiful Bulguksa Temple, I first said what’s that? Then when I found out it was perhaps Korea’s most famous temple, I jumped at the opportunity.
Before I had a car, I would take buses to better known temples throughout the Korean peninsula. Now that I have a car, I can go to lesser known temples; but back then, I had to rely on the Korean transportation system, which is one of the best in the world, to get me to these beautiful Buddhist temples throughout Korea.
So making our way to the Nopo-dong Bus Terminal in northern Busan from our centrally located apartment, the three of us headed out. Somehow, our strange co-worker had invited himself to go to Gyeongju with us. It wasn’t much of a problem, because we would have Bulguksa Temple to distract us. The hour-long bus ride from Busan to Gyeongju went rather smoothly for three newly landed teachers. In a bit of confusion, we were able to find the bus that ran its way up to the temple from the bus terminal. It was the first time I really got a good look at Korea outside of Busan.
Dabotap Pagoda: Just one of the sites we were looking forward to at Bulguksa Temple.
When we finally arrived at the large temple parking lot, we made our way up to the temple with a lot of anticipation, or so I thought. I knew I was really excited, as the ticket booth finally came into view; so I thought my companions were, as well. And I was right, at least in part. My friend, who I am still friends with to this day, was the first to pay the entrance fee. He was followed a close second by me. Then the two of us just stared at the third member of our party.
We asked, “Aren’t you coming with us to see the temple?”
“No, the admission fee is too much.”
The two of us just looked at each other and then at him. This guy had spent over two hours traveling. He had paid who knows how much in bus fare; and suddenly, the 3,000 won entrance fee (at least in 2003) was too much?
“But you came all this way. Don’t you want to see it?” I asked.
“Nah…I’ll just wait for you guys out here.” And he just wandered off towards the parking lot without looking back.
Even looking back on it ten years later, I still can’t believe someone would travel that distance and pay all that money in bus fare just to wander around the Bulguksa Temple parking lot. What didn’t come as a surprise is that the same guy was fired six months later from our hagwon for being a bit strange.
What was missed at Bulguksa Temple.
If you don't know who K Jin is, you've clearly not followed ny blog sincd 2010 lol, I met K Jin on my 1st trip to Korea back in december '10; she was one of the blovgers invited on that trip, she is Korean but she was living in Ireland, in fact, she hasn't been living in Korea since 2008-2009 (sorry inside joke), she has lived in several countries and moved to Japan over a year ago with her boyfriend, last year we met again in Tokyo before our workcamp aaaand before leaving for Korea, ever since we've been in a bit more contact with each other (she isnt very good with technology).
We then met her again in Tokyo in December^^ and told us she might come to Korea later that month, and she didnt but she couldnt meet us :(
Just a week ago she said she was coming to Korea and we met tonight for dinner and KARAOKE!!!!, we'e done karaoke together before (in japan) but we all sucked BIG time. Tonight we went for some Chicken and Beer (minus the beer because she had a tooth removed on saturday lol), somehow we always end up having the most random conversations like: If GDragon ask you to marry him and have a 4some with Youngbae and Seungri, will you do it? LOL!
After dinner we went to a 노래방 to do some singing, we sucked a little bit less but I had LOTS of fun and then we did the usual "Goodbye ritual" meaning: we went to the closest avenue and stood at the corner to talk for another hour.
It was very nice seeing her again, this time in her country (finally!)
So K Jin, if you are reading this, I hope you go back go blogging!!
Eo Mujeok (魚無迹/魚無跡/魚無赤, 어무적, ?-?) was a Chosun Dynasty poet that lived during the late 15th and early 16th centuries. He was of the Hamjong Eo Clan (咸從魚氏, 함종어씨); his courtesy name (字, 자) was Jambu (潛夫, 잠부); and his pen name (號, 호) was Nangseon (浪仙, 낭선). His father, Eo Hyoryang (魚孝良, 어효량, ?-?), was of the aristocratic Yangban (兩班, 양반) class and was a literati bureaucrat; however, his mother was a government maidservant slave (官婢, 관비) and the laws of that time dictated that Eo Mujeok be born into the slave caste (賤民, 천민). He received education from his father, eventually became a freeman (免賤, 면천), and served for some time in a low ranked bureaucratic post. In 1501, Eo Mujeok petitioned Prince Yeonsan (燕山君, 연산군, 1476-1506, r. 1494-1506) to follow the Confucian ideals of governance demanding that the monarch: straighten out the country’s foundations, foster Confucian scholars, prohibit female musicians and entertainers, ban alcohol, outlaw Buddhism, and stop the construction of forts. His petition was, however, dismissed without reply. Throughout his works, he frequently wrote about commoners’ plight as he too had an impoverished life. He was also so renowned for his poetry that his works were well known in Ming Dynasty China.
