From 2013 to 2014, Our Journey to the Sunrise

The journey begins at 9:35pm. We had to work on New Year’s Eve, but we were told we had New Years Day off (score!). After our 6 hours of teaching children the wonders of English, we hopped in a cab and headed downtown to our favorite bar Portebellos

10:30pm
If you read my last post, you will remember how much food was at the Christmas Meat Beast Feast. Our New Years Dinner was basically the leftovers, plus a few additional items. We had turkey, chicken, ham, potatoes, vegetables, pesto pasta (remember that most of this food was suppose to be for our Christmas feast) and drinks! 

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Cheers to 2013!

11:30pm
The next part of the night included a lot of mingling, drinking and preparing for the 2014 toast.

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Kevin is getting ready to open the champagne. He thought is was going to be more difficult than it actually was.

12:00am
2014! We made it! The countdown in the bar was great, we watched a K-pop countdown. At this point we had no idea we would be up for another 8 hours.

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Cheers to the New Year!

1:00am – 3:00am
Lots of dancing was had, so we became the DJs of our own party (a lot of DJs = a lot of problems, ha). The night began to pass quickly and an absurd idea about staying up to watch the sunrise was tossed about. In Korea, watching the sunrise on the first day of the New Year is a bigger deal than staying up until midnight and toasting the New Year. At the moment though, dancing was way more important.

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3am – 5am
This was the point where many people started bowing out and heading home. It was also in these hours that the plan of going to watch the sunrise became less of a joke and more of  a concrete plan. By 5am, my thinking was, “We have already stayed up this long and we might only be able to watch the New Year sunrise on a beach once…..might as well”. So the number of people continued to dwindle until there were only a few of us left in the bar, 8 to be exact.

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The dancing never stopped. Here is Kevin doing his break dancing or something like that.

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6am
The bar tender, Jamie, offered to drive us to the beach, get breakfast and watch the sunrise. We waited while he shut down the bar (I am pretty proud we closed down the bar at 6am… 8 solid hours inside this one bar, ha!). Then 5 of us piled into is small car and headed over to the beach. He dropped us off and then found a place to park. Since I had been in Pohang, I had never seen the beach so crowded and this was at 6am! People were lighting lanterns, there were men on horses riding up and down the beach, and more boats in the ocean than I had seen before. I loved seeing this part of Korean culture.

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These men rode back and forth on the beach. I’m still not sure why, but it was pretty cool.

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Lighting lanterns just seems like something you should do for the New Year. We did watch one man struggle and never get his lantern in the air, but most of the lanterns made it.

7am
After we ate some breakfast, which consisted of baked fish, beer and soju (I did not drink the beer or soju). Kevin and I wanted to stand on the beach and make sure we didn’t miss the sunrise. My body was ready to quit and I really wanted to get in a cab, go home and sleep, but we were so close. The sky was getting light out, it definitely felt like morning, but there was still no sun. I wondered if all the pollution and haze would keep me from seeing the sun. Kevin and I decided to walk down the beach, past the crowds of people so that after the sunrise we could hail a cab and get to bed. It seemed like hours, really it was only minutes, until the sun finally peaked out from behind the mountain. We made it! Sunrise! I expected cheering, clapping, whistles, but there was only the sound of hundreds of Koreans silently making a wish.

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Culture Update/Observation:
The sunrise is much more important than midnight when the New Year is involved.

 

 

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