KOREA - BURMA - CHINA - JAPAN - VIETNAM - TAIWAN - INDONESIA !
The pan-Asian fest, CelebrASIA, was enlightening, uplifting, and so fun! ... I learned so much (one of my favorite things to do in life)! Of course, you can guess which exhibition I attended first: Korea, of course!! I made a new friend, with whom I will be meeting soon for 한국 음식 (Korean food)!
In Korea, they were demonstrating how natural dyes sourced from herbs are used to decorate fabric and cloth artwork. Of course, I spent a long time there, talking, 한국어 연습 (practicing Korean language - Hangeul) and watching!
My next stop was Burma, where I learned a bit about the Karen (also spelled Kayen, but pronounced "kuh' ren" either way). I spent quite a bit of time there, talking to a young man about his life as a refugee in Thailand and then as one in the US. He has spent most of his life as a refugee of the dictatorship in Burma, and was raised in a refugee camp. He came to the US through Minnesota, and then with the help of Refugee Services of Texas, has been here for 5 years. He was a very candid and kind-hearted young man. I am so glad we can help people like that! The friendly Karen that represented the Austin Karen Society had me put on traditional Karen clothing, which was so fun! They automatically dressed me in "married woman's" attire, instead of "single girl" costume. The clothing was heavy and well-made, as shown by the girl weaving the cloth together.
Click "read more" to the right...
Back south again to Vietnam, where I discussed a bit of Vietnamese history and the current political climate with the Vietnamese representative , as well as the "underground" communist control by China that is still in place. Vietnam is such a beautiful country, in fact, so many parts of Asia are astounding. My good friend Brian has lived in Hanoi for years, and keeps urging me to move there. (Bri, once I'm certified and have a few years of "real" teaching under my belt! You know me, EVERY country in the globe is on my list of future residences. Well, ALMOST every country!!)
I walked on to Taiwan... There is much to discover about Taiwan. First of all, a Taiwanese Buddhist organization––formed by a female Buddhist monk half a century ago––carries out many beneficial acts in many countries! What I found wonderful is that they manufacture blankets (in aid work for the poor, disenfranchised, refugees, etc.) out of plastic bottles! They use 17 recycled plastic water bottles to make one blanket! And the blanket felt so soft; like fleece!
RECYCLE ALL YOUR PLASTIC BOTTLES! BETTER THAN THAT, STOP USING THEM, AND BUY ONE REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE!!
I spoke with one of the founders of AARC, a Dr. who also teaches Tai Chi; he informed me of the multitudes of famous and creative Taiwanese, such as Lucy Lui and Ang Lee and the creator of You Tube! Then, he proceeded to show me a map of Taiwan, pointing out several cities along the western coast in which he had lived––where he was born, raised, attended university, trained in the military, etc.––he has lived all over the island!
I did not realize how many amazingly talented people have come from Taiwan! I was further intrigued to discover that the majority religions in Taiwan are Buddhist and Taoist. I am happy about this! (Korea has equal amounts of Christians and Buddhists because of the evangelical proselytizing that happened as a result of the US mIlitary presence during the Korean War. I believe the stats show that Christianity has pervaded to such a degree that number is now a slight majority. I feel sad about this, because as the Buddhist presence decreases, so does a lot of wonderful and rich Korean culture.)
Let's take a huge leap to the western portion of the Asian continent and take a long, loving look at Persia (Iran)! What struck me besides the hostess' beautiful traditional costume and Iranian works of art, was of course, the book by Hafez! (Europeanized: Hafiz). You know me, I could have stood there all afternoon just imbibing his luscious poetry!
"Oh, saki, haste, the beaker bring,
Fill up, and pass it round the ring;
Love seemed at first an easy thing––
But ah! the hard awakening..."
(The photos of the Persepolis description is added because it is relevant to my current studies of Artemis and the goddess archetypes, relating to Atalanta or Demeter and her origins in Persepolis vs Arcadia; two mythologies.)
Finally, I went outside after many hours of conversation, learning, and making new friends...into the rain! The line for Mom's Taste (Korean food) was waaaaaay too long, and I went outside too late for most of the food; so home!
An enjoyable afternoon spent all over Asia! Of course, I can't wait to fly across the sea once again, and visit all the places I did today, for realreals!