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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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Time flies when you’re eating everything

20151104_102526.jpgI can’t believe it has already been a month since I left Korea. It seems like just yesterday I was rushing to the airport after cramming everything in to a cardboard box and mailing the things I couldn’t get into my overweight suitcases home. It was such an overwhelming and emotional day, and I just remember chit chatting and talking with the American border guards, happy to be able to talk to everyone. It was such an exciting time. It’s been so weird coming home and expecting things to be different but things have been shockingly similar. It’s so weird being home but at the same time it’s comforting. Like putting on an old sweater that still fits perfectly but you know is past it’s prime.20151104_193207.jpg

I hopped back into the job I left last year, so in some ways it feels like the
last year of my life did not even happen. But of course it did, and I’m
reminded of Korea almost daily still. There are lots of things I don’t miss, and lots of things I do, and of course I’ve had moments of reverse culture shock, so to speak… One of the main things that sticks out is how small everything is. I was so used to the shelter provided by all the tall buildings in Korea. Everything is so small and short and spaced out here. The tall buildings at home are fewer and far between.20151105_165544.jpg I am not used to seeing the sky so clearly every day! I miss looking out at the mountains on my way to work every day, and my lovely little walk through the park. Small things like that. I miss that so much!

I love my drive to work every day, it goes by so quickly and I missed being in a car (without paying for it, haha). It’s been super convenient being at home as my boyfriend, Andrew, has got his own car since I’ve been gone! I love the little road trips we’ve been going on. It’s changed a lot of things, making me feel almost grown up completely… even if I don’t really think I should be a grown up. I still feel weird about being home sometimes because I had prepared myself for things to be different and in some respects they were, but in many they weren’t.

It was really odd for me to come home first because a: I was riding in the car with Andrew for the first time with him driving (on a highway! in his car!) and b: the place I had called home before leaving for Korea did not exist anymore. My mom moved while I was gone and I had made arrangements to live with my boyfriend. We’ve been together for a long time and it is the next logical step. Our first month of co-habitation seems to be going well. It was just weird for me to go home to a place that didn’t really feel like home yet. It took me at least two or three months for my apartment in Korea to really feel like home… this place is a little easier to adjust to but I feel like I’m missing things!  It’s gonna take a bit of time to get completely comfortable but I’m getting there.

I really miss the transit in Busan. I miss being able to hop on the subway and zone out. I did not miss the city bus here, which has increased its fare to $2.75 a ride, and always has an odd smell. The subway was quick, easy, and I usually never had to worry about small talk on my commutes. I also really miss my students a lot. I’ve been talking to a few of them on Kakao Talk but it’s not the same! I’m sad I won’t see any of them, probably ever again :(. I also miss a lot of the foods. Mostly pumpkin pajeon if I’m being honest, and also being able to get a delicious lunch for under $5.

Food here is amazing, I’ve almost made it through my entire list of wants from when I was in Korea, but it’s so expensive! I had a meal with my friends one night and I spent four times the cost of a meal in Korea. I didn’t even get any drinks with that…. I miss the low costs of Korea (food wise) but I also love being able to fold up my freshly dried clothes, sit in a huge lovely bathtub, and bake anything I want!teacher

What’s next for me though? I still don’t know. I feel like I keep repeating

that but I also have an idea of what I want. Andrew and I are at an
interesting point in our lives. We’re in between a lot of things, and I think that this could be a great opportunity for growth. I think I might be moving soon, and if I want to continue to teach or work in the ESL field, I know I have to do that. I also want to travel more! But that will have to wait until I get some more money saved, and get into a better paying job.

img_20151106_174228.jpgFor now, I’m content to hang out with some good people, eat delicious food, and spend the holidays at home. I’m so happy to be home for Christmas, and I’m loving all the holiday things everywhere. I do miss the lovely tree in Nampo though, so if you’re in Busan please go and see the lights for me! 🙂  My next post will be a well overdue travel post! Look forward to it!!

