A Travellerspoint blog

I'm still here, I promise.

“Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.” ~ Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book

overcast

Oy what a whirlwind the past month and half has been. I know it has been an indecent amount of time since my last post but in all honesty the people who I assume read this just saw me a few weeks ago so that has to account for something... right?

Anywho. I am back! So let's see... quick recap before I delve into why I am posting in the first place. I had my first summer camp (very very different than winter camp) and it was a success if I do say so myself. I taught four different classes.

The lowest level was basically phonics. Each day I taught 5 different letters (6 on the last day obviously). They learned how to write the letter and then five words that started with each one. If I never see another powerpoint with a gazillion clip art pictures pasted over every inch it will be too soon. They also had a fun little egg activity at the end of the day where they had to fit the eggs together to spell a word they learned in class. It was adorable seeing 20 little first graders running up with their eggs looking for a "yes that's the right combo you can glue it on your paper now" smile and nod. Have I mentioned lately how freakin adorable Korean children are? Because seriously... there are no words for some of these kids. You kind of just want to pinch their cheeks all the time.

The next level up was a game camp. Each day we learned a new set of sentences (usually a question/answer type thing) and then played a game that used the sentences. There were only 6 students in this class and it was by far my favorite one. They were great kids and they loved the games. Plus their English isn't that great, they were third graders, but they still understood me enough that I could actually teach them. They really enjoyed the games too so that's always a plus.

The next level was a song and dance camp. To be perfectly honest there was not much dancing but we did learn a song each day. They were fun story songs from Barefoot Books on youtube but the kids really enjoy them. I actually still have quite a few students from that class request the songs in class. And I don't think I will ever get one of the songs about flying out of my head.

The last class was the highest level and we had a Hollywood themed camp. That one was great because I didn't have to plan it. There are many sites that other teachers upload their lessons onto and my co-teacher just snagged the ppt and workbook off one site and badda-bing badda-boom camp done. It was pretty fun and my students liked learning about Hollywood and especially watching part of a movie everyday.

After camp was over I had my two week summer vacation. I decided a trip back home was in order. It was really great seeing family and friends again. It was also timed well so I was able to attend my grandfather's memorial service. It was bittersweet. He had been sick so long it was a relief that he wasn't in pain anymore but it was also really sad that he died while I wasn't even in the same country. But spending time with friends and family was just what I needed. I think the best part (not that I don't love the rest of you) was spending time with my nieces and nephews. That is definitely one of those "Is the cost worth it?" scenarios... they're growing up in their world and I am in mine. Well, it was amazing seeing them in person after a year. The time was too short but I am glad I am back in Korea again.

I love my job and I know I am making the right choice right now and that is really what matters.

Fall semester started and I am really loving my new semester (mostly but more to come on that later on) my kids are still great. I have already taught this material so it is a lot easier the second time around. My co-teacher and I have changed some basic parts of our teaching and I think it is definitely for the best.

I have also learned a lot about myself as a teacher because of my after school daycare class that I have been teaching. I went from once a week the first semester I taught at my school to every day the second semester, This third semester I am only teaching them three times a week. I realized that I am too nice and I really need to put my foot down when it comes to behavior and following through with threats. Like "oh you're going to be loud and rowdy? No game! *five minutes later* Okay everyone! Let's start the game!" Fail. But no game would really be more of a punishment for me because I would have to think of something else to do instead of the pre-planned game.

After my last class with them I will start carrying paper with me so I can make them do lines.... oi.... talk about a test in patience that day was. Usually it takes me one time to tell them to sit down so we can start class when I get there but it took me ten minutes to calm them down before I could talk and even then a couple students were still trying to talk over me. They learned that Charlene Teacher is not always nice that day. I gave a nice speech and by the time I was done even the students with the lowest level English knew I was pissed. It helped that the higher level kids knew what I was saying and if the younger kids would start to act up again they told them to sit down and shut up (in Korean). Yeah... it was almost plastic-melting-hate-stare level of eye contact going on. Almost.

