Closure in Jeju

This past weekend I boarded a plane bound for Jeju where I would attend the farewell reunion for the TaLK program. It would be the last chance to see some people I hadn’t seen since orientation a year and a half ago. Although most scholars from my generation had already left Korea, it was good to see the few that were still here again. The TaLK staff organized an excellent weekend of activities for us. It was an appropriately bittersweet affair and one that provided some closure for me as I begin to wind down my time in Korea.

Note: Some of the pictures below were taken by the TaLK staff.

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Arriving at the Jeju airport.

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Lunch after landing.

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Watching a video about the formation of Jeju Island at the Jeju World Natural Heritage Center.

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Our hotel.

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My hotel room: so nice!

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The view from the balcony outside my room.

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Looking out over Jeju in the golden light of evening.

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Catching up with other TaLK scholars.

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Chicken soup, Korean style. Unfortunately, it was exceptionally hard to eat and not as good as it looked. 😦

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Seongsan Ilchulbong, the Sunrise Peak. I had been here in the summer but it was nice to return and not sweat bucket loads on the hike up!

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The crater at the top of Seongsan Ilchulbong.

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The descent.

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VERY fresh octopus begin sold at the base of Seongsan Ilchulbong.

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Aqua Planet, Jeju’s excellent aquarium.

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Having lunch at Aqua Planet.

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These otters were sleeping but they really looked dead.

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Watching a great water show.

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This is supposedly the largest aquarium tank in the world.

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The “petting area.”

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The entrance to the Jeju Rail Bike course.

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You have to peddle these carts with your own two feet. There are four people per cart but it’s still hard work. We were all exhausted afterwards!

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The view from the rail bike course.

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A buffet dinner.

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An ice replica of one of Jeju’s famous grandfather statues at the Jeju Ice Museum.

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Ice slide!

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A freaky “5D” experience at the Ice Museum called “The Room.”

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A room of 3D illusion art.

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The departing TaLK gang.

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A surreal view from the plane as we returned to mainland Korea (taken by the TaLK staff).

After returning from Jeju, I attended a farewell dinner for the TaLK teachers just in Busan. It was a nice evening of conversation and delicious food. We all also received parting gifts from the TaLK staff. This will be the last farewell dinner of its kind, since the TaLK program will no longer take place in Busan after this semester.

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Receiving my parting gift.

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The last generation of TaLK scholars in Busan.

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