After a year of living in a foreign place we are starting to feel bruised and battered by the many odd, startling and just down right weird differences between our two cultures. How we were raised and how we are being told to live are at loggerheads and we feel like we are stuck in between. I suppose that in technical terms what we are experiencing is called a twinge of home-sickness with a huge helping of ethnocentrism. This said, we needed to get out of the city, away from the crowds, the expectations, and the ever peering eyes of the hundreds of Koreans that watch us daily.
Jeju-do, we thought, was just going to be another Korean outing. Put on a smile, act politely and battle the crowds to get a shot of some cheesy statue. Quite the contrary.
As a small sub-tropical volcanic mass on the southern tip of Korea, Jeju boasts the tallest mountain peak in our new country. In the past I had heard it compared to Hawaii, but since I had never cared to visit the famed tourist-ridden islands this charmed comparison held nothing for me. Nevertheless, post-trip the comparison holds true; yet, I can not imagine that even Hawaii could have provided us with the new perspective that we gained while on Jeju. Sun-drenched beaches, dramatic waterfalls, an absence of time, expectation and responsibly, this island helped to refocus us, and remind us that the whole world is not a concrete jungle. I have a feeling that we will be escaping to the south a little more often next year.