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Geishas, Pumpkin Lattes, and Chicken Hearts.

I lied in my last post, unless “really soon” means two months later? I’m so sorry about that… Let’s get to it anyway.  Why do I keep naming my posts in threes? Well, it’s just so interesting right? I think so at least. When I last left my posts about Kyoto, I had went to the Golden Temple, ate some yummy ramen, and explored Kyoto Station. Well now I was ready to head off into Gion, arguably one of the most famous regions of Kyoto. fb_img_1451365497396.jpgGion is famous for being one of the main areas where geishas live and work. Though the geishas of today are not like those of the past, they are still women who are performance artists. It is not very likely that you will find a geisha or maiko (geisha in training) wandering around Gion. If you’re lucky enough to see one (like I was!) they’ll be rushing around, hoping not to be spotted and swarmed by tourists. It’s kind of scary to be followed around, like some sort of semi-celebrity, so I don’t blame them for running. I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a beautifully dressed girl in a blue kimono. She nodded at me and I at her, and she scurried down an alley before anyone else saw her. Probably one of the coolest experiences of my trip, though it was fleeting.fb_img_1451365500702.jpg
Gion had a wonderfully old school charm to it. Old wooden buildings, small shops. I wandered through the streets happily, after downing a sweet caramel pumpkin latte from Tully’s.
Which was probably tastier than a pumpkin spice latte, I haven’t had one in years now so I’ll compare this fall… I looked through the shops in Gion, buying some konpetti and the traditional Kyoto cookies made from cinnamon called yatsuhashi/bridge cookies (that are amazing!). I just enjoyed being a tourist. I loved Kyoto and how it felt being there, I did everything I wanted to do and then just sat down and people watched for a bit. I was on the edge of the Kamo River, watching the sun go down under a willow tree. The buildings lit up and I felt like I was in a fantasy world. It seems to cheesy to write something like that but I really did feel content with my life.

fb_img_1451365517448.jpgI wasn’t just waiting for nothing though, a friend from highschool was working in Kyoto and she agreed to meet with me for dinner. She took me to Fushimi Inari and we saw all the cool torii gates, as well as some cute cats and a tiny lizard. It was an interesting experience because it was night-time and the area is not brightly lit but it was still cool. We saw many shrines and small foxes. I would’ve liked to eat some kitsune udon while I was there but I’ll save that for next time I’m in Kyoto…

fb_img_1451365554621.jpgWe finished up at Fushimi Inari and then headed to an Izakaya for dinner. Izakaya are Japanese bars, but are kind of like a snack and alcohol bar. It was all fairly inexpensive for several drinks, a delicious cabbage dish (that was refillable and free!) and many fried foods. I had stuffed peppers, chicken skewers, and even chicken hearts. Not my favourite thing but when in Japan… Haha. We settled up the bill and hurried back to Kyoto station so I could make my train back to Osaka on time. A short ride later i was back in Osaka and I hit the motherlode of kitkats in the station. I figured they’d be good gifts to bring home and also it was going to be my last time in Japan for a long time so I might as well spend the money I had.

I saw lots of people in Halloween costumes too which was nice, people in Japan love Halloween! It was refreshing to see a country love a holiday that much. After rushing to the subway, I made the last train back to Doubutsuen-mae, and then back to my hotel.fb_img_1451365535906.jpg

I was thankful for a lovely solo trip and I enjoyed spending my last bit of yen on things in Japan. I know I’ll be back in Japan one day but since I don’t know when that will be, I can reflect and know that I did enjoy exactly what I wanted to.
So ends my trip posts. I haven’t been on any trips since being home, and I’ve been home nearly six months. I’m itching to go somewhere new, and I hope you’ll stick around for it.

Coming next are some posts from home and I hope you’ll enjoy them too. Thanks for sticking with me!

Until next time,
B.

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Temples, Traditions, and Ramen

Early Sunday morning I hopped on the subway from Dobustsuen-mae to Osaka station. I tried grabbing some delicious ebi-mayo rolls but the closest conbini was sold out… I settled for some pastries from a bakery in Osaka station and then made my way to the train.

