Thursday, February 23, 2017

Village Idiots

Just one short day til I return to the land of my one true love...Belynda's cane!  There's really no reason to be as stoked about a short vacation as I am, and yet I am.  Between doing my current job and looking for another one, I'm pretty well past my tolerance for stress.  So tonight, one last flashback to a calmer, simpler time - my second stint in Korea.
It was during that era that Bronte and I became really good friends.  She'd already taught me how to make sundubu and given me a Korean name, but when I came back to pinch hit for five months, we got to know each other as more than just supervisor and staff.  I got to know that she was every bit as badass as I thought and way more goofy than I imagined - as evidenced by her demonstration for the bed-wetting thing that we saw pretty much as soon as we walked into Min-Seok-Cheon, the traditional folk village.  When she found out I'd never been, we decided a visit was in order, even though it was summer and destined to rain.

She, on the other hand, was discovering the depths of depravity a good little Mormon girl was capable of thinking.  Since this isn't a post about going to Seoraksan and the rest stop we visited on the way back, I'll leave it at that.  You've probably read enough of my posts at this point to know what I mean, anyways.

Min-Seok-Cheon is in Yongin-Si - close to Suji if I remember right, but even with my memory I couldn't find my way back there at this point.  Blame it on Bronte taking the lead...normally ten years wouldn't matter, I could do it blindfolded with one arm tied behind my back.  We're now living in the age of Google Maps, anyways, so my abilities aren't as necessary as they once were.

Anyways, we went out to the folk village in spite of rain, because it was the two of us on an adventure, and what's a little rain between friends?  Well, I'll tell you what it is - a terrible time to visit the folk village.  Normally there is all sorts of pageantry and stuff, with people wearing festival-level costumes.  Instead, we mostly had to amuse ourselves.

Which admittedly was not a problem.  We probably got a few dirty looks along the way - I'm not sure that you're actually supposed to climb on the great stone turtle - but I rarely let a little disapproval stop me.

One thing we did get to do was throw a pot.  Korea has a great ceramic tradition, and there was a little studio where you can use a potter's wheel and make a bowl.  Being a certified art teacher and all, I've done that before, and didn't feel like I really needed to do it again, but Bronte hadn't, so she tried it out.  When she was finished, the ahjjushi took it off the wheel and got her address so it could be delivered after it had been fired.  

Besides performances and the pottery, there were traditional houses and displays about traditional Korean life.  There were restaurants, too, but for some reason I don't think we ate there.  We did stop for tea before we left; I may have been getting over a cold, since I seem to think I got a citron tea.  Or maybe it was just because the rainy weather made me want a hot tea.

Walking around a soggy folk village may not seem that dreamy, but it was all about the company, and that was true of so much of my time in Korea.  It seems like there was always something going on in Seoul, but that wasn't what made it the experience that it was for me.  Instead, it was walks down the street and eating at kimbap shops and really, just spending time with friends.  I've got things to do when I'm there over the next five days, but it was those ordinary, everyday moments that made me love living there.

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