Monday, March 23, 2009

My Birthday and Confessions

This past Saturday was my 23rd birthday American age and my 24th Korean. I haven't been home for my birthday in years, which is a startling realization. Last year I was in New Orleans doing restoration work in the 9th ward with Hillel, the year before that I was studying in Paris and the year before that it fell on a week day during the school year. I wasn't about to miss classes just so I could go home to be pampered. My parents and friends have always done their best to make me feel loved and celebrated, no matter where I am in the world but it is strange to celebrate your coming into life so far from family. It occurs to me that perhaps it is only strange for a child but for an adult it isn't so unusual. I suppose I really am growing up these days.

Or, I'd like to think that until I realize that I have pictures of myself eating a lollipop while wearing a face mask and strolling down the street. It's quite comical. Observe:

My confession: I had a friend from the States visit me on my birthday. J. from Indonesia wants to teach in Korea in the fall and wanted to give it a trial run before he decided to take the plunge. Logical thought that, personally, I just thought 'why not?' and took out some books on Korea from the library. I don't know why I didn't tell anyone from back home, though I wouldn't shut up about it to my friends in Korea. It just seemed so personal, and also jealousy inducing for the friends who would like to visit me but can't. But I couldn't really tell my birthday story without J. in it, so voila my confessin. In any case, my birthday coincided with his spring break and it was amazing to have a friend from home here. Don't get me wrong, I love my friends in Korea but I've only known them for 6 months, or less in most cases. The friends I made at boarding school are on an entirely different level--we've lived together, played, studied, and grew up together. To have someone here from that part of my life just made me giddy.

What do you readers get out of me having a visitor? I actually took my camera with me around Seoul/Anyang!! Pretty groovy, huh?

For my birthday we decided to actually find the Anyang Art Park, something I've always seen signs for but never actually sought out. I'm vaguely annoyed with myself for not finding it sooner but on the other hand I got to go on the first day of real spring weather. It felt like the entire city was out walking, biking, running, playing and just enjoying the weather. The Anyang Art Park is mainly installation art over a long stretch of river with lots of rocks to play on in the shallow river, some of which have been arranged so you can walk across the river on them instead of taking the numerous foot bridges.

And there is even another photo of me!
Basically, I spent the afternoon playing on rocks, skipping rocks on the river and enjoying myself. We also stumbled on a Buddhist temple on the way to the park. Pretty cool even though we couldn't go in (it was closed).

This last photo is actually from the entrance to the parking lot for the temple, I just thought it was interesting. I've also never seen the baby faced Buddha statues though apparently they are quite common.

More coming soon, I promise.


Josh said...

YAY! Pictures of the short one!!! Outstanding! Oh, and the facemask+lollipop picture is priceless!

Rachel said...

Absolutely loved the photos, loved the stories, and yes I did think about you on your birthday (It popped up on my calendar).

Nancy K said...

Great photos. Glad you had a good birthday dd.
It's really nice that you had a friend visit on your birthday.

Jessica said...

Nice pictures. I'm glad you had a good birthday. And yes I am jealous you got someone to visit you and it wasn't me but I'm glad you did what you wanted for your birthday. I will visit you at some point hopefully.

Alex said...

I'm glad everyone loved the photos! I feel a teensy bit guilty for not posting more photos but I enjoy writing more than I do spending 20 minutes playing with the formatting (and still not being happy) of the pictures.