So I have been trying to "catch up" on posts that I have neglected since last year. Although I had a few more experiences in Korea before I left, I think it's time to sign off.
This was just a diary of my time in Korea, to help myself remember the time I spent there. If it helped you in anyway then this blog has done more than it's fare share. I will never forget the times I had here, or the very great friendships that has arisen from my time in Korea.
I believe this is the best time to write this post because I will be embarking on another chapter/journey of my life soon. So farewell to this and hello to the new!
If you have ANY questions feel free to leave a comment or an email address and I will definitely try to answer them in a timely manner :D
Oh and for those of you who might like to continue reading more about my insights and life in general you can visit my everyday blog: http://agirlmeetslove223.tumblr.com
Or if reading isn't your thing, I also have a photo blog you can check out at: http://bernlam.tumblr.com
Friday, January 25, 2013
I love zoos and aquariums! So I was so happy to be able to visit the zoo in Seoul. It's quite large and the ticket price is super cheap. I recommend you take the little train to the zoo. Once you exit out of the subway it's quite a walk away. We looked at the map and though it'd be ok so we decided to walk. However, as we got going we realized it wasn't the best idea.
Of course we went on a sunny, hot day. So there is barely any shade on the way to the zoo. However, if you go on a cooler day and enjoy a nice stroll I'd totally do the walk. But if you're going in the humid summer like we were, just pay the small fee to take the mini train. It'll take you directly to the zoo doors.
How to get to the zoo (take Line 4 and get off at Seoul Grand Park Station 대공원 역 - Exit 2)
The bird sanctuary is pretty cool because the birds aren't caged. So you walk along the paths and the birds are right there, right beside you! That was pretty cool.
Hippos in real life kind of scare me, but these petite hippos were pretty cute.
Kristen was so happy there were anteaters at this zoo. They are the mascot of her former school, UC Irvine. So if you also happen to be from UC Irvine and have a great connection with your mascot, go check em out. They're quite adorable actually...look at those paws! Awww
Timon! I mean meerkats. From the giraffes, to the lions, and now meerkats. I really felt like I met all the animals from the Lion King =D Look at him! Now you want to come and visit him, don't you? Haha
Bukhansan (북한산) is a mountain that is just north of Seoul. You can easily take the subway (we took Line 3 - Orange and got off at Gupabal Station 구파발 역 Exit 1) and then hop on a bus to get there. At first we weren't too sure which bus to get onto, but once you get to this station you'll see tons of people in hiking gear. We just followed them. Once we got out of the exit we saw a huge line up at this one particular bus stop, which was of course our cue for which bus to take.
If you look on the Official Korean Tourism website, I think they give you a few other options on how to get to Bukhansan, if those happen to be easier for you. http://asiaenglish.visitkorea.or.kr/ena/SI/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=312935
Hiking is a great thing to do in Korea. There is a huge hiking culture there, especially amongst the senior population. It's pretty neat to see. The few times I have been hiking it is mostly dominated by an older crowd. There are families that are there too but they usually take the more leisurely routes. So if you plan to take the summit route you usually see an older crowd. Hiking is also free, so it's a nice way to spend an afternoon with friends and not end up spending a lot of money. Plus it's good for your health!
I ended going with my friend Kristen and Kwon. The weather was great! However, since it was already early June when we went once you started, you do work up a bit of sweat. At the top it's nice and windy though, so you cool down nicely.
If you do go, I know this may be common sense, but wear appropriate foot wear. From what I have experienced from most of the Korean moutains I have hiked, the top is steep. If you don't have proper foot wear you will definitely have problems. Plus it won't be as safe. Most of the hike is fairly easy, but when you get near the summit the intensity does amp up a bit. Probably not a good idea if you are afraid of heights.
You'll also see people scaling up a rock cliff when you get high enough. Also it's a Korean tradition to drink makgeoli ( 막걸리) after a hike. So you'll either see people drinking it near the summit, or when you get back down to the base, all along the sides of the road.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
I was blessed once again this semester because my suite was picked to go on the field trips! We visited two cities that I have been waiting to see for a while. The first we went to Pohang city where POSCO (a large Korean steel company) largest factory is located. I did my presentation in Korean Business Global Strategies class on this company in first semester. It was really neat to see just how large this company is first hand. Of course the property is gated off and we can't actually go inside, but you can still see the grandness from just across the water way.