A ticket from Osaka to Kyoto was only $6. I didn’t expect it to be so cheap and I was pleasantly surprised. I was kind of lost waiting for the train but the signage was abundant and I had enough WiFi to give me some google maps directions to exactly what train to get on. We pulled in to Kyoto station just after 11am and I was speechless.

fb_img_1451365423762.jpgKyoto station is HUGE! I wandered around for a bit, not really knowing where to go. I wasfb_img_1451365427726.jpg by myself, with a few goals in mind of where to go, and that was it. I looked for the kitkat
store with no luck, grabbed a pumpkin milk tea and then went outside. It was a warm autumn day and I was so happy. The station was bustling with people, all eager to explore the city like I was. I purchased a $5 bus pass, which  was good all day for any bus in the
city. I had three places in mind to go to in Kyoto and all day to do it. The only set plans I had were not until the evening, where I’d meet a friend for dinner and Fushimi Inari.

I set off on my first bus, to a place I’d dreamed about going for almost a decade. The bus was long and full to the gills, but I was so excited. I had my kindle with me so the journey was easy enough, and before I knew it the bus was emptying at our stop. I walked quickly up the road to see a bunch of small shops and restaurants full of life. The temple was across the street in a wooded area. I paid my $5 entry fee, completely worth  it, and made my way inside. Kinkakuji temple, or the Golden temple, completely took my breath away. I was shaking, nervous and excited. It’s completely ridiculous to feel that way about a temple but this place was beautiful. This place solidified my love for Japanese architecture and allowed me to grow as a person. I went from a teenager who wanted to go to the land of anime to a young woman eager to see more of the world.fb_img_1451365445815.jpg

It was all thanks to my friend James. He had been to Kyoto during his exchange year in Japan. We sent emails all the time and the pictures he sent me were burned into my mind forever. I was kind of teary eyed looking at the temple, I took my time, took it all in and took many pictures. Kinkakuji has been on my small bucket list of places to go for years, it was possibly the first entry on that list and I finally made it. I wandered the temple grounds, basically floating from place to place. I bought some mementos but I knew this place would be a part of me forever.

After a thoroughly enlightening experience, I wandered slowly back down the street. I stopped in the shops along the roads and looked at all the souvenirs they had to offer. I wasn’t really in a shopping mood, and that’s an odd feeling for me. I was completely and utterly happy. I fb_img_1451365480169.jpghopped on a bus back to Kyoto Station (my centralized point) and decided it was time for lunch. As I ascended the many escalators in Kyoto Station I was treated to a wonderful performance by a high school orchestra. Not only were they really good, they were also playing Disney songs. I sang along and sat and enjoyed the show before heading to Ramen Street. Ramen Street is a name for a section of the department store in Kyoto Station. Famous enough to have its own name but I didn’t think it was the greatest. The restaurants all seemed to serve the same stuff and they all had varying lengthy lines out front. I figured I couldn’t go wrong with ramen in Japan so I just picked one that looked appealing and bought my ticket. Turns out I was not wrong, and I enjoyed the second best ramen I’ve had  in Japan. Nothing beats that creamy delicious ramen I had in Shinjuku though… After filling up, I headed back out to Gion, where I’d explore the historic area of Kyoto, maybe catching a glimpse of a Geisha…

Originally this was only going to be two posts but to save your eyes I’m going to make a 3rd post. It’s hard to believe I was only there for 2 days but my last trip to Japan was one to remember. Sorry for the delay in my posts, lots of stuff going on at home so I’ve been a little busy!

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Next post really soon!
Until next time!
B

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Kyoto

On one of my last weekends in Busan I decided to step out of the country. I really don’t know when I’ll head over to Asia again and I needed to strike this one city off my bucket list before I left.
Kyoto has been on my list of places to go for almost ten years. One of my best friends went on an exchange to Japan in the tenth grade and they had went on a field trip to Kyoto. When I opened the email and saw Kinkakuji I knew I had to go. It was one of first times a picture took my breath away… So I decided to treat myself to a trip to Osaka.

fb_img_1451365380797.jpgI had a long weekend at the beginning of October so I took a few days to myself and then flew out of Gimhae in the afternoon on Saturday. Each flight with Air Busan required me to board the plane by staircase, and there’s something glamorous about that for some reason, no matter who is shoving you… I loved flying Air Busan because the staff was friendly, the snacks were good, and the flights were painless. Immigration getting in to Osaka was easy too. I was feeling good getting into KIX. I decided to take a risk with WiFi this time going to Osaka.

