Thursday, April 18, 2013

Finishing Strong

Just like that and it was time to pack our bags and head back to Buksam. Although there was plenty of the island left to see I was happy to be going home where I could sleep in my own bed, eat fruit and cereal for breakfast, and not have people constantly taking my picture (okay, that didn't really bother me all that much). After another delicious breakfast and a bit of chaos packing and organizing the students we were on our way. Our final destination for the trip was 성산일출봉 [Seongsan sunrise peak] which is apparently a huge tourist destination on the island, especially for the Chines tourist. We reached an area which actually just looked like the side of the road, but as we walked towards the shore I realized why we had stopped - the views were spectacular. A few hundred Kodak moments later we were back on the bus, heading towards Seongsan. We drove for maybe 10 minutes before parking again and being told it was time to walk. You should've heard the complaints coming from the students. You would've thought they were being told they had to climb Everest. 

A bit cloudy but still beautiful ~ 성산 일출봉
like herding cattle 
Nice work! 
Ours, not soo good
한솔 ~ like a ray of sunshine, ironic that her favorite color is yellow
The whole trip I was somewhat in the dark as to what was going on, ironic seeing as I was seated closets to our tour guide who gave us detailed explanations of the days schedule. Only if Grace or one of the students chose to share with me where we were or what was happening next did I know, otherwise each step of the day was a little surprise.  Yeah, I could've asked more often what was happening but did it really matter? I was just along for the ride - trusting I would enjoy whatever presented itself.  As I heard the kids complaining about walking I wondered why, and then I looked up. We were first walking to the base of Seongsan and then hiking up it, but believe me when I say it looks longer and harder than it really was. The entire trek was paved with stairs, the hardest part was probably not being run over or taken out by one of the other thousands of tourists along the way.  Thanks to the crowds I didn't even reach the peak, it was just too crowded so we took our pictures from the platform about 10 m below and then continued on our decent.


One of my friends commented on teenage boys amazing ability to look stylish in the most casual of pictures,
I'd have to agree - these boys have perfected the look. ,대식, 경록, 병욱, 석호, and 대준
Now the real fun of the day began, first step gathering all the students back to the buses after they discovered the snack shops at the base of the mountain. I think every single student that walked by me had either an ice cream cone, stick of meat or tornado potato.  I was wondering how we were going to make the ferry in time but I also didn't realize that we were literally down the block from the boarding area.  Everyone collected their luggage, which seemed to have doubled over the course of the trip (thanks to souvenirs I suppose), and lined up outside the boarding area to make sure we weren't missing anyone. Good news: we all made it! Before boarding the ferry we were handed a lunch box, great just one more thing to carry and then played the "find your seats" game.  Eventually everyone was on board and within seconds we were departing the island.  Similar to the first ride I was seated with the staff who all looked wiped out from the weeks activities. Finally settled into my seat and hungry I opened my lunchbox, but much to my dismay this is what I found:

most disappointing meal of the entire trip 
I think I ate maybe 10% of the food in there - sorry but plain white rice and mystery meat is not my idea of a good meal.  If I had known I would've opted for the tornado potato as well, thankfully there were also a few containers of fruit for the staff, one plus side to being a teacher. I managed to catch a quick nap for a part of the ride and soon enough we were back in Korea - ah but it doesn't end there, we still had our 4 hour bus ride until we were home in Buksam.  As you may have guessed the bus ride home wasn't quite as exciting as the way there - all of the students and teachers were exhausted.  I made a sad attempt at studying Korean (I give myself credit for even bringing the book along) while we watched a movie and various K-pop performances.  At our second rest stop (maybe an hour from home) we had to switch buses as each bus would drop people in different areas. I know i've explained it before but if you forgot - my students come from various surrounding neighborhoods (it's kind of like open enrollement in the US but for the entire student body).  Unfortunately this wasn't organized very well so there was a bit of madness as people scrambled around, digging their luggage out of the cargo area under the bus and trying to figure out where to go.  Once everything was sorted I found myself on bus 4 - no where near as fun as my original bus, but I only had one more hour until I could meet the sweet comfort of my bed.  Upon arriving back at school we were greeted by the vice principal, a few teachers and some parents, at which point I was told we'd be heading to dinner. uhhh hell no, the only place I wanted to be was in my home. Thankfully they didn't push the issue, realizing that I was dead tired, and let me go home.

Although it was a tiring, non-stop four days which left me with a cold, i'm so appreciative that I had the opportunity to go.  I was told by a few friends how lucky I am and that 'my school must really love me' because it's not common for the foreign teachers to go on long field trips with their schools.  So yeah, I get it, my school loves me, and if you couldn't tell I love everyone and almost everything about it.  I mean there must be something special about it - not sure what else would keep me living out in the sticks of Buksam for two years :)

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you must be the coolest of the cool. I am quite proud to be associated with someone of you stature. I will parade it around and tell everyone that i know steph boedecker and i should be respected for it :-P Glad you had a great time. Now go tear up that race tomorrow!!!