When I first got to Korea in May 2012, I was told that there were many things to see and do. Having done many new things in Korea and thoroughly enjoying myself, I was really looking forward to was the Cherry Blossom Festival in Gyeongju, South Korea. I was told that the Cherry Blossoms would be the thing to see come spring time. I was so looking forward to this. Initially, I thought of going with the popular organizers “Adventure Korea” but when I realized that Pohang International Church (PIC) would also be going for the day, I decided that I could wait a week and go with PIC. I also decided to sign up for a marathon that would take place that weekend as well; a 5K (approximately 3.2 miles). I was excited!
A friend went with Adventure Korea the weekend before I was set to got with PIC and it looked gorgeous. Although it rained on that Saturday, the pictures she took on Sunday were incredible. I was hoping for the same experience; bike riding along the lake with the beautiful scenery of dozens of cherry blossoms in the back drop. That however, did not happen.
While many people flock to Gyeongju to experience the Cherry Blossom Festival while teaching English in Korea, the heavy rains on Saturday proved to be too much. There are many cherry blossom trees all over Pohang, so I could see that by the following Saturday, there wouldn’t be anything left to see. And, I was right. I’d missed it! :-(
Still, I had entered to run a 5K in Gyeongju that weekend along with other members of PIC and this would be my first 5K ever. Although I hadn’t been active in weeks, I felt enthusiastic about running; I made a playlist of uptempo songs and gave myself a finish time of 45 minutes. It still amazes me at how quickly it was over. I finished in 35 and was pumped about running the next one. Apparently, there will be another marathon in Pohang in early June. I may just go for the 10K (6.4 miles).
Spending the day with members of PIC proved to be a quality experience as I got better acquainted with some members. One couple, who teaches TESOL at Handong University in Pohang, have been married 31 years. I don’t know anyone that have been married that long. What a blessing! I also got better acquainted with the coordinator of the retreat, Mary.
Even without the bloom of the cherry blossoms, Gyeongju is beautiful. It’s place of history and also considered one of the most popular tourist destinations in South Korea. Although I spent most of the day hanging out with the members of PIC, there’s so much for English teachers to do in Gyeongju. In Gyeongju, there are many modes of transportation available for rent. There are ATV’s, bicycles, mopeds, scooters and others for children. There’s hiking and jimjilbang. Also, there are two popular amusement parks, California Beach and Gyeongju World. The entrance fee is pretty reasonable as well, 25,000 KRW per person. In addition to all of this, Gyeongju is home to The United Nations, Educational and Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO. For more on what to do in Gyeongju, go here.
Gyeongju is a place of historic value for South Korea and I’ll be sure to visit again and again before I head back to the United States.
Nailah Rivers was born in Trinidad and Tobago. She moved to the United States with her family at the age of seven. She graduated Rutgers University in 2011 with a degree in psychology. Her sophomore year in college, she knew for sure that she would pursue a teaching career with a focus on elementary school. After a risky move to Miami, Florida in 2011, Nailah decided to take a chance and apply to teach English in South Korea with Chungdahm Learning. She is currently teaching in Pohang, South Korea and is having a good time teaching and learning. Follow her blog to get the inside scoop on teaching abroad.Follow Nailah on Pintrest!