Paralympic Winter Games 2018, PyeongChang - South Korea
Date: Sunday, 4th of March, At the Airport
I am currently waiting at the airport for my flight to Frankfurt. I have never been more excited. You can tell that I´m nervous too, but the joy predominates. This is the first time for me leaving Europe and traveling to Asia. Maybe I should give you a short explenation why I am flying to the other end of the earth during the school year. As most of you know, the Winter Olympic Games took place in South Korea, Pyeongchang. So do the Paralympic Games. In November I found out that I am one of eight students who would have the possibility to visit South Korea and work there as a part of the Paralympic Comitee of Austria.
Although I am really excited, I have to say that saying goodbye to my family and friends was hard. Also I have to be aware that I miss more than two weeks of school and some important exams, which I have to do afterwards. It is going to be stressful because I am going to graduate in summer, but it´s worth it.
Date: Monday, 5th of March, Arrival in Pyeongchang
After more than thirty-two hours of traveling we finally arrived in our apartment in Pyeongchang. We are all tired and ready to go to bed, but unfortunately there are no beds. That´s not a joke, I am totally serious. We have to sleep on blankets on the floor. Some volunteers told us that this is normal in Korea, but I have to say that I am not sure how I feel about that. I'm trying to stay positive. The last hours I have slept on airplanes, on trains, at the airport and on benches. When I think of it right now, sleeping on a blanket on the floor doesn´t seam that bad anymore.
Date: Tuesday, 6th of March, Lost in a Winterwonderland
That night we didn´t get much sleep. In the morning we tried to find a place to have breakfast and ended up in a small coffee shop, having some tea and waffels. After that we decided to go to the „Alpenhaus“ which will be our workingplace for the next two weeks. The infrastructure is not the same as in Europe and we have to walk on the street instead of the pavement. This walk was supposed to take about twenty minutes. We arrived at the Alpenhaus after two hours of hiking in the middle of nowhere, because we all had absolutely no idea where to go. In the evening we all had dinner in a Korean restaurant. The food wasn´t that bad, but it could have been better. Before going to bed, we decided to do some grocery shopping for breakfast for the next day. We barely found anything normal in the supermarket. There was no bread only one type of cheese and fruits where packaged three times in plastic. The only product they offered in about a hundred different flavours was convenience noodles.
Date: Wednesday, 7th of March, Getting to know the colleagues
Today we had our first meeting with our colleagues at Alpenhaus. It was okay, but you can tell that our German work colleagues are pretty dominant. We are all looking forward to working as a team with them although it is going to be difficult. Tomorrow we are all going to visit the Olympic Village where all the teams are going to be welcomed by the president of the Paralympic Comitee.
Date: Thursday, 8th of March, The Olympic Village
The welcome ceremony was heartmelting. We were able to talk to the athletes and we all danced together. They also hoisted our flag and played the national anthem of Austria. It was a great moment. After that we all bought some souvenirs in a shop and some of us dressed up as typical koreans.
Date: Friday, 9th of March, First day of work and the Opening Ceremony
Other countries other manners. The first day of work in the kitchen was interesting. We brought a lot of stuff from Vienna, but there was less kitchen equipment than we had expected. After some hours we finally got used to the kitchen and the Korean products and prepared some desserts for the next day. In the evening we went to the Opening Ceremony. Unfortunately we got lost and it took us about one and a half hours to go to the stadium. As we got there we all felt like icicles and the fact that it had about -7°C didn´t make anything better. Although it was freezing cold we really enjoyed the ceremony, but the highlight was the great firework at the end.
Date: Sunday, 10 th of March to Sunday, 18th of March, Time for work
Although working in the long run was very exhausting, it was a lot of fun. We worked in shifts. In the morning we started to work at 9 am. Most oft the time we prepared desserts for the evening or the next day. At around 1 pm we had our lunch break. A shuttle brought us back to our apartment and we had some time off. Sometimes I slept or did something for school. On the first day I worked out and did some yoga, but after a few days of work I decided to use the break for relexation. At around half past four we started working again. Our main part in the kitchen was the pastry. We made chocolatemousse, rasberry-yoghurt mousse, Mohr im Hemd (hot chocolate and nut souffle with whipped cream), Kaiserschmarrn (Thick pancakes torn into pieces), Buchteln, Apfelstrudel, Palatschinken and a lot more. I really love baking so for me it was just perfect.
In the evening most of the athletes had dinner at the Alpenhaus. Also the medal celebrations took place there. At around 11 to 12 we finished work. After that we had the chance to celebrate with the athletes and had a lot of fun. We never went to bed before 3 am.
Date: Sunday, 18th of March, Staff Party
Finally the last day of work. We are so excited about the staff party in the evening. It´s going to be so much fun, but we are also sad, because we know the end of our journey is near. Colleagues have become friends and we are not ready to leave Korea behind and to return to everyday life in Austria.
Date: Monday, 19th of March, The last Korean BBQ
It is time to pack our suitcases. We are all extremely tired from the party. We were awake until 8 in the morning. My feet hurt from dancing and my head hurts from the alcohol I consumed. Nevertheless, the celebration was a great ending.
In the evening we decided to go to a Korean BBQ. A friend of ours told us about it and for the last dinner in South Korea we wanted to try something typical.
Date: Tuesday, 20th of March, Time to say Goodbye
Here I am again, sitting at the airport and thinking about this wonderful journey. I never imagened it to be such a great experience. I would definitely do it again. Time flew by and I am so thankful that I met so many awsome people. Although this is the end of our jouney, I will never forget it!