Now usually when I go to Japan I rent a WiFi router from SoftBank. I have had no issues with it and it’s fairly inexpensive. Since I was only going to be there two days, I decided to try one of the free WiFi apps they advertised in the terminal. This was a blessing and a curse. Blessing: I didn’t spend $40 on a router, nor did I have a temporary charge of $400 on my card (they do this for security purposes). It also allowed me to enjoy being alone and the sights and sounds of a beautiful place. Why did I enjoy it so much?? The curse: it rarely worked. It was as if I had to stand in one foot and hop up and down to keep a signal. It didn’t cost me anything but it also did not benefit me too much. I was okay on my own but if you need a constant connection, you should not use the app TravelJapan Free WiFi. Yes it was free but it was not convenient in Osaka or Kyoto. Maybe it’d be better in Tokyo but I really had a hard time. Luckily I planned ahead and wrote down the important directions.

My hotel in Osaka was sort of traditional. It was a hostel type building but I slept on a tatami floor. I had a tiny room to myself, perfect for me, and it was quiet and relatively clean. It was kind of old, but the staff was really friendly and helpful. I stayed in a place called Backpackers Hotel Toyo. It has a great location in Osaka, only 2-3 stops from the Dotonbori/Namba area and also located near Shin-Imamiya station on the JR Line. The hotel was super close to the Dobutsuen-mae subway station. Lots of conbinis around and I even saw people with Donki bags but I didn’t have enough time to scour my area of town.

After finding my hotel, I dropped all my stuff off and headed back out. fb_img_1451365415554.jpgTaking an afternoon flight only allowed me a few hours in Osaka, but I made the most of them. I left my hotel just before 8pm and was in Namba, lost and confused, just after 8:15. After wandering around and shopping, I found my way to the familiar Shinsaibashi area. I grabbed a few tsum tsums for my collection (limited edition Halloween ones!!) and then spent far too much money at Donki. I can’t say enough good things about Donki. It’s my favourite store in Japan.

After I was all shopped out, I headed back to my hotel not before stopping at Family mart. Japan is obsessed with Halloween and I was excited to grab a bunch of goodies while I was there. I tried lots of pumpkin flavoured things… It had started to rain so I hurried back to my hotel and settled in for the night.

Conbini food in Japan is amazing and I was so happy be reunited with my ebi mayo rolls. Mmmm.

fb_img_1451365386668.jpgNext post I’ll detail my day trip to Kyoto, which was amazing in itself. Chicken hearts, creepy foxes, little lizards, and the Golden temple await you!

Thanks for your patience and happy new year!!! I hope your holidays were amazing and please look forward to some new posts for the new year!

Until next time,
B

 

Here’s a Kyoto teaser pic…fb_img_1451365465476.jpg

4

Home.

This post is a few weeks in the making. I had three posts up for my anniversary weekend, I should have staggered them so that I had some content going up while my life was going crazy. If you haven’t guessed from the title: I’m home. I’m home in Canada and I’m happy as a clam…ada. Now let’s talk about this in one of my favourite blogging styles; story time!

I’m home after a whirlwind year in Korea. For a time I was sure it was not going to be my last, but now I’m not too sure. I’ve met some amazing people during my time in Korea and I’ll always be thankful for them.

