On my first insane day back in Seoul, trying to immediately be a city girl again, I went to an antique store that I had visited with my dyeing teacher five years ago because I saw old books in the window. I splurged on two, specifically because they were bound with paper string. This one has 2-ply string, the other (a better book: of poetry!), 1-ply string made from old book pages.
I had to trim the ends in Seoul, no time to do it in the mountains as we rushed rushed rushed away.
The harvest from three weeks of sore fingers.
The mad dash towards Seoul (this is still about two hours away) as the sun said goodbye. The car in front is the Korean version of my car back home (they make different models for import and export).
Someone's keeping bees!
This is nearing the area where my teacher parks his regular car, where we had gotten onto the boat on my first visit.
Rushing across the footbridge to get to the car. We had to take the truck on the dirt mountain passes for a while, park it. Then hike for a while. Then get into the car to take another dirt road to the paved mountain roads. To reduce motion sickness, as the regular road open to the public is 100% switchbacks, we took the road through the military base, which required a little paperwork for me. But nice views, and very very close to North Korea. After the long drive, they dropped me at a subway station, and then I took a cab home from City Hall because my bags were too heavy for me to do the regular hike uphill.
My teacher INSISTED that we finish this piece before we left. I thought it was insane, but he started late at night and kept going until maybe 1 or 2am, then got up and started again at 7am and worked until 3pm. He gave me the other Siberian gooseberry branch that he tied up so I can make another one 100% on my own, but really wanted to show me the finish on this. So his wife and I were worried the entire day because he was weaving like a maniac, sweating, with very pained hands. I couldn't believe he would delay his trip to see his sibling in the hospital for this. They were also waiting for a shipment of fresh oysters from his hometown in another province, so to store them properly for kimchi making, which every Korean household is in the midst of right now. When we got the news at night, his wife had begun the process, so we were in a mad dash to make the first batch of kimchi before we left so they could bring it to their family.
It will take a while to process everything. But I did have a lot of stress while I was there for so many reasons, and was wanting to get away. This isn't how I imagined it would happen, but I am relieved to be back with family where I feel at ease and less monitored. I am trying to divulge less, for everyone's sake, but it was not paradise, though it looked that way (and of course in the immediate return to Seoul, I was sad). I'm hoping to make a duck before I leave Korea, though my time has already been swallowed by other things—which are wonderful. I am with another cousin, with whom I've been closest since I was young, so that has been deeply rejuvenating (the public bath visit helped). Today, I get to meet the newest member of our family, a baby girl of another cousin!