Friday, August 1

Day 23

Wednesday was such a peaceful kind of day!  Class was a bit tough, though.  We learned different types of transportation (which I already knew from studying before I came to Korea) and how to ask for and give directions.  I also learned that it is an advantage to have "blocks" on our streets in the US.  They do not have "blocks" here in Korea, so giving directions is a bit more difficult!

After language class, I met up with my language exchange partner and her two other exchange partners from previous years for lunch at Jummies.  They were both doing a year program and I was so jealous of their Korean--it was so good!  I feel even more motivated to learn Korean now that I've taken this program.  I am definitely going to set up a plan to continue learning this language and about the culture.  There's just something so peaceful and homey, yet hip and youthful about Korea.  

Anyways, we chose to buy a cheddar and bacon pizza, which was delicious and a sweet potato pizza (which had sweet potatoes, pinneapple, onion, and mustard on it).  The sweet potato pizza would have been delicious, but I had a bit of a hard time enjoying the mustard on the pizza haha.

After lunch, I ran over to Daehung station to meet up with my group that was going to the Buddhist Temple.  We first took the subway, then got on the bus.  I love how easy transportation is here.  All I have to do is to add money onto my T-Money card either at ANY convenience store/booth or at the machines in the subway.  The card can then be used for the subway, buses, and taxis!  I like that I don't have to take cash out each time I take a different type of transportation.  I do miss driving a little, but it's so nice just walking everywhere!  Even when you take the subway, you have to walk all through the station and climb/descend the stairs.  I feel very healthy here between the food and exercising!

When the bus dropped us off, we started hiking up this very steep hill for a good 10 minutes and then Nicola teacher turns around and says that the "trekking" is now starting--so the intense hill hiking didn't even count!  The "trek" was also not a was climbing up a mountain haha.  We spent about 20 minutes climbing a mountain in order to get to the Temple.

After taking pictures and climbing the mountain, we were told we could try a drink of tea at the entrance of the Temple area.  It was really good!  We were also shown into one of the temples by a guide.  He seemed like such a nice person and explained a little more about the history of Buddhism and how Buddhism isn't exactly a religion, but a way of life.  I personally have a hard time with the "idols", but I have so much respect for what they believe in regards to how they should act and how they should treat life.  The one big central key of being there was the feeling of being extremely calm and relaxed.  It was definitely a much needed cultural experience.


After we toured the area and temples a bit more and the guide told us more stories, we were shown to the front gate area.  This is where the "instruments" were located that the monks use for certain occassions.  The guide showed us the instruments and then asked who wanted to try one--no one would, so I volunteered.  It was really neat!

We were allowed to take pictures, but it is sort of frowned upon to take pictures of inside the temples and of the monks, so I did not take pictures of the next part--learning how to make traditional Korean tea and speaking with one of the female monks.  I asked several questions and it was just nice to hear some answers.  I won't go into detail, but it was a great experience--and the tea was great.

After that, we went down through a cave and saw several small waterfalls and walked back to take the bus and subway.  I was pretty tired afterwards, so I spent the rest of the evening just relaxing and studying for my tests that I had on Thursday!  Before leaving you to the rest of my pictures, I just wnat to mention that this mountain was BEAUTIFUL!!

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