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Published: August 14th 2006
Note the guy at the bottom of the picture as well as the tower of rocks (a symbol of Buddhist prayer, I believe) to get an idea of the height...
This weekend, I went to Seoraksan National Park (in the northeast corner of South Korea) with about six other Fulbrighters for a day hike. We had a fabulous time. It was a beautiful place, and the hike was nice and relaxing.
It started out with a very bumpy ride, though. We almost missed our 7:30AM bus out of Chuncheon, but fortunately we caught it right in time. However, we were stuck in the back of bus, and it was very bouncy and windy as we made our way through the mountains. So, needless to say, we had a case or two of motion sickness. We wondered if the journey would ever end.
But it did, eventually. We transfered buses in a city called Sokcho, and once we got to the national park, it was smooth sailing.
Our hike was gorgeous, replete with views of towering peaks, wading in knee-high streams to cool off, a breathtaking valley surrounded by rocky heights, and the beauty and quietude of a Buddhist temple. We topped off the day with a delicious and easy meal in Sokcho-- instant ramen (which is far better here) and kimbap (like sushi rolls without the raw fish--
A Buddhist Temple in the midst of a beautiful setting.
seaweed wrapped around rice, veggies, and sometimes meat, served cold).
In other news, I found out who my host family and co-teacher are going to be. I'll be living with the family of one of my students. The student has spent 9 months in New Zealand. She has an older brother, too, who is a university student. The father is a businessman, and the mother is a stay-at-home mom. And the only other comment on the information was that "the residents looks out over the open sea." So, I'm not entirely sure what that could mean, but it sounds like it could be very nice. I'm excited about meeting my new host family, and I hope I'll make a good first impression!
I also found out that I'll be teaching only first- and second-year students at the high school, which is probably a good thing because the third-year students are all studying for the end-of-year exam that is the sole determination of the Korean university that they will attend. Thus, I'm fairly certain they wouldn't have much patience for a conversational English class unless they planned to go to the US (or another English-speaking country) to study or
Buddha statue outside the temple complex.
have a career.
Today we had a talent show to commemorate the end of our training here. It was really fun. There were a bunch of skits, some singers, dancers, and, yes, even I performed. Turns out there is another ETA here who beatboxes in his spare time, so we beatboxed together. Yeah, we're that cool.
Tomorrow I leave for Seoul. After spending two days there with fellow ETAs, on Thursday we will all be sent off to our separate locations. So, training is just about over! It's hard to believe-- the time here at Kangwon National University went by very fast! I can't wait to start teaching, though!
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