Sunday, December 10, 2006

attempt at will's technique

For the first time in a while, I didn't travel anywhere this weekend, and it was really nice and relaxing to just stay in Gongju. On Saturday I hung out with my host brothers in the morning (while my host parents slept off their hangovers) wrestling and reading comic books, went for a really good run, had a long conversation with my host mom in which I attempted to explain about winter break (I have no idea how much--if anything--she understood), and met up with James and Jenny for dinner and a movie. We had samgyupsal (3 layer pork) and saw The Departed, then got the best hodduk (fried doughy pancake things filled with melted brown sugar and occasionally bits of peanut) ever and went home early. Then on Sunday I spent the morning lounging around the house and having a really long, delicious breakfast/brunchy meal and heart-to-heart (which--I think!--I understood most of) with my host mom. She cooked a bunch of my faves and we talked about the boys, her future plans, and how she wished she could travel more. Afterwards I met up with James to go hiking at Gyeryongsan yet again. Since it was cold and late in the day, we pretty much had the mountain to ourselves and it was wonderful. We took the same trail we did the first time, but this time the dried up streambed had rejuvenated itself (I don't know how, as there hasn't been much precipitation at all) and we got to walk alongside myriad big and little waterfalls the whole way. We stopped briefly at a preem scenery-viewing outcropping for a snack of delicious kimbap (I WILL learn how to make it before returning to the states. And, yes, ETA people I know it is easy to assemble, but I don't know how to make the individual elements since my host mom always does it in advance) and super-packaged-and-processed-but-also-delicious Haitai brownie bites. Our plan was to end at Gapsa (the Buddhist temple we always end at) but got carried away with talking and somehow went down a different trail. This turned out to be a great move, as we got to see some truly beautiful pools and falls and walk through a canopied path of bamboo (see pic). The trail ended with a cluster of Buddhist temples and hermitages (very exciting for me) but, somewhat disconcertingly, none of the shops and restaurants that exist around the trail entrances at Gapsa and Donghaksa. We had a few moments of panic--we had no idea where we were and it didn't seem particularly likely for a bus to come to the deserted looking area we were in--but a bus quickly appeared to save the day. I came home, had another really good meal with my host brothers (I only ate one freaky food item the entire weekend: some strange, egg-shaped, greenish pods that my host mother fried up with a little salt and assured me were a dessert. They tasted vaguely bad and had a really strange consistency, but were definitely bearable) while sitting at the TABLE. In chairs, no less. With no adult (I do not at all count as an adult to the boys) supervision, we had a wild, spoon-smacking fight over the premium tofu in the stew, which ended with stew all over the table, Kibeom giggling helplessly on the floor, Kiyeong stealing a big piece of my fried egg (I was the only one to get an egg) to get me back for getting the last piece of tofu, and a stew completely devoid of tofu--we're going to have it for at least 2 more meals, so that's kind of a serious problem.


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