Friday, February 10, 2012

And nearly 8 months later....

For any of you that may have read my blog before, I sincerely apologize! I'm sure you thought awhile back that you'd never hear from me again, but you're wrong, haha! 8 months have gone by since I last posted...and you know, life happens, you get busy...and I. AM. SORRY.

The past 8 months have been filled with many many ups! and a few downs. Shortly after my last post, my parents and cousin came to visit me in Korea. We took an amazing trip to China where we hit nearly all of the major tourist sites in Qingdao, Beijing, and Guilin. The highlights were the Great Wall of course, and the boat ride down the Li River that we took amongst mountains and amazing pinnacles. Absolutely breathtaking.

After vacation, school was back in full swing, and the family quickly went back to the US. Fall came, the leaves changed, I took a few hiking trips around Korea (this country is so amazingly beautiful in fall and spring!) And then winter came! My kids were learning faster than ever...amazing little English speakers they are!

The beginning of December brought much heartache. As I'm sure you all know, my wonderful grandma, Reba Mullis, passed away. We were so glad that she went peacefully in her sleep, but it was a tough time for all of us. I was heartbroken that I couldn't be at home during such a tough time. Luckily, technology is amazing and i was able to watch her funeral via skype at 1:30 am my time. It was an incredible tribute to my grandma. She was such an inspiration to us all, quiet, but very strong and had great values. It was a blessing to be able to go home for Christmas to spend the tough time with my family. We miss you Grandma, and love you forever! But we know now she's with Grandpa, David, and the others in her family who have gone before her, so along with the heartache we all feel, we're sooo happy for her.

As I said, I spent a quick, jetlagged, amazing week back home and then it was back to Korea! January was here then left, where the heck does time go? If anyone knows where the past two years of my life went, please let me know! It's now less than three weeks before I take off for my SE Asia adventure! I'll be traveling for a month through Cambodia and Vietnam, itinerary below!

Graduation is less than three weeks away. I look at my little babies every day, several of whom I have taught since I first got to Korea. Their first day was my first day, and we've gone on this journey together! They know I am leaving, but dont seem to understand that I won't be coming back. I try not to talk about it to much, as don't want any tears in class just yet (mine of course). I'm so damn proud of all of these kids. They can have complete conversations, and I had a big part in that! Amazing. That's all I can say about them. And adorable of course :)

The next three weekends are full of fun things planned, parties, parties, work (we're holding orientation classes this Sat and next, just for an hour each), parties, and lots and lots of Korean food! It's gonna fly. I'm thrilled to be moving on, but sad to be leaving. I've made incredible friends, learned what I want to be when I grow up, and had some awesome adventures. Thanks to all who helped me along the way!

And here's a brief itinerary of my trip next month...more details to be included later! I promise to post again before I leave! Happy Weekend!!!

March 2-Fly to Siem Reap, Cambodia. Explore the temples of Angkor Wat and the city for a few days. Head to Phenom Penh on the 6th.

March 6th-Hang out for a few days in PP. Learn some history about the Khmer Rouge, see all the tragic sites there. Probably cry. While I'm there gonna get a visa to vietnam, and try to plan a trip down the Mekong Delta.

March 9-10-Staying at the Rainbow Lodge in the Cardamom Mtns. It's an eco lodge in the middle of the forest, looks awesome! Google it!!

Back to PP then, to hopefully head down the Mekong Delta for a few days. Arrive in Ho Chi Minh. Hang out there, and then fly to Phu Quac, an island off the coast of Vietnam. I rented a beach side bungalow for a few nights...gonna relax on the beach and do some hiking!!

From there, heading up to Dalat, Vietnam. Its a city in the mountains, very quirky, has some crazy architecture. Very different vibe from the other areas of Vietnam. Also famous for the Easy Riders, guys who take you on moto tours around the area. Hoping to take a tour one day!

Then, heading to Hoi An, near the beach. It's a historic, quaint area, with lots and lots of tailor shops! Gonna get some amazing boots made for cheap, explore the area, and hit the beach some more.

Then off to Hanoi, I want to take a night trip into Sapa, where I can hopefully stay with a local family and see how they live.

After that, I have a tour booked around the Halong Bay. Its gonna be the end of my trip. I'll take a boat tour around the bay, do some kayaking, swimming, sleep on a "junk boat" one night, then the next day do some cycling and hiking on Cat Ba Island. Spend the night in a bungalow at a nature conservation place thingy...then head back to the boat and back to Hanoi. I arrive to Hanoi the 2nd, and fly out to Chicago the 3! Will arrive back about 10 am on April 4th.

I know that much will change! Traveling is always an adventure. I havemost of Cambodia booked, and then gonna wait to book a few places in Vietnam. Can't wait!! I'm doing it alone, and could not be more excited about it. Sorry Dad, but I will have a cell phone! Lots of pics to come.

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