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[외국인이 반한 한국] 한국인 특유의 역동성은 내가 좋아하는 북한산의 굽이굽이 흐르는 능선과 매우 닮았다.
스콧 파이트(Scott Feight)
미국 병원예술재단 이사장
Koreans Are Majestic Like Their Mountains,
Says Foundation for Hospital Art Director Scott Feight
If I am asked to describe Korea in one word, I would say “majestic.” Korea is not a big country on the map, but its presence is impressive. Based on my experience, I can say that it is big in many ways. There are so many beautiful mountains across the country, and Koreans lead their lives vibrantly surrounded by these mountains. So, I often find Koreans with big thoughts and generosity. Especially, there is some resemblance between the unique dynamic nature of Koreans, who constantly seek change, and the beautiful ridges of my favorite mountain, Mt. Bukhan.
My first visit to Korea came in 1996 when I served in the U.S. army in Korea. At that time, I worked in Air Traffic Control in Uijongbu and Yongsan after graduating the Military Academy at West Point. As I was responsible for all of the radio transmission equipment that the aircraft used, I was able to visit many of the mountaintops in the country. During my travels,I was mesmerized by the beauty of the mountains in Korea. Full of green trees, the mountains are unlike the rocky mountains found in the States. To me, it seems that Korean soldiers have a strong sense of patriotism and responsibility as guardians of peace in the country. And there is a strong resemblance between this spirit of young Koreans and the beautiful mountains in the country.
After many years, now I visit Korea in a different role. As Executive Director of the Foundation for Hospital Art, I now visit Korea every year to participate in the “Pfizer PaintFest” Every time I come back, I see new buildings and busy people on the street. From these scenes, I feel like I visit a whole new place full of positive energy.
In the past, I just enjoyed the beautiful nature of Korea. Now, I paint nature’s images on the endless blank walls of hospitals, inviting people to enjoy the beauty of nature together. Every time I visit Korea, I feel the strength of Korean patients and their will to fight against their illnesses. It is not much different from the strength and tenacious life force I sense coming from the Korean mountains.
Because Mt. Bukhan is my favorite mountain in Korea, I visit it every time I come to this country. I first visited Mt. Bukham after hitting it off with Win Trainor, the President of the Foundation for Hospital Art. Like me, he was an avid hiker. His interest, combined with mine, led us to explore the mountains of South Korea and our climbing team grew to a total of nine people.
We began with an easy subway ride from our hotel to the station near Mt. Bukhan. Due to proximity of Mt. Bukhan to Seoul and it`s grand presence, we were naturally drawn to it. The excitement was building as people joined our train ride north. We were worried though, when we saw that many of the local hikers were better equipped for the climb. But we did not worry for long as we could not contain our anticipation and excitement over Mt. Bukhan.
The walk from the train station to the beginning of the park is a great journey. Our children loved seeing all of the food, snacks and hiking equipment for sale. We purchased a backpack with extra water and snacks for the climb. We could hear the voices of the vendors and the other climbers as well as feel the energy of Mt. Bukhan coming from nearby. We had a sense that we were in a small village in the Rocky Mountains. I could sense a strong sense of purpose in the people. It was if they were drawn, willingly, to something powerful.
We met one of the friendliest people ever in Korea at the park`s welcome center. We inquired about which route to take to the top and how long our ascent would take. The park guide provided us with maps and encouragement. As I saw the guide generously giving courage to all the countless people who came looking for Mt. Bukhan, I thought he was a truly great ambassador of Korea.
We started the hike and joined right in with a group of experienced hikers. Together we developed a rhythm and enjoyed the experience offered by Mt. Bukhan. After climbing for what seemed like two hours, we reached a Buddhist temple. The beauty of the temple hidden snugly in the mountain and the sight of the city spread out before my eyes could not be described in words. I attempted many times to capture the harmony of the city and the mountain, and the temple and the mountain, with my camera. However, I could not capture the peacefulness of this scene. I wondered whether it was the power of the mountain, rather than religion, which healed the hearts of the people who came everyday to the temple to pray.
Leaving these scenes behind us, I also cannot forget what I felt when we reached the peak. There was a sense of grandeur that we did not feel when looking at the mountain from far away. The view of the city below the towering mountain and the river winding through it was truly a magnificent view.
Every year, when I meet patients in Korea, I realize how much they are like the mountains of Korea and how important nature is in their everyday lives. I have been in many countries across the world, and I find that that Koreans truly love nature. To many patients in Korea, it is important to spend some time outside and enjoy the fresh air as much as possible. I think that Koreans understand the importance of enjoying nature during their recovery and wonder whether this is the influence of the mountains that can be found here and there in the heart of the city.
Mountains in Korea and Koreans who are like the mountains give me strength as I go back to the States. Looking from the outside, Korea might seem politically unsettled with two divided Koreas, but the country has grown so remarkably both economically and socially. It is a country full of hope for better future. When I see a country that is now helping other countries, I not only see its global status but also its great warmth and humanity. The caring and compassion that I find in the people of Korea make me anticipate my next visit to Korea and the beautiful Mt. Bukhan next year.
Scott was born in New York in 1968. After graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1991, he served in the U.S. Army and rose to the rank of Captain. Scott had assignments with the 2nd Infantry Division in South Korea. After completing his military service obligation, he joined GE Energy in Atlanta, Georgia, and also served as the President of the local GE Volunteers Council, where he was responsible for the volunteer activities of over 3,800 GE employees. As an integral part of the Foundation for Hospital Art, a non-government organization founded by his father, John Feight, he visits Korea and participates in the Pfizer PaintFest every year.