Monday, August 29, 2011

Lazy weekend #2, Thank You.

Well, I think it was the 2nd lazy weekend in a row. I can't really remember the one before (likely because it was delightfully uneventful). Well, this past one was the same. The big trip of the weekend was to HomePlus (the Korean WalMart...sort of...) and was made that much more fun because we could both ride our bikes! I still haven't snapped a picture of the bike, but will try my darndest to do it today.

Anyhow, HomePlus was good. I stocked up on things like black beans, yoghurt, and carrots. Wooo, sounds like a lot, I know. Grocery shopping just isn't that eventful as a veggie in Korea. At least, not for a veggie like me--a non-cooker.

However, Justin and I made black bean burgers again Sunday night. They were pretty good. We're now trying to figure out how to make them a little more firm, as these patties were soft and squished up once they were put onto a bun. I know, you'll probably think you've seen these pictures before--but they are new, I swear! ...just of the same topic as a few posts ago...

grilling up some buuuurgs

probably my favorite food we've made in korea

 hehe. gotcha.

i guess i need to find a new food to photograph

Earlier on Sunday, we headed to the park (on our bikes!) and sat in the sun (me)/shade (Justin). We were lucky enough to catch the fountain show on the lake! I've always seen the little spouts out there on the water, but haven't ever been around to see the show. It was complete with accompanying music. Classy.

a sunny day at the park

complete with a water show!

This week is nice because today is a mini-Friday. We have tomorrow off for semester break, then back on Thurs/Fri to start Fall Semester. Wow. It's hard to believe it's almost fall. Sure doesn't feel like it here in Korea. The rain (yes, I'll say it now!) has stopped and we have sunny, hot weather. Perfection.

I hope it lasts until Chuseok, two weekends from now, when Justin and I are heading to Ulleung-do. It's a remote island in the middle of the East Sea. Should be pretty amazing. Check out these pictures I found online...

This coming weekend is a coworker's wedding. So, wish me luck at my first Korean wedding. I don't really know what to expect, but I'm sure it will be a lot of fun. :)

I'm ready to start a new semester. While I've enjoyed my classes thus far, it's always different when you begin a term as their teacher, rather than coming in half way through. I'm teaching little ones (Little Avalon) and middle of the pack ones. Should be fun! **Crossing my fingers for fun kids.**

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Oh what a beauuutiful weekend

I'm going to say it. Well, I'm going to think it. I am feeling that perhaps the "r-a-i-n" (I refuse to say the word, only spell it) MAY be over. Maybe. Let's hope. Let's all do a collective finger crossing. No more R-A-I-N.

No, seriously. I think it might be done. Take the last few days as proof--very little, if any, r-a-i-n. In fact, it was quite sunny yesterday with lovely fluffy white clouds (none of those dark, foreboding ones) and a slight cooling breeze.

I'm ready for some late summer/early fall weather. I'm always ready for the changing of the seasons.

Saturday, I was fortunate enough to see Courtney and Carolyn for Indian food and a few drinks. We had plans of going dancing, but as we glanced at each other yawning, we decided it just wasn't in the cards. No problemo. Lots of fun conversation and laughter was accomplished instead.

In the most exciting news of the weekend--I got a bike! It's even collapsible! And has mini-wheels! And was used. Only 60,000Won. Justin helped me get it. He's pretty excited because now we can take bike rides together. I'm pretty excited, too. It's fun to go ripping around on a bicycle. I'll take a picture one of these days and post it, because I'm positive you all want to see what has brought me such delight. :)

Like I said, yesterday was quite beautiful. Justin and I made our way to Seoul (Itaewon) in the morning to stock up on foreign foods (cheese, oatmeal, etc). We got back and I went straight to Manseok Park (on my BICYCLE), spread out a blanket, and did some reading. Justin joined me about an hour later and we hung out for a couple of hours longer. It was such a relaxing Sunday. The best kind of Sundays.

The lake at the Park

Blanket Tiiiiime

Beautiful dayyyyyy!
I'm also happy to announce that we are back on a normal schedule at work. No more of those 11:30-8:30 days. Woohoo! Now, I work 1:30-9:30. This is the last full week of summer semester and I'll be getting my schedule and new classes soon. I have no idea what to expect, just that I'm positive I'll be teaching several Little Avalon classes (the youngest kiddos). Oooooh boy.

Here's hoping for a wonderful week!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

whew! a little busy!


The last couple of weekends have been busy. Well, busy for this girl. I usually like a Sunday with absolutely nothing to do, preceded by a relaxing Saturday, in which maybe I see a few sights/do something fun in the afternoon...but nothing too early or late on either day. Well, that hasn't been the case lately, and I'm definitely okay with that, as it's given me a chance to meet new people, go new places, and see new things! I am ready for a relaxing weekend, though. It's Friday here (thank goodness) and my only plans for this weekend are to see a couple of great gals from my old job. Perfection.

So, two weekends ago, like I said in the blog--we met up with Hyemi and later with her friend, Ellen. These two ladies are friends of Spenser. They are a lot of fun. Hyemi is a big planner, so she always has something great for us to do. She and Ellen planned for Justin, Spenser, and myself to head out to the Gangwon-do coast to visit Ellen's sister (and new baby!!!) for an overnight last weekend.

It took about 5 hours there and back on the bus, but that was only because of a holiday weekend (we didn't get Monday off but everyone else in the country did). SO, after the long ride, we grabbed a bus to this place: Gyeonpo Beach. It's famous because it's right next to a huge lake, too. The area is also famous for its home made tofu, so we stopped and had lunch, too.

