Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fri Sun Sat the name of a Korean clothing company. It's been an active Fri and Sun and Sat.

(No Tiki; he escaped fifteen days ago and I haven't found any evidence of him whatsoever in the last ten days and nights. I'm still trying; the next-- and last-- step is to put up posters in Korean around the neighborhood. In the meantime, I can't just sit around home all day and fret, so...)

On Friday morning and into the early afternoon, we teachers from the Manchon school judged the big semi-annual debate competition. That's all I have to say about that.

After that, Joanna, Luke, Jesse and I went to lunch (on Heeduk's dime... sorry, Heeduk's 100 Won) and had wonderful pizzas at Papa John's, where the pizza is way better than anywhere else in town or at Papa John's in the States, since (as far as I know) that's all delivery. Joanna, Jesse, and I were going to go to hike Palgongsan... Jesse and I had been trying for three weeks to get there... but they were both exhausted and the day was brutally hot and humid, so we didn't.

Instead, I walked the half hour to the theater in the Chimsam neighborhood to find out when Up would be showing in English (Western movies are always in English with Korean subtitles, except the animated films, which are generally but not always dubbed in Korean; I had already gone there myself to see it only to wait two hours and then find out that that particular show was in Korean.) The posters and displays were still up, but Up was out. That is, it stopped running the day before.

The theater's a couple of blocks from the yagu jang (ballpark), so at least I grabbed a couple of tickets for my friend Cliff and me for today's game.

That evening, my coworkers and I settled for Johnny Depp in Public Enemies, which I didn't much like. I have gotten to enjoy going to movies again, though, as I did in days of yore. (Yore is somewhere in between the Good Old Days and the Dark Ages.)

I was determined to get back to Palgongsan (Mountain) and Donghwasa (Temple) one more time before I left town, so yesterday I went by myself. I finally got smart and wore a t-shirt, changed into a running shirt that lets the sweat wick through for the (arduous) hike, and changed into a fresh t when I was done. I hadn't been there in summer before, and it's like a different world; there's water cascading down the mountain, the birds are out in force, and the lower stretches are packed with wall-to-wall tents... not backpacking tents, either, Quidditch-World-Cup-sized tents, with families sitting out grilling food, and with a brand-new water cascade, which as you can see, was delighting a lot of local kids. (Stay tuned for the "Hello!" at the end.) Daegu has put millions of dollars into beautifying itself in trying to become an international city; this facility is just one example.

The trail up the mountain, however, was pretty quiet. It was a hot day, but not humid, and in the woods on the slope it was actually pretty pleasant. As usual, on the way down I detoured to Donghwasa. I have such mixed feelings about the ideas and presentation of Buddhism; as a philosophy, a lot of it appeals to me a great deal and I rarely take off the bead bracelet I bought on a previous Donghwasa trip, which has become a talisman that keeps me calm and centered. My Protestant soul, however, finds a lot of the iconography unsettling. I have learned a lot, however, and you can put "Buddhist" on my personal list of hyphenate religious influences. On Facebook, I call myself an "eclectic freelance monotheist", and I guess that will do.

When I got back to town, I was exhausted, but didn't have time to go home and rest before I was due to meet Rob, Cassie, and Molly (new or newish teachers) for dinner. So I went and slumped at a coffee shop for an hour and thought about Tiki, Buddha, and as James Taylor wrote, women and glasses of beer. Then we all went out for a nice dinner and then we (okay, I, mostly) showed Molly, who's been here for three days, around.

I worked this morning and this evening I went to the ballgame with Cliff. It was a great time, just about the most exciting game I've ever been to. There were five home runs, an interference call in a rundown that cost a run, a dropped liner in right that cost three runs... the Kia Tigers were up 10-1 in the third inning, only to have the Lions bring it back to 10-8 with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth but fall short. Cliff is good company for a game; he had never been to one in Korea.

...and that was the end of my career as a Samsung Lions fan; a week from right now, I'll be living in Seoul, where there are four teams. I have just been traded to the Doosan Bears.

...but I may be back in Daegu a lot more than I'd expected; Heeduk asked me today if I'd come back and tutor kids and shoot videos during my breaks at the new school, and I said in principal I'd be open to it. Of course, I will have a cat to arrange matters for... or, if I can just get a miracle this week, two.

Come home, Tiki, before it's too late.

No comments: