Saturday, September 25, 2010

chuseok and goodbyes and other stuff

Hey! I'm back on the blog. With pictures! Get excited.

Korea has a national holiday called Chuseok, which historically was a time for families to go home to help with harvest. Now, it's named the "Korean Thanksgiving." For the foreigners, it's 3 days off of work. I taught silly classes to the few students to show on Monday and Friday and three glorious days away in between.

Remember when I went to the beach? Well, the same folks organized a trip to Deokjeok-do for the holiday. Deokjeok is an island off of Incheon.  We had to cross under the biggest bridge ever.

Justin and his coworker didn't have to work on Monday, so they went to set up early. They found a great spot, right on the beach.

There's our $15 kid tent with Justin's tarp from home. Thank goodness for the tarp, because Tuesday was a VERY rainy and windy day.

 After arriving, Justin and I walked around the town. I guess it's more of a village. Anyhow, there were a few old buildings and many pensions/minbaks (typical motel-like rooms...without beds). As it turned out, a group of about 80 foreigners came to stay on the island, as well. Luckily, most of them slept in the pensions and we had the camping to ourselves.

Here are some of the buildings and sights around the town.

I was all ready for some fun in the sun......but the weather wasn't cooperating.

These trees are hundreds of years old. Apparently.

Shortly after the walk around town, it started to rain. Then, it started to pour. Then, there was sideways rain. We took cover to make food that night:

The next morning, it had stopped raining but the skies were still gray. It was a lazy day and we mostly just made food and talked with everyone. Justin and I took a short walk to a bit of a pier where some men were fishing. I really enjoyed the fishing boats.

There was a rousing game of volleyball that evening and the sunset was the best I've seen since I've been in Korea.

We'd been wanting to go on a hike but the weather hadn't cooperated thus far. SO, knowing the weather was supposed to turn around Thursday, we woke up early and were not disappointed. What a beautiful hike! When we got to the top, we rested at a pagoda and were able to take in views of the surrounding islands. GORGEOUS. That's all I can really say. I hope the pictures speak for themselves.
 The pagoda:

Below you can see the beach that we camped on and the small town.

A great place for a picnic, along the ridge we walked to get back down:

The water was crystal blue. 

After the hike, I had 2 hours to lay on the beach in warm sun before Justin and I had to leave to come back to Suwon. Overall, it was a great trip.

The water from the ferry ride home:

Friday marked the last day of the Head Instructor at my school. He's a pretty great person, with whom I've enjoyed discussing the latest "This American Life" podcasts. Blake was here for two years and he and his girlfriend, Nicole, plan on traveling in South America for the next year. Living the dream.

Anyhow, my coworkers and I took him out for dinner and a fun night before he left. I will miss him a lot!

Alex (a Brit) and Vy. Lovely folk.

At dinner! Notice the delicious chocolate cake.

Cheesin'. This is Blake.


It's back to work tomorrow. So far this term, I'm enjoying my kids. We've gotten 2 new female teachers (great!) and are expecting another next week. It feels a bit hectic, but I'm sure it will all work out. Trying to stay positive and just get the job done.

The weather has turned drastically and now each day is sunny with a bit of chilly air. My favorite time of year. I can't wait for the leaves to start ch-ch-changing!

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