Until next time,
B.20141130_174447.jpg

 

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Day two: Sushi rolls, Giant Robots, and a Stunned Pigeon.

day twoDay two was probably my favourite day in Tokyo. We headed out to Asakusa just before 10am, we had booked a sushi making class with Yoshimi from Tokyo Kitchen . She met us just outside the subway station at the famous Kaminarimon gate in Asakusa. I applauded her for wearing a stunning white kimono, especially on the humid summer day. We walked along the river to her apartment. She pointed out the cool landmarks on the way: the golden “flame”, the Asahi beer headquarters, and the cool river bus. We made it to her apartment, which was a beautiful airy little place with an awesome view of the river. We sat down and she gave us a lesson on Japanese cuisine, and then thoroughly explained what we’d be doing.

We got right into cooking and it was so much fun! We prepared a few dishes: summer cold tofu with tomatoes/onions, wpid-img_20150730_104242.jpgspinach with sesame, potato miso soup, and of course some beautiful mosaic sushi rolls. There was a lot of work put in, but it made our morning hunger all the more worth it. By the time we finished everything, I was starving. It’s a good thing everything we made was so delicious and fresh, and was so satisfying. Yoshimi was super helpful and handy, she took us through the steps slowly but surely. We made a few dishes: we started off my waking the rice, then starting the omelet for the inside of our sushi rolls, then we prepared the topping for the cold tofu and the dressing for he spinach. The dishes we made were: chilled tofu with a summer tomato/onion topping, spinach with sesame, potato miso soup, and some mosaic sushi rolls. It was time-consuming but honestly the time flew by! We were eating lunch just after noon, which was perfect timing. After lunch we talked for a bit and then Megan and I left to explore Asakusa.

wpid-img_20150730_131036.jpgAsakusa is a pretty neat area, Our class was on the river, so we could see the river boat/bus driving on by. We could also see the really cool shaped Asahi beer headquarters! It’s shaped like a glass of beer, foam included. Next to Asahi beer is the golden flame, which resembles a golden poop really, and Tokyo skytree. We were going to take the river bus to the next stop, but like with most public transit in Japan, it was too expensive. Our cooking instructor had mentioned “Seria” to me, after I said I loved Daiso, and I had made a stop there before we explored more of Asakusa. There was a lot of cool stuff in the department store, and Seira had a lot of really adorable things. I grabbed some Minnie Mouse utensils for my niece, some Mt. Fuji washi tape and notes, and a really cute set of elephant sticky notes. Stationary in Asia KILLS me, it’s so adorable. Seria is a good wpid-img_20150730_142327.jpgplace to go for souvenirs too because everything was 100Y, 108Y with tax.

After walking around the temple and gate area of Asakusa, we decided to make our way to Daiba station. This was a bit of a journey from Asakusa, but we made it. It had started to rain when we were on the subway and thankfully the station we were at allowed for a completely indoor transfer. By the time we made our way to Daiba, the rain had let up. The walk to Diver City Tokyo Mall was a gloomy one, but at least there was no rain. There was actually a summer J-pop concert going on, and I stood to watch it for a little bit from the walkway between the subway station and the mall.

wpid-img_20150730_192730.jpgDiver City Tokyo Mall is a HUGE indoor shopping area. There are about 8 floors, and each floor is filled with great stores. I had put this place on my list for two reasons: Old Navy and a Giant Gundam. I love Old Navy, probably 60% of my wardrobe is from there, and I was really excited to find a store in Japan. As we were walking into the mall, we noticed that people were really hesitant to go in the doors. Thinking it was just another tourist bottleneck, I tried to pick up the pace. Imagine my surprise when I realized that everyone was just avoiding a small pigeon who was sitting in the doors looking a little ruffled and a lot confused. Poor bird. Thankfully a mall staff member helped the little guy out and we were on our merry shopping way.

