Annyeonghaseyo from Taejosan!

Real quick past couple days:

Thursday, right after work I went to the language group. I didn’t have anything on me because I forgot my bag, but I still learned some stuff. Afterward Chang-ki took me to eat with his friend Chun-hi. They met three years ago when she gave him her number at church. I asked how they met and she just started laughing really hard. I think she was embarrassed. We had jjigae, which is basically stew. The kind we had was called “army stew” because it’s just a random mish mash of shit. It had Spam and hotdogs in it (which they called ham and sausage – No Koreans, that’s not ham or sausage). Still good though.

Friday I went to the other elementary school nearby, Osang. I taught four classes and went home. The best student was a kid with muscular dystrophy named Ton Gyun. Broke my goddamn heart. His mother wheeled him in, and my instinctive reaction was “Don’t stare” so I turned away. Then I was like “Well fuck, I can’t ignore him” so when I went through introductions, I asked him his name first. He had a really small voice, too, so he was hard to hear. After we read the story, I wanted to play a game, but I sure as hell couldn’t play Pictionary and expect him to take part, so I opted for Hangman. He got one of the words and I was happy for him. A small victory for someone who’s got one of the shittiest imaginable lives. I can’t imagine being trapped in a useless body like that. It really made me feel awful.

After I finished, I called Mr. Lee and he told me everyone was busy, so I couldn’t get a ride back. The teacher I worked with (also named Jane) showed me a bus stop nearby and I took that home. Found Mr. Lee and he invited me to his house for samgyeopsal and to meet his entire family. His oldest son was finally out of the hospital and back to normal and his oldest daughter was down for the weekend from Seoul National University. It was a great dinner. Ate until I was stuffed. Also, coming from a family that’s just my mom and I, it was really different sitting down to eat with six other people. It’s just totally different. I’d never eaten a family dinner like that.

Today all I had scheduled was mountain climbing. Chang-ki and I tried inviting other people, but no one else seemed interested, so it was just the two of us. I kind of preferred that anyway. He picked me up at 10:30 AM. We stopped to buy food for a picnic at the top at several places, and got to the mountain around noon. The place was called Taejosan (Taejo Mountain) Pics from the parking lot (which was 1000 won [90 cents] for all day):

Honestly, by the end of the day, I think I had been to to the top of most of the peaks you can see in these pictures. It took maybe 45 minutes to an hour to get to the top. Once you got there, it was pretty easy between peaks, but getting up there was the tough part. It didn’t take long before I was sweating pretty bad. Total up and down was about three hours including our lunch and some picture taking in the park at the bottom of the mountain.

Pretty close to the bottom of the mountain. The path didn’t stay paved for long. I’m going to omit a couple pictures that are duplicates and some from the first peak, since the trees made it really difficult to really see anything. So, these are the good pictures from the final peak:

Chang-ki: Too baller for Victory signs or smiling.

Our picnic at the top. Water, soju, mokju (beer), kimbap (basically rice, a little meat, and vegetables wrapped in seaweed – as close as you get to sushi here. Think California roll), and the meat from pigs’ feet. I’d never had pigs’ feet before. It was really good. It didn’t have any particular flavor. Just good pork meat.
Funny conversation at the top:
Chang-ki: So, do you have much experience climbing mountains? How many times?
Me: Counting this time?
Him: Yes.
Me: Hrm… twice.
I had to explain to him that Ohio is very flat, so mountain hiking isn’t nearly as popular there. On the way down we ate oranges as we walked.
Spring is on the way.
You can find Konglish even in the mountains. Should be “well-being”.
This is the Cloud Bridge. Walking across it I discovered it had a lot more sway and give in it than I was used to. Not terribly disconcerting, but a little.
From the Cloud Bridge. This ship is apparently a restaurant.
This sculpture is Transforming Cycles. They are cycles that transform.
Small lake near the parking lot.
Random post-Korean war era planes etc… at a small park in between all the mountains.
Another funny conversation after I took this picture:
Me: (reading the plaque) Myeong? Like ‘noodle’? (Korean words often pull double duty, for instance ‘il’ is one, day, and work, ‘pal’ is arm and eight – context is everything.)
Chang-ki: No, that’s ‘myeon’. This means like people.
Me: Oh, so this plane can hold four people.
Him: Yes.
Me: This plane holds four noodles.
The last of the military etcs. After this, we pretty much went home. Then I came to DnD to post all about it. I think the rest of the weekend will be much less active. All I have planned for tomorrow is going to the language meet up. Lastly, I apologize for all the italics halfway through. My computer spazzed and try as I might, I couldn’t get anything to un-italicize no matter how I highlighted for Ctrl+I’d.

One Response to “Annyeonghaseyo from Taejosan!”

  1. Beautiful view. I like that you have the tags “kimbap” and “mountain” next to each other. You know what kind of day it was just reading that. Our spring is at the same time, cool.

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