I Woke up early this morning, not sure if it was because of excitement, or perhaps my lop-sided mattress is starting to get to me. I seem to be getting much better at the morning routine these days. Looking out the window I saw a blue- gray cloudless sky; today looks like a good day by Anmyeon-do standards, and a good day it turned out to be.
Today is the day of the school hike. I enjoy hiking and like the scenic landscape unfolding before my eyes, with each step I take up an incline. Aneesa, on the other hand, considers “hiking” to be an obscene word. So I was glad that my school was giving me the opportunity to partake in this.
All lessons are cancelled, and everyone gathers in front of the school for a warm up and safety drill. After the admin, students leave class by class, lead by 2 teachers. There is a short walk up to the road to the trail, and there we began the 1.5 hour hike across the lush pine forest that is Anmyeon National Recreational Park. The trail itself is not particularly difficult; there are just a few downhill areas that are somewhat treacherous, since there is a lot of loose rock. There were many potential photo opportunities but unfortunately, my vice principals steady pace kept me from enjoying the natural beauty that surrounded me. Eventually we reached the main area of the park where the students were allowed to relax, have lunch, and clean up. The efficiency of both students and teachers astounded me, everyone seemed to know exactly what they had to do and they went about their activities with an almost military focus. I just wandered about, took some happy snaps with my Blackberry camera and tried to follow what was going on.
After the lunch and clean up, we walked through the parks flower garden area. This costs 4000won for visitors, but free for residents. This was such a beautiful place. So many different colorful flowers, a huge variety of trees, countless shades of green, it looked like a piece of paradise. We stopped at a gathering point and the kids were all lined up and handed an assignment (no surprises here, Korea!). They had to go around the area and find two different types of flowers research them and fill in a worksheet. This gave the teachers an hour to relax (or supervise). I spent the hour “bonding” with the older male teachers. We chatted about our interests, the things we studied, places we’ve lived, and many other topics albeit, all in VERY broken English. It is admirable at how much effort these men put into getting to know, or perhaps just figuring out, the new teacher. Bonding session over, we herded the kids back to the entrance where they made their own ways home. We got a lift back to school, and I was told I could go home early…. Sweet.
The Rest of the afternoon was spent watching copious amounts of “Modern family” while vegetating. Even though it was a great way to just relax after a long day, I did miss having familiar things to snack on… I longed for a packet of Simba Mexican chili chips, or some fried peas, but alas, they are not to be found on my islandtjie.
Here are some pictures from the flower garden