But they kept me from starting class for ten minutes so I kept them an extra ten minutes. I can be a little authoritative.

On a much much happier note. Fall has started. It's cooler. There's (slightly) less humidity. Life is good. I can feel the crisp air in the mornings. I know sweaters and hot yummy overpriced drinks are in my future! Yay!!

But before that happens I am going to have to deal with some unpleasantness. As you know I have a co-teacher. I really like my co-teacher. She is a great teacher and she is always very helpful. But she is not always the best communicator. I have had many a days where she expects me to have everything planned and then some days where I kind of just stand off to the side and stare at the walls. Thankfully those days are few and far between but today was different.

I'm not sure if it was me or the students but she totally shut down during the last class of the day. We have three 6 grade classes and this was the last class that we were teaching this lesson to and so I assumed it would go just as the previous two would go. I would take the lead, we would go through the routine, she would chime in with her Korean explanations when necessarily, and life would be swell. That is not what happened.

To start, she didn't look too happy after lunch and she just kind of sat at her desk and stared at her computer until class started. Then the kids were late, by almost five minutes, and when your classes are only 40 minutes long and you have every minute planned out for the lesson five minutes is a long time to waste waiting for kids to show up. So she gets mad. Yells in Korean. Has different students stand up. Yells some more. Then just shuts down. I have no idea what is going on, I may be getting much better with my Korean skills, but I was in no way following what was happening. So I look at her but she is deadpanned. So I just start class. I have learned that is the only thing to do when the teachers yell in Korean. I can't ask "ooh what's happening" because it would just cause all sorts of problems that I don't even want to think about. So I am doing my thing and I get to the point in the lesson where she had previously explained something in Korean and I turn and ask if she wants to explain and she just looks at me and says no.

Now, I am taken aback but I just kind of shrug and move on. I try to explain as best I can and I hope the students understand. I move on. Now we use a lot of multi-media in our classroom and for the beginning of lessons we watch short videos. I barely have time to say my basic "listen carefully let's start" shpeel before she has pushed play and we are on our way. Again, taken aback, but I shrug it off. We then enter the point of the lesson where she is supposed to teach the basic key points for the lesson in Korean so that the students will have a better understanding of what is going on. I again ask if she's going to take the reigns (obviously with different words) when she doesn't automatically start and again she just looks at me and says no. At this point I am beyond words. I have no idea why she is refusing to do what she previously did and I know the students are getting the information I am saying at all. I can't call her out in the middle of the lesson so I just attempt to keep going but it is pointless because I know the students don't understand. We somehow manage to get mostly done when my co-teacher finally just starts explaining in Korean everything she was supposed to.... ten minutes before the class is supposed to end. She blazes through and then gives them their homework and sends them on their way.

I have no idea what just happened. I have no idea if she was punishing the students. If she was mad at me. If she was just mad in general. If aliens abducted her. Did she have a mental breakdown for 30 minutes? Did she have temporary amnesia? Lose the ability to form sentences? Go on strike? Nothing. It was so bizarre. I have felt like she has been a little different towards me since I renewed my contract and honestly it feels like she's mad about the money I get for being a NET. I will not lie there are a lot of perks. We get housing, large salaries, bonuses up the wahzoo... and I definitely do not do as much work as she does. Or I am just imagining everything?

Gah. I don't know. After class she sits down and I sit down. I start getting work done that I need to do for the next day's classes and she starts planning her afternoon after school class. I wanted to ask her if everything was ok but I didn't know if I was capable of having a civil conversation with her and I really didn't want to risk it. I did manage to get a little information about our classes tomorrow from her but not much. She answered everything I asked her and she didn't seem angry at me but then again she had kicked back into gear at the end of the class so she may have been over it already. Who knows. I will need to talk to her about it but it will have to wait for tomorrow because we have an open class in the morning.

Just what we need. Thankfully it is just with teachers from our school and it is up to them whether they want to show up or not.