This is a battle ship in Pohang, I don't quite remember what the significance was...whoops
Next we made our way to Gyeong Ju, the high light of our trip! I've been wanting to visit this city since first semester when my friend Christina told me how beautiful it is! This was a former capital so one of the famous places to go to is the park with all the tombs. Traditional Korean tombs look like mounds of grass, the larger the mound the more important you were.
We made some traditional Korean items while here. Since Gyeong Ju has a nice breeze, Patrick who happened to have made a kite decided to fly it.
It was actually pretty funny because a little boy had to teach these guys how to get the kite in the air in the first place...ahahaha
My friend here is eating 번데기 Beondaegi - a pupa...I can't say I'm a fan, but you can definitely give it a try if the opportunity arises.
Gyeong Ju has quite a few sites that are really famous and are "must sees" if you ever make a trip down (and you should if you have time). Along with the tombs, at the same site you can also visit 첩성데: Cheomseongdae is an astrological observatory used back in the day for the Koreans to look at the stars and predict the weather.
경주빵 - Which translates to Gyeong Ju bread, even though it's not really bread it's more like a pastry. It reminds me of a moon cake but the outside layer of dough is a lot thinner and softer. It's not too thick, maybe 1/2 a centimeter and then the inside is a solid filling of red bean! I loved it, but if you are not a fan of pressed red bean, or red bean at all this might not be something you should try. This is the famous snack to buy while in town though!!!
There are also two very famous temples in Gyeong Ju for you to visit, 불국사 Bulguksa and 석굴암 Seokguram. The photo below is from Seokguram. Here there is a statue of Buddha carved inside a cave. It's quite pretty! Also to see the Buddha you have to go through a mini hike. This temple is also up on top of the mountain, so the view is really pretty!!!
Our trip was only for the weekend, but it was so much fun! I am so blessed to be able to go on one of these cultural field trips all 3 semesters!!! Even though the field trip proposal can be a pain because everyone will do it at the last minute. Actually going on the field trip is really fun! Plus it's school sponsored, so what a great way to explore Korea without having to spend money!!!
I'd also like to thank Jason Kwang Ho because this is his hometown so his parents also bought us a lot of food and snacks as a welcoming gesture.
Monday, August 6, 2012
Once again Spring Festival has rolled around. How the time flies, I feel as if this was my first one. Due to my school + exchange schedule this semester, I wasn't actually able to walk around the day time activities as much. With that said, I was still able to catch one of the midday performances and see some friendly faces that I haven't seen in a while.
During the school festival we would invite bands to come and perform. The first night we had 8Eight as our performance. I LOVE them. I've been a fan for a while, I don't even remember when I started liking them. All I know is pretty much since their first single. I know they were on an audition program before that, but I didn't know them until they released their first song. They were the highlight for me out of all the performers.
After 8Eight (no pun intended, if you know about the chocolates) a DJ from England performed. I actually don't remember his name. I think I took a picture of the poster somewhere, but at this point I'm not too sure. He was cool, he had a sidekick...that guy was kind of funny. At this point I think a lot of the students were intoxicated so everyone was dancing and jumping around, the side kick seemed funnier.
Oh also many of my Korean female friends thought the DJ was super good looking, lol they are so cute ( I mean my Korean friends). The DJ is the guy with the hat, his sidekick is the guy in the back wearing the white T.
I didn't have too many pictures from the 2nd day of the festival. This is from the 3rd and final day. To my surprise a hip hop duo, that I actual know of, came to our school to perform midday.The Hip Hop performers are called Bae Chi Ki (배치기) and during that time they had a very popular song out called Tu Guys (두마리). This was the second high light for performers at the festival for me!
We had beautiful fireworks this time around. My little camera pulled through and was able to capture this beautiful shot! YAY for Canon cameras and the "fireworks" mode! Sometimes even ordinary people, like me, have a chance to look like a photographer!
Even though they were disappointing, I still had a fabulous time. This was going to be my last school festival EVER, I made it my goal to enjoy it thoroughly and I did. I had a great time because I was surrounded by great people and of course I was in Korea!!! Those two elements always allow me to have a good time.