It's been a good weekend and right now I'm pretending that it's not over instead of going to bed at a reasonable hour as I suspect teachers ought to do on Sunday evenings.
After work on Friday I came home and read until 9:30 or 10. My time from then until around 4 a.m. was occupied by pellet guns, anime, karaoke, dancing with a tin cup on my head and my second ever excursion into a bar. (The first was for my uncle's wedding reception when I was 10-years-old and my memories of the event center around a bowl of chocolate covered nuts. I suspect my memories of my second bar attendance will center around a drunk man in a red T-shirt who purchased a can of soda for me.)
Half the culture shock I'm experiencing right now is probably in conjunction with my American coworkers rather than with anything Korean. On the whole I'm quite fond of them, but I hadn't realized how subdued my lifestyle was until I encountered their lifestyles (and I think I've only encountered the more subdued bits). I almost feel like I'm in high school again, except that no-one's playing Dungeons&Dragons or wearing stage makeup.
At any rate, after only four hours of sleep Friday night I got up and went to my Korean class, after which I had intended to take a nap, but never did. Instead I went into Seoul to hike Mt. Umyeonsam. I had read that it was a casual and enjoyable hike, and the Seoul Arts Center is at the base of the mountain, so if I got bored I had an easy backup.
The hike was, in fact, casual and enjoyable. The mountain was covered with purple blossoms and clusters of exercise equipment. I was tempted to steel some flowers, but resisted. The exercise equipment did not tempt me. There's supposed to be a temple at the top of the mountain, but my uncannily useless sense of direction landed me at a peak with only some chinup bars and a phone booth.
On the way back down the mountain I passed through a grove of trees covered in yellow blossoms that were emitting a shockingly sweet smell. I succumbed to temptation and left the path to press a couple of the blossoms into my notebook. Unfortunately I haven't figured out how to upload fragrances or pressed flowers into my blog, but I did take a picture. I'm also not certain how I managed to pass through the notably intoxicating grove of trees coming down the mountain but not going up, but anyone who knows me at all knows that I have a knack for that sort of thing.
It was dark by the time I got back to the street. I decided to try the Art Center, but only the gift shop was open and I'm all stocked up on overpriced umbrellas with famous paintings printed on them. I did buy a set of colored pencils off the clearance table though.
(Wow, I just realized that when I'm typing, I have a British accent in my head. What kind of sense does that make?)
On a final random note, this weekend I have been tempted to buy a chick, a fish and a snail. Instead I keep coming hope and watering my lily, which I think speaks highly of the plant.
Here are a few more pictures of the mountain and the street beneath it.