The next few hours were spent shopping happily, going through store after store. If you don’t know me, I can shop for hours. I love looking at new things, sometimes buying new things. I really like shopping. I purchased quite a few things, some clothing included, and a lot of souvenirs. We ended our shopping adventure with a trip to the Daiso on the 6th floor, and then chilled out for a bit before checking out the Gundam outside. The Gundam is  A HUGE model gundam, lit up outside the mall. A few times a day there are performances in the way that it might move a little, and at night they do a 15 minute anime screening. Also, during the day wpid-img_20150730_193514.jpgyou can walk under the Gundam. It was a pretty cool little aspect, and I enjoyed it whole-heartedly. After we took some pictures, we headed over to another mall so I could check out the Disney store. The Disney store in Japan is always a stop for me, it’s full of cute little things. Basically ever time I go to Japan, I buy some tsum-tsums. These are small stackable plushies that are super cheap and adorable. When I was in Osaka I picked up 5, and this time in Tokyo I picked up 3.

Daiba is a pretty cool area of Tokyo because it’s on the bay. There’s also a part of it that looks strangely like New York city, it also has a Statue of Liberty and a very Brooklyn bridge-esque bridge.I took quite a few pictures here and it made a perfect backdrop for the night. Tokyo was still humid after the sun went down, but that didn’t stop my little photoshoot.wpid-img_20150730_200614.jpg

After journeying back to Akihabara, we stopped for dinner at Coco Ichibana. This is a popular Japanese curry chain. I had a cheese curry katsu, which is a pork cutlet in curry. It was really delicious and I’m glad there’s a Coco Ichibana in Busan haha.wpid-img_20150730_213505.jpg

We loaded up on snacks at the convenience store, and then made our way back to Grids so we could rest. Another somewhat successful day in Tokyo awaited us on Friday.

Until next time,
B.

This is a post in my Tokyo a go go series.
Find the main post here!
Go back to Day One!
See where I stayed in Tokyo.
Go to Day Three!

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I’ve been to the dentist several times so I know the drill…. Going to the Dentist in Korea.

wpid-img_20150527_120252.jpgApple Tree Dental Hospital (사과나무병원), Hwamyeong is one of the few dentists listed on the Medical Office list for Foreigners in Busan. I had a few friends go there before, saying it wasn’t bad, so I decided to take a chance. It had been a year since my last scaling (cleaning), so I made an appointment for that by heading to the office during a break at work. All further appointments were made while I was already in office, for future reference. The girls there are a bit shy around me; nervous about their lack of English and my lack of Korean, but they’ve been nothing but helpful.
wpid-img_20150527_114723.jpgMy first appointment was May 27th, I made my way there right on time, waited about 5 minutes while they found an English-speaking worker, and I was in. They took me to get an x-ray first; one of my least favourite tasks at the dentist… but this time it was pain-free! Dentists in Canada use super uncomfortable cardboard and metal frame-type things to takewpid-img_20150527_114731.jpg x-rays, but here they have a huge machine that goes around your head (I think, my eyes were closed). You bite on a little section and the machine captures a full spread of all your teeth. After the x-ray, which took all of 3 painless minutes, I was back in the dentist chair. I was told that I’d just be getting a cleaning and then it started. Another girl came in, and put a green cloth over my face. This was kind of nice because I hate having the dentist light in my eye, but it was also a little weird because I kept feeling it on the edge of my mouth.

The cleaning was painless (I feel like I keep saying that!) and took maybe 15-20 wpid-img_20150527_114800.jpgminutes. After rinsing, I had a dentist come in and talk to me about my teeth. Of course I knew there were a few issues; she struggled a little bit but I was able to understand everything that was going on. After we planned out what was going to be done (one root canal, three crowns total.) I had to decide whether I wanted gold, silver, or porcelain crowns. It was at this point where my helper was having some issues explaining something to me in English so she did something I didn’t expect…She called her husband, who explained what she wanted to say to me in English (basically it was that porcelain may break, gold won’t break wpid-img_20150527_115647.jpgbut it’s more of an eyesore…). He had an accent so I asked her where her husband was from: he was Korean but he studied English in the UK so he had accented English. I love when I hear different ESL accents! It’s so cool. Either way he was so helpful and she was really wonderful and accommodating. I really appreciated her help.

After our next appointment was set and I was waiting for the elevator my great helper rushed over to me with a gift. It was a small plastic box with floss, toothpaste, and a toothbrush! I have it in my desk at work and it’s super helpful. The service at Apple Tree Dental Hospital is impeccable. The girls were all helpful even when they were shy.

