January 9th, 2010
I made it to the bus on time, but I had to take a taxi because of my giant suitcase (including warm blue blanket), 장구janggu (the largest instrument… why didn't I decide to learn 꽹과리 ggwaenggwari the gong approximately the size of a salad plate and a little deeper than the length of the thumb?) and my shoulder bag with computer and various books.
Part of going with 개전연 (개인전수연합) gaejeonyeon, the group I joined in summer 2009, is getting into the group think of Korean group activities. This is when I'm glad Karjam's not with me. I love my husband but he's a serious barrier to me being able to just sink into the group for maximum participant observation research value. When we got to the rest-stop we had to wait outside the bathrooms for everyone to come out. In the convenience store everyone's drinks had to be bought together, which of course means that you should pick something reasonable like my 750 won bottle of water, it would be very bad form to grab a 2,200 won drink, even if you had the money, because the group was pooling their money. Then we bought snacks from the snack vendors, but everything had to be for sharing. I shared my toasted pressed dried fish (쥐포) and received a cookie, a package of cookies (brought from Seoul), a walnut cake stuffed with red bean paste and offers of several other things. It would have been incredibly rude for me not to share. There are several Gaejeonyeon members I don't know with us, most of them are members of 이화여대 Ewha Woman's [sic] University's team. 은정Eunjeong, our dominant personality, graduated from Ewha last year (February, that's Korean graduation month) and maintains a close connection to their team. The most eager team members who didn't feel that one week of practice (with their entire group) would be enough, have come this time as well. They will be returning with the other Ewha members in the same week that I return to do sangmo study. It seems that this will be a small week, traditionally the earlier weeks of the training camp are lightly attended, and winter sees less participants than the summer. There were thirty people pre-registered for the camp, by this evening we'll be able to see just what the attendance is going to be. Unfortunately one of the people going is 김린한 Kim Rinhan who I find absolutely the most annoying of anyone I've met associated with 임실필봉농악 Imshil Pilbong Nongak. We were in the same sangmo class last summer, and until recently he's also attended the Seoul Training Center classes. Eunjeong also finds him very irritating.
After we arrived at the Training Center we met 선홍 Seonhong, who I've been on two previous programs with and met up with at a festival, he's an Arabic major. He also was here the previous week, and so he was tasked with meeting us and telling us that we'd be staying in the 영산관 Yeongsan Hall. Almost all of us will stay in one big room, this is probably because it's cheaper to heat this building, and maybe they're even able to turn off the heat in some of the rooms. One other room is in use, a much smaller one. Gaejeonyeon has one half of the big room but more than one half the people.
Group think manifested again when we pooled our money so that one person could deal with finances for all of us. And when a giant paper was taped to the wall with our six rules, one more large paper, still in progress, tells us what we're responsible to clean on which day. And when it was time to go eat, we all went together. And then when two people had to go back to their rooms, I made sure that we didn't start eating until they got back, and when everyone finished eating we all stood up and turned in our plates, bowls, chopsticks and spoons at once. Actually I didn't have a bowl as the soup was made with meat, but the rest of the meal was fine. One of the girls sitting across from me, however, sat down and looked at her meal and said "this would be a good week for me to go on a diet."
After the meal we all hung around except for a few extra enthusiastic people who went to practice. At 8 we had a big group meeting to lay down the rules and expectations and answer any questions we might have. No one volunteered for the positions of 학생회장 Student President or 총무 Manager, although some did nominate their friends. At last 세미 Semi (Seh-mee), the manager of the winter camp picked too people, the President is 다원Dawon, a woman with an exceptionally great smile, the manager is one of the guys from 경희대 Gyeongheui (Kyunghee) University, 규광 Gyugwang. The three groups who are here are Gaejeonyeon, Kyunghee University and a high school thirty minutes away has sent three students. Then there are a few independent people who naturally are sucked into Gaejeonyeon, which means we are by far the largest and most dominant group. She told the women from our group to sleep in a separate room. In the morning when I woke up, I saw that mostly that's what happened. After reviewing the cleaning duties, the rules for safety and civility at the camp and offering several times to answer questions (no one had any) Semi ended the meeting.
I tagged after her and explained my health issue. She directed me to a restroom that is rarely used, warm and private. I will use that for things related to recovery from my surgery, and I feel confident that I can take care of myself well while I'm here.
We had our 뒤풀이 duipuli or after hours party starting a little earlier than we will the rest of the week, 승민 Seungmin made a huge pot of instant noodles and people shared out various other snacks as well. 막걸리 makgeolli was also shared around the circle. I spent most of my social time talking with 원모 Wonmo (don't get confused as the head of Gaejeonyeon is Wonno) and 휘 Hui, two participants from Kyunghee University. Group think was much in evidence as people shared noodles off the same plate or pan lid, refilled each other's glasses and collectively punished anyone who was out of line (by making them sing). I went to bed, or I went to lie down on the hot floor at a little after 11. I slept fairly well.