25 07 2008

My old roommate and closest co-worker friend is moving back to Canada in 2 days. This is the start of a large turnover at work between now and when I leave at the end of September. I am sad that she is leaving and have been wanting to spend a lot of time with her lately to make the most of the dwindling days. Last weekend we did just that. She pulled out her well-used Lonely Planet and concocted a three day itinerary that had us all over the city. It was lots of fun, of course!

Here is a photo tour of the weekends events:

Friday Night:

Dinner downtown, and a walk around Insadong, Korea’s traditional area in the heart of the city. After that we stopped at the ‘Beautiful Tea Museum’ which isn’t much of a museum, but does have a killer yogurt-green tea smoothie.

Next we took a taxi to N Seoul Tower. I had been there once before when I first arrived, but the view was quite different at night. There was a laser light show that we watched while we had an extensive talk about our favorite tv shows. A photo shoot in front of the ‘lock gates’ where people leave engraved locks attached to a chain link fence at the base of the tower. Overwhelming feelings of how much I am going to miss her uniquely Samantha personality. And lets not forget the hilarious cable car ride back down with ooohs and ahhhhs and giggles galore from the packed in group.

Saturday was full of surprises for me. I told Samantha that I would be up for anything she wanted to do. She took full advantage of this and planed the day not letting me know what we were doing till we got to each destination. Our first stop was the Martyr Museum attached to a Catholic cathedral. Memories of early Baha’i history were strong in my mind and I wished that I had a copy of Dawnbreakers here in Korea to read when I got back to my apartment. Such soul stirring sacrifices have been made throughout all the dispensations of God.

The next stop was Itaewon, the foreigner district and US military base. I usually tend to avoid this neighborhood, but when it comes to a taste of home (literally) its worth the venture every now and then. My favorite food ever are french fries and I have been missing them, so a big plate of fries was enough to make it worth it. The food was so good, but we made sure to save room for Coldstone across the street. Next was a quick stop at YongSan electronics mart where we both bought backup batteries for our digital cameras and Samantha walked barefoot down the decorative water fountain.

We hit up two museums after that, the War Museum and the National Museum. The war museum was well curated, but slightly depressing given the subject. There was a display of children’s art depicting war and peace that I really enjoyed viewing. The National museum is FREE and in a really beautiful and modern building. After 3 museums, though, we were museumed out!

Next stop was Meyong Dong. Our plans got changed up here because its monsoon season and the rain wouldn’t stop pouring. So instead of shopping at the late nigh markets we headed over to Omokgyo for a movie. We were exhausted by the end of the day and still had another whole day ahead of us.

Sunday our plans were altered again because of the heavy rain. Also, we were quite exhausted so it was a good thing that the agenda was less packed. We met up for lunch then went on a guided tour of one of the palace grounds. I’m not sure why, but I didn’t really take many photos on the tour. After that we wend for one last stroll down Insadong, Samantha’s favorite place in Seoul. I’m going to miss you Samantha! (click here for a link to the weekend’s facebook album)


Geography Itch

6 07 2008

As plans for ‘life after Korea’ unfold I’ve found myself daydreaming quite a bit about what’s next. I’ve shared this with a couple of you, but here it is for everyone else. A while back I found myself thinking about how when I move back home and settle into California I will have more time to read, pray, cook, keep in touch with friends, teach myself new things, exercise….. Well, the scary thing was that before I left for Korea I was saying the same exact things. ‘When I’m in Korea I will have more time to….’ NO MORE EXCUSES! I must take control of my life now. And since I noticed the dreadful pattern of procrastination towards being proactive I’ve been much better at seizing the day.

One of the things on my list is keeping up with/continuing to hone my knowledge of Geography. I didn’t want to get rusty because I wasn’t in school anymore, I wanted to stay well read on the latest articles on the array of human geography topics and keep up with being able to locate stuff on the map.

To help with the latter I have found a really cool website that I want to share. So what if I am a geo-dork, online geography games are helpful and fun! So, the website is called Owl & Mouse and it has lots of cool map games that teach you the geography of our wonderful world. I have been particularly addicted to the online map puzzles where you can choose your continent and put the puzzle together country by country. You can pick whether you want political boundaries to show up, or just the outline of the continent. My roommate and I sit next to each other on the couch with our laptops racing to see who can complete the map the fastest (of course I have the ‘no boundaries’ handicap). So much fun!

Are you ready to get geographically literate? Ha.