The last week of October rushed by. I had a quick beginning of the week, explaining to my classes it would be one of the last times they saw me, then introducing the new teacher to each and every class, and basically training her in two days. Not to mention two of those days were the school Halloween parties! SO much fun but not the common teaching time. Not nearly enough time but we had to deal with what we had… Which included a crash course in all things Academy on Friday evening. I talked until I couldn’t talk anymore and then we went out for drinks and more conversation. I hope my replacement, Ros, does great in Hwamyeong. I loved it a lot and I loved my school. I shed some tears when I left and my coworkers were so kind (cake and presents, like my birthday!!!). It was really hard to leave them, but this is what I have to do…

My final weekend in Busan was great. It was Halloween! Alice and I had dakgalbi at the best place in Busan, and then we met up with Megan and Oliver in Seomyeon for some soju at the Penis Bar. I would’ve felt incompletely doing anything else on my last weekend, to be honest. Then we finished off the night with some noraebang and snacks. It was a great evening! Until, of course, the taxi driver called me fat and told me I needed to diet. Man. I thought I could have a super happy last weekend but of course, someone had to ruin it… At least I tried to not let it bother me too much, and I still enjoyed my last few days in Busan.

I met up with some friends on Sunday evening and had a delicious BBQ dinner, followed by an amazing chocolate bingsu from Sulbing, the perfect final meal in Korea. Thankfully it wasn’t my last because Gillian, Megan and I had a delicious lunch at The Agit on Monday morning. I was happy to see all the people I cared about in Korea, and the byes were tough but I know it won’t be the last time I see most of them. I’ll be looking forward to my trips to California and New Zealand, so you guys better be ready to put me up ;). More on that stuff in a later post but for now, you guys know who you are, I love you and appreciate you and miss you lots! See you soon!

I packed everything up, had a bunch of stuff thrown out by the cleaning lady, but my apartment was sparkling and ready for the new teacher to move in. I shipped one more box home, and said bye to my coworkers one last time, and then we were off to the airport. My director made some funny jokes, thanked me for my work, and helped me to the check in desk. I was flying out of Gimhae Airport, which is super small, but since it was an international flight I still got there 3 hours early.

Of course, I was too early. The check in desk did not even open until 4:50pm, and I was there over an hour early. My flight was at 7:05pm, so I had a lot of waiting to do. I made friends with a girl in line, and we passed the time quickly. A few hundred dollars in overweight/extra baggage fees later, I was waiting at my gate. My trip home was starting and I couldn’t have been more excited. Until I realized my phone was not where I thought it was. I emptied my backpack, and dug through my carry on before realizing my phone was nowhere to be found. Distressed, I approached the Asiana staff member that was helping with our flight. She instantly took me over to the service desk where they had a staff member take me around the entire airport to search for my phone. I was treated so nicely and taken through security in a flash, and we finally found my phone waiting for me at the service desk. I shed a few thankful tears and gave the girls who helped me some chocolate for their help. I sat back down, one hour of waiting passed due to my phone emergency, and waited for my boarding time.

The flight from Busan to Guangzhou was only 3 hours, was had a simple meal and it was a quiet old plane.They only showed one movie but it was dubbed entirely in Chinese with Korean subtitles. I tucked into a new book and the flight flew by (no pun intended). We handed in Guangzhou and hopped on a humid stuffy bus to the terminal. After going through some extreme security I found my gate in the bowels of the airport… What’s next is my writing during the time in Guangzhou. I was a bit emotional but grabbing my pen and notebook helped me deal with it. Here’s what I wrote:

This is easily the worst airport I’ve ever been in. Worse than the shitty construction-riddled LAX with no signs… I found my gate in the musty bowels of the airport. It hasn’t been updated since the 80’s, or at least that’s how it appears, and it smells that way too. It’s honestly just the lower gates (A1-6) because the upper gates are all brightly lit and around nice smelling foods and coffee shops. But of course, a 15 hour International flight to JFK airport deserves to be boarded in the worst area. Maybe I’m just eager to get home, I’m writing this down while sitting in the dim light of the terminal. I was trying to psyche myself up for the trip so I could think about all the things in my near future… Here’s what I came up with:

Home is…
-Catching up with friends after not seeing them for ~1 year
-Eating familiar foods at familiar places
-Baking!
-Taking a nice long bath (without other naked women, but I still love you jimjilbangs)
-Buying clothing that fits
-Smiling at people and having them smile back
-Trusting others. (I tried to give someone in Korea the 400w they needed for a drink at Starbucks -they were holding up a line about 5 people- and she wouldn’t take it. Swallow your pride and accept the 40 cents. I just wanted you to stop wasting everyone’s time because you didn’t bring any cash with you)
-Watching TGIT with my momma
-Slower wifi
-Good morning kisses 😀
-Chats with my every talking niece
-Chapman’s ice cream
-PEROGIES!
-Running into people you know (and sometimes mutually avoid).
-People who know you unlike anyone else
-People eager to hear all the details of your life in another country.

