Reading Town Weekend

So Saturday our boss took us on another hike. It wasn’t quite as intense as the last one-the weather was much nicer and it’s all green and extra pretty out now. The two hour drive was beautiful and really made me appreciate how mountainous Korea is-they’re not the giant snow capped kind like the Rockies or Cascades but still high and they just go on and on. 70% of Korea is made of mountains.

We set out at about 10 and reached the peak around 1pm. There was one spot with rock steps called “sam-sam-sam” which just means ‘the 333′ for the number of steps. It was the hardest part because you have already been going uphill for a couple hours-but after the steps there’s a flat area through some forest and then a small climb to the peak.

At the peak we rested-it was warm, foggy and gorgeous. Halfway down the mountain was a Buddhist temple, decorated with lanterns for his upcoming birthday, and a little restaurant. We ate salad with vegetables straight from their garden-so delicious and fresh.

Afterwards we went to a restaurant for a more hearty lunch, then to Nami Island, which is quite popular because a Korean drama is filmed there. It’s named after a famous warrior was buried on the island in the 1400’s. The most interesting thing had to be the two free roaming ostriches. I don’t know why they’re there and we got pretty close. On the way home we had karaoke again and all and all it was a great day.

Then Sunday one of the Korean teachers was getting married and everyone was invited, so it was Reading Town weekend. There are all these “Wedding Halls” in Korea and very few people marry in churches. I showed up solo and had no idea so many people get married at the same time-there were 5 other weddings happening, and I realized I only know the Korean teacher’s English name- Erin.

Well after some confusion I found her wedding.

It’s supposed to be Western style but it is nothing like a wedding back home. Erin and her husband are at the front and there are pew-like seats but tons of people stand in the back, talking to each other or on cell phones, barely paying attention to the ceremony, which was strange to us foreigners.

The ceremony was a half an hour tops-there’s a light show, with moving spotlights and a fog machine towards the end- I guess it’s like rock n’ roll or something. Then the ladies who work there- who look like stewardesses from the 1960’s, shot confetti into the air with a very loud, startling bang.

Then we were unshered to the all you can eat buffet while the bride and groom change into traditional outfits called hanbok and have a more private, traditional ceremony. It’s just so interesting how the West can influence things but it totally morphs into something else.

The food was great. I ended up by some older Koren ladies with my Korean co-teacher, Kate, and California co-teacher, Matt. The ladies thought it was hilarious when we spoke Korean to them and watched us eat with great interest. The staring made me self-conscious but Kate said they were just curious and I know that’s true- they were very friendly. Erin and her husband came down to say hello to everyone and then it was over very quickly. I was glad It was quite an experience. Unfortunately-it was not appropriate to take pictures.


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