Translation -

For those of you who don't live out of a book called "Korean At a Glance" the title translates into - I don't understand korean. ... Hello? I am taking on South Korea in a small town 60 minutes north west of Busan. I am 1 of a few foreigners in my very small town of 40,000 - another being my boyfriend. Together we are discovering ... well everything, Korean. Enjoy! Andrew's Blog


wood scripture

This last weekend we went to 1 of the 3 most famous Korean temples -Haeinsa.  Here they hold over 18 thousand of Buddhism scriptures carved into wood tablets called Tripitaka Koreana.  They are over 1000 years old and it took them 16 years to make them during the 13th century.  The tablets are housed in 4 naturally ventilated buildings -from the 13th century.  We also got to see a museum of how they made them and purchased a print of one of the tablets from the original wood block.  They are allowing people to come see the place were they are held but then it will be closed again until another 100 years. It was definitely one of the coolest historical places we have been.  They wouldn't let us take any pictures of the building or blocks but we did get a lot of shots of the grounds.  The leaves are starting to turn colors too, which are also great for taking photos. 

Here is the flickr site <---  and if you click on the links above it will take you to Wikipedia to learn more about the tablets and temple.

Andrew also has a few photos from inside the buildings and the wood blocks from the internet on his blog ---> Andrew's post.

Kang also found the English translation of the paper print we purchased.  I'm not sure where he found it so I can't site it:

The Heart of Prajna Paramita Sutra

When Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara was practicing the profound Prajna Paramita, he illuminated the Five Skandhas and saw that they are all empty, and he crossed beyond all suffering and difficulty.

Shariputra, form does not differ from emptiness; emptiness does not differ from form. Form itself is emptiness; emptiness itself is form. So too are feeling, cognition, formation, and consciousness.

Shariputra, all Dharmas are empty of characteristics. They are not produced, not destroyed, not defiled, not pure; and they neither increase nor diminish. Therefore, in emptiness there is no form, feeling, cognition, formation, or consciousness; no eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, or mind; no sights, sounds, smells, tastes, objects of touch, or Dharmas; no field of the eyes up to and including no field of mind consciousness; and no ignorance or ending of ignorance, up to and including no old age and death or ending of old age and death. There is no suffering, no accumulating, no extinction, and no Way, and no understanding and no attaining. Because nothing is attained, the Bodhisattva through reliance on Prajna Paramita is unimpeded in his mind. Because there is no impediment, he is not afraid, and he leaves distorted dream-thinking far behind. Ultimately Nirvana!

All Buddhas of the three periods of time attain Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi through reliance on Prajna Paramita. Therefore know that Prajna Paramita is a Great Spiritual Mantra, a Great Bright Mantra, a Supreme Mantra, an Unequalled Mantra. That is why the Mantra of Prajna Paramita was spoken.

Recite it like this:
Gaté Gaté Paragaté Parasamgaté Bodhi Svaha!"

I remember hearing something like that during the temple stay.

to the left is the first building housing the blocks


good places and great friends

Since Chuseok I mentioned that Andrew and I got sick.  I was sick for over 5 weeks, but that didn't stop us from doing some great stuff.  I'm done editing all my photos and below are the 5 sets that I have recently uploaded to flickr. 

Next up: we talked to the new teachers that are going to replace us at our school and they are getting excited to move here.  They will arrive next Friday night.  We also talked to Becky and Nick who are planning to rent a car and come visit us next weekend.  One last goodbye before we go to our separate continents.  We don't have much planned for their visit yet, but it is Becky's birthday weekend so it shall be lots of fun. 

We have ten days of teaching left and then Andrew and I are going to Jeju Island, often referred to as Korea's Hawaii, for 5 days before we take a long trip back to the states. We are very excited to be home with our families and friends for the holidays, something we missed out on last year. 
Enjoy the photos below! Click on the yellow title to go to the flickr set.

somaemuldo and deungdaeseom 

We drove to an island and then took a ferry to another island.  When we got there we hiked straight up the mountain and then back down to where the sea parts every so often.  We could cross to an even smaller island.  When we left the tide was starting to rise and the path was being close.  How COOL is that!

When we got back to the main land we walked around a really popular neighborhood that has murals on the buildings.  There was this cute little van selling ice cream.  Note that Andrew is taller than the van, and this is a typical sized van for Korea.

This is one of the murals on the buildings.  I believe that the paintings were done by the University of Korea's Art department.  Some of the paintings were quite entertaining.

cosmos flower festival 

We were planning to go to the Jinju Lantern Festival this day and found out there was also a cosmos festival 30 minutes north of Jinju.  The traffic to the festivals were really bad.  It took us four hours to get there and 3 hours to get home.  It's typically a 1- 1 1/2 hour drive.

jinju lantern festival 

I already wrote a post about the Jinju festival.  It was really big and busy.  It was one of my number one things to see while we were in Korea.  I'm really glad it worked out for us to go, and that Kang invited us to go with his family.


More recently Iris invited us to have a picnic with her family.  It was really peaceful and relaxing.  Her parents own a piece of land off of some rice land that her mom grows all of their vegetables at.  We cooked sam gip sal on the grill served with all the fixings from their land.  Behind their land is a big water reservoir that you can walk along built paths.  It was quite a surprise to have such a relaxing day.

Iris and her younger brother Kay.  They are very tall.