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My little gift

My next appointment was a week later and I was scheduled to get a endodontic root canal on a wisdom tooth… It was really not great. It was one of the first times I’ve ever had to raise my hand when I felt pain (just like at home!). Even after more freezing I still felt a lot of the drilling… I was more than relieved when it was over and my helper girl from the last time had her husband, once again, explain something. He just told me that I couldn’t eat for 3 hours, should take pain killers for any pain, and I should try to lean more on the right side of my mouth than my left. The dentist in Korea is really similar to the dentist at home. Same Novocaine, same amount of waiting… I also had to get a temporary filling as my appointment went over time and I had another appointment set for a week later. That second appointment was rough as it was pretty painful, took an hour and a bit, and then I was at work before I could get something to eat.

I healed fine and I was ready for my next appointment.which I was apparently very excited for. I almost went a whole day early… The following Thursday (today), I made my way to the dentist. This time, thanks to MERS, I had my temperature checked. After my temperature was checked and I was fine, I sat down and waited. It wasn’t even five minutes before I was sitting in the dentist chair. Now today was a bit different because the girl who usually helped me wasn’t in. I was okay, thankfully. The girl who brought me to the dentist chair asked if I was having any pain (in Korean) and I was able to respond (small proud moment). She said a few more things to me in Korean that I didn’t understand completely but it turned out fine. My dentist came over, the green sheet was placed on my face and we were good to go.

I was a little terrified because I had not gotten any Novocaine at all, but to my surprise there was no pain at all. The session today was just the filling. And after my emergency filling was removed, I had a new filling put in. There was no pain, but maybe a bit of pressure, that’s all. My filling only took 20 minutes, and I was out. Made another appointment for the following week and I assume that is when I’ll be getting my crown put in.

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Fancy waiting area with free drinks

I am happy to go back to the dentist for a few reasons: When my helper is there, she explains everything and she’s super nice. When she isn’t there, they’re really patient with me. As well, going to the dentist is incredibly affordable. The first appointment I had, the cleaning, was only 19,600w (about $25 CAD) which included my x-ray. The next appointment: emergency filling, endodontic treatment and another x-ray 15,600w. And today’s appointment a proper filling was only 17,000w. I expect my next appointment to be significantly more than all those others combined but that’s because I’ll be getting a crown. Either way I’ll update this post when I have that appointment.

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More of the fancy waiting area

All in all, going to the dentist in Korea is very similar to going to the dentist at home. Especially in a city with a big population of foreigners. If you’re really nervous, bring a Korean speaking friend with you, or find a dentist that specializes in helping Foreigners. Apple Tree Dental Hospital is supposed to be that way and they do always have at least one person that speaks English there, and my dentist did speak quite a bit of English. The staff there are very friendly, and the hospital itself is very clean and modern. The chairs are a bit in an open area so you won’t really be in a private room but that didn’t really bother me. Once the green sheet goes over your face, you don’t even realize where you are… Though I wish I was one of those people who could fall asleep in the dentist chair….

Apple Tree Dental Hospital (사과나무병원) is located on the 5th floor of the building KEB is in, it’s super close to the subway in Hwamyeong, just go up the stairs near Lotte Mart. There are locations all over Korea but this is the closest one to me!

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5F, All by itself

Anyway, my next post will be about my boating birthday weekend for my good friend Gillian. It was a wonderful adventure and I can’t wait to write about it.

Until next time,
B.

2

It’s gonna be maaaaay

wpid-img_20150509_161631.jpgNo, it is May. Officially May. Halfway through May really. But this post is about my adventures thus far in the month of May.(And also I sang It’s gonna be me by NSYNC at noraebang twice this month already…)This month is probably one of my most exciting months here! Not only is it my birthday month, but we have TWO long weekends, and I have plans basically every weekend.

May started out with a lovely long weekend. I finished work on May 1st at my usual 10pm time and then I was not due back at work until the following Wednesday. I had thought about taking a short trip somewhere but of course there was a vacation for quite a few people so flights were expensive and due to Golden week in Japan, a lot of the hostels were booked so I had a lot of trouble finding accommodation. So I was stuck in Busan. I thought about going to Seoul but then remembered I had plans later in May to go.

