Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My Summer Vacation - Part 1

not my photo, but Jeju Island none-the-less
Well, it's back to work as usual. The students are all back in force after their school exams, though many are still rather reticent to get back to their studies. But I am not going to write about the daily monotony of my teaching day, I actually found some brief modicum of time in order to update everyone on my recent vacation and further exploration of Korea (a difficult task to accomplish with the constant interruptions of daily life and regular go-go-go pace things).
I figured the easiest way to do this is to probably break down my trip into a simple narrative, and layout (hopefully not boringly) what I did each day of my vacation. Though I have had a few random days off, and a couple long weekends due to holidays, this was the first true vacation time as the staff breaked for a brief summer holiday. This fell at the time that many students would be away from the academies due to school exams. We were given 3 days off from the office, but it falling at the beginning of the week, we had the weekend preceding it as well. With an opportunity of more than mere weekend to fit in activities, we of course had to jump at the chance to do some travelling. Though branching out and seeing more of East or Southern Asia is certainly a must for the future, we came to the reasonable (and more cost effective) conclusion that we would use the time to see more of this country we currently call home.
Jeju Island is a small island just off the southern tip of South Korea. It is considered Korea's Hawaii (something I would later discover was more than just marketing hype), so it seemed an ideal island get away for a cliched summer holiday.

Of course when setting up for that ideal summer island vacation in the sun, no one usually notifies the weather on their plans. As we left work on Friday night, ready for an early morning start on Saturday, we looked at the forecast. We quickly discovered what the theme of our island getaway would be: rain.My Korean friend, Chulgyu, was worried that the weather would dramatically affect the trip. Not just the worry that our flight could ultimately be cancelled due to inclement weather, but that we just wouldn't have any fun if it were raining all the time.
Many trips with my family, and much wisdom from my mother, taught me that I am "preshrunk and color fast", so getting wet should never be a deterrent for having fun. I assured Chulgyu, if there is fun to be had in Jeju, we will have it, rain or shine.
We caught a bus to the airport a good hour before dawn, humorously enough spending more time on the bus to the airport than on the plane to Jeju. By the time we were up in the air, we were on our way back down again. A short enjoyable thrill for Chulgyu who had never been on a plane before. It wasn't long before we set foot into the hot muggy air of Jeju Island where we realized that the rain might be a welcome thing if it held back the sweltering heat.
Passing through domestic security like it was a line for the bathroom, we grabbed our few parcels and headed out of the airport, wandering the sun baked parking lot in search of our rental car.
...and so began our first day in Jeju.

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