Hooray! The hats which would remember more than 1300 people’s pain and exertion were rocketing to the sky. Finally, our 25 day schedule, that never seemed to end, was over. On the final day, each step I painfully went through seemed to be nothing. It was a unique experience that allowed me to feel ‘I AM ALIVE’ so vividly. A thousand emotions were crowding into my mind.
DAY 1 New weird costume and heavy backpack which even hurted my shoulders; everything was too strange for me. Half excited and half worried, my first day started.
DAY 2 We were supposed to get up at 4 am, but when I opened my eyes it was almost 3 am. I started packing slowly. There were too many things I had to get familiar with; cramped little tent, a firm pillow, even my tent mate. Although it was completely dark outside we had our breakfast on some stairs outdoors. I wasn’t aware of what I was eating but crammed the food into my mouth, hearing the shout that we should finish our breakfast in 3 minutes!
A few minutes before 5 am, we were done lining up and ready to walk. Before long, after we started walking, it started to rain. We had to put on a huge raincoat, which even covered our backpacks. I thought it would be better to be rainy than sunny because the weather would cool us down, but I was wrong. A raincoat traps the heat inside near my skin, which made me hotter. The march stopped by several gas stations (we took rests at gas stations) and then at 2:45 pm we arrived at our camp.
DAY 4 Walking through the whole day had always been hard, but today was the worst. My feet and legs were too sore to keep walking. But worst of all, my heart was going through a very hard time. I was too lonely and stressed. Even though my group had 13 people including me, 4 days was too short a time for me to share my emotion with anyone.
My eyes watered 3 or 4 times during walking; I couldn’t help crying in silence. To make matters worse, the sun was heating the road, making it too hot. I couldn’t breathe well enough and the thirst was driving me crazy. When I noticed that I wasn’t breathing at all, I blacked out!
DAY 5 Every minute, I had thoughts of me who wants to overcome myself and another me who wants to settle for the present fight. And that always ended up even.
DAY 7 Off-day! We got up late at 6 am and enjoyed the free time. We also had the athletic meet, our group won 2 prize!
DAY 9 I got a phone call from my mom. Talking to her, I realized I was really missing home and couldn’t get over this feeling so easily.
DAY 10 My dad came down to Sang-ju to pick me up. I was too tired but had the feeling that I was running away.
DAY 11 I went to several hospitals; ob/gyn, dermatology, and orthopedics. But 3 doctors all said the same thing, that I should stop it. Outside of my heart, I had to fight with my parents who were strongly against me going back. But inside, I had to fight with myself who was too weak to stand firm.
DAY 13 I went back finally and felt so sorry to dad who had to drive for 9 hour only to get me here.
DAY 14 Pain of my legs has decreased compared to before, and my condition wasn’t that bad.
DAY 17 At this moment I was desperately eager for something - even for water - I strongly felt that I existed. There’s a sad news that we can’t take a shower today AGAIN. I haven’t taken a shower for 2 days!
DAY 18 Itching all over my body! No shower again? Haven’t taken a shower for 3 days!
DAY 19 I guess staying here means giving up to live as a human being . Haven’t taken a shower for 4 days!
DAY 22 Festival day. With more than 1300 people, we enjoyed this chaotic competition and concert.
DAY 25 The last day. I couldn’t believe everything was over. On the way home I bought a bottle of water, but I couldn’t feel the same sweetness as I tasted during walking. So I realized that things coming after no effort is worthless. Everything I earned here was priceless.
Now I understand life better. No matter how hard your day is, it will be over. But only those who don’t choose giving up can truly enjoy the rest of the day. Although you may think today is the same as yesterday, you will see someday you were getting better.