I guess a co-teacher problem was bound to come up eventually and hopefully she was just really mad at the students. But I will have to talk to her about it because her way of dealing definitely just made my job more difficult and it felt like she was including me in her discipline. I'll let you know how things turn out.

Until the next time...

Posted by cstravelsabroad 04:08 Archived in South Korea Tagged vacation seasons teaching firsts Comments (0)

The Cost of Travel

“To travel is worth any cost or sacrifice.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

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To travel is worth any cost or sacrifice. One year ago I may have agreed whole-heartily with that statement. I probably would have given many reasons as to how I agreed, and how travel enriches your life, that the ends justified the means, blah blah blah call Hallmark already. Given what I know now I would still come to Korea again in a heartbeat but I don't think I could completely agree with the sentiment "to travel is worth any cost or sacrifice" anymore. Sometimes you don't realize the cost.

First off believing that traveling is worth any cost or sacrifice is naive and, let's face it, a little bit selfish. Well, I guess I can't generalize it like that, please allow me to rephrase. Maybe you haven't got anyone you'll be leaving. You may not have responsibilities that can't be taken care of from afar. If you fall into that category then bravo I salute you! You better be off travelling somewhere amazing or you are living life wrong and I take back all my former praise.. For those of us who can't claim to live in that world then I put the "selfish" card into play. Don't worry, I'm not judging (clearly, I'm writing this from half a world away from my home, that would definitely be the pot calling the kettle black).

Sometimes being selfish is the right call. Sometimes our naivete is our salvation. Sometimes the cost isn't too high.

But then time passes. You've traveled. You've grown. You've experienced things you wouldn't have dreamed possible. You've lived. And you look back at your travels and think wow, where has the time gone. I'm a better person for what I've done. I did this. I did that. I went here. I went there. I met him/her/them... I... I... I.... And then you realize how many times you have said the word I.

Wow, well hello there earth. You couldn't have cushioned that decent back down to you a little bit?

I have loved my year abroad. Learning a new culture, living a new kind of life. I would do it again. I am doing it again. But I cannot say for certain it's going to be worth it in the end anymore. Life has too many uncertainties. I paid a price for my year abroad and in no way am I talking about money. I missed a year in the life of my friends and family back home.

The life you leave doesn't stop moving forward when you leave. The milestones and misadventures don't dissipate when you are gone. All that happens is you are choosing to step away from that life and into a new one. Some say selfish. Others... well, I can't pretend it isn't a little selfish. But like I said. Sometimes being selfish is what you have to do.

But what does that really even mean? According to the almighty Google "selfish" is defined as: (of a person, action, or motive) Lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure. Sounds pretty bad.

Lacking consideration for others? Would I say all who choose to travel or lacking consideration? Of course not. We can't live every moment of our lives for other people can we? No. If it's a year, a month, a day, an hour, or fifteen minutes at lunch, you have to take time for you. I would even wager that sometimes it is our consideration of others that directs us to travel.

Concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure? Same thing. Is there something wrong with making sure your life is filled with personal profit and pleasure? I hope not.

It's all about the balance. What's the only way to make up for the lost time? Make the cost worth it. Make sure that when all is said and done it wasn't lost, just changed. Live your life everyday so as to counter what you gave up to do it. Give your all at work. If you are like me and work is the reason you are able to travel realize it the both the job, and not just the off hours, that are important. Try new things. Leave your comfort zone. Go somewhere new. Go somewhere old. Wasn't that the point?

My year contract will be ending at the close of August. I have decided to continue teaching for at least another year. I will continue to travel. I will continue to live. I will continue to be a little selfish. I will continue to make the cost worth it.

And I will hope that in the end, pictures, and Skype calls are enough to fill in the blanks of all I am missing back home.

This is definitely more to the side of somber and angsty and maybe a little preachy but the last few weeks have made some soul searching necessary. So please bear with me!

Until the next time...

