Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Getting in Touch with My Roots

One of the hidden treasures I only recently discovered in northern Virginia is the Korean Bell Garden, part of Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. It's especially interesting to visit a place like that as a Public Diplomacy (PD) Officer for the U.S. government, because it's a great example of PD work the Republic of Korea (i.e., South Korea) is doing here in the States. The characters on the walls in the photo above, by the way, say "Korea" and "America"* (referring to the respective countries).

I'm a proud Korean-American, but I have plenty to learn about my heritage. This photo above is of wall art depicting many symbols understood in Korean culture to represent longevity. There were plenty of other points of interest in the garden in addition to what I've included here, too, from traditional totem poles to a fish pond to the eponymous traditional Korean bell.

If you find yourself in northern Virginia, I highly recommend you spend an afternoon when the weather's nice at Meadowlark (or during the Christmas season when they decorate the gardens with beautiful lights). M and I have found it to make for a romantic and unique date.

*Fun fact: the Korean word for "America," "miguk," is derived from a Chinese phrase that can be literally translated as "beautiful country."

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