I may or may not have found nirvana in the airport: an abandoned desk area where I can stretch out, put my feet up, and colour my adult colouring book…

It was a great hour and a half wait for the boarding to be called. No one bothered me (after the yelling Chinese couple left) and I was alone and so so happy. If I end up back there, for whatever reason, I know where I’m waiting out my boarding time. The 15 hour China Southern flight actually went without a hitch and with a few hours of sleep. I watched a movie or two, finished a book, and overall had a good flight. The in-flight entertainment on the China Southern Flight was one of the best systems I’ve ever used. Touch screen, lots of movies and other things, it was awesome! The 15 hour flight flew by and before I knew it, I was chitchatting with the border guards in NYC and then boarding my flight to Toronto. The plane from NYC to Toronto was hilarious in comparison to the giant plane I flew on from China to NYC. It was a quick flight, less than an hour, and before I knew it I was reunited with my family. Many hugs and breakfast later, I was settling in nicely to my new home.

I’m home now, meeting with some friends during the week before I start back at work next week. I love retail and I’m excited to get back to it before I buckle down and look for a job in my field. So what does me being home mean about my blog? Well, I’m still here. I’m going to be here as long as I have an audience, and as long as I enjoy doing this.

Bear with me, I’m going to keep traveling and find the dynamicness in every city I end up in.

Until next time,
B.

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Shoot ’em up – Gangwondo for the weekend

wpid-20151003_211254.jpgI always keep my eye on the events posted by the travel groups in  Korea. They’re really helpful sometimes and give people the opportunity to do things a little bit easier. I’ve went on two trips with WINK tours (which I don’t recommend because the owner is a dick but the trips I went on were fun) and now two trips with Enjoy Korea. I had saw the event posted called “K-pop, Caves, Coasters, and Shooting” and it seemed like a random mix of things. I like k-pop, I like roller coasters, I’d never shot a gun and I don’t really like caves but whatever, why not? I had put going to a k-pop concert on my Korea bucket list and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. My friend Alice and I booked the trip and made our wpid-img_20151003_143527.jpgway out to Gangwondo with our trip leader Rachel and the rest of the Busan group early Saturday morning.

The trip from Busan to Gangwondo was pretty long, about 5 hours in the bus. We were lucky and had little to no traffic but Alice had some pretty wicked bus sickness so she was very happy when we were finally up at the resort. We stayed at the every popular High 1 ski resort. This place will be the home for the Pyeongchang Olympics in 2018 (in fact this was the reason for the concert). I should have prepared for the cold weather! It was fine in Busan but Gangwondo is way up at the top of Korea. It was pretty chilly up there, especially at night during the concert. Before the concert we were allowed to go on the Alpine roller coaster. This is a single track roller coaster cart that you control the speed of. Well, they say wpid-img_20151003_150555.jpgyou control the speed of it but you basically have to go fast the whole time as to not hold up the ride. It was so much fun. The ski lift ride up to the top of the Athena run was picturesque. The area is surrounded by mountains and it was stunning. I found myself marveling in the beauty of it, Korea really is a beautiful country but that idea can get kind of lost when you live in a big city area. The trees had started to change so you could see some nice fall colours. The ride was awesome and a lot of fun. When we finally made it to the coaster we had to wait a bit to ride but it was so worth it. I screamed my whole way down (because what’s the point of a roller coaster if not to scream?) and genuinely enjoyed myself. Alice and I grabbed some cheese bokki and then made our way to our hotel room.

