Carla and I have driven by this sign many times since we made Aguanga our temporary home. Carla did said that her family camped here years ago, before this retreat had taken it over.
A mile above the valley, finds us at the retreat.
Kkottongnae was developed in the 1970's in South Korea as a Catholic organization determined to help to search and help people that cannot help themselves. It eventually migrated to the states 10 years later.
The first thing we find as we drove onto the parking lot (other than the stares as if to say, "who are these people") was a SUV rolling over these nuts. I assume to crack them.
I had a bit of a problem explaining that we were curious as to what is this place was, because the Asian people we were talking to, did not quite understand us.
Carla immediately recognized the buildings as the old private campground where her family camped with in their trailer back around the 70's and 80's.
We were finally steered to this nice lady who spoke bit of English. She asked if we were hungry and I quickly said no. After thinking about it I said...sure, if there is some food we'd eat. I saw no other guests anywhere, but she still went behind the counter and start dishing up some food.
Do you eat Kim Chi? Huh, no...but when in Rome, do what the Romans do.
This must have been the off season and once Kim Chi was mentioned I realized we had stumbled onto a Korean compound, of which kind, I had no idea. Lamely, I asked if it was a Buddhist retreat? Sister Jun laughed, no it was a Catholic Retreat. Well, I then got into her good graces by admitting that I too, was raised as a Catholic.
So sister Jun served us up a delicious meal, Kim Chi, salmon, rice and beans and lastly...some kind of root. I offered to pay afterward but was refused, Sister Jun just wanted to feed us...ok, how about a donation? Yep, that was accepted..
Sister Jun and a groundskeeper showed us the dinning room. The sister noted that their priest was in his 90's and could not say mass anymore. I made a lame joke about it must be the Kim Chi that brings long life". Totally went over her head.
Here is a map of Kkottongnae retreat.
This is their chapel, which we had permission to enter.
Besides the dinning hall, a bar, a barber and a chapel, there are a few lecture rooms spread out in the little town setting.
It's a beautiful place in the desert to pray.
Time to say good-by. At least by our exploring off the grid, we found this place to be a beautiful and serene place to workout the reasons why we inhabit this wonderful blue planet.
(if I haven't explained before, I can't change the name of the blog, or I'll lose over 400 blogs, forever)