Summer vacation came right at the peak of a major burn out:  I'd spent 4 consecutive weekends out of town, summer school (aka 13 hour days) had just begun, and I was insanely mentally disturbed from witnessing a Holocaust at a meat market in Seoul.

That entire weekend in Seoul before Jeju was just a series of flubs, from leaving my ridiculously important notebook full of animal welfare notes at the KTX train station on the way there, to leaving Seoul completely without my backpack and laptop and having to trek back and forth almost an hour each way to find it, followed that evening when I got back to Ulsan by a situation where I quite literally lost my mind and memory via a series of emails and felt like a total ass.   I can't recall a single time in my life where I've ever been so distrait by the insanity around me.  It finally occurred to me how affected I was by the burn out, so I put away the animal welfare stuff, set my FB profile to private and breathed in some zen and began the countdown to the almighty Jeju vacation.

Naturally, as icing on the cake, I got sick again and totally lost my voice to the point that we had to arrange other teachers for my classes.  My kids now call me "grandma" and speak to me in a wheezy Mafia voice.

The night before Jeju, I felt like total hell and seriously contemplated cancelling my flight.  I'm obviously so glad I didn't because it was an increddie trip with increddie people, but man, I was not up for a vacation.  It totally blew to not be able to talk the entire 5 days, and waking up with bloodshot eyes and massive amounts of snot each morning ain't no way to vacay.  But it was beautiful and I laughed so hard every step of the way, which in turn, caused more hilarity since laughing without a voice makes it appear as if you're silently convulsing.  There goes Kate again, being all epileptic.

Jeju Island Vacation 2011 included walking across millions of tiny crabs in the water/fireworks on the beach/massive mosquito bites (33 to be exact)/scooter'ing across Udo Island/naps on two different beaches/NOT hiking Halla/beautiful sunsets/LOVELAND/most incredible burrito of our lives/Couch Surfing host extraordinaire Jack Quinn/southern hospitality/BREAKING INTO A WATERFALL AT MIDNIGHT/night beach'ing/motorcycle burns/snuggley sick days/acro yoga/and so. much. more.

There are so many more pictures in my head.

The largest mountain in Korea is located in the center of Jeju and I was super pumped to hike that sucka', but we decided with my limited lung capacity that I would be an annoying hindrance, so I skipped seeing Mt. Hallasan and spent the day trying to breathe instead.  After everyone returned from the 9 hour hike, they made it clear that I didn't miss much as the entire trail was wooden stairs, which I've loudly voiced my disdain for before.  What is it with Korean mountains not having legit hiking trails?  Why with the stairs?

We also visited Loveland.  It's a sex museum.  Jeju is full of museums.  All kinds, obviously.  We really struggled over whether to visit Loveland or The Teddy Bear Museum.  But that's a total lie because what kind of crazy person would pick the Teddy Bear Museum over a sex museum??

All kinds of appropriate

Aaaaand, thanks to our totally unreal Couch Surfing host, we discovered Acro Yoga.  What's Acro Yoga, you ask?  Absolute amazingness, I tell you.  See an example here.  Seriously, watch that video.  We're so in lovey  This is what we looked like as beginners:

Total pros.

Five days, countless beautiful views, multiple undocumented memorable experiences, and the greatest travel buddies known to man....  I managed to infect two of them with my sickness, but neither  complained, and my incredible co-worker/bestie in Korea played 'Mom' the whole way.  She took care of everything, from speaking on my behalf, to making sure I had medicine, etc, etc and more.  She's got the 'Mom' card down, and now it's my turn to try and repay her:  the day before we left Jeju, she hopped off our friends motorcycle and accidentally set her leg directly on the exhaust pipe, which we found out later resulted in a serious second degree burn.  She's hobbling along now with her leg wrapped up, visiting the hospital each day for all kinds of crazy Korean burn treatment.

Turns out, it's serious.

And that was Jeju.  It is sort of assumed now that we'll be traveling together over Chuseok and we are currently contemplating where to book our flights.  The Phillipines are the cheapest option, but there's also a reasonable flight to Hong Kong out there.  And of course, there's still so much of Korea to see.  Stay tuned.  Traveling with a voice will be a whoooooooole different kind of adventure.