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A Year of Living Positively -Day 84

The women's walk did not work out as planned, for very few people turned up. We wore the white ribbons to remember the victims of domestic violence and had a good walk exploring a new path by the river, but only completed eight kilometers. The mountain hikers thought the landscape was boring, and the less experienced hikers thought it long enough, so we made it only as far as Sagak River Park is Sasang-gu. Anyway, it was a good day. The chilly wind that was blowing in the morning let up by mid-afternoon, so it became a pleasant day.

Half-way along, we found a place in the marshland to sit on the grass and have lunch together. Korean "uncle" came along. Known for his campsite cookery, he had enough food to feed an army in a large back pack. The dear man had risen early in the day after a late night out so as to cook chicken, make a sauce and a broth, boil eggs, chop up some fish paste (odeng) and vegetables, and pack dishes and all. On the trail, he mixed the vinaigrette spiked with wasabi for the sliced sweet bell peppers and cooked chicken strips to make a tasty dish. We ate it along with some eggs and then he heated up the odeng in the fish broth, adding some chopped leek as it boiled on the mini camp stove. We ate as much of the food as we could, in addition to what other tidbits the rest of us had brought along. Uncle's meal was a bit short on carbs, so I ate half of the rotini with tomato sauce that I had prepared and carried for myself.

In the future, I would not return to this same path. Having this experience, and a much more accurate estimate of the distance involved, I would like to try an area further north, leaving from a different point in the subway grid. The destination that I had had in mind when planning this event is actually twice the distance that I had figured using a misleading city map with a warped scale. Usually, Korean maps don't have a scale and are often drawn out of scale, making it hard to use them as a reference to get an idea of the distance between one point and another. I had found one online with a scale that is apparently way off.

After the hike, uncle and A wanted me to go with them for meokgeoli. They are real friends to me so I tagged along and had a few cups of drink with them. As usual, generous uncle paid. A and Uncle were just introduced to each other that morning, and they were getting along well. We talked about a variety of topics. 

At one point, we discussed attitudes of young people these days. We shared a general view that a lot of middle class and even working class young people don't seem to care or think a lot about others, either because they have so much support and opportunities that they take a lot for granted and feel entitled, or they feel excluded and denied support and opportunities that they are cynical and bear resentment. The result is a generation that is largely disconnected or self-absorbed while they are being mislead by education and the popular media. The are far too casual and negligent. 

A cited a time when some of the hikers were planning a cycling trip, but one young woman we know did not own a bike. She asked the people there whether anyone had one she could use. A said, "Yes." He arranged to bring her and another person spare bikes on the day of outing, but, when that day came, she was a no-show, leaving it to about an hour before the meeting time to send him a quick "sorry, but" message. He had to lug that extra bike around, removing it from the rack on his car whenever he parked to lock it up and ensure it's security all day. He thus went to a lot of trouble, yet it turned out that the woman was not very serious and did not express much gratitude or consideration.

We also talked about the difficulties in arranging an event and planning on numbers of participants. A big problem is the thoughtlessness that invitees show when they flip-flop on attending. It is hard to get commitments. When people, especially younger ones, agree to go somewhere and do something, the agreement is often shallow and insincere. Even when they RSVP a "Yes," one cannot rely on them carrying through. Aside from the accidents and emergencies that can occur for some 10% of those that indicated they would go, you can never be sure about around 40%. People really lack commitment. As for me, people say I am very reliable. When I agree to go somewhere and do something, I can usually be counted on. I commit to something. I make a decision and have reasons for it, and I carry through. I have to say that my habits have been tainted by some sour experiences, so that, with respect to some kinds of company and events, like recreational and social activities with people I might just hang out but not consider as a real friend, I can be pretty namby-pamby myself.

Considering what happened with the local hiking group, Daytrippers, I have been reminded that there are false-friends and companions who are not friends, however friendly and no matter how much time you spend with them. For me, there always was a discomfort with the activities of that group because of the unsuitable scheduling of activities, some of the routes and the repetitiveness of some hikes, and waffling leadership that sometimes leads then does not midway through an event, and reveals ambivalence about the followers when the call people together, take group photos, wait long for everyone to arrive some days, then takes off and loses half the group, or shoots far ahead, or drags far behind that separations and discouragement occur. The two leaders like their position nevertheless and there is an underlying hostility or at least possessiveness about it, at least as far as I have experienced them. It has detrimentally affected the mood and atmosphere of hikes, I feel. 

A, one of my colleagues who is such a hiking enthusiast that he joins the Daytrippers when his club is dormant, told me that his club is planning a local hike this Wednesday, a holiday for us because of it is the university's anniversary of its founding. They want to leave at nine in the morning, and go up Geumjeong Mountain, the mountain upon which our new campus is nestled, so it is a convenient course for me. We will finish up at the famed temple, Beomeosa, just two or three kilometers from my place I therefore can go and enjoy the hike and lunch and return with plenty of time to prepare for the evening event.

The evening event is the house-warming party for the colleagues who are lodged together in this apartment building. I want to meet them and see their faces. I left invitations in all the mailboxes of two whole floors, where I think we are all living. It's a guess, though. 

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