So I’m off to Jeju tomorrow!

Tonight is going to be an adventure! I discovered all these great ways to get to Seoul, but there was no way that I could have exchanged my KTX ticket, so I am riding the train anyhow. I guess that’s okay, really, since the train has these lovely things called bathrooms.

I plan to get into Seoul around 12:30 and find a jimjilbang somewhere around the Seoul Station. I might be able to find a bus to Gimpo… I hope so, because people say that it’s more likely to find a good jimjilbang around the airport. I dont’ really know. All I need is for it to have a big locker, a nice bath, and a big hot sauna. I’m really looking forward to those few hours that I spend there, because I haven’t been to the jimjilbang in a couple weeks. (Gasp!)

Anyway, Jeju is going to be a lot of fun. Jeju is the Hawaii of Korea. It is the big vacation and honeymoon place for Koreans, and last generation, it was the ONLY place, since most people weren’t issued passports. It is a world heritage site, because of the awesome lava tubes that were made by erupting Mt. Halla. I won’t be climbing Hallasan, because I don’t feel like getting cleats and ice pikes, but I will be visiting the lava tubes, and I’m super excited to take pictures for you all!

In my school’s education program, we teach the story of Ebenezer Scrooge to the 5-6th graders. This is really very ironic because we are teaching the students until 9pm on Christmas Eve. And I intend to show that story to my 8pm class, and just all around party like it’s 1999. But unfortunately I don’t really have anything to party with… hm. My 8pm class yesterday watched the classic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer movie off of YouTube, haha.

I’m also supposed to be testing for my Taekwondo advancement today. Ack! It’s been three weeks! So not prepared. But I go to class every day, and they have deemed me ready, but I don’t think I can do everything alone. I hope that I don’t need to. But maybe next time you see me, I’ll be a yellow belt!

I also watched this documentary on YouTube last night about North Korea. I feel like it’s a little overblown. But it’s really intriguing, especially when they start talking about KimJungIl’s cult of personality. I think it’s possible to draw parallels between that cult of personality, and the radical explosion of pentecostal Christianity in South Korea. But I really just wanted to know–how do people get this information? If it is the most secretive country in the world, how do you get this information? How do you get the statistics that say these children are “22cm shorter than the average in South Korea”? Like really? With a country that supposedly has no medical equipment, no this, no that, how did you find out that the average child is 22cm shorter? How do you even know anything about the average anything?

Not that one little thing like that would change the credibility of the program. But you do wonder how sensationalist they are being. They also said something like “North Korea is the Hermit Kingdom” but a hundred or so years ago, I believe ALL of Korea was called the Hermit Kingdom. But I’m not sure. Look that one up on Wikipedia.

It fascinates me because you can see just how drastically different the two Koreas are–but you can also see where the same cultural traits have been used. The oneness and the togetherness of Koreans have made South Korea an economic powerhouse, with the freedom to be different, but the desire to be the same, and one unified love for achieving the same life goals–education, success, marriage, a trip to Jeju, haha. But you can see, from the images in the video, that in North Korea that same trait has pushed them in a very different direction.

Anyway, I should probably get out of bed and start packing for my trip! How exciting!!

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