Lamentations of Vagrant People
O, the hardships of the green lives! O, the hardships of the green lives!
Since the year has been poor, you all have no food.
I have the heart to help you,
But I have not the power to help you.
Green • lives • hardship • green • lives • hardship
Year • famine • you • to not have • food
I • to have • to aid • you • heart
But • to have not • to aid • you • strength
- 蒼生(창생) – Literally “green lives.” Refers to “common people.”
O, the toils of the green lives! O, the toils of the green lives!
The weather is cold, but you all have no blankets.
They have the power to help you,
But they have not the heart to help you.
Green • lives • pain • green • lives • pain
Weather • cold • you • to have not • covers
They • to have • to aid • you • strength
But • to not have • to aid • you • heart
- 彼(피) – “They.” Refers to those in power.
I would like to turn the stomach of a mean person,
For a moment pursue the thoughts of an exemplary man;
For a moment borrow the ears of an exemplary man;
And attempt to listen the words of the mean people.
To want • to turn over • mean • person • stomach
Briefly • to pursue • exemplary • man • thoughts
Briefly • to borrow • exemplary • man • ears
To attempt • to hear • mean • people • words
- 小人(소인) – “Mean person” or “base person.” Refers to someone lowly and vulgar, in contrast to the Confucian ideal of a exemplary person (君子, 군자).
The mean people have things to say; but the King does not know.
This year, all the green lives have lost their places.
Although from the Northern Palace, they slip edicts worrying about the commoners,
In the counties and prefectures, they only see it as one empty paper.
Mean • people • to have • words • King • not • to know
Today • year • green • lives • all • to lose • places
Northern • palaces • although • to slip • to worry • people • edicts
Counties • prefectures • only • to see • one • empty • paper
- 北闕(북궐) – Refers to the Gyeongbok Palace (景福宮, 경복궁), Changdeok Palace (昌德宮, 창덕궁), and Gyeongheui Palace (慶熙宮, 경희궁).
- 州縣(주현) – Refers to the countryside, outside the capital.
Even if a specially dispatched capital bureaucrat to inquire about the commoners’ complaints,
Rode a post horse and for one day galloped three hundred li (里, 리),
Our people have no strength to leave the confines of their doors;
With what free time can they face to give testimony about their heart’s inner affairs?
Specially • to dispatch • capital • bureaucrat • to ask • people • nuisance
Post horse • to ride • day • to gallop • three • hundred • li
Our • people • to not have • strength • to leave • door • limits
What • leisure • to face • to talk • heart • inner • affairs
- 民瘼(민막) – Inconveniences to the general public.
- 里(리) – Li is a unit measuring distance. 1 li is about 393 meters (0.24 miles). 300 li is about 118 km (73 miles).
Supposing if in one county there was one capital bureaucrat,
The capital bureaucrat has no ears and the people have no mouths;
They cannot call forth Geup Hoiyang (汲淮陽, 급회양),
And be able to save the not-quite dead lonely remnant people.
Even if • even if • one • county • one • capital • bureaucrat
Capital • bureaucrat • to not have • ears • people • to not have • mouths
To not • to be like • to call • forth • Surname • name • name
Not yet • dead • lonely • remaining • still • to be able • to save
- 汲淮陽(급회양) – Refers to Ji An (汲黯, 급암, Geup Am, ?-112 BC). He was a near-legendary literati bureaucrat in charge of remonstrances and petitions to the Emperor (諫臣, 간신) during the reign of Emperor Wu (漢武帝, 한문제, Hanmuje, 156-87 BC, r. 141-87 BC) of Han Dynasty (漢, 한, Han, 206 BC-220 AD). His last bureaucratic position was as the Minister of Huaiyang (淮陽太守, 회양태수) and hence his name in the poem. To get a sense of how severely he remonstrated the Emperor and why Eo Mujeok looked up to him, here is a passage from the Record of the Grand Historian (史記, 사기) about the minister:
The Son of Heaven (Emperor) at that time invited literary scholars, and the Emperor said, “I want so and so.”