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So, here I was in Busan on a long weekend. There are worse places to be, I was content to have a lovely little staycation once again. On the first weekend of May, it was my friend Tom’s last weekend in Busan. We celebrated that Saturday wpid-img_20150502_194746.jpgby having a few drinks at his favourite bar, the Penis bar. We had lovely flavoured makgeolli and snacks, and then made our way to a noraebang. We sang the night away in one of the coolest noraebangs I’ve ever beewpid-img_20150502_185524.jpgn to, which had over 50 rooms and so many bridges. We stayed out until the late hours of the morning and then I passed out in my bed. I spent basically the entire day in bed Sunday, something I haven’t done in a long time. I watched a few movies, rested, and just enjoyed doing nothing.

wpid-img_20150502_213904.jpgThe next day I had a mission. We had planned a Taco Tuesday event on May 5th because it was Children’s day and everyone had the day off work. I had to go to HomePlus to grab snacks and other party essentials (read: soju.) In Sasang they had a beautiful public garden with some interesting art installations too. It smelled delicious. The party overall went off without a hitch, and without many drinks thankfully. We had some super delicious chicken/beef/bean tacos that were a community effort. (I was in charge of protein!). We enjoyed the sun on the rooftop area of my friend’s apartment, listened to music, and just had a good day off of work. We wpid-img_20150505_152330.jpgended the day by walking through Hwamyeong Eco park, and we saw some muskrats. wpid-img_20150504_161026.jpgThey’re kind of like otters but smaller? I thought were so cute! It was the perfect way to end the day because it was really beautiful out.

Going back to work the next day kind of sucked, but it was a new semester, a short work week, and I had a good weekend to look forward to so I couldn’t complain too much. Surprisingly it went quite quick but on Friday, which I hoped would be the best day at work, it was HORRIBLE. My kids were so disobedient and just poorly behaved. Not all of them of course, but my last class just put me in such a sour mood.wpid-img_20150508_171339.jpg Thankfully I have a great group of friends who let me soon forget that after work. We played some drinking games at Gillian’s place, and then headed out to the CU. As of Midnight I was officially 24!

My mom called me, my boyfriend wpid-img_20150506_163352.jpgcalled me, and my friends sang to me. It was so lovely and I couldn’t ask for anything more. I also laughed a lot, which is something I love. My new Korean friends at the CU made sure I got my dose of birthday beats…. Hmph. The CU was alive even though it was very, very late. We hung out there, of course went to Lotteria for snacks, and then a few of us ended up at Megan’s apartment until almost 6am. It was just nice sitting and talking and we even watched an episode of Happy Endings.

I kind of regretted staying up so late but by noon wpid-img_20150509_192912.jpgthe next day I was up and ready to go to the foreigner market! We didn’t make it out there until just after 2 but Gillian and I got lots of snacks and treats. Megan met up with us and we enjoyed lounging on the beach for a few hours. Karolyne and Lynette met us in Gwangan and we had a delicious BBQ dinner. Afterwards we went to a coffee shop where the windows looked out on the beach and there was a live concert going on. It was a perfect night. And then there was cake. My friends got me this wpid-1431691957159.jpegdelicious blueberry layered cake. Ahh it was gone so fast but it was too good. I was certainly spoiled on my birthday. We headed into Seomyeon, back to the karaoke place we went to the week before, where we sang for an hour (and a half, thanks service!). Because we had a larger group we were in the biggest noraebang room I’ve ever seen. Also we had some birthday luck: got to the CU as they got a shipment of HONEY BUTTER CHIPS! Basically a coveted item in Korea right now. I was so excited.

wpid-img_20150509_234928.jpgAfterward, we ended the night in a popular clubbing area called KSU. I had been there before, and we had a few drinks, wpid-img_20150510_225545.jpgplayed beer pong, and then headed to a club my friend is currently obsessed with. After a bit of dancing, I was ready to go home so I did. I had a wonderful birthday here and I’m so thankful for my friends here and for anyone who sent me birthday wishes. It’s a little scary being far away from all the comforts and friends from home but my friends here made the day so wonderful for me. I really appreciate them.

