We have moved from Seoul Tech to the Kangwon province of South Korea we are now at Kangwon National University. The air is clear and the city is more like Pullman. We are surrounded bu tree covered mountains and as Dr. Hwang from KNU describes, “ the leisure sport capital of Korea. While here we will visit the future home of the 2018 Winter Olympics and many other sport related activities. These will include mountaineering, water sports and leisure activities (what we call recreation). We will be on water, in mountains, and possibly in the air, even though our insurance does not cover it. If the choice is made to participate I will draft a waver and have it approved by WSU before any such activity happens.
Needless to say, the experience of traveling from one part of the country to another is priceless. J.T. Cook of Cougs Guys and Gals and a Sport Management Senior decided to write on this experience for you all to “hopefully” understand. I miss you so much Pullman, and WSU! Here are some very entertaining words from J.T.
– Chris Lebens
“Bali bali,” has been the theme of the last two weeks in Seoul; a phrase that can be translated to “hurry, hurry” in English. We would meet in the morning to run around a city occupied by millions upon millions of busy people and get back to the dorms in evening, sticky from dried sweat and exhausted from the day’s activities. Always running and always busy, something that is good for me because it means that I’m being active and learning new things. Seoul was incredible with so many new cultural experiences, food, and sporting facilities to learn about, but Sunday we bid farewell to a place that pushed our cultural limits and hopped on a train to a new and exciting place.
The morning started with a pretty laid back attitude, as Dr. Rhee made a pretty smart decision to leave a good 4 hours early to reach Yungson Station in plenty of time to catch the two o’clock train to Chuncheon. If you haven’t already heard, we hadn’t been the most punctual of groups over the last two weeks so leaving at ten in the morning for a trip we’ve made multiple times was definitely a smart call. We gathered at the CU Market to grab our coffees, and embarked with suitcases that weighed more than Courtney and backpacks that made us look like a group of bipedal turtles.
The first leg of the trip was the walk from the dorm to the bus. Now this may not sound like a very exciting part of the trip, but it is the part that made us realize just how long of a day we were in for. As we all arrived at the N13 bus, we realized one person was a little slower than the rest of us. I looked over and noticed that Professor Lebens was simultaneously lifting and rolling his suitcase. An awkward movement that can only be explained by a broken wheel. The score stands: suitcase – 1 and Professor Lebens – 0. Eventually he got to the bus and we struggled lifting the suitcases up the steps inside, but we prevailed and proudly took up more than half of the space on the bus.
When we arrived at the subway station entrance, we were pleased to find a plethora of escalators and elevators that would assist us in reaching the depths of the station and then back above ground in order to get on the number 6 line. One of the perks of leaving so early was that the “bali bali” attitude that had plagued us for most of our stay was beginning to fade. We were able to take the time to have Korean breakfast sandwiches and coffee at our terminal and even though we missed the first train, it didn’t matter because we still had three and a half hours to complete a 16 stop train ride.
As the train pulled up, the game started because, along with our always late reputation, we had also lost a few people to pre-mature subway door closing. A feeling that can only be described as mixed reactions of hysterical laughing by those looking out of the subway doors and seeing the facial expression of the person left behind. Do not worry, we always reconvened at the next stop and joined the lost soul on the next train. Anyways, this was a time that we definitely did not want to lose someone so we strategically split ourselves into teams of two order to efficiently load not only ourselves but also our shadows on wheels onto the train. Good news, we succeeded. WSU Students – 1, Seoul Public Transportation – 0.
The train ride was smooth as most of us has a place to sit and we had enough space to place our suitcases nicely between our legs so that inertia would take our luggage to the other end of the train, as Picture A so nicely illustrates. Apparently Dr. Rhee didn’t get the memo because every time the bus stopped and started, he would just seem to follow his freely rolling suitcase back and forth between the students and Professor Lebens on opposite ends of the train.
When we arrived to Yongsun Station, we still had a couple of hours to kill so we decided to leave our luggage in a corner where one of us would stand guard and make sure everything was safe while everyone else went and got some food (big thanks to Indigo, Professor Lebens, and Tipton for their service). As we walked around the mall, we came across a little puppy adoption center where you could fawn over the cutest and littlest puppies. I have to say it took every inch of my being to not walk out of that building with the little guy in Picture B. Seeing him was one of the highlights of my day so I had to share.
We made it with plenty of time to spare so we got yet another chance to hang out in a corner with our luggage to wait for another train as you can see in Picture C. When we got on the train we had our own seats that we could spin around 180 degrees so we could face one another. That lasted a good 30 seconds because knees were touching other knees and it was just uncomfortable. We settled in for what we thought was going to be two hour train ride. About an hour into the trip, me and me and my fellow classmates were writing essays or beginning to doze off as we pulled up to the Nomchuncheon station. I faintly heard Dr. Rhee mutter something in Korean on his phone as he stood up and commanded, “Get off the train!” The next 30 seconds became the epitome of “bali bali” as that’s all it took for the sleeping to wake, the studious to pack up, and for bags to be on the ground ready to get off the train. You would think that would be an ample amount of time for us to be able to exit, but as we started heading for doors, they slowly began to close as we heard Dr. Rhee mutter, “we didn’t make it, we have to get off at the next stop.”
Luckily the next stop was about three minutes down the track and we were officially in Chuncheon. The first thing you hear Courtney and Nick say as they exited the train was, “I like it here,” because the air is clear and the scenery is beautiful. We have heard Chuncheon is a lot slower than Seoul, which is good because now we hoped that “bali bali” won’t be as frequently spoken as it was in Seoul. I think I speak for everyone when I say we are extremely excited to see what this beautiful city has to offer and I look forward to being able to write about more great things in eight short days. Let another new adventure begin!
More to come as we explore this side of the country. #JT