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Showing posts with label Korea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Korea. Show all posts

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ten Best Things About Living in South Korea

In a few days, it'll be a total of three years that I've been living and teaching in South Korea.  While it's been a mixture of ups and downs, I can with certainty say that it's been an experience I'm really grateful for.  It started with heavy doses of culture shock (live fish and other seafood in the markets), a continuous bowing to nearly everyone I'd meet and trying to the learn hangul, the Korean alphabet.  But as I'm gearing up to leave this country that has been home away from home, I'm reminded of how good it's actually been living fourteen hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST) on the opposite side of the world.

Here are the ten best things about living (and teaching) in South Korea.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Top 20 Things to Do on Jeju Island

Jeju Island has been my home away from home for the last year or so.  And when the weather warms up around May, I am quite ready to see all that I can see as summer swings in.  Jeju is considered the "Hawaii" of Korea and with several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, I am continuously amazed by the serene and beautiful sites that make up Jeju Island.  It took some time figure out where everything was, so I thought, I'd put together a list of the top 20 things to do here on Jeju.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Tea at O'Sulloc Museum in South Korea

You are here~
I have long been a fan of the benefits that come with a cup of green tea.  Ever since my grandpa mentioned to my grandma about it being a dieters drink, I'd been drinking a small cup daily with breakfast for several years.  Dr. Oz, a featured doctor on the Oprah Winfrey show who later got his his own syndication has raved about these tea leaves named after my favorite color and the benefits that come from drinking it; benefits that include antioxidants and a means for maintaining and/or losing weight.

I'd seen enough pictures of this museum that my interest had been sparked right from the beginning.  Add to the fact that I've long been a fan of the health benefits of green tea... The stars had aligned, today I'd be heading to O'Sulloc (오설록), known to foreigners as The Green Tea Museum.

Here's the tea...

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Spirited Gardens, Wood Tales and Spirits

I had been longing to get to this botanical garden for at least a year.  I do love botanical gardens and nature trails.  Same for animals, so visiting a local zoo or an aquarium in a new city is always welcomed.  The Yeomiji Botanical Gardens on Jeju Island was a fun visit as was the Seoul Zoo.  Still, my new favorite place to be on Jeju Island, the Spirited Gardens.

Like the name?  I do too and as the name hints, this attraction alludes to more that just plant life.  How?  Hmm.  Let's see.  But first, a few pictures from this amazingly large but serene garden.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Playing With Mud in South Korea

Of course, if you've taught in the United States and then come to teach in Korea, you'll notice right away that there is humongous difference in the respect teachers get in South Korea, generally speaking.

Really, if you're teaching elementary school kids, you'll know just how adorable they can be.

So, I really like teaching in Korea.  But what's better than teaching these little darlings you ask?? Taking a break from teaching and going on a field trip some where in beautifully scenic, Jeju Island.

On my most recent field trip, I got down and dirty with some clay.  While helping a few students out, the man demonstrating the technique and probably a supervisor or owner in some regard, permitted the teachers to create our own works of art.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Life in Korea: The Culture Shock

I was a bit disoriented after my 13 hr flight with Korean Air, from Chicago to Seoul, but that's another story.  Absolutely nervous, I barely left my hotel room because one, I hadn't learned the language, and two, I was afraid of getting lost in a city that didn't have street names.  I am just learning to recognize streets by their names, having lived in Korea two years already.  Unless you've had some exposure to Korean culture, you're in for some culture shock.

This is just one of several things I found sometimes nice, sometimes bizarre, but none-the-less, shocking when I moved to Korea in 2012.  So here's a look at ten other experiences my friends and I had during our first few weeks in Korea.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Jeju Island Editions: The Alive Museums

I used to think of museums as boring exhibitions that required way too much analytical thought.  Sure, an appreciation for the arts has taken time as growing up in the inner city, there wasn't much exposure and so an appreciation for and recognition of the aesthetic qualities that go into the arts took time.

Still, if you find art boring, you'll soon change your mind with Korea's sometimes quirky, sometimes bizarre but always fun, museums.

