Miracles and Puppies

After seeing the title I hope you’re excited, because I sure as hell was. You’re telling me that there is a place in Korea where the sea opens up like the Bible and I GET TO WALK ACROSS IT. Sign. Me. Up.

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There’s nothing like a week of work right before you go on a trip. Trying not to brag to my students about this amazing adventure was difficult, but mostly because they are children and could not care. I don’t blame them, nothing adults do is cool to kids. I was buzzing with excitement all week. Getting out of the city was going to be great. The yellow dust is brutal here and I couldn’t wait for the fresh air.

The best part about this trip was who was going to go. My close friend, Courtney, was traveling from the center of the country. Stefan, who I trained with, recently moved down south and was also meeting Lorin, Michael, Mike, and I on the trip.

So we all piled onto a bus at 11:45pm and began a 7 hour drive to Jindo. We arrived at 4:30am and walked over to the sea. Don’t be mad, but I don’t have any pictures. (my phone was dead, the struggle). We donned our sexy thigh high rain boots, lit our tikki torches and marched into the sea. We soon turned around to go to the hostel and get some proper sleep. We slept on the floor and it was actually pretty nice. Korean heated floors are a blessing.

Later, we wandered around the stalls, ate food and yes, saw the puppies. I had delicious kimchi soup, and tasted amazing ginger honey (the seller said he was the Bee’s Husband, which was super adorable).

We then hopped onto a small boat and partied with the locals on the island just off the coast. We planned to walk from the island to the mainland in a parade of sorts. Everyone got down with their inner Korean and danced, drank soju, and drummed their hearts out.

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The island in the distance was not the mainland, but I thought it looked very Pirates of the Caribbean so I had to get a photo. I mean, who doesn’t want to be Jack Sparrow?

Then it was time for the sea parting. Again I don’t have too many pictures because I was afraid of dropping my phone or a camera into the sea and never seeing it again. There are risks in life to take, but this was not one of them.

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Here you can see the mainland in the background, and the pathway to the sea. This was at the very beginning of the parting. Eventually we watched several small boats drive up to the middle of the parting and drop people off. Cheaters!

We all grabbed some flags and positioned ourselves (rather impatiently, we had been on the island for a long time) to march over the sea.

Walking to the mainland was interesting. There were a lot of rocks, which were painful to step on, and whenever I used my flag as a walking stick for balance, it hit someone else in the face. Courtney and I also tried to save as many starfish as possible, while also not hitting old Korean ladies as they dug for clams.

After our biblical journey across the sea we celebrated with delicious cotton candy before dinner and spicy pork…and then the biggest game of 3 in a Hat I’ve ever been seen. Later, we watched a concert get shut down. The police rolled in to check out the situation and we left to sleep (finally).

In the morning a fellow gluten free girl (I’m not alone!) gave me some food to snack on as we made our way to the Jindo dog performance. If you don’t know what a Jindo dog is you are missing out. They are very majestic in appearance. They look like a cross of an Akita and a Husky or a German Shepard. Nearly every yard we passed had at least one Jindo dog in it. Not only are they cute, but they are loyal and athletic. The dogs raced, and performed tricks. The best part, by far, was hanging out with the puppies.

After the cuddle session with the pups, we drove three hours to Jeonju Hanok Village. Originally, we were meant to go to Jinhae for the cherry blossom festival but the blossoms were gone with the recent rain. What a stroke of luck! The Hanok village was really incredible. It felt just like a Korean version of the Tower of London. A small town set up with shops and people having a good time.

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We were one of a few groups of foreign tourists. The rest of the village was filled with Korean tourists, many of them couples, dressed up in rented Hanboks looking regal, and adorable. I really wanted to join in, but we were crunched for time so it will have to be some other time.

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A friend and I walked around searching for souvenirs and treats, and had delicious grape juice and dark chocolate covered frozen bananas. I was in heaven. So much so that I didn’t take a picture of that either.

The end of the adventure came quickly. Soon we were back on the bus waiting for our arrival in Seoul. This was not my first trip in Korea, but it was one of the most rewarding so far. The sea parting was such a unique experience I know I will remember it for my entire life. How many people can say they’ve sent this message, “Do you want to meet us halfway through the sea?” Yeah, not many.

Next week I am going on a Temple Stay, and I hope to keep you all updated on how it goes! See you then!

-Dara

 

 

 

 

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