wpid-img_20151003_145340.jpgThe room situations on the tour trips can be a bit upsetting at times. You all pay the same amount and some people get the better end of the bargain. In this case, Alice and I did. We were the first to our hotel room that we’d share with 6 other people and we claimed the only actual bed in the room. Pension style rooms usually have one or two beds and then a heated floor sleeping area with mats and pillows. We had 7 girls in the room and 1 guy who was dating one of the girls. Alice and I took the bed, exclaiming how happy we were about having a bed instead of sleeping on the floor, the couple took the couches (pushinwpid-img_20151003_182730.jpgg them together to make a makeshift bed), and the remaining girls (who were very lovely and friendly) all had to sleep on the floor mats. It kind of sucked but all in all our room was really nice. We had a full kitchen and a dining set area, and a TV. The sleeping area Alice and I had also had an ensuite bathroom. It was comfortable enough for us, but I felt bad for the girls who had to sleep on the floor. After we all got settled in, ate some food, and got ready, we were off to the concert! The concert was held in the parking area of the resort so the ride was super short, but it was freezing out. I put on the thickest shirt but even that wasn’t enough. I hugged myself for the majority of the concert and also danced around a lot.
Now K-Pop concerts are weird. That’s my impression of them at least. We all had assigned seats and we were in chairwpid-img_20151003_191942.jpgs and we weren’t allowed to get up and dance around like I would at any other concert. I still danced in my seat, stood up to get a few pictures, but the environment wasn’t as enjoyable as it could have been. I would have been happy to dance the night away and it would have kept me a lot warmer too. The lineup for the concert was pretty awesome and I felt pretty lucky that I got to see some big K-pop artists. I was most happy about EXID (who performed first!), Shinee (which made Hannah very jealous), VIXX (my friend Vava loves them!), BTS, GOT7, and CLC. They had a lot of other performers too and even a local band play (they wpid-20151003_192648.jpgwere also good!). It was a good night overall and we ended it with some delicious pork bbq in the small town of Gohan. We were overcharged for our taxi as we headed back to the resort (he doubled the fare because he didn’t want to go up the mountain) and then we all fell into bed.

Sunday morning was a semi-early start, Alice and I stayed in bed until 10 and then rushed to get out of the room and meet everyone at the bus at 10:30. We made our way to our first stop: clay pigeon shooting. At least, that’s how they advertised it. We really shot some bright orange discs. This was my first time shooting a gun and it was a HUGE shotgun. My arms hurt from the kickback for days afterwards BUT I did hit the target twice. It was really fun, kind of expensive if you wanted more rounds ($10 for 5 more) but it was a fun experience! Everyone was really safe and the guys that worked there were patient and helpful with us. I had a pretty good experience, my guy wasn’t very vocalwpid-img_20151004_132545.jpg but I did get the target twice so I think that I was pretty successful.

Our next stop was the nearby Gosu Caves. We grabbed some lunch (donkatsu and pajeon) and then headed into the cave. I had a horrible time, I felt super anxious, there was a TON of climbing stairs and crawling through narrow spaces, I was having a hard
time. One of my new trip buddies, Nadine, and I left the group early and headed back to poke around the shops in the area. I thought the cave was interesting but there was too much climbing and it made me feel too nervous being inside of it. I’m not usually claustrophobic but it sure felt like it then.

After our cave trip we made our way back to the bus and back to Busan. Again the trip was about 5 hours, but we were back around 7pm. I fell asleep a few times on the bus, thankfully, so it went pretty quick.

All in all, I had a fun time on the trip with Enjoy Korea. There were some pretty annoying girls who thought they were entitled to perks not all of us were, but they were besides the point. It was a fun, random weekend and I’m glad I got to do a bunch of stuff I hadn’t before. Enjoy Korea is a good tour group and they try to keep to their schedules and entertain people in ways Wink didn’t. We watched a bunch of 30 Rock episodes and Drunk History on the bus trip so it made the time go by pretty fast. If I was staying in Korea I’d probably go on more trips with Enjoy Korea. And honestly if I do come back to Korea, I’ll probably look for a job in Gangwon-do. The area is beautiful and I had previously went up there for the ice fishing festival. It was just a nice wpid-img_20151004_104605.jpgbeautiful countryside place…

I’ve got a few more posts coming up soon, including my reflections and some other stuff! Look forward to it! 🙂

Until next time,
B.

