DH and I wandered into the temple on purpose. We weren’t really sure what to do, other than wander around Suwon. When we saw it, we agreed to duck in. I didn’t spend nearly enough time wandering around the city–constantly it surprised me as I ended down the large roads and sidewalkless streets.
Suwon’s main attraction is Hwaseong, a fortress built in the 18th-century. Once, just once, I walked from end to end. Around Hwaseong where oases of tradition. One such place was the temple we landed on.
It was gated and built up and down with stairs taking you from candle lit alter to candle lit alter. Golden Buddhas and reliefs, red painted wood, and wide floor boards defined the grounds.
When we decided it was time to leave, we meandered back to the gate.
It was closed.
At this point I did what seemed natural to me–I freaked out. I tried to swallow hard and seem cool. We just got locked into a temple, no big deal. NH and I had a history of trespassing together, so it wasn’t even worth thinking about, right?
However, in spite of my small adventures in trespassing, every time I did it, visions of being caught haunted me. Suddenly, we were trespassing.
I think it was NH who said we should just climb over the fence.
My shape is slightly round, soft-and-squishy. My muscles were pathetic. Climbing a fence seemed impossible. However, NH, ever the southern gentleman, helped me over it. As I stood on top, I wasn’t sure how far away the ground was. Rather than images of being arrested and deported, my fears turned into broken legs, uncomfortable trips to Korean emergency rooms, and being unable to express things like “my leg is broken.”
And then being fired from my tenuous job because I’d be unable to get to work or something.
Instead, as luck would have it, I landed safely, but with a lack of grace and a new found sense of pride having broken out of a Buddhist temple.