Each day is so packed that I feel like 24 hours is more like an entire week. Yesterday, I made a very long trip to my teacher's house (left at 9am, arrived past 5pm) that involved car, subway, and bus just to meet my teacher and his wife. The timing was just right so that I made it right when they sat down to eat, so I was able to have a proper lunch. Then there were market errands, retying gasoline cans in the back of the truck so they stopped leaking, windy mountain driving, unlocking the gate to the private road so that we wouldn't need to deal with the boat, and a very bumpy ride. My teacher insisted his wife and I climb up to this tree for pictures.
These neighbors (miles and miles away from home) insisted that we come down for coffee while they talked about soybean grinding machines. By this part of the drive, my teacher had already invited himself and his wife on my trip to Japan. So I'll stay here for a month until two days before my trip. In the meantime, I have to book their flights and lodging, and figure out how to do my research at the same time. Should be an interesting juggling act.
We stopped by the water for more fall color pictures. By the time we got home, I was completely worn out and my back had been hurting from the morning because my bags were entirely too heavy for me to carry on my own (and yet I had no choice). But then there was dinner and catching up with my teacher at night, AND starting instruction already! I don't know how I made it but I was so happy to get to bed. A real mattress! Such a treat after sleeping on a bed frame.
I noticed flashing lights when I was in bed and wondered what they were, considering there were no cars or planes or city lights to do that. I heard the dog barking, too. It turns out that 1. there were shooting stars and 2. the dog fought off animal intruders but got scratched eyes in the process (apparently there are wild boars and very mean badgers). There was thunder and lightning and rain, but when I woke up, the sun was rising behind the mountains and fog lifting from them as well.
I had brought pine nuts as gifts for my teacher, and it turns out they had the real thing, dried and ready to shell. Tonight, they were straining honey from the combs from their bees. Forgot to get the eggs from the chicken this morning. I had seaweed soup for breakfast (traditional for birthdays) and noodles at dinner (traditional also for birthdays, to have a long life—like the long noodles!).
I was alone in the morning because there was a shipping mixup and my teacher and his wife had to go BACK to town to get the right package. Once they returned, his old elementary school friend surprised them with a visit. Out came the grill for the meat, and it was the perfect amount of people to share the birthday cake!
Very, very well behaved dog but camera shy.
On the other side of the house.
Green tea and delicious!
The friend posing with a pine cone (full of pine nuts) and his wife trying to capture the smell of it. We had delicious Korean rice liquor as well and I got scolded for not drinking it with the proper manners. Later tonight, I got scolded some more about my poor cording and weaving skills. I already have a blister on my finger (evidence that I was gripping improperly) and was told to take a break. Apparently, my teacher's heart and teeth have suffered from too much jiseung all at once!
The wind blew out the candles before I could. Funny, because it's the first year that I ever planned my wish a day early (I decided while on the back road to home). I hope it still comes true!