Blog Archives

A Pretty Fantastic Half-Year

My god, it’s been a long time. In my defence, a lot’s been happening in the last 6/7 months, after moving to South Korea to teach English. I’m working on a Bucket List for my last 5 months in this wonderful and under-appreciated place, but for now, here’s what I’ve done so far…

Korea Bucket List (Awesome Things I’ve Done):

  • School Experiences:
    • Taught full-time at 4 different schools:
      • High School: Yukminkwan (moving classrooms)
      • Middle School: Sangji Girl’s School and Shillim (my own English Zone!)
      • Elementary School: Seoguk
    • Taught winter camp at Dun Dun Elementary and Yukminkwan Middle Schools
    • Played saxophone in band with Korean students (!!!)
  • Festivals:
    • Busan Fireworks Festival
    • Seoul Lantern Festival
    • Taebaek Snow Festival
    • Hwacheon Ice Festival
    • Maehwa Blossom Festival (delicious maesil ice cream!)
    • Jindo Sea Parting Festival
    • Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival
    • Nonsan Strawberry Festival
    • Gwangalli Eobang Festival
    • Icheon Pottery Festival
    • Seoul Lotus Lantern Festival
    • Wonju Rose Festival
    • Boryeong Mud Festival
    • 70th Independence Day Celebrations
  • Hiking:
    • Chiaksan (Birobong Peak and Ipseoksa Temple, the beautiful Guryongsa Temple with mom, dad, and Mr. Kim; Birobong Peak via Ipseoksa Temple, Seryempokpo Falls, and Gyegokgil Valley with Yeollin Taekwondo)
    • Seoraksan (Daechungbong Peak and Chunbuldong Valley; cable car to Gwongeumseong, Sinheungsa Temple, and short hike past the Gyejoam Hermitage to Heundeulbawi and Ulsanbawi Rocks)
    • Jirisan (Nogodan Peak and Piagol Valley – stunning; my favourite hike so far; Cheonwangbong Peak)
    • Mindungsan (with the YMK Teacher Hiking Club)
    • Deokyusan snow hike (Hyangjeokbong Peak)
    • Inwangsan and Bugaksan (Seoul Fortress Hike)
    • Daedunsan (Geumgang suspension bridge and the terrifying Samseon stairway)
    • Hallasan (Seongpanak trail – aka “Endless way of patience” – to Dongneung Peak) and Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak on Jeju
    • Bukhansan (Baegundae Peak)
  • Skiing:
    • High 1
    • Yongpyong (my favourite – plus, 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics!) and Peak Island Water Park
    • Phoenix Park and Muju (seen the resort)
  • Cities:
    • Wonju
      • Chiaksan National Park
      • Guryongsa Temple
      • Nambu Market
      • Lotte Cinema street
      • Doggie cafes
      • Herb and Rose Garden Christmas Lights
      • Rose Festival
      • Park Kyongni Literature Park
      • Museum SAN and Oak Valley
    • Seoul
      • Everland
      • Lotteworld and Folk Museum
      • Kimchi making!
      • Fortress hike (Dongdaemun (East Gate) to Seodaemun (West Gate)) and Seodaemun Prison Museum
      • Inwangsan Mountain, Seonamjeong Temple, Inwangsan Guksadang (shrine), and Seonbawi (a literally hole-y rock)
      • Dongdaemun market
      • Myeongdong
      • Namdaemun Gate and market
      • Ping Pong Party!
      • Insadong and Ssamji-gil
      • Poo Cafe
      • Tapgol Pagoda Park
      • Olympic Park and Stadium
      • Namsan Park (and Korean traditional fighting performance) and N Seoul Tower hike
      • N Seoul Tower and Cable Car at night (with Nataly and Kevin)
      • COEX Aquarium
      • Nanta!
      • Seoul National Palace Museum
      • National Museum of Korea
      • National Folk Museum of Korea
      • Jogyesa Temple
      • Banpo (Rainbow) Bridge and fireworks
      • Gyeongbokgung Palace and changing of the guard
      • Changgyeonggung Palace
      • Ginseng Center
      • Cheonggyecheon Stream (with and without lanterns!)
      • Independence Gate
      • Bukchon Hanok Village