I've been to a few great places on Jeju that include UNESCO World Heritage sites on Jeju.  And seeing absolutely beautiful  places on Jeju IslandI'm very content.  

But there's a whole other side to Korea that is found in the fun-loving museums that are everywhere.  I did a short posts on some of the art from Love Land and another on Hello Kitty Island where I became a fan of the adorable cartoon cat.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Jeju Island Editions: Chasing Waterfalls Part 1

Me giving over to the majestic Jeongbang Falls
Unlike the popular TLC song 'Waterfalls' from the late 1990's, you're going to enjoying "chasing" every waterfall on Jeju Island.  Full of life, I found myself giving over to majestic beauty that is Jeongbang Falls, the only waterfall in Asia that empties into the ocean.  Jeonbang Falls is simply put, spectacular measuring 23 meters in height and 10 meters in width it is considered one of the ten scenic wonders of Jeju Island.

We arrived at Jeongbang Falls around 1:30 pm on a Tuesday afternoon.  And while it was during the Chuseok holiday, the area was beaming with tourists but not over-crowded.  Yah!!  We obtained our admission ticket and after a short walk down a few steps, we met with the splendor of Jeongbang Fall in the distance, our first photo opportunity.  The dots of color from the people below just made this view a bit colorful.  And the faint hum of birds in song really made this visit to Jeonbang falls err on the enchanted side.

We took the stairs all the way down and with so many photo opportunities, just from where we were standing, one could easily spend an hour perfecting poses.  Add that to the gush of the water hitting the bottom, the cooling mist from this, and the faint chatter of Koreans cooling their feet, I couldn't ask for more.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Jeju Island Editions: Hallim Park

Hallim Park is a place to spend the whole day, as it has nine attractions and several others within them.  Any person looking for a relaxing walk through a park is in for a treat whether you go it solo, with a date, or with friends.  One thing to note is that one visit might not be enough and with several festivals throughout the year, I plan to visit again and again. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Jeju Island Editions: Hello Kitty Island (How a Hello Kitty Fan was Born)

There I was in/on Hello Kitty Island taking in the life-size dollhouse and as much pink that anyone could stand at one time.  One of the five adults on a tour of the island, we were all pretty much lackadaisical about the first stop at Hello Kitty Island.  

At the urging of our tour guide, we were to head to the third floor where we would see a 3D movie on Hello Kitty and her friends and I think the consensus what that "This is for children".  Still, I was curious about the craze that some of my adult friends have about Hello Kitty.  I knew who Hello Kitty was, duh!, but I never understood what was so great about it.  She's a cartooned cat??-- and that was my entire take on that until today.

Making our way to the 3D movie, I took in quickly how adorable everything was.  I mean talk about cuteness overload!!!   "Okaaay, I get it now!", I thought to myself when I walked into the life-sized doll house and first saw the mirror shaped in Hello Kitty's face and the incredible details that went into all the products that were the Hello Kitty brand.   Room after room after room of so many things with that adorable little face on it.  

By the time the 3D movie on Hello Kitty and her friends was over, a Hello Kitty fan was born.  

Here's a peek into Hello Kitty Island (Hello Kitty Museum) on Jeju Island

Monday, August 25, 2014

Life in Korea: Fun and Free Things To Do in Seoul

I love that there are so many fun and often free things to do in South Korea.  It's definitely a country that promotes tourism with it's quirky parks and museums just about every where.  Living in South Korea has really opened up my eyes to venturing out and seeing the country because of the "free99" stature when heading out for a day trip.  This is especially so on Jeju Island with the UNESCO World Heritage sites which are highly up-kept, with free admittance or highly reduced cost of admittance.   While there are lots to be seen on Jeju Islandand the other neighboring islands, every so often I like to escape to Seoul and get into the rhythm of big city life.  On my last visit to the metropolitan city, I did these three things that was pretty amazing.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Life in Korea: Seoul's Grand Park Station

The Grand Park Station on line 4 (exit 2), offers several things to do and see; enough for an entire day if you want.  I walked around aimlessly for quite sometime before I could really take in all that there is to do at Seoul's Grand Park Station.  I noticed there were at least twenty tourist busses parked in the huge parking lot, but as I got closer to the entrance, I noted that there weren't very many people out to the zoo on a Thursday.  This was good!

