After we learned how to bow we had Lotus Lantern making time. Heres me and some friends working on our lanterns and me with my finished lantern. I enjoyed making the lanterns a lot!
Next we had dinner (which was not very good) followed by some buddhist bell ringing (kinda fun) and then a short prayer service. The prayer service was pretty interesting.. there were like 6 monks all chanting and all of us in a room bowing repeatedly to a bunch of Buddha statues.. I had never really done anything quite like it before and it was definitely an experience i will remember..
After our prayer session, we had tea and Q and A with our monk. People asked all the questions that you would think that they would ask (why did u become a Monk, do you ever have second thoughts, are you happy, how did your family react.. etc) and the Monk did a pretty good job answering. The monk didnt speak any english so he spoke to us through a translator. I mentioned it before but our monk was HILARIOUS! He was always smiling and giggling and trying to make little jokes and fit almost perfectly the stereotype of a happy-go-lucky monk. Following the Q and A we got ready for bed to try and get a little sleep before the 3 AM morning prayer!!
So after a short nap, we all woke up for the morning prayer.. We all gathered in the same prayer room that we had the service the night before.. what we DIDNT know.. was that the morning prayer consisted of bowing 108 times! ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHT TIMES! Man that KILLED your knees!! The number 108 has something to do with 36 (something representing your body/mind) X 3 (for your past, present, and future sins). After what seemed like forever, we finally finished our bows (at around 4). Then we had some free time before some meditation in a dark room laying down (nap time) and then breakfast. Breakfast was just not that good. The food at the temple was not very tasty at all and the breakfast was no exception. I was the designated rice server for our side of the room and heres me serving rice to the monk (see how happy he looks?!). And here is our breakfast.. rice, some korean side dishes, and some bean curd soup.. a pretty typical korean breakfast. We were encouraged by the monk to 'eat slow and enjoy'.. and breakfast took like an hour. When breakfast was FINALLY finished.. we had some more nap time (which was amazing).
It was raining when we woke up which was kinda a bummer cause i think we were supposed to go on some walk which we ended up not doing.. but anyway when we woke up we had buddhist bead necklace making. The way we made the necklaces was place one bead on the string for every bow we did.. and of course there were 108 beads.. meaning we were supposed to do 108 bows again! BUT they gave us a little break and said one bow for 3 beads would be alright too.. and 36 bows was much more doable than another 108! So we made our necklaces which was kinda fun.. and then just kinda bummed around the temple for another hour or so before we left to go home.
Overall the trip was cool.. it was really interesting to experience what it is like to be a monk for a few days.. but i would have personally liked to learn more about the religion. I am very glad that i did it, and now dont really feel the need to do it again! So that was my buddhist temple stay :)
Other things this week.. i had my fantasy basketball draft!! I took a sick day from school on thursday cause my draft was wed night america time and that was the only way that i could make it. It was VERY worth it and i am pretty happy with my team!! CANT WAIT for the season to start in a few days. Ive been more seriously looking into planning Dori and my trip to cambodia/thailand. Its pretty fun.. there are so many amazing 3/4 star hotels for SO CHEAP (like 20-40 dollars a night) and there are some 5 star (literally nicest hotels i have ever seen) for less than 100!! Its going to be SO FUN! Its hard to not get too far ahead of myself when thinking about/planning the trip.. when im looking at stuff sometimes it feels like its coming up so soon.. when in reality its still a good 2 months away.. by the way I have been in Korea for almost exactly 2 months now which is CRAZY! On one hand it feels like ive been here forever and on the other hand i cant believe that it has already been two months!
Well i think thats about it for now.. hope all is well at home!