      • Namsangol Hanok Village
      • National Cemetery
      • Hongdae (and spent a night out)
      • Gwanghawmun Square (statue of Sejong the Great)
      • Seen the Blue House
      • Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty (Seonjeongneung)
      • Bongeunsa Temple
      • Hello Kitty Cafe
      • Sheep Cafe (The Thank Nature Cafe)
      • 63 City Building (beautiful views, Sky Art Hall, IMAX, and Sea World)
      • Yeouido Hangang Park
      • The floating islands, known collectively as Some Sevit (Island 1: Vista – Some Gavit, Island 2: Viva – Some Chavit, Island 3: Terra – Some Solvit, and Some Yevit Media Art Gallery)
      • CNN Cafe
      • Kimchi Museum
      • Hanbok Cafe in Insadong
      • Dongguk University Campus (main stadium Buddhist Cheer Rally)
      • Changdeokgung Palace and Secret Garden
      • Ewha Womens’ University Campus
      • War Memorial of Korea
      • Jongmyo Shrine
      • Dongdaemun Design Plaza and Culture Park
      • Yongsan Electronics Market
      • Yongma Land
      • Namhansanseong – visited the Emergency Temporary Palace, Gaewonsa Temple, and Fortress Wall (hiked from 2nd South Outwork to East Gate)
      • Korea House – royal court dinner and performance
      • Gangnam
        • Shopping
        • Sinsadong (Dore Dore rainbow cake and K Star Road)
      • Lotte World Mall and 1600 Pandas
      • City Hall
      • Dragon Hill Spa
      • Deulmusae Restaurant (Penis restaurant in Pocheon – Seoul-adjacent)
    • Busan
      • Gwangalli and Haeundae Beaches
      • Gwang-An (Diamond) Bridge fish festival with mom and dad!
      • Haedong Yonggunsa Temple
      • Busan Tower (Yongdusan Park)
      • Spaland
      • Jagalchi Market
      • Taejongdae Park
      • Busan Harbour Bridge
      • Oryukdo Islets
      • Hwangryeongsan Bongsudae (the peak at Mt. Hwangryeong)
    • Gyeongju (old capital)
      • Bike tour
      • Daereungwon Tombs
      • Cheomseongdae Observatory
      • Bulguksa Temple
      • Seokguram Grotto
      • Anapji Pond
    • Gwangju (5/18 Memorial)
    • Changwon (Kyeong-Wha Station and Yeojwa stream in Jinhae)
    • Jeonju Folk Village (church, bibimbap, museum, city overview hike)
    • Sokcho (Abai North Korean Village and rope boat) 2015 New Year Sunrise
    • Yangyang (Naksan Beach)
    • Gangneung (Gyeongpo Beach, Tongil Unification Park and Warship Pavilion)
    • Daejeon (KT Estates for orientation)
    • Daegu (Seomun Market, Suseong Lake, Eworld and Tower 83, Duryu Park, CatDog Cafe, and delicious eats downtown)
    • Suwon (Hwaseong Fortress hike and trolley; Mr. Toilet House and Haewoojae Culture Centre)
    • Icheon (ceramics with a master’s son, and a pottery festival)
    • Chuncheon (whatever we did on that first day; Gangchon Rail Bike, regional dakgalbi, and Gugok Falls)
    • Samcheok (Downtown, Samchoek Beach, and Haesindang Penis Park with Nataly and Kevin; Jangho Fishing Village snorkeling and glass-bottom-boating, and Hwanseongul Cave)
    • Danyang (Gosu Caves)
    • Yeongwol (Donggang River Rafting)
    • Andong Hahoe Folk Village and mask museum
  • Other Places:
    • Jeju Island
      • Loveland!
      • Manganggul Cave
      • Cheonjeyeon and Jeongbang Waterfalls
      • Jusangjeolli Lava Rock Formations
      • Sanbangsan Temple and Dragon Head Cliff (Yongmeori Coast)
      • Jungmun, Hamdoek, and Hyeupjae Beaches
      • Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak (Sunrise Crater) and Hallasan Hike!
      • Udo Island beaches, peanut makgeolli, peanut ice cream, and Olle Trail walk
      • Women clam divers (Haenyeo)
    • Nami Island (or the micronation of Naminara)
      • Zip-wire entry, row-boating, and strolling
    • Geoje Island
