posted on January 25, 2013 23:29
We have arrived! Tokyo’s sunset yesterday was so beautiful (picture attached)! We landed in Tokyo in just enough time to see this beautiful sight through the airport windows.
Tonight you will hear from all of the students about what they are looking forward to most on this trip, but here is a “taste” of what we have experienced so far:
Our "American ideas" of what the 9-passenger van that we reserved was supposed to look like were far bigger and loftier than the van we received. When you hear 9-passenger van, what comes to mind? Much like many of the students, I thought this meant that we would be getting a larger vehicle like we see in the US. The van that we received is like a minivan with extra seats; three rows with three extra sats in each row (middle seat in the front, middle, and back row). The area behind the back seat has about two feet of space. Many of the students rode into downtown Seoul with several bags on their laps as a result of our overestimation of space. We each travelled lightly with one checked bag and one carry-on, but we still had to stuff the van full. Janie agreed to have her picture taken and that picture is posted on this blog as well. We are all staying safe in our travels and everyone had a positive attitude about the travel time and lack of space, so that helped (and it makes for great pictures and amazing stories). In addition to the 9-passenger van, we have a 5-passenger compact car that has limited luggage space as well, we are making the most of the space that we have and it has been fun!
In addition to this, we each have had our turn at playing “charades” with someone from Korea as a way to communicate. Since we have limited Korean, and the language is spoken much faster than what we had practiced, we are taking our turns at “acting” our questions to the local people; who have been VERY gracious and kind in helping us out. My personal favorite has been “do I need to remove my shoes?” We all sat down together and enjoyed a traditional Korean meal for lunch. We were not sure what we were ordering, but it tasted so good! We sat down on the heated floor and enjoyed conversing with each other while eating and the owner of the restaurant kindly guided us through how to eat the food she brought to us. She also kindly reminded us to remove our shoes while eating and reminded me to put my shoes back on when I paid the bill.
Tonight we are headed to PeyongChang to receive our Special Olympics staff credentials and uniforms. More later!