The next day, a group of ladies and I spent the day in SpaLand! I hadn’t been since January (my first time) and I took the chance and got a scrub again. It felt so nice just soaking and relaxing all day. I think I’ll spend the entire 4 hours in the bath area next wpid-img_20150510_184528.jpgtime… haha. My friend Gillian has made a promise to herself that she’s going to go once a month from now on! I like it more in the winter but I will be going back for sure.

After SpaLand, we had a really good dinner in the food court (Johnny Rocket’s for me) and then Gillian and I went shopping at H&M. I ended by birthday weekend by purchasing a cute dress and a nice sweater that I’m gonna get a lot of use from in the next few weeks. (It’s a super lightweight sweater).

And now I’ve just finished the second party day at work. Today was also Teacher’s Day and I was very lucky to receive wpid-img_20150515_174102.jpga few gifts and letters from my students.It was a fun day but I’m really burnt out from being so high energy for the last two days and painting kid’s hands and stuff haha. I am looking forward to this weekend though.wpid-img_20150515_155133.jpg

A group of us girls from Hwamyeong AND ALICE (who is finally back in Korea!! woo) are going to Seoul to go to the Lantern festival with WINK! You’ll be able to read my whole post about that when I get back. I’m really looking forward to it. And then the following weekend I get my first visitor from home! I’m so excited.

May really is the best month!

I hope you have a great weekend!!

Until next time,
a newly 24-year-old B.

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0

April Showers…

wpid-img_20150411_230653.jpgApril was a really fun month. It was really rainy but the beautiful days were amazing. I mean my first baseball game got rained out, and the cherry blossom festival was a bit gloomy but I did end up going to a game! The next weekend wpid-img_20150411_193430.jpgactually. On April 11th, I watched the Lotte Giants (Busan’s team) get beat by the Hanhwa Eagles (Daejon’s team). We sat in the Unreserved Seating, which was really a great view. And for $7! It was a steal. The group of us enjoyed snacks, some enjoyed beer, and we watched our team lose horribly. I also bought a set of thunder sticks, and we all wore the regulation orange plastic garbage bags that you do at Korean baseball games. Overall, it was a fun game and I enjoyed it! Afterwards, we headed out and got some dakgalbi! Which was amazing of course, the restaurant wpid-img_20150411_164557.jpgnear Yanjeong is the BEST. The following day, Megan and I made our way to Centum city. We wanted to explore the shopping area, we got food, and just had a nice chilled out day. The week at work went pretty quickly because I was so absorbed in doing the final speaking tests. So odd that I’m done 1.5/3 semesters at work!!

The following weekend was the foreigner market! Every month, since January, there’s been a foreigner market in the wpid-img_20150418_142000.jpgGwangan area of Busan. Each month has had more and more vendors, and three bars: Sharky’s, HQ, and Beached bar, are filled with vendors selling various goods. It’s a great place to get hummus, cheeses and yogurt, and other dishes that are delicious and wanted by many foreigners. It’s so nice to have an event like this and it’s really gotten popular. It also brings a lot of the foreigners out there and it’s always nice to see a friendly face. A group of us headed to Brunsweek, a restaurant in Gwangan, for brunch before the market. Gillian, Megan, Karolyne, and I enjoyed our brunch and also got a few things at the market. Following the market, we hung out on wpid-img_20150418_161054.jpgthe beach enjoying the sun and sipping some drinks. Later on, we had a delicious BBQ meal that was SO very good. We also ended up at HQ where we reunited with a big group of people as the rain started to fall outside. After an instance, I wasn’t really in the mood to be out but I was with a good group of people and we made our way to Eva’sTicket in the KSU area. It was pretty much empty when we got there and the staff was kind of rude but we had poutine, and then a group of us from Hwamyeong left. Overall it was a good Saturday night, but I could have done without some of it…wpid-img_20150419_205017.jpg

On Sunday, I had a super chilled out day with Megan. It was REALLY rainy, so we took the subway to Homeplus, got some groceries and then headed back home. We ended up going to see a movie too, Kingsman. I have already seen it but I liked it enough to see it again. It was really funny watching someone else watch it too.. haha. Overall I had a good weekend, and sometimes you just need a day to chill out.

