Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas in the mountains.

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! This was my first Christmas away from home. And to be perfectly honest, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Of course I missed being at home and spending time with my family, but thanks to wonderful technology, I was able to video chat with both Jen and Court in England and the rest of the fam in Tallahassee. It definitely wasn’t the same through a web cam, but it was good to see everyone’s faces and chat for a while. It’s really a bitter sweet feeling, because while I would love to be with my family during the holidays, right now I am perfectly happily being over here. I say it all the time, but I am truly having the greatest time here in Korea. It’s a mixture of great travel spots, great friends, and just once in a lifetime opportunities, and I’m trying to soak up every moment of it. (Oh and it doesn't hurt that I love going to work every day.)

Soeraksan National Park in Sokcho, Korea was our destination over Christmas break. Whitney, her friend Austin, Erica, Jason, Steve, and I all got on a bus toward Sokcho at 8:30 on Thursday morning. 5 and a half hours later we made it and we were all starving, so we decided to find the nearest restaurant and eat whatever they would serve us. We found a Chinese place and had some delicious chicken and fried rice. Once we were all full and happy we set out to find our hostel, which was a little bit of a challenge, but we eventually found it. It’s a long story but we ended up getting one room with one bed for all 6 of us. Luckily they heat the floors here, so most people opted to sleep on the floor anyway. I ended up getting to sleep on the bed due to my butt injury. Let’s just say I don’t walk well on slick ice.

On Friday we explored the National Park a little bit. We saw a giant Buddha, which looked almost the same as the Great Buddha in Japan. It was really neat, especially with the mountains in the background. Then we took a cable car up to the top of the mountain, and according to the pamphlet it’s “one of the most unique adventure attractions on Earth.” I don’t know about that, but it was really pretty. We could even see the waterfalls – frozen waterfalls that is. The view was beautiful and the weather was nice too. It even started snowing a little bit, and I got really excited – because it was a “White Christmas!” It only snowed for about 3 minutes though. :(

After that we took a hiking trail up to one of the waterfalls. It was a lot of fun. The waterfall was really pretty and it was neat to see it half frozen and half not. The sound of the waterfall is so relaxing and it’s just one of those places where I could just spend the whole day. Well, except in the winter. On our way back down we decided to go off the trail and take a quicker way to our hostel. It was fun hiking through the woods and across a rocky river.

That night for dinner, we all wanted a nice Christmas meal, so we went up the hill from our tiny hostel to a nice hotel with a western style restaurant. It was by far one of the best dinners I had eaten in a while. Even though we were pretty bummed that they were out of French onion soup, they did have a nice side salad with Italian dressing and also butter rolls. I had the chicken cordon blue, and it was delicious. After dinner we walked back to our hostel and got all cozy in our slumber party room. It was a good day, and a nice Christmas. I stayed up and talked to my family on video chat for a while and then went to bed.

The next day we walked around the park a little more and saw a temple and just enjoyed the scenery. We planned on going to a hot springs later that day, but then we found out that there was only one bus that was going back to Gwangju that day and it was leaving at 3:30. So, Erica, Jason, and I were tired and ready to go home so we bought our bus tickets and headed back that day, while Whitney, Austin, and Steve stayed back and went to the hot springs and stayed overnight an extra day. The bus ride was really long, but it was nice to get home after a long weekend, and sleep in on Sunday.

Well, I hope everyone had a great Christmas! I’m headed back up the country on another bus to Seoul for New Years! Love you all! Happy Holidays! :) Enjoy this little video I made of my kids singing:

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