Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Surviving the PyoChoongSa Temple Stay ...

Spending time at a Buddhist temple is nothing like we had all expected. We were told stories from our buddies but nothing could compare to what we experienced. We got to the temple around 1 o’clock. After finishing up our kimbap lunch we played in the river before entering the temple gates. Once we entered the temple grounds we were given the clothes we had to wear for the 24 hours. The boys had a bluish color vest and pants. The girls were an orange tan color three quarter length shirt and pants. Thankfully the fabric was very lightweight and surprisingly pretty cool. Or so we thought at this point.

After touring the temple we rested, I napped, and then went to learn how to bow. After another rest break we had dinner and then went to the temple to bow even more.  T dinner we had to eat everything that we served ourselves. We had 4 bowls, water, soup, veggies and rice. It was an experience to say the least. We spotted a cute little white bunny outside after bowing. A lot of the group feed it. We were served rice cakes, watermelon and tea before our 9pm bedtime.

My room, Lauren, Lane, Allie and I, didn’t know there was some padding so we only had a blanket to sleep on and a pillow. But it didn’t matter all that much considering we had to wake up at 3am to go bow and meditate. After a break we were served breakfast, rice and veggies, naturally.

After breakfast we started our long journey. Of course we were not informed to take tennis shoes so I just wore my rainbows. So I had to wear the terrible rubber ballerina type shoes with socks to hike. It was terrible I could feel every little rock I stepped on. The hike didn’t seem so bad to begin with. 30 minutes into the hike we started complaining because of the rocky path we had to go up. Little did we know this was basically a pre-game warm up. The path was very hard, full of rocks and roots and not traveled much you could tell. I now know why the path is not traveled much. Two-thirds of the way George fell about 6 feet of a cliff, he can’t see well as it is, he got to close to the edge and loss his footing and fell. The rest of the way the boys took turns carrying him because he kept blacking out from pain and dehydration.

I sweat a lot, but never have I ever sweated like I did on this hike. Thank goodness it was in the woods and we had a nice breeze. My clothes, that we were given the day before and still wearing, were soaked. We got split up into two groups because some stayed back to help George while the other went ahead to get the help in to get George. Lauren and myself got caught up in the middle and were alone for about 15 minutes. I got very frustrated. Robbie finally came through running to get help because George was in more pain. Once we found our way to the rest of the group I let everyone know how I felt about getting split up and then had a good little cry. But then felt bad for saying everything I did, so I apologized because I could have Daniel (one of my closest friends here) and the rest of the guys being mad at me. George and the ones helping him finally made it to the rest of the group about 30 minutes later.
The monks were taking turns at the pint carrying him on their backs. All the boys were exhausted and took time to play in the waterfall. Robbie looked like Molgi out of the Jungle Book. It was then time for the vans to come pick us up because we were all too tired to hike back down. We packed 11 people into one van, Daniel sitting on my feet the whole time. The road was rocky and narrow, but we knew it was well worth it because we were one step closer to getting back.

After lunch, which was the same as all of the other meals, we packed up and headed home. We picked up Ms. Kim and George on the way. He had a bright green cast on his leg. The doctors said he sprained his ankle. He may go to the hospital here though for a 2nd opinion. After the 5-6 mile hike for 3 hours all up hill the 93 steps into the dorm was easy as pie.

Tonight we are all rewarding ourselves and going out for a nice bugolgi meal and everything it includes. We are all craving meat. Oh yeah, monks don’t eat meat, they are missing out on so much!

This trip taught me so much. I learned how not to complain. And if you do just get it all out, have a good cry and then make up. 

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