Posted by cstravelsabroad 21:36 Archived in South Korea Tagged adventure love honor beginnings endings overwhelming Comments (1)

Summertime Blues

“I travel, always arriving in the same place.” ~ Dejan Stojanovic, The Shape

rain

One month. In all honesty not posting is better than the nonsense I would have posted had I chosen to sit down and attempt a new entry.

All I really have to say? I hate humidity.

Like, a lot.

Not the simple "oh I hate the heat... let me go inside and get cool."

There is no "inside to get cool". My apartment stays a nice 28 degrees even with my AC on (for those of you running on F that would be about 82). Add in the 90% + humidity and I live in a constant state of dampness. I got to the point where I took two showers. Once in the morning and once in when I got home from work. It's disgusting.

I hate... despise... loathe... abhore... greatly dislike humidity.

Yeah summer in Korea. Especially now that monsoon season has started. I have never missed a summer back home more in my life. I will take 108 dry heat over 80 humidity any day of the year!

But enough pointless ranting (I can't do anything about the heat).

I haven't explored much (actually any) of Korea lately. It's mostly been spending time with people and trying not to drown in sweat and rain. It's been lovely actually. I have been to the movies more than is strictly healthy, but 4Dx movies and Jurassic Park in IMAX 3D, yeah I couldn't resist. A lot of my weekdays and weekends have been spent with other NETs just kind of wasting time. Playing dodgeball, watching movies, making food, going shopping. It's making life seem less of a perpetual vacation and more of a "real life" situation.

Which I guess is the point of this entry. I was really just keeping this blog to let people back home know what I was up to and what kind of adventures I was going on but these past few months have shown that my adventures have become few and far between. I am domesticating myself into mundane life again. And it's not a bad thing. I know "mundane" has that whole "boring" aspect to it but there's not another good word to describe my daily routine at the moment. It's a good thing though, It's just being happy doing what I'm doing. Work and friends. Life is good.

On the work front, well I have officially begun the process of extending my contract with my school for another year. I am glad I am staying with my school, I love the students and I love my job. My other teachers are great, my vice principal is amazing, I don't really have an opinion of my principal because I don't really see him, but he likes me so that is all that matters. I think the best part is my students though. I love them and I am fairly certain they like me too. I am really glad I'll be staying another year. Who knows, I may stay a few more.

I am planning on going home for my summer vacation though. I am excited to be back in the states even if it is just for a short while.

So this is just a short little life update. I am going to go through my past posts to attempt to add photos though so stay tuned for that.

Until the next time...

Posted by cstravelsabroad 23:55 Archived in South Korea Tagged seasons acclamation Comments (0)

Whirlwinds and Roller Coasters

“Travel brings power and love back into your life.” ~ Rumi

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So... almost a month between posts. I would like to say I was off having amazing adventures where I was unable to sit down long enough to compose even the simplest of lines but let's be honest I was just too lazy.

After my whirlwind of an April I wanted to have a very relaxing May. And I did. It was glorious. I got back into painting. I read some books. I enjoyed spring time like I have never been able to do back home (because spring only lasts a few days). I spent time with friends and I got some much needed R&R.

On the job front there wasn't much to write home about. We were just chugging along with the same ol' same ol'. We did have our annual English Speech Contest and that was an interesting week. We had our first open class of the year (it's like an open house for parents at the beginning of the year and only two parents showed up to our class- and both of them were dads- my co-teacher was really nervous at only having father's in the room haha).

Korea celebrated Buddha's birthday and I got to see a very cool lantern parade and have a much appreciated three day weekend.

The last week of May two friends from home came to visit me! It was super exciting. BM and JF it was a blast having you here! I have been in Korea for almost ten months now and it was strange to see Korea through new eyes again. Taking them around Seoul and various parts of Korea and seeing their reactions to what has become ordinary life for me was fantastic.

Their reaction to Korean BBQ? Priceless. Being bowed to or having random people stop them in the street for interviews or just to say hi? Hilarious. They also came to my school one afternoon and the kids... oh man, my kids' reactions to these tall and (in their opinion) blonde foreigners, one of which had a massive beard, yeah... it was the highlight of my day.

