pink confetti

Finally time to post, although it was nice to not have time to post for a while.  A Catch-22 of sorts, having all sorts of post-worthy experiences while not having the time to post about them.  Is that a Catch-22?  I’m beginning to think not.  I’ve read the book and seen the movie, so you’d think I’d have a firm grasp of the term from whence they originated, but all I’m thinking of now is the scene at the end when Yossarian runs away.  I’m leaving Korea soon, but I’m hardly running, although I hope someone is shouting: "Taylor!  Taylor!  Taylor!" while my plane takes off.  Who is my Major Danby in Korea?

"You must make decisions," Major Danby disagreed.  "A person can’t live like a vegetable."
"Why not?"
"It must be nice to live like a vegetable," he conceded wistfully.
"It’s lousy."
"No, it must be very pleasant to be free from all this doubt and pressure," insisted Major Danby.  "I think I’d like to live like a vegetable and make no important decisions."
"What kind of vegetable, Danby?"
"A cucumber or a carrot."
"What kind of cucumber?  A good one or a bad one?"
"Oh, a good one, of course."
"They’d cut you up in your prime and slice you up for a salad."
Major Danby’s face fell.  "A poor one, then."
"They’d let you rot and use you for fertilizer to help the good ones grow."

–Joseph Heller

I have, more or less, made my decision to leave Korea in a month.  I was on the fence for a while–thinking about staying for one more month to make a bit more money–but all indicators and experiences point towards leaving as I’ve been planning.  This is not to say that I’ve not been having an amazing time here lately, it is to say that I am interpreting these amazing experiences as a coda for my Korean life.

LanternsatjogyesaLast night I went with Desiree, Kevin, & Mary to the Lotus Lantern Festival–Korea’s annual celebration to honor Buddha’s birthday.  It was a huge event, very crowded, although it seemed as if there were as many people in the parade as there were watching the parade.  The parade was amazing–groups of Buddhists from different temples carrying different colored lanterns and playing drums intermixed with huge glowing floats of lotus flowers, fire-breathing dragons, and (of course) Buddhas.  It went on and on and on, and at one point a (I assume) Buddhist came up to me and handed me his lantern, which I now have hanging from the fluorescent light in my bedroom.  Truth be told, I think he was just tired of carrying it, but it made me feel special nonetheless.  Beyond the parade, there was this tangible feeling of camaraderie and happiness in the air, which is something that (I feel) is somewhat rare in Korea. 

(BTW… I shot most of the parade on video, thus the absence of photos.)

Once the bulk of the parade appeared to have ended, we headed to a Kim-Bap restaurant for some stew and dumplings and (always) kimchee/rice.  Yum, it was.  "You’re going to miss this," Desiree commented at one point.  Yes, I will miss Korean food.  It grows on you, and I predict myself looking for good Korean restaurants wherever in the world I end up next.

LanternsupAfter food, Kevin & Mary headed back to their scooter and home, but Desiree & I headed towards a general commotion in the other direction.  There was a stage set up in front of Seoul’s largest temple, and there was a huge mass of people dancing to blaring Korean music and throwing pink confetti at each other.  There were huge towers set up from where a seemingly endless supply of confetti was raining down on the crowd, and it was impossible not to get caught up in this amazing feeling of childlike bliss that the scene created.  Strangers throwing handfuls of confetti at each other, then smiling and slapping each other on the back; pink clouds of confetti flying in every direction; everyone smiling and dancing and just being together.  Nobody was a foreigner or a Korean, we were all just humans playing together like kids in the middle of Seoul.  At one point the music stopped, and an announcer from the stage (apparently) instructed everyone to grab handfuls of confetti from the piles of it on the ground, and then: "Hana, dul, set…" and we all threw it in the air in unison, creating a momentary mass of pink in the Seoul sky.  It made me feel alive, and I haven’t giggled and smiled so much for a long time.  When I finally arrived home, I realized that the pockets of my jacket were full of pink confetti–one piece might be the most meaningful souvenir of my time here, but I have a whole baggie full.

Confetti

2 comments to pink confetti

  • […] that made me laugh out loud during my commute to work on the subway this morning…-After the Lantern Festival Parade last week, Desiree, Kevin, Mary, and I had dinner in a Kimbap restaurant. At a table next to ours, […]

  • […] for fertilizer to help the good ones grow.”~Joseph HellerObsessive readers would recall that I did post that quote a few years ago, but I pretty sure I’m the only obsessive anything around here.So […]

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