Do you know who Muhammad is?

24 06 2008

Today at work one of my coworkers told a story about how she resold an old text book online to a guy named Jesus. I find this coworker to be well educated and to be one who prides herself on knowing ‘whats up’. She was laughing at herself for not having known back then that people today with the name Jesus pronounce it with a spanish accent, different from how english speakers would say the Prophet’s name. She was commenting, though, on how she found it a bit odd for people to name themselves after a prophet. Myself and another coworker mentioned how this was also common with the name Muhammad. I was surprised when my coworker responded by asking ‘who is Muhammad?’ So we kindly informed her that Muhammad is the prophet founder of Islam, the second largest religion in the world with some 1.5 billion adherents. Not only that, but Muhammad (according to numerous google results when ‘most common name in the world’ was searched) is the number one most common name in the world.

This coworker said that she had gone to a Catholic school her whole life and got a bit defensive saying ‘when was I suppose to have learned that?’ I guess I just found it interesting (shocking?) more than anything, especially coming from my religious background where ‘progressive revelation‘ is a principal belief.

Then when I got home I saw in the news headlines that a new study had been conducted on religion in the US and some of the results were quite interesting, one of them being that 92% of those surveyed believe in God. Here is the link to the article to read more. I’m always interested to know what the ‘spiritual pulse’ is on the world we live in.

Just some food for thought, I suppose.


Korean Folk Village

14 06 2008

Last weekend I traveled a couple of hours outside of Seoul to Suwon, SK. There lies a heritage site turned into a replica of a traditional folk village. It was amazing! The place was huge. We spent over four hours there and only got to see about half of it. It was a real ‘hands on’ place with lots of learning through doing. It felt peaceful and it was really beautiful. On the grounds they have over 250 buildings, from a Nobleman’s house, to Commoners’ houses, blacksmith, basket and silk weaving and paper making sites, farming grounds, pottery kilns, ‘traditional food-court’, temples, shrines….And the people who worked there walked around in traditional garb.

We also got to see some really cool performances including the traditional drum dancers, tight-rope walking, seesawing, and equestrian acrobatics. We missed the reenactment of a traditional wedding ceremony, but I will just have to catch that some other time!

As always, I have even more photos….click here to see them.


11 06 2008

Lately I have really been longing for friends to connect with. A relationship that feels natural and seemingly effortless. I have been trying to do this with people back home, but I find the distance to be daunting. My coworkers are great, but it can be too much to work and socialize with the same small group of people. I have some Korean friends living here and its always great when we get together, but they are all busy busy university students and live on the other side of the mega-city, its not often that we get to meet up. So, I’ve been feeling really blessed since I’ve met my new friend Minkyung.

There is this mountain behind my house with a really nice paved walking path. I have been trying to go there multiple times a week. Awhile back I was stopped by a Korean girl about my age who said she had noticed me and was wondering if we could walk together some time, so that she could practice her English. Of course I said yes. We quickly found that we were very similar and had a lot in common (love of traveling, time spent in India, ethnic foods, and boyfriends in the US, to name just a few things). Time spent with her feels so natural, its hard to believe that we have only known each other a couple of months. Its also really great to have a friend who lives in the same neighborhood. It feels really good to just be able to call her for dinner if I feel like it after work, or a walk late in the evening. I don’t really have to plan far in advance, or spend exorbitant amounts of time and energy to be social. Its been a blessing to meet her!

We spend a lot of our time together walking on the mountain, but we’ve also done some other cool things too.

A few weekends back we met up in Hongdae for Indian food and shopping. On the way to the restaurant we came across these performers who were were doing a Stomp-like sorta act on different recycled things. They were filled with energy and full smiles the whole time. Minkyung told me that she had seen them on the news before and they were a group of people who had been dissatisfied with their everyday lives and were looking for something that made them happy. So…they quit their day jobs, and this was the result!

We walked around the trendy/eclectic neighborhood doing some window shopping, then ate some AMAZING Indian food that neither of us could stop ranting and raving over.

The next day we met up for lunch. Minkyung took me to a really great neighborhood that I’d never been to before. We walked and talked and window shopped and ate really yummy Italian food. (Are you seeing a trend?)

To see more pictures from the weekend you can CLICK HERE. More to come on our adventures.