by Brandon Morrissette
on August 21, 2015 on 8/21/15
I was privileged to be able to live with a Korean family before my university’s move in date. I say this because one can not seriously immerse themselves into another culture through books, television, or the classroom.
There is one particular day I would like to share. It began waking up early in the city of Daegu. My host father was taking me to nearby Cheongdu in order to pick some peaches. Cheongdu is a rural place with a mostly elderly population. It is off the beaten path for foreigners such as myself. It is absolutely beautiful, everything was green. The sun shone bright on the vast open space full of peach trees in-between the mountains.
My host father then took me to a restaurant followed by a cafe. The dish was kimchi jigae. When the meat and kimchi were gone, my host father filled my soup with 4 bowls of rice. 1 or 2 bowls would have been adequate. However, I did not say no. In this culture one shows love for another by force feeding them. My stomach looked like a watermelon, however, I was really happy.
Following that the family and I got together and went to a jimjilbang, which is a public bath. Men and women were separated. After that, the people including myself got completely naked. There were about 50 naked men sharing the facility. As a westerner, this was really odd and embarrassing. My host father washed my back in the shower. After this experience I feel no more shame.
Following the bath, the family and I went to a Buddhist temple. It is located on top of a mountain. The fresh air and the sound of running water was relaxing. At the top, we prayed to a Buddha statue. We also visited educational facilities and payed respect to sa ri. Sari are little stones left behind after a monk is cremated.
The day concluded at home. After dinner my host mother put tiny painful needles into the pimples on my face and back. Sometimes it felt like the needle would come out the outer side of me. Within 24 hours every pimple or zit were gone.
Pictures of this day will be uploaded, make sure to check them out please!