Friday, October 18, 2013

Olly Olly Oxen Free! aka LOCKSMITH! WHERE ARE YOU? I NEED YOU! aka My Friendly Neighbor

Well, I wasn't expecting my weekend to start with calling a locksmith to break into my house and then paying 110,000W for a new lock on my door, but it happened.

I'm sure this will be one of those things that I will look back on in a few years and laugh at so it deserves a post.

But right now, it's too raw  to laugh at.  Actually, nix that.  I'm already kind of laughing.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


While this story begins with my first jimjilbang (Korean bath house) adventure, we'll leave rehashing that for another day.  For now I'll just say that the best thing to do within 24 hours of meeting someone in real life for the first time is to bathe naked with them and then visit emotion-laden war memorials.

Haemi Fortress Fall Festival & Apple Picking in Chungcheongnam-do

On October 12-13th, I went on my first tour with Adventure Korea to the 해미읍성 (Haemi Fortress) Fall Festival in Chungcheongnam-do which is a province south and west of Seoul.  I met some really awesome people on this trip, one of which is heading back to Missouri after teaching in a hagwon (private academy) in Seoul.  We had a really great time talking during the trip and I'm very thankful she was so friendly and willing to let me tag along with her and her friend during the trip.

(As a side note, most of the people I've met at and through Adventure Korea have been very nice.)

The Adventure Korea crew.

Hiking 명산 (Myeongsan) with the Gangneung Boys

I think my co-workers were initially surprised when I was excited to go on the hiking trip with the school.  That may be because the previous EPIK teachers might not have been (I don't actually know, but it is always a possibility) or because hiking these mountains is really hard and certainly takes some perseverance.

I got a cool red handkerchief that I tied around my neck.  I think it was very fetching with my white capris and navy blue t-shirt.  True Americano?  I also took on Eun Shin's backpack because she let me store my food in it and it looked really heavy, but I'm used to physical exertion and this just upped my calorie burn.

The day was perfect for hiking: clear and crisp, but warm in the sun.

Starting off!  Ahh!

The Gangneung Coffee Festival

Wednesday, October 9th was Hangeul Proclamation Day (according to my calendar) which basically meant I had a free day in the middle of the week to celebrate the creation/invention of the Korean alphabet by the illustrious King Sejong (who I'm quite fond of through portrayals in Korean dramas).

I know there were celebrations around the country, but I actually went and explored the Gangneung Coffee Festival with Elizabeth and her friend who came up on Tuesday night.

This has become a bigger festival in recent years and we had a good time exploring at the indoor sports stadium where it was held:

K-Pop Festival in Gangwon

I attended the K-Pop Festival in Gangwon 2013 about three weeks ago on September 23rd, so forgive any lapses of memory (not that you'll be able to tell).

It was a phenomenal experience and I literally had a, "Is this real life?" moment when I was there.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Five Things Being Abroad Has Taught Me (So Far)

Still not a picture update, but far more important.

Five Things Being Abroad Has Taught Me

1. God, family, and friends are more important than your time, your money, or any other conceivable thing.

2. You can never tell anyone that you love them too many times.

3. Some things in life matter.  Most things don’t.

4. The best advice is often the simplest.

5. Whenever you think, “I don’t know if I should be thankful that I’m so busy today or not,” just be thankful for the day instead.

I love you all and you know who you are.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Update Pending - I've Been Busy!

WOW!  It's been a while since I last posted.  I've been procrastinating a little on writing for several reasons:

1) I've done too many things recently and it will take forever to write!  In the past week and this upcoming week I have/I will: go to a K-Pop concert, go to the Coffee Festival, go on a hiking trip with my school, go to a co-teaching seminar, travel to Seoul and go on two different day-long tours, and also spend the night at the jimjilbang (Korean bath house) for the first time.  I really need to hit the bank and buy bus tickets for traveling.  I think I'm also going out with some of my Korean teacher friends to see a movie on Tuesday...

2) I'm a lazy slacker who doesn't want to transfer all the pictures from my phone to my computer (you won't get the whole experience if I don't).

3) Surprise!  I'm studying for the GRE and looking at grad school.  My past few days have been consumed with writing and responding to e-mails, researching schools, thinking about writing, trying to write, actually doing some writing, scheduling Skype interviews with faculty, beginning applications, and studying for the GRE.

4) Amid all of the above, I am attempting to exercise, try new cooking dishes, clean, read, shop, plan lessons, do devotions, and try not to let the homesickness get me down (being busy both helps and provides an endless source of frustration).

So, I have lots of cool pictures for you guys.  Wednesday is Hangul Day, celebrating the creation of Korea's  writing system by King Sejong, so if I'm lucky I'll have time to get some shots from the past week up.