it’ll be hard to put everything into place from the last few weeks, but i’ll try to hit the major points.
the hard news, the bad news. . . the sad news is that my friend’s father passed away. i got to meet him my first weekend in south korea. he had been ill for a while, but it seemed he was getting better. recently he had gone back into the hospital with a lot of pain, and didn’t leave.
i was on my way into namdaemun with some friends when swon called to tell me. i went over to see her and her family at the wake/ funeral that afternoon. it was a buddhist ceremony that lasted about four days straight. swon met me and explained the ceremony and one of her friends that i had seen perform in a couple of shows said it would be ok for me to walk in with him. there are rooms in the hospital for these ceremonies. the entrance room is where i left a gift for the family and signed a registry. in the next room the family stood to greet all the visitors and we walked in to face a portrait of her father. we walked up and left a flower by his picture than stepped back for a small prayer and bow. after the prayer we gave a deep bow to the family and then retreated to a reception room where friends and family were eating and chatting.
i was a mess before i even got to the hospital, but i tried to hold a little composure during the short ceremony. swon’s mom broke form a little and came forward to hug and thank me. i recognized swon’s sister from portland, but didn’t get a chance to talk to her or the other sister whom i’ve never met.
swon stayed with me for a while in the reception room, but a lot of people were coming to pay their respects, so she had to be there to greet them. the reception is open twenty four hours a day, so some family members need to be there to receive visitors. before that swon, her sisters, and mother were all taking shifts staying with him in the hospital. everyone looked so tired and worn down. this type of ceremony seemed to be a lot easier on the visitors than the family.
i went out to see swon teach a class at a university last saturday (two weeks after the funeral). the topic of discussion was ‘midsummer night’s dream’ and they had to build quick mock-ups of the ass’s head which was a bit of fun. we had talked about what to do with the rest of our day . . . getting stuck in traffic for three hours afterward killed our chances of doing anything,
we went back to her mom’s place and swon had me retell some of my stories from my school. hearing me reenact how i yell at my students in korean seemed to make everyone laugh.
the next morning swon and i made some breakfast before they headed out. there is still some ceremonial bits that happen for several weeks after a death. they dropped me off at the subway on their way to the family temple on sunday.
her mom is planning to move back into seoul with swon and they’ll be looking for a new place in the next month. so there will be a lot of change in the near future for them.
hmm, after all that it makes everything else that has happened seem kinda small. . . .
-i made margaritas and had a day in with camille (a coworker) watching tv and not doing much
-later that week natalie (another coworker) came by to help me finish off the margaritas
-we had another birthday day at school
-we had another field trip at school - natural tie-dying. . . whoo hoo
-we had finals and report cards and evaluation cards (ie- i’ve been busy)
-i bought a small vanity/ desk thingy which gives me drawer space, and a place to sit at my computer (other than the floor)- the install was fun, camille was over skyping her friend who also wanted to see the process. two guys showed up with two large boxes. they opened everything, screwed together the mirror and desk, moved it into place, said hi to the girl from new zealand on my computer and left smiling.
-i bought a bike (i really only planned to window shop. . . then i made the mistake of taking one for a test ride. i forgot how much i liked the feel of riding.)
-i took the bike out for it’s first 15 miles this weekend. . . all over lake park- great area.
-after a month and a half break (what with being sick for so long and buried under work) i finally got back out for trivia night. . . and ended up on the winning team. so now i need to come up with more questions for next week.
-i also got the chance to teach the bartender how to make a hot toddy, which worked out great with the rainy weather we had that day.
-i finally got a piece of computer equipment to work (took three weeks to figure out) now my computer will play on my tv, so i can watch dvd’s on my tv. . . whoo hoo. movie night will be happening very soon! (now all i need is a couch for people to sit comfortably.)
-i went out with camille to catch ‘angels and demons’ at a local movie theatre. note to self: movies that have foreign languages other than english are still only subtitled into korean. . .
-on the way to the movies we discovered a board game cafe. . . will have to make use of this new information soon.
-we found a wii-bong and had an afternoon testing out the four lame games they had. the best set was the wii sports.
-i got an oven. . . and nearly burned my first batch of brownies.(i need to work on that whole metric conversion thing) so now, not only will i have movie nights. . . but they will be accompanied with dinner and baked goods! (ps, actually acquiring and oven and brownie mix is quite the feat. it took several hours of shopping around itaewon and yongsin in some awful heat and humidity earlier today. i’m exhausted. . . but satisfied.)
i’m sure i’m forgetting details and possibly bigger things. . . but like i said. . . i’m exhausted. i’ll have to post some more pics soon.