Sunday, July 18, 2010

Weekend Retreat at a Buddhist Temple

81,000 wooden slabs with the teachings of Buddha
3,000 meters high when stacked (taller than the tallest mountain in Korea)
16 years
1,000,000 volunteers
3 bows after every letter was carved

HAEINSA. This is one of 9 world heritage sites in South Korea. A buddhist temple set high in the mountains, it's a placed pervaded by both peace and a feeling of sanctuary. We set out Friday morning on two jam packed buses for a 2 and a half hour car ride to this majestic place.

While at our Hotel, the Gayasan Tourist Hotel, we slept on the floor on futon pallets (8 people in my room). We watched American movies dubbed in Korean and played epic games of 20 person Mafia. We walked through a torrential downpour to view the temple itself and listened to a speech by the highest ranking monk. Back at the Hotel, we overwhelmed the bar with orders of pina coladas and singapore slings and enjoyed their hot springs and saunas.

I think this was exactly what we all needed after two intensive weeks of cultural and social adjustment. This next week marks the beginning of Camp Fulbright, a time when 100 Korean students, ages 8-15, journey to Jungwon where they take intensive English classes. Each ETA teaches three lessons. My first lesson is tomorrow on Geography of the Body ;)

Tomorrow is ALSO our second Korean language test. We've all been studying frantically. Even though I can now ask, "What is your job? Where are you from? Where are you going?" and know the words for "bathroom, pencil case, studying, and America, I still have a long way to go.

I miss everyone back home...but I'm having an amazing time. Pictures to come...

1 comment:

  1. 300,000 meters is 300 kilometers which is taller than Mt.Everest by 291 km... did you misplace a comma or add some zeros? 81,000 slabs so ... 3000 meters?