Thursday night we had a sort of calligraphy demonstration, a calligraphy teacher showed us a few tricks and then we were set loose with brushes, ink, and as much paper as we wanted. Some people were able to make very beautiful pieces, with bamboo or flowers or such, but I couldn't even write the kanji I had practiced in my class four years ago in Japan. I was disappointed, but it was still a lot of fun. We all got a souvenir, a very large ceramic cup with an image of a painting the teacher had done for Yonsei university. It's really nice, I just hope I can get it home in one piece.
Yesterday I moved into my new room, and I realized just how much stuff I have. Not quite sure how I'm getting it all home, I may have to mail some stuff back. It's still a little weird having my bed on the opposite side of the room, but I think that everything will go well with my new roommate. *knock on wood*
Today was actually really awesome, despite my initial thoughts to the contrary. I'm absolutely wiped out, but I got really good exercise and a good meal out of it. We had a required programme activity that was originally scheduled for September, but that day ended up raining heavily and we've finally gotten around to doing it. We went to Inwang-san, or "benevolent king mountain" to explore Korean shamanism and geomancy. There are special formations in the mountains that make it one of the most sacred places in Korea, but it's right in the heart of Seoul. We climbed to the top of the mountain, from which you can see all of downtown Seoul, including all of the important government buildings, the blue house (the Korean version of the white house, so called for its bright blue roof), and Gyeongbok-gung palace. Our guide was a tourism professor from Kyung-hee university's Seoul campus, an American who had written several books on the subject of mountains in Korea. I found it amusing that he likened an ancient Korean philosopher to a hippie, but most of the things he told us about the mountain spirits and shrines in the area were quite interesting. When we finished at the mountain our program director took us out for lunch, where we had Dweji Kalbi, a very delicious type of pork ribs. I ate more than I had in weeks, it was so good. I'd eat it more often myself, except it's awfully expensive to make a habit of, about 8000 won on average, around $9.
One of the girls in the programme has her birthday tomorrow, so this evening we had some cake and hung out outside for a while. I think it's finally starting to get chilly here, maybe autumn is actually here, although nearly half of the trees I see are still green. It's weird, of the 18 people on our programme, 6 have november birthdays. In fact, we have three in a row from the 23-25, which conveniently is fri-sun this year. I imagine we'll have fun times with that one...
Guess that's about all for now.
Too Dangerous to go at this alone
- The weekend