黯對曰: “陛下內多欲而外施仁義, 柰何欲效唐虞之治乎!”
암대와: “폐하내다욕이외시인의, 내하욕교당우지치호!”
Ji An replied, “Your Highness on the inside has many [selfish] desires but on the outside bestows benevolence and righteousness. How can you intend to emulate governance of Masters Taotang (陶唐氏, 도당씨, Dodangssi) and Youyu (有虞氏, 유우씨, Yu’ussi)!”
- 唐虞(도당) – Refers to Emperors Yao (堯, 요, Yo) and Shun (舜, 순, Sun) from the 23rd and 22nd centuries BC. They are considered the role model monarchs in Confucianism.
上黙然, 怒, 變色而罷朝. 公卿皆爲黯懼. 上退, 謂左右曰: “甚矣, 汲黯之戇也!”
상묵연, 노, 변색이파조. 공경개위암구. 상퇴, 위좌우왈: “심의, 급암지당야!”
The Emperor became silent, became angered, [his face] became discolored, and dismissed the court. All the high ministers viewed Ji An with fear. The Emperor left, called his left-and-right-hand attendants, and said, “That was severe, Ji An’s tactlessness!”
In case you're just tuning in, check out Part 1 & Part 2 before reading this.
It's been one week.
How can I even begin to write this?
Last Monday, February 17th will forever be etched on my heart.
Because... you see... that's the day I talked to HER!
I got the email from my case worker with HER name.
With HER contact information.
What did I do with that?
Well, I tried to go through the proper channels and contact my social worker so she could set up a time for me to call HER, but I tried calling three times and couldn't get through. I had waited 29 years. I couldn't wait anymore. So I did what any millennial would do...
That's right. I texted her...
Can you feel the nervous anticipation in the above picture? There is my first message to her, and the little bubble with (...) means SHE is typing a message to me! Can you imagine how breathless that wait was? Soon I would have answers. Soon I would again feel the connection again.
Now before you judge me for texting her- let me explain...
I knew she was probably at work, and I got a little impatient. I wanted to connect with her before I went to bed, but didn't want her to get a call from me at work!! No, no no!
So I texted her.
We chatted for about 30 mins via text and set the time for me to make THE CALL. We made it for 7:35 am Korea time since she (being in the US) would be getting off work.
I think I got about an hour of sleep that night. My alarm went off and I jolted wide awake and out of bed- totally not normal behavior for me. I took my pillow, blanket and computer to my yoga room and laid down on the floor. I took a few deep breaths and tried to pull myself together. I opened Skype and typed in HER number with unsteady fingers. Why was it taking so long to input an 11 digit number!?
Me, being the obsessive person that I am, turned on the voice memo app on my iPhone to record our first convo. I wanted to remember everything- every single breath and every tear. Then... I hit the "Call" button. This is what happened...
What a totally Earth shaking experience. Her voice was so lovely, and so familiar. We talked and cried together... it really was a beautiful thing. We were on the phone for about 3.5 hours!
She told me about her life. She told me about my full biological sister that was born a year after me... She told me that my sister knew about me... She told me that when they would say prayers every night they would pray for me and send me their love. She told me that my sister would kiss her baby doll and say "Goodnight sister" to me. She told me... that... my sister succumbed to cancer when she was only 6 years old...
Now, I had known this since the previous week- the case worker told me. I have cried and grieved for ever since I found out. For my beautiful little sister Jessica... and for HER too.
We talked about my life growing up and my adoptive family. We talked about a whole other LARGE family that I have that I never knew about- aunts, uncles, cousins, a grandmother. I also have a half brother and half sister from my father!! They don't all know about me yet, but are slowly finding out. My parents are no longer together and have been separated for some time but they are getting together tomorrow to discuss all of this and going to tell my grandmother that I exist. She's the one I wrote about before that is from Colombia! Can you imagine her utter shock!?
