Venturing Out!

I have been waiting for my books to arrive that I ordered online from an English book store in Seoul. I walked up to the office to see if it had arrived yet, and they did! I was so excited I just went back to my apartment and opened it up. Then a few minutes later, there was a knock on my door. Evone, one of the girls who lives in my building, was standing there with her hands full of boxes. One of them was mine! Apparently I missed one… From Colorado! Yay!! My first care package!! It was a little early, but it was my Easter basket! The contents of this little box were lovely to see (and eat!): “Lone Wolf” by Jodi Picoult (my FAVORITE author), Skittles, Starbursts, Sweetarts, Twinkies, microwavable cheese popcorn, and a card! Oh I musn’t forget to mention all the Easter straw that stuck to everything in my apartment. The Twinkies lasted a whole 3 minutes and I busted open the Skittles later on that evening. When it comes to the items listed above, self-control is not one of my strong points. I tried to make all the snacks last as long as I could… I think the cheese popcorn was the only thing (besides the book) to see the next week, but that’s probably only because there were 3 bags of it. :)

MUCHAS GRACIAS Mama, Papa, and Dillon!!!

All the 6th grade classes are scheduled to go on a 2-day field trip this week on Thursday and Friday. Eun-mi told me I could go if I wanted… Unfortunately, I could not because I have 3rd and 4th grade classes on Thursday and Friday. As luck would have it, my 3rd and 4th grade co-teacher found out she had to attend a business meeting in Seoul on Thursday… Brooke Teacher gets to go on the field trip for one day!!

The morning of the field trip, we were all getting ready to go, but first the principal had to make a speech (a very long speech, none of which I can understand) outside on the soccer field before the students can get on the bus. This speech seems somewhat militaristic to me… First of all, you have to understand the principal is like a “god” in the school. The students all stand in straight lines on the soccer field. Each class forms 2 lines: one girl line and one boy line. They must be an arm’s length away from everyone around them and they must be absolutely silent and stand still while the principal speaks. The principal is introduced by another teacher, via microphone, and the principal walks up on this little stage on the side of the field and gives his speech.

Columnar Joints at the Jungmun Daepo Coast

We are finally freed and load on to the busses. There is no such thing as a school bus here… Coach busses for everything! We were heading to Seogwipo, the 2nd largest city (of the two cities on Jeju) on the island. Our first stop was the columnar joints at the Jungmun Daepo Coast. They were formed by the cooling and solidification of basalt flows from the Nokhajiak Volcano thousands of years ago.

Columnar Joints… Very cool how the lava solidified like that!

Then we made a pit stop on our way back to the busses.

We were in front of a giant shell… Our photographer apparently didn’t think that was an imortant part of the picture. Haha

Jeongbang Waterfall

Then we headed to Jeongbang waterfall! Very pretty! The kids had a great time skipping rocks and running around like a bunch of crazies.

Jeongbang Waterfall!

And my favorite student, Jun-hyung, found a little trouble (as always) getting a litle too close to the waterfall.

It’s hard to see, but I had to get the picture while he was still posing and before the other teachers yelled at him to get down!

Lunch Time

 Next, we went to a traditional village to eat our picnic lunch. This traditional village, just think of Heritage Hill or Old World Wisconsin, Korean-style. (Sorry for those that aren’t from Wisconsin and don’t know what I’m talking about… Just Google it.) I thought it was very neat and I wanted to stop and look at some things, but we just kept walking on to our picnic sight. I’m assuming we’ll look at stuff after eating. For lunch, we had traditional Korean picnic food, kimbap, along with some fruit and some kind of spicy meat (that we had to rip off the bone with our very “strong and sturdy” disposable wooden chopsticks… not the easiest task). While everyone was finishing up, the kids played some traditional Korean games. They played Tuho, which is the game where you throw arrows in a circular tube.  They also played gulleonso, which is where you keep a metal hoop rolling on the ground with the help of a metal stick. Little Jun-hyung (my favorite) taught me how to play and it’s pretty fun.

Gulleonso: Traditional Korean Game

Then we left right away. I’m assuming they paid money to get in this traditioanl village, so I’m not sure why we left and didn’t do anything besides just eat lunch. We could’ve sat on the beach for free and done just that and had just as much fun. Oh well.