      • Windy Hill, Sinseondae Pebble Beach and rock formations, and Haegeumgang Theme Museum
      • Botanical gardens I can’t find the name of (no, not Oedo’s gardens), ATVing up Gyeryongsan Mountain, and forest paintball
    • Ulleungdo Island
      • Island tour (temples, beaches, and rock formations)
      • Lighthouse hike
      • Dokdo museum
      • Dokdo Island
    • Gapyeong
      • Nami Island
      • Pension
      • Garden of the Morning Calm
      • Cheongpyeong River Land Bungee Jump!!
      • Petite France
    • Boseong Green Tea fields (plus green tea making and green tea chocolate making, and adorable puppies!)
    • Damyang Bamboo Forest (bamboo ice cream!)
    • Christmas lights at the Garden of the Morning Calm
    • The DMZ (Imjingak in Paju and Cheorwon areas, and Nuri Peace Park, and the 3rd tunnel)
    • Bugok Hawaii Hot Springs and Buddhist Hell
    • Haeinsa Temple in Hapcheon
    • The JSA (Panmunjom, Camp Bonifas, the Bridge of No Return, Freedom House, and a step into North Korea)
  • Other Experiences:
    • Ran the Chiak Marathon 10k (only foreigner there!)
    • Went to the Taekwondo Center (Taekwondowon) in Jeollabuk-do
    • Saw a Korean baseball game (Doosan Seoul Bears!)
    • Saw a Korean basketball game (Dongbu Promy Wonju!)
    • Saw a Korean jazz concert and opera at Chiak Art Center
    • Saw a movie in a Korean theatre (Kingsman at CGV- I demand more Firth!; Mad Max at Lotte Cinema)
    • Stayed overnight in a folk village (Naganeupseong Folk Village in Suncheon)
    • Stayed in a jimjilbang (several, at this point!)
    • Temple stay at Seonamsa (traditional vegetarian breakfast, forest hike, tea with a monk, 108 prostrations, and bead-making!)
    • Winetrain (tasting and footbath) and Korean Traditional Instruments Museum (and show!)
    • Dog cafes! And now a cat cafe, too! And sheep!
    • Taekwando lessons at Yeollin Taekwondo!
    • Stayed in a Love Motel
    • Paragliding above Seongju Forest Reserve
    • ATVing up a mountain
    • Paintball in the forests of Geoje
    • Took the KTX, finally!
    • Practiced archery in Suwon (aka “archery archery OH MY GOD ARCHERY”!!!)
    • SAW PAUL MCCARTNEY AT JAMSIL OLYMPIC STADIUM!! #OUTTHERE
    • Saw the awe-inspiring “Galapagos” narrated by David Attenborough in IMAX
    • Got done up in traditional Korean hair and makeup and tried on traditional Korean hanbok for a photoshoot
    • Had a Luxury Movie Experience (Spy at Megabox)
    • Became an honorary agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. at the Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. Exhibit
    • Traveled with WinK, Meetup, Seoul Hiking Group, and Adventure Korea
    • Saw Jurassic World in 4D (CGV)
    • Got a selfie stick!
    • Stayed in a goofy themed pension for an hour, then got kicked out for not being part of a couple! (The dumb tourist card did not work this time)
    • Went bungee jumping. !!!.
    • Went rafting
    • Mini Mud Marathon, mud slide, mud obstacle course, mud face painting, mud bath and the Boryeong mud flats and beach
    • Went flyboarding!
    • Saw a K-Pop concert (Sistar and others)
  • Foods and Drinks:
    • kimchi
    • shabu shabu
    • pajeon (Korean pizza)
    • spoon pizza
    • Monster Pizza
    • mandu
    • ddeok-guk (rice cake soup)
    • bulgogi and delicious hanoo/hanwoo bulgogi
    • bibimbap, dolsot bibimbap
    • gimbap
    • hanjeongsik
    • samgyetang
    • ddeokbokki
    • dakgalbi
    • doenjang jjigae
    • ramyeon
    • al tang (fish egg and intestine soup)
    • hotteok
    • makgeolli
    • soju
    • takoyaki (octopus)
    • hoeri gamja (tornado potato chips)
    • darggochi (chicken skewer)

Also got to travel to Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, and Singapore.

Advertisements