Since our conversation over the phone we have been texting non-stop! We've sent lots of photos to each other, but I don't feel like I should put recent photos on here to protect her privacy... this situation is still relatively new for everyone. But I will once everything is settled down a bit.
|HER in the early 90's! Love the hair, love the red, love everything!|
|Me with the blonde afro I've had for basically all of my life and my sister Mollie.|
It's such an interesting situation I am in. I feel like we should be "strangers"... we just only met a week ago. But I feel like I have always known her. In so many ways she understands me better than I've been understood before. This is in part because we share so many personality traits. It's really surreal to be understood so well by a person you have just met. It all comes natural. There is nothing forced.
As with so many things in my life, this whole journey has been blessed and put into place by a higher power. Example: The agency actually had been trying to get a hold of HER by phone, but they kept leaving very vague messages on her machine. She wasn't sure exactly who they were and was skeptical to call them back. Then, they wrote her a letter. The letter... was dated.. the anniversary of my sister Jessica's death. *the signs*
The timing has also been impeccable. We are leaving Korea for good in one week. We will be doing a road trip through the entire US from California to West Virginia. It's been planned for months that we will be driving through all the southern states... where she just so happens to live.
I never imagined that a single phone call could give me so much.
I have this amazing person that gave me the gift of life. She loved me so much that she did the hardest thing a woman can do to give me a better life. She is so loving and so open to me. She is so considerate and kind. In addition to this most precious gift I have also gained or rather, discovered, all of these other people in her family that love me too. It truly is like discovering buried treasure.
I have about 3 weeks until I can meet her and give her that long awaited hug! How am I going to wait!? I'm actually really super nervous about it.
My life is about to get a whole lot different.
So many new horizons ahead. I need to just stay focused on those horizons. If I start to look back at the past, I rob myself of both the present and the future. I can't do that... I've come so far!
Thank you so much for all of your calls, texts, and messages. It's been so wonderful to be surrounded by such love. I believe that all the prayer and positive energy being sent to this situation has gone so far to help on so many levels.
Never live your life wondering...
Knowing and abiding in the truth is always better that hiding in fear and denial.
Step out in hope~
Live your life
The Empowered Way
A Word To Adoptive Parents:
I know I have friends out there that recently have adopted babies. It might be hard for you to read my 3 most recent posts. I get that. But please, let your child know where they came from. Be honest and open with them. Giving adopted children a stable and loving home is simply not enough. They need to have time to grieve for the loss of their biological family. Yes- even if they were infants when they were adopted. Please read the book "The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child" by Nancy Newton Verrier and understand what is going on inside of them, you simply have no idea.
Sigh~ As the comic illustrates, my first attempt at taking the driving test did not end with happy news. At least I learned quite a bit, though I can’t say I agree with everything that went down.
When taking the driving test, at least where I took it, whoever is behind the wheel is expected to follow directions from an electronic voice in the car. The good news is that this can be done in English, though some of the wording can be a little awkward. There is a proctor who will sit in the car to keep and eye on your every move, but they will usually stay silent throughout most of the ride. Of course, that may have something to do with the fact that many of them don’t speak much English.
I’m not sure just how badly I did, as there were so many different things I lost points for. The biggest, most confusing thing that made me lose a lot of points was not putting my car in neutral when stopped at a red light. WHY IS THIS A THING?! I’ve also heard of people losing points for turning their heads to check their blind spots, which I didn’t do too often. What ultimately made me fail was running a hidden red light at a cross walk that was impossible to until it was too late. I know for a fact that this red light has failed MANY people at this particular DMV. Tricky stuff!
The worst part? If you fail, you can’t take the test again for three days. Bleh. I’m still not sure why the machine kept saying “beeper”, though I think it might have something to do with the GPS in the car.
Got any questions, comments, or maybe even some delicious cookies you want to send through the internet? Feel free to contact us at dearkoreacomic at gmail dot com.
You can also leave comments on the comic’s Facebook Page!
Lousy me was unable to blog last night after getting home from Sokcho but I'm here now!
I met DaeJun and his wife almost a year ago in Mexico city, I met them when they were still daiting^^, we only met once but kept in contact on Facebook, we've been meaning to meet since we arrived in Korea but for some reason it didn't happen and a couple of months ago I was invited to their wedding(btw, they got married in Mexico about a month after I met them).