We also spent a lot of time driving to various spots around Korea thanks to my awesome preacher. He loves showing off Korea and being the ultimate tour guide. It was definitely an experience thanks to him. BM and JF were able to see the DMZ, some islands off the west coast, took a drive almost down the whole western coastline to a small town, see the Seoul night skyline, and much more. I hope they had a great time. They left on June 10th for the second part of their great Asian experience in China. I am a little beyond jealous that they will be spending the next four months traveling around Asia... not gonna lie.

And I realize that considering it has been so long since my last post I really should have more to say but at the moment this is all I got. Little life update of the whirlwind and roller coaster that has been the past month.

I shall end on this note. I will be staying at least one more year in Korea (yay!!) for now it is just one... but who knows what will happen in time. But for everyone back home... fear not I shall see you soon. I just purchased a ticket home for my summer vacation! Yay mini trip State Side in August!

Also I do not do humidity well... it is going to be a long summer...

Posted by cstravelsabroad 03:04 Archived in South Korea Tagged culture adventure love teaching openclass Comments (0)

The Bottom of the Ocean

“He didn’t really like travel, of course. He liked the idea of travel, and the memory of travel, but not travel itself.” ~ Julian Barnes, Flaubert's Parrot

all seasons in one day

Ok so edit:::: I really did write this (not within a few days but much sooner than this posting) I also wrote it as I was going to bed and clearly in my sleep befuddled state I hit "save as draft" rather than the correct botton "publish" which are perilously close to one another when one is so tired they can barely keep their eyes open. SO I am obviously going to reread through it to make sure I actually made sense and then I shall finally get this posting up.

~~ and here starts the original post~~~

And when I say a few days, clearly I mean over a week... my bad. In my defense we have another open class coming up so work is very hectic right now. Not a very good excuse but that's my story and I'm sticking to it. (So this opening doesn't really work anymore but it is still staying in... so sue me.)

I am still tired from my April excursions. Given the fact that I was travelling or working and not taking breaks for most of April, plus I had (have) this cold/cough thing that just will not quit (oh hey update it seems to have passed finally!! yay), and I am incapable of making smart sleeping decisions and will watch videos online instead of going to bed a decent hour... it is no surprise that I am still tired. I am trying to change that though and will be going to bed as soon as I finish writing up this entry.

So onto the good stuff. The last weekend in April I went on a much anticipated journey to the southern tip of Korea to the Island of 진도 (Jindo). I wonder if technically I would say the Island of Jin since "do" means Island in Korean? Whatever it's Jindo on the map. I have been looking forward to this festival since I first started researching things to do in Korea years ago.

To start my journey we all headed to meet the charter bus at 11 o'clock at night. Now, I may not have the best sleeping hours, but I have been asleep (or at least comfortably settled in my bed) by 10-11 each night, so packing my bags and traveling to the other side of Seoul that late at night already has me regretting my decisions. But, as I said, I have been waiting for this trip for so long I am willing to forgo my comfort for the time being. I get on the bus, settle in, and promptly fall asleep. It was glorious. We reached our destination about 4 in the morning and some of our group got off the bus and went on a hike up a mountain. I am not a hiker. I am definitely not a hiker at 5 in the morning after having spent the night on a bus. But hey, more power to you if you are. I stayed on the bus and slept.

After everyone was back from the hike we drove to a sauna so people could shower and clean up. 진도 is famous for a special breed of dog that they have. The 진도 dog is incredible if trained properly. We were treated to a show from a dog that had been under training for a mere four months. If only some people could follow orders as well as this dog the world would be a better place. It was incredible watching this dog fleet arouand and over and under obstacles, climb up bridges and release banners, raise flags, jump through hoops (and arms), retrieve drinks from the fridge, and dance with his trainer. It was fascinating and makes me realize that I will never be able to have a pet because I would never be able to train it properly. Because if I ever did get a dog I would need it to be able to do some sort of awesome trick too but I am far too lazy to spend the time training an animal. Too bad though, these dogs are seriously cute.