The last weekend of April was pretty busy! A big group of us hung out at CU on wpid-img_20150425_033722.jpgFriday night, drinking and having fun. In Korea, it’s not uncommon or illegal to drink in public and one of the cheapest places to get drunk is at the convenience store. (Convenience stores, good for more than just snacks;)) There was a guitar, lots of friendly Korean guys, and just a great group of people. It made Saturday a little bit difficult for some of my friends, but we all made our way back to Sajik stadium to watch the Lotte Giants play the Samsung Lions.

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AND WE WON! It was an amazing game, I left a bit before the ending but it was a really good game. We won 12-9. It was one of the more exciting games, compared to the first one I saw. A few of us were pretty tired so we just grabbed some dinner and made our way back home on the subway. I don’t like feeling like I’m wasting a good night out but sometimes wpid-img_20150425_194908.jpgwhen you’re tired, you’re tired.

The following day I wandered around Hwamyeong with Megan, we got some birthday cake ice cream cones from McDonalds (they were amazing) and had a good snack at Hurdy Gurdywpid-img_20150426_153211.jpg. It was a beautiful day to walk around. We ended the night by watching the sunset with pizza from Gillian’s new beautiful apartment! I had crazy apartment envy now. (Gillian is one of the newest girls that has moved to Hwamyeong and she’s a lovely person!!).
The last week of work was pretty chilled out because it was the end of the semester, I was finishing up textbooks. My boss even gave us a few short days and a day off (on April 30th.) I used that day to go shopping and exploring in Haeundae, as I don’t get to make it there that often! OK BT is an awesome plus sized shop there and I got some nice black jeans from there. (I’m wearing them now!).

The first weekend of May was pretty fun and a super long weekend for me! May is shaping up to be a super exciting month. Tomorrow, May 9th, is my birthday. And I’ve got some nice plans that include going to the monthly foreigner market, going to SpaLand, and the following weekend I’m going to a festival in Seoul, and then wpid-img_20150426_180523.jpgfollowing that there’s a long weekend where I have a visitor coming from home! I’m very excited for what May has to bring, and I’m also excited to be a 24-year-old!

Now, I’m probably going to go back into my old format, since I’m a bit more caught up, and I’m going to do some more detailed posts about my favourite places in Busan, the ones that I keep returning to.. haha. Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great weekend! I know I will!

Until next time,
B.

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3

…Out like lamb.

wpid-img_20150328_173816.jpgMarch did indeed go out like a lamb. As the month ended in the middle of a week, it was kind of hard to get into some trouble during that time! I was having some elbow pain but some Tylenol ER and an arm wrap helped, that was about it nothing more exciting. The last weekendwpid-img_20150328_134251.jpg of March, I had plans to go to a temple but ended up sleeping in and missing the bus unfortunately. But as did a few other girls and we all decided to make our way to Gyeongju. Now Grace did give people homework to go visit this city, but we didn’t really plan the trip 100%! We basically got on a train and let ourselves get fully lost in Gyeongju. Emphasis on the lost part because at one point I lost our only map… haha.

wpid-img_20150328_164011.jpgWe saw some beautiful things in Gyeongju, including Anapji pond, the Botanical gardens, the beginning of cherry blossom season, a little flea market, and lots of tombs. We also wandered through a food village and a local market. Gyeongju is a slow, sleepy city that I look forward to going back to. The weather was beautiful (I am looking forward to putting my brand new prescription sunglasses to use) and we got to see some of the coolest parts of Gyeongju. It’s close enough to do a day trip which is nice because then I don’t have to pay for an accommodation. The train leaves from Busan station to Shingyeonju, and then you can take a bus from wpid-img_20150328_135639.jpgShingyeonju station to lots of places in Gyeongju. Or you can just take a bus from Nopo terminal to Gyeongju bus terminal. I’m going to return in the next few weeks, with a more thought out plan of course.

