Work is pretty hectic, but I quickly relax on the half hour walk home. As I leave the main road and head into Samyang, I begin to smell the ocean ahead. Then, it’s a tiny 25m detour for me to walk along the ocean for the last 200 m, rather than the most direct way home. So, I head directly to the beach or a bit further along, walk along the ‘boardwalk’. It’s a concrete and stone path along the shore …is boardwalk the right nme?
As summer unfolds, the path is busier day by day (when it’s not rainy!) People gather in pairs or groups, with small picnics of kimbap and sometimes a little grill. Or packs of cooked meat and beer. Or couple sit side by side, chatting and looking out to the ocean. Dads chase toddlers, and little girls skip. It’s a great dose of health on my way home.
Last night, a friend and I had worked late preparing report cards. So it was midnight, when I made it to the boardwalk. As I passed a group of eight, they asked me to stop, sit and join them. With a few guitars, a ukelele, a small 2-drum set, they were sitting roughly in a circle with beer, water, fried chicken, and chips, in the center. It felt like that casual sing-around-the-campfire atmosphere.
So, from midnight to 1 am, I hung out with friendly Koreans from Jeju and others from the mainland of Korea (Daegu, Seoul and elsewhere). Music, the universal language, was a much more effective means of communication than their lack of English and my more drastic lack of Korean. Clapping, singing and enjoying.
I’m always stunned by the sweet centering power of things that happen in the moment, spontaneously, …like a sing-along on the boardwalk.