I want to write something from the heart..
something that I brought home with me..
something that I know had made the difference in me..
something that I can say that made that travel the most memorable one.
...and i guess, this is the best way to start it off.
On my 4th day in South Korea, I left the early spring colds of Seoul that I hardly managed to endure during my first three days and landed in Jeju Island. On my way to the boarding area in Gimpo Internaltional Airport, I learned about the weather forecast in Jeju based on the flight board announcements - there's higher chances of rain but I shrugged it off, hopeful that Mr. Sun will be welcoming me with open arms of sunshine in Jeju. It's an island anyways and the sun could be boastful.
But when I stepped out of the less-sophisticated Jeju International Airport than its neighboring airports in South Korea, Jeju welcomed me with drizzles and gloomy skies. It's not the weather that I was expecting to celebrate my birthday. I had it planned for nine months and only had one place in mind to spend my special day alone... only in Jeju Island. But as I was running to catch the Airport Bus 600 to Seogwipo City, the rain started pouring.
It was a mixed of all concerns and things to do.
it was raining - how can i get pictures outside?
it was my birthday that I scheduled in my itinerary to celebrate by going around the world in Soingook Theme Park...
where's the bus stop to Jeju Hiking Inn...
As I pondered on these thoughts, I consoled myself. I should not feel bad with this not-so-inviting-for-outdoor activities weather. I can still go around the world (as planned at the miniature of famous landmarks of the world in Soingook Theme park) the next day.
I can still get through the day - my special day.
I then made a quick changes in my itinerary and considered spending the day indoor - in short, museums! While on my way to Jeju Hiking Inn, I juggled looking at the map and at the same time checking which of these indoor tourist spots can be the place to spend my rainy birthday. I thought of the choices around Jungmun Tourist Complex - Ripley's Believe It or Not (but it's too smarty and it's not my kind of thing, i always get sleepy watching such on TV, how much more being in there), Chocolate Land ( i don't feel like looking at chocolates on display - sugar rush can't do anything right now) or Yeomiji Botanical Garden (there's a lot in the Philippines too).
It's a lot to choose from but nothing to choose as well. It was like flipping pictures of places that appeared like an animation of my power point presentation before I left the Philippines. I stopped browsing the travel guide and looked outside the window as I started to glimpse the sea from afar with the raindrops in between my sight.
After more than thirty minutes, the bus announcement caught my attention as it mentioned the bus stops in Korean, English, Chinese and Japanese. I scribbled on the map all the bus stops so I'd know where to go around in the next days of my trip around Jeju Island. Finally, the bus stopped at Sunbeach Hotel and Resort and the driver pointed the direction to Jeju Hiking Inn.
|Sun Beach Resort Bus stop in Seogwipo City|
Alone in my room with the rain kept on pouring outside as if I'd be blessed more for the rest of my life, I turned on the heater, switched on the TV but alternately looking outside the window checking if the rain has stopped.
After like a forever-of-nowhere-thirty minutes, I got restless. I have to go out and just can't stay inside my room. It's my birthday and I have chosen to celebrate it in Jeju Island. Nobody and nothing can hinder me from celebrating my presence in this world.
When I looked outside the window again, I looked up the sky. There, I saw the tip of the cross exclusively towering the roofs. Then I thought I'm just nearby the church though am not sure if this is the right one.
Hurriedly, I checked the travel guide that I got from the Tourist Assistance Center at the airport and looked for the landmark of that church. I then browsed the Jeju pages of my self-made travel planner where I cut and pasted Seogwipo Catholic Church's address in Hangul (Korean). I had it handy just in case I need to show it to the taxi driver and bring me there. Looking at the map, it seemed like it's just within the vicinity of Jeju Hiking Inn.
I then mumbled in prayer, "Lord, help me find you".
With revived spirit, I grabbed my jacket, ran down the stairs and borrowed an umbrella from Kevin. As I stepped out of the Jeju Hiking Inn, I kept on looking up at the cross that I saw from my room. It was like the star guiding the the magi to find the manger. I know I can find it! I thought of going back to where I got off from the bus - it was on uphill and I'd surely see it from there. But a few steps from the inn while alternately looking up, I figured out that the cross was somehow along the main road. Then, I trailed the side of the street and there I saw the church.
Prayer answered in less than a minute!