Week 26: Chuseok in Japan


Chuseok’s a holiday when Koreans get together with their extended families and eat a lot of food…pretty much equivalent to Thanksgiving in the US minus a turkey and stuffing.

My rather unimaginative title comes from the fact that Chuseok was last week (or would be if I’d posted this earlier–this year it was September 18-20th) and I chose to spend my 5 days off in Japan.

I ended up in Kyoto because everything I’d heard indicated that it was one of the best places to go if I wanted to see Japan’s beauty.

IMG_7486 (2)I considered this my first “real” solo trip. I suppose coming to Korea could be considered “traveling alone” but I never thought of it that way. After all, I was coming to live here and there were people ready to meet me and help get me settled. Going to Japan, I had none of those. So no, this really was my first time alone. Considering how often I’ve wished to do a solo trip (but also feared it) I treated it with a surprising amount of nonchalance and lack of nervousness. I was so busy being caught up in daily life, I guess I didn’t have enough time to work myself into a panic.

There was no plan, per se, just a desire to relax and eat good food. Continue reading

“That’s what the trashcan is for” and other life lessons


It’s been 6 months to the day since I arrived in Korea.

In honor of that fact, I’d like to share with you some important insights, facts of life and tips to living in Korea. Feel free to take notes. I assure you, it’s important for you to know, even if you don’t [cough, cough] plan on visiting me [cough]. Ahem, something in my throat.

Food tips

  1. fatty meat = good Continue reading

Week 25: 순천 (Suncheon) Garden Expo


This weekend I went to a friend’s birthday party, I finally printed some of my pictures (it’ll take another 5 months to get them on the wall, knowing me) and then I went to Suncheon where there is a giant garden expo. It’s nearing the end of the season so a lot of flowers were no longer in bloom but it looks like this will be a permanent exhibit so maybe as long as I stay into next spring, I’ll have more chances for the flowery part. It was still very lovely.

(Remember to click on the pictures to expand and see them in full size. ^_^)

Vignette: Dream house


All the elementary students are in the process of doing a speaking test. Today, I listened to a mid-level 6th grade class tell me about their dream house.

On a prideful side note: Executing ideas may not be my strong point but I think I’m pretty good at coming up with them. I was asked to provide some suggestions for speaking test topics…I turned in a full page of possibilities complete with questions that would prompt the speaker for further details. Granted, these weren’t all my original ideas but putting them to paper like that still felt pretty good. Each class got to vote on their topic but all the classes are using one of my ideas. [The Korean teachers assign the test and then I get to do the listening and grading, which is a pretty good deal if you ask me.] 

So today I heard one class talk about their dream house. Continue reading

Week 23 & 24: 5.18 park


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These guys are all over the city. It’s surprising, really, to see them flying among the concrete and the buildings as if it were their natural habitat.

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I was a little under the weather last weekend so I mostly rested at home. This weekend I decided to explore the part of town where I work. Sangmu is sort of like the new hip part of town. During the day it’s “business, business, business.” It lights up at night though and all the cool young people come out to play. Or so I’ve been told.  I honestly haven’t noticed. I mean, there are people out and about when I head home but that’s about as far as my observational skills take me. Continue reading