As our time in Korea draws to a close, Leslie and I have been trying hard to experience as much of this country as possible before we leave in July.
A few weeks ago was Buddha's Birthday, and Korea being a traditionally Buddhist country, pulled out all the stops to celebrate. Large portions of the city were covered with brightly colored lotus lanterns that were illuminated at night. There were parades, fireworks, and an entire street downtown was blocked off and used as a festival area. There was traditional dancing, food, and music. Leslie and I made some traditional prayer bracelets, but Leslie's kept breaking. (Bad Karma?) Mine held up just fine. We also tried our hand at traditional watercolor painting, but this time Leslie came out on top, as anyone who knows my artistic skills could already have predicted. The Korean instructor didn't even spend time helping me, but simply gave me the paint and wooden block and never returned. I think she knew I was a lost cause from the beginning.
It was great to experience some traditional Korean culture. It is something that is often difficult to do in the ever modernizing, late night partying Seoul.
Besides Buddha's Birthday, Korea has this other amazing holiday called Teacher's Day, a holiday that I would have probably conveniently forgotten about until this year. Due to a overly generous Teacher's Day present, Leslie and I were fortunate to able to attend a World Cup exhibition match between Korea and Ecuador, at Seoul's historic World Cup Stadium.
The game was wild, filled with 65,000 half drunk Korean fans. Sitting next to us were three grandmothers all yelling and eating a seemingly endless supply of candy. One of them got so excited about a play that she jumped out of her seat and her shoe flew into the row below us. Now you may think that we might have been concerned about our personal safety with shoes flying everywhere and all, but thankfully the authorities had surrounded the entire Stadium with a ring of police officers, in case these sugar-crazed grandmas got out of control.
Our time in Korea has gone by quickly and we only have about six weeks left in our teaching contract. We made what should be our last run to Costco a few days ago, which was quite a milestone for us. It shows how close we are to leaving. Thank God for Costco, that's all I have to say! It really has been a lifesaver, and its hot dogs are just as delicious as back home.
Well, that's the news from Seoul at the moment. Hopefully we will post some picture soon.