Recently, I spent a day in Daejeon for my Rotary District's District Conference. At this event, all of the Rotary Clubs from 3680 came together. Although there were not any other exchange students there outside of the four others in my town, I still had a great time. Just like earlier in the year when we went to Geumsan with our Rotary club, we had to get up early in the morning to get on the bus.
When we got there, it was raining, so we went straight inside to the auditorium where most of the event would be taking place. As we walked in the door, we were given nametags. They hadn't made any for us exchange students, so we just got nametags for people that had not been able to come. So, for the day, my name was someone else entirely. When we were given the nametags, they also made sure to point out that there were numbers on the side for a raffle drawing that they would have at the end of the conference.
The conference was welcomed in with a drumming performance, which was a very well done performance. After they finished, the district president began the ceremony, emphasized by a short pyrotechnics display on stage that caught me by surprise. After the explosions, the Rotary clubs brought their club flags up to the stage. This was done by the representatives of each of the 10 zones in our district.
When the flags were all in place, the Rotarians sang a Rotary song, then the district president gave a speech, followed by Rotarians visiting from India and Japan. After the speeches, they gave out some awards to different clubs and Rotarians for their service, and when this part of the ceremony was finished, we took a break for lunch. The lunch was planned to be outside as it has been very nice out recently, but because of the rain, we were instead crammed at tables underneath tents set up on the parking lot. When we finished, we had a bit of free time, so we went to some of the booths that were set up at the event.
At the end of the break, I was told by Mrs. Kim that the district wanted the exchange students to go up on stage later in the show and that she wanted me to give the three-minute speech that I had prepared for school a few weeks earlier. So, for the next part of the event, while they gave out more awards, I practiced my speech. When I finally was able to present it, I was extremely nervous. But the Rotarians seemed to enjoy it a lot as I presented.
When the presentations finished, there was a magic show. The first part of the magic show was the part that I found most interesting, because it was a type of performance that I hadn't seen before. In this performance, a man in traditional clothing and a mask was dancing on stage, and when his face was obscured for a brief moment, the design on the mask would change. After the magic show finished, each of the 10 zones had their own portion to present as part of a talent show. All of the acts were very well done, but each group took a lot of time, so by the end, I was feeling a little exhausted from all of the shows.
After the talent show finished, they had their raffle drawing for a couple of prizes. the first was for a 3D television and they gave out 10 of them - one for each of the zones. When that finished, they had the drawing for the other major prize, a refrigerator. For this, they actually ended up drawing my number, but because I didn't have my actual name on my nametag, I was unable to win the prize. I was kind of happy though, because I would have felt bad winning when it was meant for one of the Rotarians and I have no idea what I would have done with it.
With the raffle finished, the district president gave the closing speech and presented a few gifts to the visiting Rotarians. With the closing finished, we got back on the bus and made our way back to Seocheon, very tired from the long, exciting event.
Editor's note: P.J.?Sproule is a Rotary Youth Exchange student from the Houghton Rotary Club living near Seocheon, South Korea, for a year.