My good friend Erika is leaving for a new life in the States after several years in Korea, so we tried to cram in as much as we could during her last couple weeks here in Seoul. During her 4 years in Korea, she never went to a baseball game, and during my 4 months here, I’ve yet to embrace this aspect of korean culture, so last Wednesday we checked out a game with our co-teachers, Luna and Jasmine, who happen to be good friends as well.
sunrise hike to the tune of Buddhist chanting and gongs up to Hyang-il-am temple in Yeosu…perched on a beachside cliff.
Today in my afterschool class, we read a story called, “Invisible Friend”…about a boy and his imaginary friend.
I asked the kids if they had imaginary friends…2 little girls did. One little girl’s friend was thumb-sized and had wings.
I remember my imaginary friend, Shelley. She stuck around probably until I was 7 or 8. Before my parents divorce…and the crazy turmoil that went with it. Bankruptcy, anger, hurt, confusion. Lots of shit. I think I left her at the beach house we moved out of at that time. I don’t remember taking her with me. I guess I left part of my imagination there, too.
Anyways, hearing these innocent little girls talk about their imaginary friends reminded me of how precious this age and imagination is. They are 6. Which means in Korea…that they go to English school all day, learn violin for another hour after school, maybe go to hagwon (intense private afterschools), and maybe come home around 8 or 9 at night. We push them to read, speak English, pay attention..but at the end of the day, they still make time for imagination.
As adults, can we make time for our imaginations? I dare you. I dare myself. 15 minutes to shut your eyes and daydream. I might have lost this for the last…oh I don’t know…18 years…but I’m determined to get it back…
I’ve been having flashbacks of kindergarten and pre-school lately. I’m one of those weird people who remember things that happened when they were 2 years old.
Visited Bongeunsa Temple in the center of Gangnam, Seoul after school last week. My new goal is to explore more after work. I’ve become used to the job and am not nearly as tired as I was at first. In the beginning, teaching kindergarten was so exhausting that I barely had enough energy to go to dinner after work!
The reason I wanted to teach abroad was to travel and explore, so duh…the only answer is to get out and do it! I dragged along 3 friends and we had a great time wandering and taking pictures.
The Buddha at Bongeunsa is supposedly the tallest in Korea. I was in awe and took a seat to meditate for a minute on the beautiful marble floor in front of Buddha. When I took off my shoes and stepped on the marble, I was delighted to find it was warm! Ondol marble floor outdoors in front of Buddha….taking a mental note of that one. This will definitely be one of my top spots to come back and visit during this year in Seoul.
Check out how this beautiful temple is situated right in the middle of crazy urban development (see skyscrapers in the background). Just when I thought again that Korea had lost it’s nature, well it smacks me straight in the face that they do in fact have it right…nature and peace right in the middle of a crazy busy city!