After the show we headed into the downtown area of Jindo for lunch and to stock up on supplies. There are no convenience stores or places to buy any kind of food or drink near the pension we were staying at so everyone stocked up on whatever they may want for the night. I think every person had a bag containing some form of liquid when we returned to the bus. It must have been great for business having 130 tourist attack your convenience stores. I hope they appreciated us.

This afternoon was the first time that it actually felt like spring. I was actually too warm and had to remove my sweater. A wonderful feeling after the very long winter. Another go on the bus and the highlight of the trip was fast approaching.

Once a year, for reasons unknown (we'll go with tides) a 2.8 kilometer "road" opens up between 진도 and a small neighboring island. It has become a very popular festival because you can walk from one island to the other. Most people (as in locals) go to collect abalone, crabs, squid, or any other kind of sea life that can be foraged, others (as in from the rest of Korea or foreigners) come for the festival that surrounds this event and the seas parting. This phenomenon has many names: The Miracle Sea Crossing, The Moses Crossing, The Jindo Miracle Sea Crossing... the list goes on. I'll just call it awesome. We arrived at the festival and walked around a bit. KL and KB were with me on this trip and we stopped for a bit and watched some traditional Korean performances. Fan dancing and pansori music (traditional Korean music) to name a few.

Out on the water boats were circling together and we were not quite sure why but thanks to Koreans and their need to show that they can speak English we found out. This large group of boats looked like they were playing a massive game of following the leader but we were told it was an ancient prayer. They were praying for big fish and a good harvest. The boats even released colorful smoke into the air as they circled. Unfortunately we had no idea what the colors signified and neither did our friendly English-speaking-Korea. It was still pretty cool to watch. There were a good number of boats circling and I am very impressed with their ability to stay in a circle and not fan out to a weird oval shape. Kudos guys, kudos.

The sea was going to start parting at 5 so around 330 we got on a small boat and sailed to the adjacent island to wait to cross back over during the parting. This island was picturesque. I loved everything except the smell. I don't think I could ever get used to the seaweed smell that comes with living by the ocean. But there were cute little houses and boats all around. It was very obvious it thrived on the fishing business due to the amount of nets and various instruments that were stacked near the water. I don't even know what these things are called in English let alone their Korean name but we watched a few men stacking them and I swear I thought I was going to watch someone die. This old man was holding this "thing" that is longer than he was tall and trying to get it up (or down?) a huge stack. I could just see him slipping and tumbling into the jagged rocks below. I don't care how long you've been doing it- it looked crazy!

Once we were at the crossing point you could tell there was a much more festive attitude. There was a group of Korean drummers and they were just pounding away. Once there song ended they herded all of us into their group and started handing out their drums and began teaching us how to play. There were more of us than them though so I didn't get a drum but I did get to watch and that was enough for me. It was a long wait for the water to open up enough and I just sat and admired the view for most of the time.

The crossing was to start with some of the military carrying flags, and then the drummers, and then the people who were just going to cross but again the foreigners joined ranks. There were so many flags a couple of people asked to carry them. At first the Koreans were a little wary but were finally convinced and that just opened the flood gates for many of us foreigners to grab a flag and race to the front. But before the crossing we had to take a group picture. So many people. And our group picture was infiltrated by the drummers who wanted a picture with the foreigners. It turned into a mass of people and I swear at least a hundred pictures had to be taken from how many cameras were going off.

Of course mother nature is on her own time schedule so we didn't start to cross until closer to 530 but that is ok. I had grabbed a flag, a twenty foot high bamboo pole with a ridiculously long flag attached (I might add)- because, really, how many times can you say you participated in a traditional ceremony during a once-a-year (let's face it once-in-a-lifetime) ocean parting? About half way through I deeply regretted that decision, but hey, live and learn. Also, if I ever go again, note to self: buy the funny thigh high rain boots... trust me you'll need them.