Ps. Ailee is amazingly talented and rocked her whole set from a chair with her broken leg…Shinee were cute and gave us a great finale.

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1

It’s the Final Countdown!

*Cue everyone humming the intro to Final countdown*. So I’m coming up on my last few days in Busan. A few months ago I made a list of everything I wanted to do in Busan (and Korea) before I left. I actually had two lists, in two different wpid-img_20150829_161919.jpgbooks, and I decided to streamline them. I made the list in June and I’m going to update you on my progress so far.

  • Get galbi, at least once. ✓ – “Galbi” is ribs in Korean, and it’s a delicious dish. There’s an inexpensive restaurant right next to my apartment and I have had it a few times since writing that down.
  • Go to 15 new places in Hwamyeong. ✓. – I have been to more than 15 new places in Hwamyeong, some highlights including The Agit (which I hadn’t been to before writing that!), a cute little cafe next to Ediya, Hwamyeong’s answer to Subway, Latte King, and a beef barbecue place that was far too expensive.
  • Try 10 new places Anywhere ✓✓ – This one was far easier than I imagined. I’ve tried many new restaurants and bakeries and other awesome places, I highlighted some in this post. 🙂 My favourite new BBQ place is Nice Two Meat You, a chain in Seomyeon. When Andrew was here we went twice, it was delicious. Best samgyeupsal I’ve ever had.
  • Spend a day camping at a park. X – This didn’t happen, I spent an afternoon reading at the park, and I walked through the Eco Park at sunset, but I never grabbed my friends and took part in what seems like a Korean tradition of camping in the park.
  • Spend a day at the beach. ✓ – I did this a few times, one was amazing because the ocean was chilly and the weather was so staggeringly hot. It ended with delicious tacos from West Coast tacos, which was awesome.
  • Watch the sunrise from a mountain. NOT YET – Maybe I’ll do this in October, but it will require getting up super early or staying up super late. This might go with the next one…
  • Climb the Hwamyeong mountain again. – This was an amazing mountain view when I went before, it was kind of rough and tumble but I feel like I could do it if I really wanted to. It’s a medium effort mountain but probably hard for me.
  • Find Dr.Fish! – I have found one, I just have to go to it!!! * We have plans to go tomorrow, so I have my ten little piggies crossed*
  • Go on a Swan Boat. X – I tried to go on one when I was in Seoul in 2013 but the water was too choppy… Water sports season is over now so I guess I won’t do that here 😦
  • Try Grapefruit, Peach, and Rose soju. ✓✓✓ – I’ve had all of them and all the other kinds they came out with this year… Peach is the best!
  • Go back to Gyeongju for a day. – I’m in the midst of planning this right now. So excited! It’s gonna happen!
    I don’t think it’s gonna happen anymore. I only want to go back to see Anapji at night and I think there are better ways to spend my time.
  • Volunteer at BAPS. – Might happen on October 18th, hopefully! This is Busan Abandoned Pet Sanctuary and they do volunteer dog walking every Sunday (usually). I’ve been so busy that I haven’t made the time to do it, but I want to at least once…I hope.
  • Take the ferry to Fukuoka. X – I don’t think this one is happening. I’m going to Japan soon but I think it’ll be my last time for a while. Planes are just far more convenient. Ahh.
  • Ride a boat to Dokdo. X – This one probably isn’t happening either. Dokdo is pretty infamous here in Korea and it would have been fun to go but I don’t see it happening.
  • Go to Geoje and Bijindo. X – Probably not going to happen either. These places are more summer destinations, and most of the time a beach is just a beach. Ahaha.
  • Go to the Water Temple. ✓ – This one was amazing! I went with Hannah when she was here and it was breathtaking. I loved it.
  • Go to Dragonhill Spa. X – I don’t think I’ll be heading back to Seoul before I go home so I doubt I’ll make it there! Spaland is okay to me though 🙂
  • Go to Spaland one more time before I leave. – This one will happen, I’m positive of it.
  • Go to Busan Citizen’s Park. ✓ – Went here with Alice in the summer and it was a beautiful place. The pandas were really cute too.
  • Go to a Kpop concert~! ✓✓ – I went to the We Love Gangwondo Kpop concert this past weekend and it was amazing! Post to come. 🙂
  • Get a tattoo. X – Not happening, I can’t commit to an idea for sure, but I’m still floating around ideas in my head :).And the others I posted about before!!
  • Go to the Ghibli art museum. – Planned to go tomorrow, hope it happens!
  • Go to the Fireworks festival! – This will happen, no matter what.
  • Go to Gumbo House, Dakgalbi, SOL, and Papa’s Tacos one more time. – Hopefully this happens but I won’t be heartbroken if they all don’t happen.wpid-img_20150719_144902.jpg

