Sunday, April 09, 2006

cold beer, yellow dust, hot haircuts and good karma

Although lately I have been working hard to save money, this weekend I decided to get outta the damn apartment and have a little fun.Friday night I went for a few beers with my coworker Sue, Justin and Jon. We ended up drinking beer and bamboo soju until the wee hours of the morning. Good time was had by all and I am sure we raised a few eyebrows at our local pub.

On Saturday, I was severely regretting my activities the night before, but figured it was nothing an afternoon at the hairdresser's couldn't fix.
As I stepped out of my door I could feel my eyes and nose beginning to it wasn't the hangover. In fact, what I was experiencing was yellow dust. Yep....although I had experienced only a little bit last year, it was nothing compared to Saturday's event. The sky was a murky grey color and I could barely see the apartment buildings across the street.

According to KBS
Spring has brought with it an unwelcome guest. Yellow dust, called “hwangsa” in Korean, is an annual phenomenon. Yellow dust is an annual phenomenon caused by strong spring winds carrying dust from Mongolia and China across Korea.

But as far as I was considered it meant that I could barely breathe and had to withstand burning eyes, a congested head and sore throat for hours. OUCH!!!! Even after getting to my hairdresser's I could still taste the sand.

Anyways, as traumatic as this might seem, I survived and managed to enjoy my afternoon getting pampered and beautified by the magicians that work at my local salon. I was a wee bit nervous because I told them I wanted bangs...and since the last time I had bangs I was riding a tri-cycle...but they did a fabulous job! (See photo below).
One of my Korean coworker's, May, was also at the salon when I arrived, so it helped to have someone translate exactly what I wanted.
After our hair appointments , I went with May and her boyfriend for a bite to eat. Her boyfriend used to live in Toronto, so speaks English very well. He also works for Starbucks (the corporation...he doesn't make lattes) and gave me a free coupon for a drink and some food. Very sweet!!

Today, I went to Hwagyesa Temple, which is located in Suyu (north Seoul)...or in my case a 2 hour subway ride from my apartment. The Zen Center offers a Sunday afternoon meditation class year-round. These classes include meditation instruction, and a Dharma talk. It was very interesting and there was an opportunity to ask questions and talk with the monks after the class finished.Next weekend the lecture is being given by Hyon Gak Sunim, who is a bit of a celebrity in Korea. Myself, my coworker Sue and her husband are planning to go back next Sunday for some further insight into Zen Buddhism and its teachings. The lectures are free, but as always , it never hurts the karma to give a little to the monks.

After the temple, we walked around the neighborhood, looked at all the georgeous magnolia flowers that are beginning to bloom and grabbed some bibimbap, eggs and mandu for dinner.
Fantastic end to a great weekend.

Next Friday, my school is taking all of the teachers on an overnight get-away to a lake district north of Seoul. Apparently they have rented a cabin and will be taking boats across to the island where we will be staying. It sounds beautiful and I am sure I will have plenty of photos and stories to share. It is also Easter next weekend, so happy Easter to everyone and I hope you get lots of chocolate!!!

P.s. It was so warm today I was wearing capris and sandals....sigh. It was fabulous!

Hwagyesa Temple, Home of the
Seoul International Zen Center

The little puppy that lives near my apartment
(I took this photo Sunday morning....he is sooo cute
and I just had to share his picture with you)

My hot new haircut...oh baby!!

Yellow dust storm over korea (as seen from space) Posted by Picasa


At 9:44 p.m. , Blogger michi said...

ugh, the dust sounds HORRIBLE! what do people with contact lenses do? keep their eyes closed?

nice hair! :)

have fun on the weekend,


At 10:35 p.m. , Blogger Colleen in Korea said...

The yellow dust IS really terrible.
I guess people with contacts suffer a little more then the rest of us.
The good thing is that it only lasts for a day or so...most people wear masks and generally try to stay inside.
Although I had one student who told me he played baseball on Saturday (during the yellow dust storm)...needless to say, he was coughing my entire class.

At 9:35 p.m. , Blogger michi said...

ugh. horrible! but i cannot say it is nice here at the moment - another return of winter. it won't go away for good. it won't. waaahhh!!! 20C yesterday, and today: rain, sleet, snow.

btw consider yourself tagged - check my blog page for what and why and how! (if you like.)



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