Year of the Goat Again

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Kite flying in Suwon

My birth year was a year of the Goat. Sometimes it’s translated as “sheep” or “ram” but this dude said that goat is the most accurate translation. However, since in modern Chinese, the same word is used for sheep and goats, it doesn’t really matter.

Anyway, I can’t help but think about how little I used to think about things like this. January 1st was New Year’s. However, I have often thought the lunar calender with it’s neat 13 months based on the moon rather than arbitrary numbering was far more rational and in tune with nature. So I prefer to think of this week as starting the new year instead.

I’ve gotten some fancy little rice and nut cakes filled with sweet bean and sweet potato from class parents. My boss gave us all a set of soaps and shampoo. Gift giving in Korea is pretty practical. You can usually eat or use it. Some really hip parents chipped in and got me a Starbucks gift card at my old school. The best gift is having a few days off from work without having to arrange a sub or lose pay.

I was planning on heading down to Busan over this long weekend, but that didn’t work out for a number of reasons including poor planning and illness. So I spent a few days having small adventures nearby. It wasn’t a bad weekend in spite of the change in plans.

My roommate forced me to go to Seoul Land, the first amusement park I’ve been to in years. We 2also went out to Suwon to see the Hwaseong Fortress (which will be it’s own post). And I also went to my first Cat Cafe. One of the cats chose me, deciding to come sit in my lap for about an hour (and only left when I had to stand up). This cat had curly woolly fur more like a sheep than a normal cat. I guess this is my year of the goat/sheep cat.

The cats were really chill and very used to people touching them and following them around. It was very endearing to see people who had never interacted with cats before tentatively try to pet and play with them. Cats aren’t a popular pet in Korea and many people are nervous around them or think they are bad luck. There were many local people there, but also many visitors from China. I was able to talk to a few who came over to pet the sheep cat sleeping on my lap.

I guess I looked like the cat whisperer. There were a couple cats sleeping on the pillows next to me and under the table in front of me too. I picked a seat in a quiet corner were the cats would rest more easily. So many of them came over there to do just that. At this cafe you could also purchase little cups of shredded chicken to feed to the cats and bribe them to spend more time with you.

It was really fun and I would recommend it to anyone who hasn’t experienced cats before or is contemplating cat ownership. It was pretty clean and a lot of fun.

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