Sunday, February 20, 2011

Philippine adventures, Taylor Swift!! and little Lemons

So, exactly two weeks after I arrived back in Korea, we had a 5 day vacation!!! My coworker and friend Claire had asked me while I was back in the US if I would be interested in a trip to the Philippines, and as I had been wanting to go, of course I agreed. So I picked up some extra Parkway shifts, and the day after we returned from our cruise I booked my ticket to Boracay!

We arrived at hour hostel Wed evening, after an extremely long day of traveling. I had taken two flights, a two hour bus ride through windy roads, a 10 minute ferry ride (on which I which i was sure I would be tossed into the ocean and never seen again, it was so choppy!) and then finally a "tricycle" ride back to our hostel. The tricycles in the Phil. are basically mopeds with a little cart on the side, where you can seat about 4 people. Cheapest form of transportation and also fun!!

Our first tricycle ride, with Jubee in the background

After Claire and I settled into our hostel, we went out to explore the nightlife. We weren't sure where to go, so we hit up a few beach bars, where we met some Filipino guys who were more than willing to be our tour guides for the night! They took us to a club, Club Paraw(sp?), where we danced the night away to the same music that was played all four nights we were there. It was my favorite night of the week, just cause it was so unexpected.

The next morning, we woke up (because I wake up early every day, my body didn't let me sleep past 9 am any of the days we were there!!), had some lunch, then hit the beach. That evening, we got some dinner, hit the clubs again...and repeated the scenario for the next two days. It was such a relaxing, amazingly beautiful, and fun/random little vay-cay. I attempted to scuba dive, but couldn't keep my head underwater for more than 10 seconds before I panicked. I had never had a desire to go, but since I was in a country that is known for its diving, and since it was so cheap (70 bucks for 3 hours!) I couldn't pass up the opportunity. I went into it knowing that I was a little nervous, so I wasn't bummed that I couldn't finish out the dive. I gave it a shot and that's all what counts! Now I know that I don't need to try it again.

Sorry its sideways!!! But check out this view...

Our hostel was great, it was run by 5 family members, all of whom seemed to be under the age of 20, and all of whom were ridiculously helpful and goofy. Jubee, the guy who picked us up from the airport, was just this bubbly little energy ball, and would appear around the hostel at random moments. Hello maam!! He would call at any time. Are you okay? Are you okay??

All of the people in the Phillipines were so nice(with the exception of the Manila airport), and I have no doubt in my mind that I will be taking another trip there in the future (possibly next Christmas??!!). Anyways, it was really hard to leave that Sunday. Jubee took me to the ferry, and when I went to board, he grabbed my hand, said so sweetly, "take care, maam, take very good care". I nearly burst into tears because I REALLY didn't want to leave. I've never had a vacation where there was nothing on the agenda besides beach, food, and dance clubs. It. Was. Perfect. I had a great travel buddy too!! Claire and I were on the same page the whole trip. We were both looking for nothing more than a fun, relxing mini vacation, and we got exactly what we wanted.

Our first night out

Claire and I were on separate flights home, and I had only one hour between my flight from Kalibo and to Macau in China. We left Kalibo about 20 minutes late, so by the time we arrived in Manila I had half an hour to get through security and get on the next plane. The ever helpful airport staff (can you sense the sarcasm?) never seemed to be able to help me along the way, and after waiting about 10 minutes in a line, having a man check my passport, ticket, etc, and THEN ask me to go fill out an immigration form (which I've never had to do upon leaving a country), I, the ever saavy traveler, did what any experienced traveler would do. I burst into tears. Through my sobs I was able to choke out that my flight left in ten (YES TEN MINUTES SIR!!) minutes, and the guy, obviously extremely confused and seemingly terrified at my outburst, let me go through with out the paper (hopefully I'll be let back in next time!) I made it to the gate, was literally the last person on the plane, and we took off five minutes later. I made sure to let the people there know that NO ONE that I had asked for help along the way had been able to do anything for me besides wave me in the general direction of where I was supposed to be going. Thanks, Manila.

Anyways, my flight arrived in after the last bus left for my city, so I rented a cot in the airport spa, slept for about 6 hours until Claires flight arrived at 5 am on Monday, and then we took the bus back to Dongbaek, where I showered and walked to work by 9 am!!! I was pretty tired that day, but, airport mishaps and all, it was damn well worth it.

The next Friday, a few girls and I were able to go see Taylor Swift in Seoul! It was an amazing show, and once I get the pics on my computer I will put them up.

In other good news, I officially found out Friday that I will be getting my original kindergarten class back for the next school year! When I left in Dec, my replacement began teaching them, and I took over some second year students. But after my current kids graduate on Friday, my old Lemon class will become second year students, and I will have them until they graduate next February. I didn't really care what classes I got this year, new kids, old kids, etc, but I am thrilled to have my old students back. I will have taught them for two years by the time they graduate, and it will be very cool to see them through from beginning to end.

All in all, life is great over here in Korea land. Today was beautiful, and spring is coming!! I can feel it. Thank goodness!! I'm meeting more and more people every day, and am just loving life right now. Hope you all are as happy as I am, wherever you may be!!! New pictures, and my first snowboarding attempt posts are coming soon!!

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