Friday, October 3, 2008

Chapter Ten: An Independent Journey to Duryu

And now for something completely different: I will do a food blog sometime soon, but today's is all nature. It's probably very self-indulgent and more like a journal than anything I've done so far. Most of it will be taken from a journal entry I wrote while at the top of the hill in Duryu park. You've been warned. Edit: I found out that yesterday was Mountain Day back home. Luckily, I had the day off myself and spent it on top of a hill. It makes the missing-Smith feeling a little easier.

I'm at the top of a hill in Duryu Park overlooking the Woobang Towerland amusement park. I was feeling particularly down today. I thought I would stay home in bed all day. While trolling the interent, I re-discovered an expat wiki that had a lot about Daegu. I saw pictures of Woobang Towerland and that it as next to a park. I looked at the subway map and saw how easy it was to get to. Put on pants then pack my backpack with a Larabar, bottle of water, notebook, and my camera. I put on my adventure Sauconys and put my Ipod on.

I pick the album "Not a Pretty Girl" because it is somehow, to me, about a solitary adventure. It's been eight years since I used to listen to it on the walk to the bus stop, but it still has that feeling for me. Walking alone, inside of my own head. I was talking to Morgan the other day about how much this time in my life feels like early adolescence. There is so much out there to discover and I'm really able to do it on my own now. I guess that's what the album is about to me.

I head to the subway, passing more bizarre Daegu (chicken on a leash) and take the train the five stops here. Everyone stares, as usual. I listen to my music, try to stay in my head, don't let it make me turn back. When I arrive, I look at the exit maps and find my way to the park. The trails twist and turn. There are many dirt paths that I pass up to follow the stone.
It's beautiful and safe.
I'm still a little worried about getting lost.

I get to the end of a low path and decide "up!"

So I climb. Another stopping point. "Up!" I choose. It's not very steep. I'm enjoying the stretch. The feeling of rocks and tree roots under my feet.

Where am I made for? The beach or harbor where I grew up? The forests I played in? The hills of Western Mass? The city where I will always feel free? I'm getting that sense of endless possibilities again. I love the world. I love being everywhere. I keep climbing.

When I get to the top, I see a clearing with so few trees. It reminds me of Ovid. I'm alone. No one on Earth has any idea where I am right now; I am kind of liking it. I click off more photos. Some Koreans walk by, "안녕하세요" says one kind woman. "Anyounghaseo," I reply. The album isn't even over yet! How could such a wonderful journey from my apartment door to the top of this hill happen in the space of one Ani DiFranco album?

I decide to take a few self-portraits in the Korean style. I've got so few pictures of myself in Korea.

I don't just want to rememer this precipice, but also being here.
I sit down, drink my water, and begin to log my thoughts.

I can hear people shouting from the amusement park. I think next time I'll give it a try. I'm in love with this park, this city, the world right now. Maybe I'll bring someone for a picnic next time. Or maybe I'll just keep it for myself.

This hilltop forest looks the same as any forest in New York or Massachusetts. Some different trees, but essentially the same. Why do I always expect every other country to have things so different that it might as well be another world?

A korean man comes and does some exercise. I click photos. He sees me. I act casual and take photos of everything around me.

Should I stay until sunset to take more photos? I think it will be pretty but my camera doesn't do well with dusk.

I climb down.

In the distance, you can see the Tower of Woobang Towerland.

Some sort of monument.

Today is a long weekend for National Foundation Day. Korean flags are everywhere.

I'm not sure what this is, but it's beautiful.

If you look closely, you can see that the pattern on the stones is actually hearts.

All around the park there were people playing what might be Go. Mostly old men, like the ones who play chess at home. I decide to head home.


  1. So pretty, the trees are all spindly! I'm happy your nature adventure left you in a better place mood-wise. (Yay Ani)

  2. Hi!
    You've been added to the Association of Smith Alum Blogs ( If that's not ok with you, or if you know of other people we should add, let us know at
    Sarah & Amanda