Iris' dad.  It was actually his birthday.  I think he was turning 56.

dancing rain set

Last weekend we went to a horse track and played with the kids. While we were walking around I spotted a weird looking bird in a nest under a Mongolian tent roof overhang.  I pulled out my camera to take a picture and as I got closer the bird slid down the window flap pulled open and hit the railing and fell to the floor.  I then realized it was a baby kitten.  It took a second or two for me to realize that there was another one laying right next to it which probably also had the traumatic experience of sliding out of the tent and falling a few feet to the deck .  I was really hesitant to touch them because I didn't want to get any diseases they might of had or for the mom to see me and attack.  But there was no mom so I ran to find Andrew.  He didn't think twice about picking them up and handing them to me.  While he was doing that I saw the tent roof moving around and I guessed there was another one up there.  Andrew lifted it open and found a third kitten and pulled it out after it hissed at him.  The kittens were maybe one  or 2 weeks old.  They were not safe where we found them. The staff workers swooped in and took them from us almost instantly.  I was so worried about them for a few days because they never said what they did with them.  But they probably weren't old enough to be without their mother, who would come back to find her three babies gone.  All very sad.  I like to think the mother found them in the horse barns or the staff are nursing them to health to take home.


dancing rain

Today we went to the horse track with Kang, Choi, and the kids. Andrew and I saved 3 baby kittens, and I added about 100 photos to my stack of photos to edit soon.  Here are 2 of my favorites.


Jinju lantern festival

This is totally out of order, but I was really excited to go to the lantern festival.  Before we came to Korea, when we thought we were moving to Jinju, I found the lantern festival and was like, I GOT TO SEE THAT!  It was really cool and fun.  It was crazy busy and traffic was horrible - I can't even compare it to anything we have back home, except for maybe evacuating a state due to a hurricane, maybe???   But I also discovered this "poladroid" app that takes your digital photos and makes them into Polaroids.  Like a polaroid camera it comes with 8 film sheets - then you can restart the app for the next 8.  I'll edit the originals later and post them to flickr soonish.

we could make our own wish and add it to our Chinese animal.  I'm a rabbit and it's the year of the rabbit
they had a lot of popular characters

inside the red lantern tunnel

wish lanterns released in the water

one of hundreds of lanterns in the water

my favorite picture from the festival


Chuseok Feast!

Chuseok was back around September 9th-September 12th but Andrew and I got pretty sick right as our 5 day weekend ended and I haven't been able to edit any of my photos since.  For that weekend I decided to make a big dinner, because it's not often I cook anything in our small kitchenette. Andrew assisted of course and he also took most of the photos on his down time.  We made our last box of cheesecake, a small boiled chicken, and my family favorite Cornish hen sauce.  The chicken had to be boiled (this was an experiment) because our little toaster oven doesn't hold enough heat to cook anything but toast.  Andrew also made our other experiment, double baked potatoes.  These were in my opinion the best part of the meal!

onions for flavoring the chicken in the water

our small chicken, neck included, but I cut it off because it crept me out

I am showing Andrew how to carve out a potato

chicken, Italian seasoning, garlic, onion, water.  when it was done I used the broth to make the sauce

lemon for the sauce

I got lucky and found these lemons in Kimhea the weekend before

Andrew stuffed the potatoes

making the sauce

the next night I used the left over chicken and broth and made chicken and rice porridge for dinner


hongbeop temple

This weekend Andrew and I went to a "temple stay" in Busan.  Meaning we went to a Buddhist temple, stayed the night and pretended to be Buddhists for a day.  We learned a lot about the culture and lifestyle of both Monks and Koreans.  First I will share my photos and then I'll share the strict schedule we followed that another photographer captured.

My whole flickr album can be seen here.  But here are my favorites.  Lots of the lily pads.

the largest Buddha i've seen.  we actually meditated inside of it

this is were we slept.  a had a korean room mate and we slept on the floor. i really liked the natural lighting

Part II
We were about an hour late but we only really missed the introductions of the other foreigners that were there.  Iris works for the volunteer group that was hosting the temple stay so she actually came and got us after we couldn't figure out how to get there on our own.  It took us about 3 hours to get there Saturday afternoon.

this was our Monk and the Modern Buddhist temple we were at
Andrew and I were had to introduce ourselves after getting there late.

This was our traditional dinner circle.  It was quite strict and we had to eat in silence. We also had to eat while tasting each individual bite slowly.

after dinner we had a ceremony.  this is us practicing for the real one that started at 8

we made 6 offerings to all the buddhas.  tea.light.rice. fruit. insents. and one more

then we did 108 bows, consecutively. It went by quickly but the next day we were in a lot of pain

After the ceremony we learned how to meditate (this is inside the big buddha i showed you above)

after that we had to get up at 3:30 to start our day. this is at 4:00 am.  we were walking around the temple looking for buddha

we found him and are thanking him, except for andrew.  he is still sleeping

the morning ceremony.  not many of us are sitting up straight for this one

then some more meditating

and then walking while mediating.  our Monk reminded us of the snow queen

picking unwanted grass at 6:30

and then painting at 8

and a farewell at 11

It was a lot of fun but we were exhausted and had a hard time staying awake after  1 hour of sleep.  Thank you to Iris and her group that had us.  And their photographer for all these great photos.