Monday, November 30, 2015

Daeungbojeon Hall, Seonunsa

Monk in Daeungbojeon hall, Seonunsa Temple

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Geommmu Sword Dance, Korea

Geommu dancer

The Geommu sword dance has its origins in the martial arts and is considered one of the most ancient forms of Korean royal court dances.

According to the Asia-Pacific Database on Intangible Cultural Heritage:
"Geommu is said to have long history of more than 1,300 years since 660 in ancient Shinra Dynasty. A story about its origin is as follows: A seven-year-old boy called Hwangchang went into Baeckje Kingdom's Royal Court in disguise where he killed the enemy King with a sword while performing Geommu before him. He was arrested and was executed. On hearing of his heroic deeds, Shinra people made his mask and performed Geommu with it in honour of him. There are some other records that indicate Geommu has been a mask dance at least until the end of Koryo Dynasty although it now has changed into an elegant female dance without masks.
The basic rhythmic pattern used in Jinju-Geommu are Yeombul, Taryeong, Jazeun (fast)Taryeong according to tempo. Usually, 8 female dancers perform in various formations and groupings. Especially, its delicate sleeve movements are attractive. Although its martial character has been much diluted as it became a court dance repertory, it still keeps the dynamic spirit of ancient martial dance in its techniques and composition. Jinju-Geommu has been designated as Important Intangible Cultural Treasure No. 12 in 1967."

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Travel Thankfulness

Seonunsa - South Korea
School is out for the rest of the week - I finally have a chance to take a breath. I am sitting in my cozy warm apartment just steps away from my classroom. With the cold wind and even a few flurries in the air, I was thankful for such a short commute. Our faculty Thanksgiving lunch was started with a prayer and Thanksgiving song, sung first in English and then in Korean. This evening I'll attend another one with some friends, and yet another one tomorrow. So wonderful to be in the company of colleagues, celebrating a holiday where we just begin to touch on the many blessings heaped upon us by our Lord and Creator.   
The Great Wall - China

I'm in my 16th year teaching internationally. What incredible places I've had the opportunity to travel in and to teach. I'll never tire of the incredible beauty that God has created - such diverse landscapes, how He faithfully causes the seasons to happen each year, providing renewal in so many ways. 
Shekhawati - India
Angkor Wat - Cambodia
To explore incredible man-made wonders with friends - and even have a little fun.
Kashmir - India
To meet locals and put a personal side on travels, even if we can't speak the same language.
To witness such generosity and hospitality, freely giving and sharing what little they have. 
Timbuktu, Mali
To witness far-flung places at a time when it was safe to do so. 
Sirogojno, Serbia
To shop with friends and share new experiences.
HaLong Bay - Vietnam
To be able to fly during holidays, transported to a new world and arrive back at school, refreshed.
Taj Mahal - India
To see some Wonders of the World and UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Penang - Malaysia
To view unique crafts being created, including those that are slowly disappearing.
Ella - Sri Lanka

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Seonunsa Streams and Autumn Foliage

When hiking through Seonunsa, I just couldn't help myself. Such incredible autumn foliage, echoed in the streams along the path. Even the rains couldn't dampen my excitement of the beauty around me.  

Just think of how these scenes would have looked if the skies would have been under clear skies or during the "golden hour" of late afternoon...

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Gangnam Autumn Reflections - times ten

Fall in Gangnam, Seoul - even better when seeing it multiple times through multiple reflections and even reflections of those reflections. It's good to preserve such memories for those upcoming dull and dreary winter days.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Drops of Autumn Pearls

The last several weekends have been wet ones in Korea. Unfortunately, this coincided right with some peak autumn colors. My plans for capturing the leaves with early morning or late afternoon light went right out the window. 

Equipped with a rain jacket, I took a few photos of some of the trees on our school campus. I loved the complimentary colors of this image.

 Raindrops collected and beaded up on the branches like pearls.

Even the puddles had their own beauty.