Today for example, both of my classes are not happening because the students have “physical test” day. This of course is coming on the heels of classes being cancelled for “sports day” and the preceeding “practice for sports day”. The amount of classes that have simply been cancelled is staggering.
My co teacher is the one left to teach “supplementry classes”. This has also caused me not to see one of my classes in over a month. To me, that is outrageous and also pretty sad. I don’t remember a single student from that class because it’s been so long.
But that’s how schools here work. Almost nothing is official or set in stone. For example this week, I won’t have class until 1040am tomorrow morning. So now I finally have the time to finish my lesson planning and post.
So the last two posts I believe were about….going to the teaching seminar and music.
Today is about….the Lantern Lotus festival! Well it will be in part-also other things which I have yet to decide.
This past Saturday I went to the Lantern Lotus Festival with Emily and Rob. It’s the first time I’ve seen them in a long long time, but they have been busy with wedding preparations and dealing with Emily’s dog dying.
I will say this-from now on I will only be using public transportation in Seoul. We knew it was going to be crowded but damn. It didn’t take too long to get to Seoul, but I suspect most people had gotten there early on in the day to do all the other activities.
We got there around 330/4 with minimal traffic. I will admit, as strange as this sounds, I have missed being in car. We drove over the bridge into Itaewon which is where the HQ army post is located. Then came the main area-near Gwangju Market. Everyone and their extended family was there.
I had friends who had spent the entire day there, going to cheer rallies and getting lotus lanterns and such. They were also staying for the next day’s activitives.
But with my upcoming weekend in Seoul, and the ever piling laundry, I didn’t want to spend too much time in Seoul.
It took us maybe 45 min to find parking. It was stressful. But once we did, it was in a good spot. We walked to the main drag and found ourselves a second story restrataunt called “Koba”.
We were all starving so we got good old “American food”. It turned out that we ended up having a perfect view of the street and just sat there for the main event: the parade.
I don’t know too much about Buddahism, only a little from my World Religions class in high school, but it was very cool and kind of spiritual watching all the monks walk down the streets. I am guessing this is one of, if not the, holiest day of their year (I could be completely wrong). It was cool to see the full monks, the monks in training, the nuns etc. (Emily explained all of this to me). Buddha’s birthday is techincally next weekend, so I don’t know if this was the “pre” celebration-like kicking off the entrance into a holy time or something (kind of like advent/lent). Like I said, I could be totally wrong, and I’m not trying to offend anyone, but that is my guess. I could google this…..and probably will after I finish this post.
The “king” and “queen” opened the parade and then all of the monks, and lanterns and floats followed.
I think each “temple” had their own monks and then some “parishoners” walking behind them with lanterns. The lanterns were all different, and the people were dressed in traditional garb.
It was a honor and a joy just to sit and watch. It especially got more beautiful as the sun started to go down and the lanterns and floats really started to shine.
After the parade was over, we started to leave the city. Here is where we got so turned around by Emily’s bad GPS. We started out ok, driving past Myeongdong and Namsan (which I finally got to see the N tower at night….so pretty). But then somehow we started making our way over to World Cup area….and then back towards Yeouido….and then towards the olympic park…and then gangnam….basically we did a huge digonal route across Seoul which took at least an hour.
While I generally knew where we were…there wasn’t much I could do because I only knew PT. Driving is a beast in Seoul and I will never do it.
When we finally managed to get out of the city, Route 1 opened up pretty well and we got home at a decent time.
I had not initially wanted to go to Seoul to the festival because I wanted to use the time to relax before next weekend’s craziness (which will posted sometime next week-i have a feeling it might end up really long). But in the end I was really happy I went-next year (hopefully still here and more hopefully in seoul by then) I would like to do the whole day’s activities as well.
I always said, if I wasn’t Chrisitan I’d be Buddhist….or Jewish…
So this weekend coming up….is finally DREAM CONCERT! W and I have been waiting for this for so long. Too long. And too expensive…but once we’re there hopefully…it won’t matter. Saturday is when I will be heading up to Seoul-I’ve already bought my train ticket-knowing how crazy the trains are going to get that weekend. I’m guessing we will be checking into our place (staying in Hongdae this time to be closer to world cup stadium) and then….I have no idea. I do want to try and hit up the dog cafe though! I need me some puppies!
Then that night…..KPOP CONCERT EPICNESS!
The following Sunday-I’m going to try really hard to make it to church-it’s close(ish) so I should be able to do it. And then I think we were going to hit the strawberry festival if we could. If not…I have no idea. Then W is going to the MYNAME concert that night…and I….once again…have no clue.
We will be leaving that monday afternoon-the final day in the three day weekend all thanks to Buddha’s birthday.
It’s actually kind of funny: The final monday in May in America is called “Memorial Day”-it’s where ….acutally i’m not entirely sure but I think it’s suppposed to be in memeorial of all those who have died serving our country (vs vetern’s days who I’m guessing is in honor of those who are still alive). It’s a three day weekend where people can have cookouts because the weather is nice, outdoor pools open up, you can wear white shoes again (the end of that is labor day…i don’t know why), people go to the beach for vacation, there are huge sales, those stores that aren’t having the sale are closed, kids have off of school…basically you could almost say it’s like a celebration of spring/summer.
Either way, I’m used to “having off” (or working my butt off) and having a nice cookout with my family on the deck. I’m the only one that typically makes it a big deal, and I will miss the grilled broccoli, seafood, and potatoes….so I will do my best to find “american BBQ” in seoul…..i don’t know how that will work out but we’ll see.
May is more than halfway over (barely but still). As I have said before, March dragged on, April went by at a decent pace, and now May has progressed much faster than I could have anticipated. Dream concert is finally here! June is almost here-which means my dad will be finishing up his school year and start his summer vacation…lucky. But that also means August is getting closer..when my parents are coming to visit.
I’m excited about it but also sad that I won’t be able to see Logan. I can’t believe I am going year without seeing him. It is very hard and difficult. I’ve already made the decision to visit home during my January break. It will be a shame that it’s in winter but I hope to visit again August 2016 to see Baltimore in summer (and the O’s)!
I think that should do it for this post.
Next time on the Real Black and White Dog Archives of Korea: finally being able to watch Modern family, heat waves, china bff, exercise and the clean eating diet that is killing me….well actually saving me..but killing me.