The wedding was held in Sokcho, about 3 hours away from Seoul and we were actually invited to spend the weekend there, I was looking for to spend a couple of days there but due to Oppa's sis' wedding and compromises on monday we had decided not to go :( but Daejun messaged me and insisted me to go, he said a free bus would pick us up in Seoul and the same bus would take us back on sunday, he said we should go because there would be Free drinks and FREE food!!!(his words!), I was going to go with my sister and after getting Daejun's approval we decided to invite our frien Sally.
Sally is the coolest vietnamese18 y/o that I know (also the only one lol), this was her 1st wedding in Korea and even asked us what to wear, we told her weddings here are not as Fancy and you are not required to dress up but she didnt listen, she askes her teacher what to wear and ended up being the only one with Formal wear and heels (lol),I guess she also didnt check the weather in Sokcho and had no idea about the snow there... Oh Sally!, next time you should listen to your Unnies hehe.
Early morning on sunday we went to Konkuk Univ. station to catch the bus, when we got on the bus we were the only foreigners there so that got us getting stared at but still people was very nice, each one got a Kimbab roll, Rice cake, a bottle of watter, tangerines and coffee, there was also a mini fridge with Beer and Soju (the wedding could've been right there!), on the seat in front of us the sweatest lady was wondering what planet we came from; luckily for us, Sally was there to explain we met the couple in Mexico and thats how we were invited to the wedding.
It took a bit more than 3 hours and 2 bathroom stops to get there and when we finally did, we stood in the middle of the crowd looking awkward and wondering what was going on until the groom arrivednd came to say Hi (ㅎㅎㅎ), I had been told another Mexican friend (Adrian) of a friend (Pedro) was coming and he indeed came. Adrian arrived with
Yuki and Kizu (both koreans) and were soon refered to the spot we were at (lol), soon after the introductions the wedding ceremony started, the Hall was a mix of Fancyness with lots of cheesynes (???), the groom was wearing a suit and the bride a white princess~like dress. The parents were wearig Hanboks (love them!) and the most of the invitees (lol ~ FRIENDS reference) were sporting snickers^^
It was a short ceremony, with bows, vows and a song written by the bride (awww cuties!) and then it was Picture time but we didnt wait for it because well... we didnt want them looking at their pics wondering who were we (lol 4realz), instead we ran to the buffet (shame on us!). I would like to tell ya what we ate but Sally and I had no shame and had a bite of almost EVERYTHING plus ice cream, fruits, cake and sweet tteok.
When we were getting the ice cream i had the scope and a lil girl got shocked and turned to me to tell me the Ice cream I was getting was SOJU! ~ I guess I DO look young after all hahahaha, I had to let her know I was old enough to have an alcoholic ice cream (*^▽^*)
We ate in a hurry because the bus back to Seoul was scheduled at 3:30 (we had about 1 hour to eat), at 3:30 we were hurrying to the exit and we met the couple just in time to thank them for the amazing experience lol, there were people at the buffet asking us if we had eaten well^^
We rode the bus and a bit after 3:30 we were on our way to Seoul or so we thought, until the bus stopped close to the beach and we were told we had 30mins to do whatever we wanted (yaaaaay!), we got off and took pics by the snow mountains, sally and I had a tiny snow fight and then we all went to the beach to take more selcas (We are the SELCAS Pros), sally had to take off her heels and froze at the beach.
At 4:30 we finally were on our way to Seoul, people were still drinking on the bus and having snacks, after the restroom stop (around 6pm) the lady in front took the beers and got us all drinks and snacks ~the Party isnt over until its over~ and finally after LOTS of traffic and tunnels we made it to Seoul around 8pm but before that Lady snacks (lets call her that ok?) gave us more bottled water to take home and picked up everyones garbage, she was what I call THE PERFECT AUNTIE ㅋㅋㅋㅋ.
We still had about an hour long subway ride and by 9 we nade it home, I shared a ramen with my sis (dont judge me!) and went to bed with my friend Chocopie (shhhhhhh) but ended up falling asleep without eating it because of the headache.
At 2am I woke up feeling refreshed and rested lol it was awesome realizing I stilk had 5 more hours to sleep, thwn I woke up at 4am, 4:30, 6:00 and 6:55. When my alarm went off at 7 I felt I needed more sleep lol u_u.
Have you guys been to a lot weddings?, In Mexico my family used to go to a lot of weddings when I was little but as an adult I never went to onev funny how I get more wedding invitations in Korea.