Belated Blog about Buddah's Birthday (in the style of the Bob Loblaw law blog)

So, last Thursday was Buddah's b-day, in case anyone missed it. If you did miss it, I suggest getting a Korean calendar because all the holidays (read: days I don't have to regulate screaming children) are listed in red. My mom has one, so she lets me know if there's a holiday coming up. Like this one, for instance. And, she also told me that virtually every Buddhist temple in Korea (and there are a lot!) has a big lantern festival on said day. So, like any good mother, she made sure that I made plans to celebrate the day off Buddhist style.

After the rare splurge at T.G.I. Friday's with some pals, Cara, Jo, Jenni, and I decided to head up toward Taejosan mountain to Gagwansa Temple. The clouds were brewing overhead, and just as we got off the bus, the rain started coming down. With three out of four umbrella-less, we made our way through town, which was littered with tents and booths selling food and Buddhist paraphernalia. We soon had the appearance of drowned rats, calling more attention to us than the usual "whitey stare". The rain was refreshing, though, and it was still warm out. After a seemingly infinite stair climb, we reached another string of booths. One had some ladies making the paper lanterns that we could see were hanging everywhere up ahead, so we decided to try our hand at making one. The ladies helped us, sometimes losing patience and just doing it themselves, but we ended up with some pretty sweet lanterns. They wrapped them in plastic for us so they wouldn't get wet.

The big Buddah (15 meters high and 60 tons!) loomed ahead and we could see hundreds of pink lanterns strung in front of it. By this time, we were thoroughly soaked, but Buddah drew us closer. We watched as people lit candles and bowed in respect before the giant statue. It was really quite a serene sight. After taking altogether too many pictures of the wet paper lanterns, we jogged over to the temple, where people were streaming in to pray. Three golden Buddahs were in the front of the place and a monk was beautifully chanting and playing a drum. It was so simple and peaceful and reverent.

I swear that Buddhists are some of the nicest people around, because as we headed down the hill toward the town to catch a taxi, an older lady pulled over and waved us into her car. She didn't speak a lick of English, but she saw that we were cold and wet and had pity on us. Not only did she pick us up, but she drove us the entire way back into downtown, about 20 minutes! She even gave us some gummy seaweed candy (it tasted about as good as it sounds). But it was really cool.

After a Chai at Starbucks, we split ways and went home. To top off my great day, as I got off the bus a Korean lady motioned me under her umbrella and walked with me part way home. Buddah was definately shining on me that day. It was good. Thanks, mom.

Pics to come soon....


Pill Popper?

....or secret message giver?

Now you can pass notes in class without any fear of getting caught. Your teacher will just think you're passing amphetamines or some other drug.

I got these for my pals' birthdays. Only in Korea.....


Everything's a target...

...with my new Canon 50mm 1.4 lens.


It's true.

I'd like everyone to know that I have mastered eating birthday cake out of a dixie cup with chopsticks. "What?!", you may say. "That would take some kind of chop-sticks genius!" Well, genius is a pretty strong word. But, if you insist on using it, I can handle it.


Get thee to a nunnery*

Last-last weekend, Julene and I went to Busan upon the invite of some of Julene's nun buddies. I know it seems like a preponderance of convent visits for me recently (does two count as a preponderance?), but, no worries...I'm not planning on signing on. It's just fun. These nuns showed us all around town and were so gracious to us. They didn't even know me, but they extended the invitation to me anyway. And the beach was right there! So I got my little beach fix and got to spend some q.t. with Julene before she left for Africa. (Check out her blog for some of her adventures thus far...)

I conquered Seoul last weekend. Am I weird for actually wanting to go down by myself? Probably. I had to pull some major avoiding to make a solo trip. It seemed like everyone and their brother was going to Seoul last weekend. No, really! Probably %80 of the people I know were there. But there's some sense of adventure that comes when you go to a foreign city alone, and some freedom, too. So, I went down with only one plan: to buy a Canon 50mm f1.4 camera lens. I went to Yongsan, this huge electronics market, to haggle with the many salesmen vying for my money. My haggling skills are not so hot, but I got the guy down to the lowest price I found online, $50 less than where he started. So I was happy.

Afterwards, what to do? The options were endless. I decided to hunt down a Mexican place I had read about in my Lonely Planet guide. But, alas, my taste buds were not appeased; I couldn't find the place. I settled for this 50's diner place, complete with red leather booths and a parking sign reading, "Elvis fans only. All others will be all shook up." I ordered up a burger and a chocolate shake for a little slice of Americana heaven. Sooo good.

After a bit more wandering around, I hopped on the KTX for a quick ride back. All in all, a good trip, especially good with my new lens. I love it. The depth of field is sweet. I need to do this new lens thing more often. Next trip to Seoul = Mexican food! Must....have...Mexican.....

*10 points to whoever can tell me what famous play this is from....