The crossing was amazing. It started out pretty dry and the colors of the seaweed and rocks from the bottom of the ocean were amazing. Also the sun was setting we were marching to drums. there were tons of people. It was just fantastic. Watching all the people who were just walking or gathering the sea life and focusing on the ground and trying not to fall, it was an incredible experience. About half way through KL found a small octopus that was beached (and being who she is she couldn't touch it but she wanted it to go back into the water to try and save it) so KB went to try and grab it to put it back into the water. Have you ever tried to grab a live octopus? It is not easy. After a few failed attempts (they are slipper and fast) a small crowd had gathered to try and figure out why this white girl was jumping around and yelping and laughing. An old grandmother came along and was trying to give KB tips. Finally she was able to grab the poor creature and she threw him back in the water. This is not what the old grandmother wanted. Mid toss she yells at KB and dashes for the water and in one fell swoop snatches the poor little octopus out of the water and he disappeared into her bag within seconds. I have never seen something happen so fast. We were a little dumbfounded. And sad that we weren't able to save the poor little creature from death. At least the grandmother was going to enjoy her dinner.

Half way through the waters had not completely parted and I ended up getting soaked up to my knees because my rain boots just did not cover it. It's okay though, I really did want to take part of the ocean with me. not. Once we walked back to the main island I looked back and realized just how far of a walk that was. And just how many people were present. It was crazy insane!

And because it's Korea there is a story that goes along with every event. So to explain the crossing there is an age old tale that goes a little like this:

Once upon a time there was a small island that had terrible creatures. These creatures were tigers and the people on this island were powerless against these fearsome creatures. Now one year the tigers had amassed such great numbers that in a moment of dispare they all decided to gather their belongings, get on their boats, and sail away to another island. All was well, the people believed they had been reprieved, until one family realized they had left their grandmother on the island! Duhn duhn duhn. This old woman too feeble to protect herself kneeled on the beach and began to pray for salvation. Just then the waters parted and she saw a walkway all the way to the island where her family was anxiously awaiting to see her fate. The grandmother, wasting no time, began to cross the ocean, a tiger in hot pursuit. The family seeing what the grandmother was doing also began to cross in order to meet her half way. After the long journey the grandmother was reunited with her family! She was so happy, but so tired, she rejoiced in their reunion and... promptly died in the in the middle of the ocean. The family went back and the waters came together again.

I have no idea what happened to the tiger. Or the family, Or why the heck that is such a sad story. But I do know that there is a statue of the grandmother and tiger on one island and the family and a Jindo dog on the other.

Now... why someone didn't just get on a boat and go back to get her? That is also a mystery. Who needs clarification when legends are involved anyways?

After the crossing we all headed to our pension on the beach for dinner and much needed sleep. It was a fun night, In the morning we all boarded our buses and headed off to the final day of our journey. Half the group headed to a Tulip Festival and the other part (myself included) headed to 대둔산 (Daedunsan). 대둔산 is a mountain that you can take a cable car up to a certain point and then there are a ridiculous, and I mean ridiculous, amount of stairs to lead you to the top. We hopped a cable car, trekked up hundreds of stairs, just to cross a cloud bridge (which, btw, is awesome. Hundreds of feet in the air crossing between peaks? Um. Yeah, I can say I've done that.), then more stairs to get to the vertical staircase. Yes. Vertical staircase. Just another wonderful aspect of this mountain. Heights and I are not friends. We have a mutual understanding. I don't go up and they don't make me fall down. But part of my whole experience here in Korea is to get out of my comfort zone and this mountain did that.

Tea atop the mountain and then we descended, got back on the bus, and headed home. It was an exhausting trip but so worth it. I loved every bit of the weekend and it was definitely a highlight of my time in Korea.

So far May is turning out to be a calm month. I am taking a break from trips (apart from excursions into Seoul). Work is interesting, as I said I have another open class coming up, and we are also in the middle of an English speaking contest.

I will try and get better at posting more.

Until the next time!

Posted by cstravelsabroad 06:52 Archived in South Korea Tagged food rain culture history vacation adventure friends Comments (2)

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