Saturday night had us back in Nampo where we had Farmer’s burgers, and then Megan and I met up with the lovely Alice  for some bubble tea. We drank our tea in Gong Cha (WHERE THEY RAN OUT OF EARL GREY, THE wpid-img_20150328_174229.jpgHORROR!) and just chatted. I have bonded with both of them a lot over the last few weeks and I’m really happy they’re here. Good people really make your time in a place a lot better.

After tea, we decided to call it a night. We’re not ones to club or anything so we were back home before midnight and I was probably into some TV show I had missed. On Sunday, I explored the Gupo market again, gettingwpid-img_20150329_131259.jpg some veggies and fruit. i also explored a lot of Deokchon with a friend, we got some great toast from a street stand and then went back to Hwamyeong for dinner. We had the best bibimbap at a restaurant near my apartment that was in a giant cast iron pot that made all the rice crispy and delicious. In the evening, I had bingsu with Kate and we wandered around Hwamyeong and chatted.wpid-img_20150329_143939.jpg

wpid-img_20150402_123557.jpgDuring the week I contracted a super annoying stomach bug that had me laying in bed surviving on gingerale and soda crackers for the better part of Tuesday and Wednesday. Thankfully I felt better on Thursday and it was good because my boss treated everyone to lunch. I had recently walked around Hwamyeong a bit more with Kate one night and we found some restaurants outside of the main area. My boss ended up taking us to lunch at a Korean style Italian restaurant and it was really good. It just to happened to be located in the area I had discovered only a short time before! We had a salad with ricotta cheese and nuts, and we shared a bolognese pasta, a carbonara pasta, and a pizza that had 4 different types: garlic shrimp, spicy meat, margarita and gorgonzola… After lunch we went for coffee and then we all started work! It was such a good way to spend the morning, I love my coworkers.

The first weekend of April was a promising one: I was going to my first baseball game AND there was the Jinhae cherry blossom festival. Saturday started out nice. The weather was beautiful, a bit overcast but it was warm enough. I went to Seomyeon to get some clothes from H&M with Kate and Kristin, and we also had Subway. wpid-img_20150404_120851.jpg Ahh. I got some cute things from H&M, and I found some great shopping partners. I love when people also like shopping because I wpid-img_20150404_155147.jpgcan actually do it for hours. We grabbed some coffee after, hit some cosmetics stores and then met up with Megan and Alice to go back to the Kakao Popup store. Of course I bought more things and then we all set off to go to the baseball game!

Of course when we were walking to the subway it started to POUR rain. So much rain was falling they had to shut down the escalators leaving Sajik station. When we got to the stadium we found out the game was cancelled. My first baseball game was so disappointing, haha. Don’t be sad for me though, we got a refund and then we made our way back to Seomyeon. We enjoyed delicious pumpkin pajeon and flavoured magekolli until Megan, Alice and I decided to get dakgalbi. There’s an amazing restaurant near Yangjeong station that has the BEST dakgalbi I’ve ever had. I’m not a huge fan of dakgalbi but this stuff is just incredible. I had it two weekends in a row and I have no regrets…

It was a trio adventure for Megan, Alice, and I and our mild tipsiness might have been annoying to the people around us (we weren’t that bad but I think we might have scared some people with our laughter).wpid-img_20150404_205613.jpg But we had such a good night together! Then we ended the night by sitting in the subway station getting out of the rain and into some Kakao bread. I got a Frodo and Neo sticker, Megan got Jay G (AHAHAHAH) and Alice gowpid-img_20150404_221653.jpgt Muzi. I really enjoyed spending time with these girls haha. They’re such good people.

I’m going to save my next post for my entire experience at the Jinhae Cherry Blossom festival. It was a great day and I got a lot of pictures.

I’m also hitting 6 months since I left Canada AND six months since I’ve started this blog. Thanks for sticking it out and reading! I have really enjoyed blogging and I’m glad to meet some new people and other bloggers. Woo.
Got some exciting posts coming up, so look forward to them!!

Until next time!
-B