Sunday, August 3, 2008

Journey's End

Well, here I am, safely back in my dear Korea. I actually got rather homesick for Korea during my last few days in the Philippines, which I found rather amusing. In particular, I missed having everyone else speak a different language from me. That may sound odd, so let me explain. Here in Korea, since I don't speak Korean, my mind usually automatically tunes it out when I hear people talking around me. In the Philippines, however, everyone speaks English so there were all these English conversations going on around me that I couldn't mentally tune out. It was a bit taxing on my mind after more than five months of peacefully tuning out the world whenever I felt the desire.

In summary, my trip to the Philippines was definitely a unique experience. Half of the vacation was great and half of it was.....well, you'll find out when you read the next several posts. I had a few ultra-special once-in-a-lifetime experiences, a few oh-my-gosh-this-sort-of-thing-only-happens-to-me experiences, and, yes, I managed to smuggle an illness past customs coming back (more on that later). I was even harassed by a chicken! (More on that later, also.)

The next several posts will detail for you my amazing trip to the Philippines, complete with photographs. I've decided to break it down into one post per day that I was there. To make things more coherent, I'm going to alter the times on the posts so that they will be in chronological order, rather than the most recent being first, as is usually the case. I sincerely hope that you all enjoy reading about my experiences.

To truly sum up my opinion of the Philippines, I would like to borrow the famous words of a well-known individual who also journeyed there (and if you can't figure out who this person is, you should consider going back to school for remedial history):

"I shall return."

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"