We only stayed at Gyeonpo for a few minutes, went to tofu, and then made our way to Shin Shaimdang's house (1504-1551). She is the only woman pictured on South Korean money. She's on the 50,000 note. Wow. The grounds were BEAUTIFUL. Hyemi informed us that she is the role model of Confucian ideals. I guess her nickname is "Wise Mother." Anyhow, it was interesting to walk around and see her home.

From there, we went to Ellen's sister's home! It's 5 minutes from the beach (a different beach but I can't remember the name)....and pretty wonderful. Ellen has a nephew, nicknamed "Honey," who is about 6 months old. He's adorable and was the star of the weekend, as seen in the pictures:

Ellen's brother in law was kind enough to take us to a temple on the ocean on Sunday. Another beautiful temple with three huge statues right on the water. Great experience.

We spent about 2 hours at the beach--just enough time to do some swimming (much less people than at Haeundae) and get a little sun. Then, it was back on the bus to Suwon.

I was exhausted coming home, but SO happy to have gone on the trip. Oh, and...HAPPY FRIDAY!!!! Last day of Intensives! New term starts in two weeks! Wowa. Time is flying by.

PS. Thank you to Spenser for letting me use some of his pictures! It's a hodgepodge of everyone's. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

simply put

I love my life right now.

There are more pictures from last weekend, but this one pretty much sums up the adventure...Myself, Justin, Spenser, and Hyemi on a water taxi on the Han River.

I'm thinking about these things because last Saturday, in the moment, I wasn't feeling very joyous. I was really really tired. I just wanted to go home, despite the great company and the fun adventures we were having. We went to a palace museum, an awesome tea house, ate delicious italian food, and went to a makkgeoli bar. Now that I've looked at the pictures and I'm remembering, I'm scolding myself for not enjoying MORE in the moment, as it was happening. I had a great time and I met two lovely new ladies (with whom we're heading to the beach this weekend)...and it was a wonderful Saturday.

And loving my life right now? Well, that's how I feel this morning, that everything is going as it should. That I've been to many places and done many things. That I'm (trying) to lead a life of adventure, enjoying present moments rather than worrying about about the past or future. Sure, it's a daily struggle to remind myself to do so, but I'm getting better at it.

Live in the now. Breathe. Enjoy. Repeat.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Busan Adventure!

I'm back to work today...after 5 days off...and it feels pretty good. It's only a 3 day week (woop!) and I'm well rested after the Busan adventure.

We took the KTX train (the fastest one) down to Busan on Friday morning. Shortly after arriving at Haeundae Beach, we hopped into a taxi to see if the driver could find our motel. Turns out he didn't know where it was, so we hopped out. About a minute later (after crossing the street and after the taxi drove off), Justin realized he didn't have his wallet. Oh no! It was in the taxi! BIG oh no! SoooOOoo... long story short, we went to tourist information, met a great guy who translated to the police for us and helped Justin file a police report. After about an hour, when it was becoming clear he probably wouldn't get it back anytime soon, he got a call on his cell phone from his Korean bank. They had received a call from the guy who found his wallet in the taxi! Even better, he was a foreigner (not Korean/Native English speaker) and could meet us in Haeundae!

SO, after that small fiasco, we were able to settle down and have a great time in Busan. We made it to the beach twice, visited two temples, went for a couple of beach walks, and got to see the spectacle that is Jagalchi Fish Market.

Despite the masses of people typical in Busan this time of year, I had a great time. It was fun to people watch and take part in a very Korean beach experience. The temples we visited were GORGEOUS and definitely worth our time. I enjoyed the fish market, but would recommend to others that they visit in the morning. We went in the evening and things were kind of shutting down. Nonetheless, it was a wonderful vacation...and I even got a little sun on my cheeks!

Here is a sampling of the many pictures we took. If you want more, click HERE.

 Fresh off the train...Busan Station
Plaza in front of the station

POST wallet was time for a meal and a few jello shots(?) hahaha

Celebrating the good people in the world, like those who return wallets, 
complete with all of the credit cards and 400,000Won

 First beach experience--a quick walk...amidst thousands of people

 Umbrella City

All of that color on the beach?? UMBRELLAS.

I just liked this bicycle...

Saturday--up and ready to go to Yong Gung Temple, 
the only temple in Korea that is on the water


Gorgeous, no?

Pretty amazing, if you ask me.

We got there early enough that it wasn't TOO inundated with people


Very intricate...


Later that day, at the beach... see Justin out there floating?
It was 10,000Won to rent an umbrella and a floatie. 
You basically had to rent both. Definitely worth it.
A common sight--many beach goers completely covered themselves up. 
They even swam fully clothed.
I, on the other hand, got stared at for wearing a swimsuit. 
Or maybe it was my whiteness. Who knows.

After the beach, we headed to Jagalchi Market, 
and hit Busan Tower on the way.

Kind of unimpressive, but still kind of fun.

Water side of the market...I loved these fishies
 SUNDAY--Beomeosa Temple!
More typical of what temples look like here...but this one is HUGE.

And, in a gorgeous mountain setting

Many people were there for worship

After the beach, and a little more sun...dinner time!! HAPPY girl.

Nighttime at Haeundae Beach. Still pretty busy!

On the subway, Monday morning...heading back to the
station to catch our train. Sun kissed.

Seriously, a great vacation. I love being by the just feels good. Couple water with lots of sunshine, and this is one happy camper. Again, if you want to see all of the pictures, click HERE!! I suggest you do that...there are some cute ones.

I'm listening to Bonnie Raitt, getting ready for work, and reveling in the life I have here and now. 

It's a good one, folks.