Thursday, April 13, 2006

A Friend

So, as you can see from Gordon's post, our quest for a church home here has had it's share of disappointments. However, we are not discouraged. The other church we have visited, in the same denomination as Gordon's church in Korea, seems to be a wonderful place. No one speaks English very well, but they have showed us love.

Everyone is very friendly, it's small enough that you get to know everyone, and they're already reaching out and trying to help us. The minister's wife called me "samonim," which basically means "wife of someone important." She, as wife of the minister, is called "samonim" by the members of the church, and decided to bestow the title on me as well. She has also asked if I would like to go to the bathhouse with her sometime (something I'm not willing to do alone the first time!), do a Korean/English exchange, direct the church choir once I speak a little more Korean... and arranged for me to have a friend!

This last one is a rather different concept here... that is, friendship is the same concept, but how one becomes friends can be quite different. Last Sunday she asked how old I was, then selected the closest-in-age young woman in the congregation, introduced us, and voil?... she's my friend now. Because she is older than me (25.... 27 in Korea, but I'm 25 here) I'm supposed to call her SoungJa-Ani: (her name)-(older sister). Last Saturday, she and I went to lunch and then visited OdongDo, an island nearby. We had a lovely day, despite the occasional breakdown in communication, and I look forward to getting to know her better - and learning more Korean along the way!

OdongDo has lots of trees and paths - you would feel like you were walking through a forest, if not for the paved path and lots of people! They have something they call a musical waterspout, which, when I heard the name, I could not imagine what it could be.... but when I saw it, I understood, and I don't know what else you would call it. There's a large pool, with lots of water jets strategically positioned throughout , some forming a circle, some on pivoting arms (so they can arc back and forth as the water sprays). There are loudspeakers somewhere, and music plays - what I call "movie music" - nondescript happy/sad/intense/"sailing off into the sunset" etc. As the music plays, the water jets come on and off in different patterns, very carefully timed so that the visual and audible is perfectly coordinated with the music: water shoots up to match a new entrance, falling back to the pool just as it fades, etc... it's very, very cool. I could have sat there for hours.

There's also a "barefoot garden" that we didn't try, but saw - maybe Gordon and I will go back sometime to try it, it looked cool! Koreans believe in acupressure (and acupuncture, etc.), and the feet are important. So, in the barefoot garden, you walk along a path - barefoot, of course - that has lots of different textures to stimulate and stretch your feet. Different sections are smooth, pebbled, ridged, vertical small tree stumps (!), etc. Some of them looked like they might be rather painful to the novice... I'll let you know if I try it some day!

Last but not least.... I've had requests to share "The Toilet Story." I'm not going to describe my own experience in detail because dear Gordon would be mortified, but I'll include a link to someone else's here. Suffice it to say I also got wet, and there was water on the floor. Unfortunately, I did not have anyone to ask just how one flushes.... so, if you think there's any chance you could find yourself in Korea, I would highly recommend reading this carefully so you're not left in the same predicament!

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