Wednesday, October 29, 2014

From Hawaii to Soonchunhyang

하와이 에서 순천향 까지
Hawaii eso Soonchunhyang kkaji

Annyeong Haseyo! (Hello)

The Seasons
계절 (Kyejeol)
            When I first arrived in the 'land of the morning calm', on a chilly February night. The deers were still frolicking and the snow covered the ground.
            When school started, spring was in the air and so were the cherry blossoms. It was a sight to behold on the campus' Phoenix Field, when a light breeze would knock thousands of these gentle flowers, showering over all the people who passed.
            The Summer kicked in way too soon and without the cool trade-winds we're so use to back home and the abundance of beaches, Korean heat was a nightmare in the countryside abode I called home away from home. Then came the armies of spiders, the swarms of mosquitoes, and the song of cicadas.
            Now its fall, the creepy crawly bugs have all but disappeared along with the heat. Instead, all the greenery in the mountains, in the trees, on the ground have rusted away with the season. With the rain and the ankle-biting, chilly wind; slowly, all the leaves will scatter across campus. Winter is coming.

Soonchunhyang University International Global Village C/O Spring 2014- Final Day

Statue of Chinggis Khan in Sukhbaatar Square, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
요약 (Yoyak)
            It’s been a while since I've written, nearing Day 250 (nearly eight months) since I've left Hawaii. Still can't believe it’s been only that long, it feels like I've been living in South Korea for years. With the seasons changing, I've seen the departure of many close friends from the spring. Looking back to the summer, traveling from East Asia to Southeast Asia, it was all memorable, life-changing, even enlightening to travel independently, and experience things I never would have imagined before. It kept me in good spirits and the optimistic thought that I'll see my friends again, one day in my travels.

The Sights in Korea
한국의 명소 (Hanguk ui myeongso)
            Soon after my return to South Korea, it was one trek after another across the peninsula in dozens of cities, towns, and villages from the DMZ and the border city of Panmunjeom, to the many districts in Seoul, the far-away Everland amusement park in Jeondae, the southern seaside port of Busan, the ancient capital of Suwon, the weekend beach get-away in Daecheon, and the historic Hanok village in Jeonju, among countless of other crazy places.

The English Camp
캠프 (Yeongo Kaempu)
            My adventures did have a toll on my wallet, having to relieve myself of a month before the start of the fall semester, I worked at the English Summer Camp with the university as a camp counselor/teacher's assistant. Those were my fondest memories, working with Korean children who were so cheery, uplifting, and not the troublesome punks I use to work with back in the islands. Every one of them, victorious champions when it came to team competitions at the camp, they worked as one, and I was so proud of being with them every day while teachers come and go each week. I was probably the first foreigner they've met for, and I had gained their trust immediately, truly felt like a big part of their lives. It was through them, I adopted the Korean name of 대성 (Kim Dae-Seong), Dae-seong meaning "great sage". As the camp came to an end and it was time to say 'goodbye', the kids sent me many hand-made gifts- from a traditional paper fan to origami pieces, their little drawings, and their little notes about wanting to visit Hawaii in the future. :') 

Team Yellow-2 “The Lemoncrazies” on the Last Day of English Camp

            It's the halfway mark, seven weeks into the semester and eight weeks till the end. I've made many new friends and kept in touch with the many old ones who've left- from the spring (former suite-mates, exchanges, students, and the international friends scattered across the globe).
The Lotus Lantern Festival in Insadong, Seoul
                       At Panmunjeom, the UN-administered border of North and South Korea                       
Let's Go and Travel
여행하고 가자 가요 (Yohaenghako kaja kayo)
I still have a few more things left on my Korea Bucket List:
X         Buy a Gaeryang Hanbok (Korean traditional robes)
X         Hike Mount Seoraksan (the highest mountain range in South Korea)
X         Travel to Gyeongju (Kingdom of Silla in the east, known for temples)         
X         Travel to Jeju Island (the 'Hawaii' of Korea, a vacation paradise)
         Do a Temple-Stay at Yongjusa Temple in Hwaseong
X         Walk around Nami Island (many Korean dramas filmed in the winter)
X         Tour Cheongwadae (the 'Blue House', Korea's White House)
X         Chill at a cat or dog cafe (just because)

For the next installation of my Korean adventure, hopefully I'll write up a brief review of my university's hometown, Sinchang; focusing on the many food options. Till then, Kevin Tangonan signing out.   

~ 건배 (Geonbae), Cheers.

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