Although Eric & I are at the church practically everyday, the entire church takes its “day of rest” every Monday, and we’re also given Tuesdays off so we can have a normal two-day “weekend”. But since VBS preparations got seriously out of hand, we lost our August 5th and 6th weekend. Because of this, and because VBS was so incredibly exhausting, Belle (our main contact) got us an extra day off added onto our 12th-13th weekend, plus the 15th was Gwangbokjeol, Korean Independence Day, a national holiday. So, we were given 4 glorious days off in a row and we seriously couldn’t have been more grateful for them!
We at first considered taking a trip down south to Busan or something along those lines, but our mini vacation fell right in the middle of our friends Dave & Jami’s planned trip to China, and we’d agreed a while ago to watch their toy poodle, Ling Ling. It turned out to be for the best though, because after VBS we were both far too exhausted to have enjoyed a trip anywhere. Instead, we explored Cheonan and the surrounding areas (because seriously, Cheonan itself is pretty awesome).
On Monday, the first day of our mini vacation, I took a solo trip back to Gakwonsa Buddhist Temple. It is seriously one of my favorite spots in Cheonan. Everything about the area is so serene and peaceful: if monks aren’t actually already chanting and singing from one of the buildings, they play a recording of some chant throughout the surrounding forest; the artwork and architecture is breathtaking; everyone is respectful and quiet; and the entire site is partway up a mountain, far away from the busy noise of the city. Plus, and possibly my favorite aspect of the temple, is it reminds me of quiet solo trips I used to take in Japan to the Hokkaidō Shrine and along the “Hachi ju hakka syo” path when I lived in Sapporo, Japan. Plus, after such a chaotic week of VBS I’d really neglected doing any sketching and I wanted to make sure I took as much advantage of the beautiful Korean surroundings as I could before we leave in a month.
In the evening I met up with Eric for a date around Yawoori, starting with an accidental stumble upon an all-you-can-eat sushi place called Kitchen the Sushi, then Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter at our old favorite DVD bang we use to go to when we lived here 4 years ago. (Possibly the most ridiculous film of all time. We could hardly ever really get into the story or the thrill of it because we had to keep turning to each other in a “is this seriously happening on screen?” way.) And then we finished up the night with a quick trip to a Purikura (Asian photo booth):
On the 13th we laid low and worked at regaining lost energy from VBS. On the 14th we took a short subway ride up to Songtan, where the Osan U.S. Air Base is located, just to wander the shops and get out of Cheonan for a bit.