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South Korea

Jirisan National Park

“The mountain of the odd and wise people”


Busan's Hidden Gem

With a spread of vividly colorful houses sitting atop a seaside cliff, Taegeukdo Village in Busan (aka Gamcheon Culture Village) looks more like the scenery you’d expect to find in South America or along the shores of coastal Italy even, not South Korea.

This stark contrast to the ultra sleek buildings found in Gangnam, the pale high rise industrial-esque residential apartment towers that swallow most of Seoul and even the traditional Korean Hanok homes, has made the area a popular sightseeing destination for locals and foreigners over the years.

The village, originally formed in 1918 as a community for followers of the Taegeukdo religion, and later refugees during the Korean War, derives it’s name from the ‘taegeuk’ – more commonly known to westerners as the yin and yang symbols, which represent the balance of the universe.


Sundays in Ulsan

It's been so long I almost forgot I have a blog. I only have half of the summer program left, Kimchi boy just celebrated his 29th birthday, the news have been depressing with all these reports of air disasters (I have a serious fear of flying now but the fact that my maternal family is from Taiwan and my boyfriend is Korean is not helping)...

Before I came to Korea, I thought that I would blog regularly while in Korea. But now that I am here, I've been so lazy and my daily life consists of eating, sleeping & watching Korean drama (Hotel King, anyone?).

The only day I look forward to is Sunday. Because on Sundays, I go on dates with Kimchi boy.

(Ulsan) An Afternoon in the Bamboo Forest

Exploring the Bamboo Forest is one of the must-dos in Ulsan City. I've been in Ulsan for almost a month and in my opinion, Ulsan is nothing but mountains & lakes.

Today, I spent the whole afternoon with Kimchi boy in the Bamboo Forest. Bad choice because it was scorching hot (~33degrees) today. I would have enjoyed this place much better if the weather was cooler.
 


IVI: A Korea based Company that is bettering the world


After a long day, I am always tempted to dance my way out of work to the latest K-Pop hit towards the closest theme café where I can drop double digits on a coffee while petting dogs, trying on wedding dresses or getting my feet manicured by fish.   These quirky cafes and plethora of other awesome Seoul eateries is just one of the many reasons why I have fallen head over heals for this city.

Yesterday an online video was launched that made me think I should forgo one of these beloved trips each month to budget a few bucks towards giving back to a local charity and making the world a better place.


Saint Augustin Thai Restaurant

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Saint Augustin Restaurant Review 

 

Thailand…

When I think of Thailand I think of Paradise. I think of Escaping a dreary Seoul winter. I think of  Lazy days spent lounging on white sand beaches, sipping fresh coconuts topped off with Sang Som, riding elephants, and discovering some of the most stunning views I could ever dream of. But above and beyond, when I think of Thailand I think of their dynamite food!


5 differences between Korean and American Elementary Schools

I was recently asked to give a short presentation on my experience teaching at a Korean elementary school. I have been wanting to make more videos in and about my school, so this was the perfect opportunity! I asked two of my best students – Gaeun and Jiyeon – if they would help me out and give a tour of our school in English. They highlighted several things they thought were unique about our school, but I do want to point out that these differences are not across the board generalizations. Rather, they are differences between my current school in Korea and what I remember from elementary school in America (which was a long time ago!).


Temple Stay in Gyeongju City

As part of the summer programme (SPIKE) at UNIST, we went for a 2 day 1 night temple stay in Gyeongju City. Temple stays are getting more and more popular as a tourist activity in South Korea. We did not get to sleep in a real temple but we had to eat vegetarian food for the two meals there and we had to attend the evening and morning prayer sessions.

All the happy faces.. not knowing what they will be facing the next morning...

Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak & The Haenyo (Jeju's Woman Divers)

     The lady divers of Jeju, or Haenyo (properly pronounced 'hay-nyaa': 해녀- or 'sea women') remind me a lot of the 'Ama women' (pearl divers) in Japan. In Jeju's instance however, these women were best suited to collect the island's aquatic treasures of abalone and conch (abalone porridge (전복죽), by the way, is one of Jeju's most famous dishes and can be eaten best around Seongsan Ilchulbong) and exporting them to Japan in the 1970's. The traditions of the Haenyo can in fact be dated back to the 17th century when the men were off at sea leaving the women to become heads of the family, as seen in a matriarchy, this clashed with the mainland's Confucianist culture wherein women were regarded as second grade citizens.


SPIKE @ UNIST 2014

I am currently in Ulsan city, participating in a summer programme called SPIKE at Ulsan National University of Science & Technology, UNIST. I never thought that I would participate in any summer programme because I am already in my last semester.

Ulsan really looks different from other cities in Seoul. The university that I am staying in is surrounded by mountains. I think we ARE on a mountain.

NUS is not a partner university yet, so we have to pay for school fees and dorms. Students from partner universities like Uni of Michigan, HKUST etc do not have to pay for this programme.

It is a growing university so most of the facilities are still new. It is conveniently located less than 30minutes away from Ulsan KTX Station and there is a bus inside the school.

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