Friday, March 6, 2009

christmas, new years, seollal

january 27~

soon after this weekend, it was christmas.
and quite a christmas it was...
i wrote about it before, but now i can put up a few more pictures from the time ginny was here. one day we went into yeouido to meet sunyoung. we hung out at a tea place and chatted over some tasty 치주떡볶이 (cheese ddeokbokki). it made me so happy to be able to finally introduce my girl to my sister in korea.

[im still not exactly sure what possessed us to develop a sympathy for this plastic cow]

december 28~
the following sunday (this is still the weekend after christmas), ginny and i met up with sojin, who had been in portland with us just one year before. in a superior feat of memory power, i managed to locate the tea shop i had been introduced to by youngmin, and it was a lovely spot to sit back and enjoy each other's company.

in a not-so-spectacular defeat of memory, i managed to get us subsequently lost, trying to find a way up to the fortress wall... instead we got stuck below it, and there was no access to the top. it did, however, leave us with a more intimate exploration of the community below the wall which provided us with its own source of curiosity.

[where to go?]

['heh heh.. sorry guys...']

[a random escaped pet bunny cautiously eyeing us]

since i already wrote about much of ginny's time in korea with me (i.e. our trip to haenam), i'll skep ahead a bit...
january 08~
before ginny had to leave to go back to hilo, we took a walk along the suwon fortress wall (this one i was able to more successfully navigate) - it was the same place to which i first visited, seeking solitude back in november when ginny and my long-distance relationship was most fragile and painful. symbolically, it was nice to bring that memory full-circle and visit this place together. the sunset was gorgeous.

[playing with our shadows on the wall]

[suwon city below]

january 17~
it was about a week after ginny left that i got the great news that i had a new job in seoul at hankuk university. shortly thereafter, i got a call from sunyoung with even more good news: our friend hyejeong was in seoul! she was here to take a test for licencing to teach korean as a second language, which she has been doing at a university in daegu to students from china. we arranged to meet up in seoul station on saturday. although we had only a few hours before hyejeong was scheduled to return to her home in daegu, we managed to fit in a dinner and a lot of good talking. not having seen hyejeong for 2 years, i was overflowingly happy.

[권혜정 - hyejeong and sunyoung]

january 23~
as my days in suwon were drawing to a close, i took every opportunity to hang out with fellow teachers and students. one night i planned to meet up with my free talking class. we were a little disappointed when only 2 showed up, but we made the most of it, eating samgyeopsar with soju (actually i drank the soju and got considerably drunker than the other two which caused my mouth to continuously flap embarrassingly, as is typical). we came back to my apartment for more of my rambling, punctuated by a hand or two of gostop. gil and seohee didnt seem to mind, though.
[me, gil, and seohee]

january 26~
the next few days were 설날 ('seolnal'), the lunar new year, one of the two most significant holidays in korea (the other being juseok). wonchul invited me to visit his grandparents again in boseong, and although i wanted nothing more than to go, i decided to stay in suwon, and to begin preparing to move into seoul. on seolnal day, i had become claustrophobic from all the packing and decided to walk around suwon one last time even though the conditions were unfavorable (cold as ever, windy, and snowy). i walked along inside the fortress wall, in the center of the city. all the chops were closed, the owners gone to be with their families. i chose a chain bakery that was still open to plop myself down for a while, away from the cold. i had brought along my laptop and decided to do a little writing, a cup of coffee and small loaf of bread at my elbow.


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