Kia Tigers vs. Lotte Giants
Honam International Marathon, April 21st. Adam finished his first half marathon. 1:40.
Blog! Long time no see! What have we been up to, you ask?
What did the expat teacher say to the kid who got homesick on the first day?
Working at the English Immersion Camp (EIC) was one of the best teaching experiences of my life. I can honestly say that I loved each of these sixteen-year-old boys. This was such an amazing opportunity to get inside the heads of kids I’ve been teaching for over nineteen months. Korea, you gotta stop breakin’ my heart! It’s gonna be so hard to leave in August.
A POW camp, pebble beeches, a botanical garden and the first cherry blossoms of the season! Thanks to Pedro Kim for leading an amazing weekend getaway. We never could have seen and done so much on our own. Our camera’s memory card burned out on this trip so this set is uploaded from our LG phones.
Back from Malaysia, more to come soon.
새해 복 많이 받으세요!
Happy New Year!
Although we spent Lunar New Year in true foreigner fashion, seeking out the few open restaurants and bowling alleys (even a little McDelivery), I came home to a very nice surprise today. Adam’s co-teacher, Mrs. Yoon had prepared a picnic of leftovers for us to share. Her package included homemade 떡국 rice cake soup pictured heating in our slow cooker and fried 야채. The slices of white rice cake in the soup look like coins and symbolize prosperity as well as longevity. They are cut from a long, thick rope of rice cake. The longer the cake, the more years you will live to see. Welcome, Year of the Snake!
Gyeongju is the most historical city one can visit in Korea. It’s also, in my opinion, the most quintessentially Korean. Apparently, some of the people there hold on to their heritage by making this city one of the least foreigner-friendly tourist destinations in Asia. I wasn’t sure if my Korean was getting that much better or if enough foreign tourists visit Gyeongju to make “안녕하세요?” sound impressive. I’m optimistic about the former, because Adam and I were the only foreigners we saw for the entire day. It was mostly nice, but a little awkward when we walked in on a group of students practicing English with the electronic audio guide in Wolseong Park.
I should admit I arrived in Gyeongju feeling a bit skeptical. I’d heard from both Korean and foreign friends that it was on the boring side. Since the first bus from Gwangju left a 9:45, it was past my afternoon feeding time when we arrived at the country style bus terminal. Maybe it was my stomach talking, but the first thing I noticed were the dozens of경주빵stores lining the street. Why is bread so popular here? I still have no idea. After filling up on some sub-par금탕while listening to the restaurant staff wonder at our mysterious ability to order soup, I was ready to head into Busan, but I’m extremely glad I didn’t.
The tumuli, burial mounds, of Gyeongju are really nothing short of amazing, even in the winter covered in dead grass. Those at Daereongwon Park are the most impressive. There is even a mound you can enter which has been cross-sectioned so one can see the coffin, relics, and layers of stone reaching over 12 meters, one of the smaller mounds. After meandering through this park and snapping some photos with some admirers (huh?) we went looking for Cheomseongdae. This is the oldest astrological observatory in East Asia and the Eiffel Tower of Gyeongju.
Cheomseongdae is on the grounds of a Silla Dynasty palace, which was never rebuilt. The only other remaining structure is the ice cellar. After peaking into this ironic highlight, we decided the weather was telling us to get inside of a museum. The Gyeongju National Museum is one of the best in Korea and is also completely free to the public. Inside I saw some of the oldest artifacts I’ve ever laid my eyes on as well as some beautifully preserved and well-guarded royal jewelry.
When all was said and done and I had a belly full of homemade makgeolli and panjeon, I would recommend Gyeongju to every foreign expat living in Korea. I think it may be too inaccessible to the average week-long tourist, but it does make an adventurous day trip from Busan. Buses between these two cities cost around $4 each way, so you have nothing to lose!