So there’s my bucket list for the last few weeks in Busan. Hopefully they’ll all happen, but I’ll update it when I get home. It’s so weird to me to think
that I’ll be home so soon, I’m excited and ready to go home. I am about to start a super long weekend, I’m off from Thursday – Sunday and I have some exciting plans…

I had a great time in Korea, but I’m ready for Christmas at home! Christmas in Korea wasn’t the best, so I’m excited for sausage stuffing and family.

Until next time,
B.

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One Month Left.

wpid-img_20150923_142530.jpgI apologize for my absence, and I’m thankful for my new followers! Hello! 🙂
As of today, I have one month left at work. One month and a few days left in Busan. I’m still unclear on my leaving date as I’m trying to work out the logistics of everything. It’s so crazy to me that I’ve already been here for almost a year. The time has flown by so quickly.

I feel like the first 9 months were on fast-forward. Weekends were filled with new people, new places, new foods, it was amazing. The last two months have been equally as good but more refined. I’ve got into patterns of heading to Seomyeon most weekends to shop, making my way to Gwangan every month for the foreigner market, spending most Sundays in bed relaxing. Or throwing myself into whatever plans people had going on. It’s been wonderful and insane. That’s the best way I can think of it.

Part of me had to withdraw from seeing people after August. It had been a super social month for me, and though it waswpid-img_20150912_143518.jpg wonderful I was pretty drained. I do feel like I spent September wisely though. I finally made my way to Maitre Artisian, a beautiful French Bakery in Namcheon, I found Honey butter chips in a store for the first time since my birthday (I think the craze has died down!), went back to SOL pizza for a delightful dinner, had Gumbo House again (I need to go once more before I leave, I think!), and I even went to a zumba class! September has been pretty successful.

My last weekend in September was spent in Busan, on my Chuseok staycation. I got some errands done, had a housewarming night in, and contracted a wicked cold. It came at the best time where I could be lazy all weekend… I also did some shopping and saw a movie. All pretty mundane stuff but it was nice to have a break wpid-img_20150924_211027.jpgfrom work.

I really only have three weekends left in Busan as two are spoken for! I’ll be heading to Gangwon-do to High 1 ski resort for an alpine rollercoaster and a k-pop concert! Then I’ll be going to Osaka and Kyoto the following weekend for a last-minute trip to see the Golden temple (another thing off my bucket list!). I’m hoping to volunteer at BAPS the 18th of October, and then the following weekend, the 24th-25th, there will be the Busan Fireworks festival! The weekend after is Halloween and it might be my last weekend in Busan. I am still uncertain of when I’m going home, but it will be early November.
I don’t know what else I want to do before I go home but here’s a tentative list:

-Dr. Fish! I want to try it out and I found a place, I have to try to go!
-Gumbo House and SOL and Papa’s Tacos one last time.
Delicious dakgalbi one more time…
-Fireworks festival
-Go  to go to the Studio Ghibli architecture event at the Busan Museum of Art
-Go to Gyeonju to see Anapji pond at night. I have already been to Gyeonju but I haven’t seen Anapji at night, it looks beautiful from pictures so I want to go back!

As for this blog, well I have some thoughts and ideas for the future and I hope you’re as excited as I am!

My next couple posts will hopefully be more informative, and I hope you enjoy them!

Until next time,
B!

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