I noted the several different things to do at Grand Park Station; there's Seoul Land a huge amusement park filled with enough rides for to fill up an entire day, a charmingly small botanical garden, a rose garden which is pretty popular in early spring.  Today, I wasn't permitted to enter.  There's also the Seoul Museum of Modern Art and The Seoul Zoo.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Jeju Island Editions: Aqua Planet

I often find myself bragging to my family about all the amazing things there are to do and see on Jeju Island.Truly, living and teaching in Korea is somewhat of a dream come true and although it took a while to sink in, I'm settled on the idea that Jeju Island is an amazing place to live.  This is especially so with summer in full swing.  While most people are (rightfully) heading to take in the bluest waters at any of the 15 beaches on the coasts of Jeju Island, I took the opportunity to check out Aqua Planet.  Although it's one of the pricier places to see on Jeju Island, it's totally worth the 28,000 won.  As for the additional 1,800 won to see the 3D show, I'd say skip it unless you're with children.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Life in Korea: What to do When Korea (or anything else) Starts Getting on Your Nerves

The idea for this blog post came in November of 2012.  At the time, ugh, not sure I even want to waste precious time writing about the problems I was experiencing at that time.  Instead, I'll stay positive and write about what I did about it.

Being away from the comfort of the familiar is likely to become a challenge in any person's life at one point or another.  So what do you do about it?  Here's what I did.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Life in Korea: First Week in E-Dong

the view
So I survived my first week in E-Dong.  I've met most of my students already and I'm excited about this term.  My classroom is taking shape although I will be making a adding a few more things to make my classroom a great environment for learning.  I have truly come to appreciate a good living/working space as it make a difference for me.

I spent part of my weekend decorating my "new" apartment and I must say, it's coming along nicely.  

Friday, August 31, 2012

Life in Korea: My Korean Apartment

So I have a "new" apartment.  I have to admit, it was NOT LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT.  As a matter of fact, I hated it!  After spending the first few hours cleaning/scrubbing my "new" apartment, I even went as far as to query about changing apartments. 
It's possible that I may be overreacting, but, I mean, my Jang-Sang-Dong apartment was pretty much brand new.  It came with a laundry room, brand new bathroom, a flat screen TV. and, a pantry and the kitchen had my favorite color in tiles above the sink.  I even inherited a few things from the previous tenant; a laundry basket, shower shoes, and a microwave. Not to mention, I only had to do light cleaning. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Life in Korea: Long Distance Love

Living in Korea, one can't help but notice couples, hand in hand, matching outfits dubbed "couple shirts" and not to mention, young women daintily dressed in the latest fashions out on a date with the boyfriend.  I admit it, it's cute!  My older students here often inquire as to my relationship status, "teacher, you married?" or "teacher you have boyfriend?".  My response leaves them puzzled, if not sad, "oh no, teacher you need boyfriend".  I smile, and I carry on with the day's lesson.  

I often wonder if I could sustain a relationship long-distance.  I know a few people that are presently in long-distance relationships and the only benefit I can think of is, taking time to get yourself right.  Do they intend to take their relationship to the next level.  Is it bound to end because of the distance?  I guess the better question is, what does it take to maintain a healthy and fruitful relationship long distance?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Life in Korea: So Far, So Good

It's been almost three months that I've been in South Korea.  It's kinda surreal that I have packed up my belongings and moved my life to a country on the other side of the world.  Two plane rides, two weeks of jet lag, two suitcases stuffed with all the essentials...  I'm making a life here for myself, a simple life, but still, it's my new life.  I've opened my mind to living a life of balance (prayer, exercise, nutrition and friendships) and I must say, it looks good on me.