Sunrise Peak

Off to Seongsan Ilchulbong, a.k.a. Sunrise Peak! It is HUGE!! You kind of just come upon it and it is MASSIVE! We first took a group photo… Six 6th grade classes of 25 or 26 students each… You can imagine how easy this was. The photographer (that they hire to attend field trips to take pictures, by the way) finally got a bunch of shots that he was satisfied with and they’re off. Half of the group ran to start climbing Sunrise Peak. It was quite a workout! Lots and lots of stairs that basically go straight up! It was worth it though. The view of the town below was beautiful! Once we made it to the top, we looked down into the GIANT crater! There are no words to decribe how big this thing is… Guess you’ll just have to go look for yourself. :)

“Teacher! Teacher! Picture! Me!” I heard this all day long from him! Haha :) Sunrise Peak in the background.

HUGE Crater at the top of Sunrise Peak

Straight up! And straight Down!

For all the tourists there that day, sorry for all the little crazies running around.

Manjanggul Lava Tubes

These are the longest and most well preserved lava tubes in the world! It is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sights. It was really cool! Definitely the biggest cave I’ve ever been in! There were really cool lava formations inside. Of course, in a cave there is not very good lighting and with the camera I had, I wasn’t able to get the best pictures (or even good pictures, for that matter).

4-3 Peace Museum

The next stop on this little adventure was the April 3rd Peace Museum. It promotes peace and is against violence! Not so long ago, I think in the 50′s or 60′s, there was a lot of violence on the island. After World War II, the people of Jeju were considered communists because they didn’t want their country to be split by the US and Russia. Mainland Koreans were sent to Jeju to “control” the islanders. The “control” led to massacres totalling in over 25,000 deaths and nearly 3/4 of the island burned to the ground. (For those of you that aren’t very good with history, like myself, this was before the Korean War.) A very sad part of Jeju’s history.

Wall of Prayers for this to NEVER happen again.

Carnival Time

After dinner at the hotel everyone will be staying at, we headed to a little carnival. The rides consisted of bumper cars, a pirate ship (the Sea Ray for all my friends out there who know what that is), and a crazy ride!! This crazy ride was called Taga Disco. Dun, dun, duuuun! It spins you and bounces you around like crazy. No safety belts. Having been in the carnival business, I can’t imagine how much insurance would cost for this thing, if it would even be allowed for that matter! My back hurt for a couple days after going on it. But as a carnie, I have to try a new ride when I see one!

I just spent the last 12 hours surrounded by 6th graders and it was the best day I’ve had since I’ve been to Korea!!

Yoochay Flower Festival

One the Korean English teacher aides, Seung-he, offered to take me to the Yoochay Flower Festival on Saturday. (It’s actually called the Rape Flower Festival. I’m not sure why “yoochay” translates to “rape,” but I don’t like it so I’m just going to use the Korean word.) She brought her two daughters along, and the oldest one speaks English very well! (I’m guessing she’s still in 6th grade or just got into middle school) On our drive there, we saw several pretty fields of yellow! The yoochay flowers are a bright yellow color. We went to the Yongmeori Tuff Ring. It was BEAUTIFUL!! It’s a lot of cool rock formations forming a sea cliff of sorts. On our walk to and from the entrance to the Yongmeori Tuff Ring, we walked past a couple small fields of yoochay flowers. So pretty!

Field of Yoochay Flowers Below Sanbangsan

Cool Rock Formations on the Yongmeori Tuff Ring!

We went to lunch at a very popular restaurant in the area, called 보들결 (Bo-deul-gyeol). I had a soup called 갈비탕 (gal-bi-tang), which came highly recommended by Seung-he’s oldest daughter. It was really good and very filling!

Hallim Park

After lunch, Seung-he’s daughters convinced her that they MUST take me to see Hallim Park. Good idea girls! It was beautiful! It’s a giant park made up of mini themed gardens. The themed gardens were Palm Tree Avenue, Hyeopjae & Ssangyong Caves, Jeju Stone & Bansai Garden, Jae-am Folk Village, Bird Garden, Jae-am Stone Exhibit Hall, Water Garden, and Subtropical Botanic Garden. It was all so beautiful! I really liked the cactus green house. I pretended to sit on a cactus and made a face like it hurt. Seung-he and her girls thought that was hilarious! She insisted on taking a picture… Haha hopefully she sends it to me soon!

In the Water Garden at Hallim Park with Seung-he & Her Girls!

Thank you for such a great day Seung-he!!

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