It’s been a year today since I’ve been home. It feels like 10 years, but the good news is that I have a lot to be thankful for. I’ve learned a lot about the world from my experiences in Korea. Living in a city of ~25,000,000 people greatly contrasts with living in Thorold, a city of 18,000 people.
I’ve been thinking of doing a ‘best of’ post for a while, but I thought I’d leave it until I’ve been back in Canada for a while. After over 25,000 unique visitors, I’ve finally compiled what I feel to be my best posts. Sadly, this will be my last post to this blog. I have nothing more to add about Korea. I feel that this blog is complete just the way it is, and I am deeply appreciative of each and every visitor.
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Without further adieu, here they are, in no particular order:
One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to in Korea. This place is an old fortress that was used to defend the country. Today it is an absolutely beautiful mountain/park area. The photos I took that day may be some of my best.
I chose this post because it was written only a few days after I arrived. It was one of the first times that I actually gained the courage to venture outside of my apartment. I carefully traced my steps from my apartment, noting landmarks on my way down the bustling side street. There, I met a young couple, maybe 20 years old. The guy let me take his scooter for a ride, and in a gesture of mutual trust (or distrust), I let him hold onto my camera. In Seoul, it is common for motorbikes to drive on the sidewalk, and with the traffic in Seoul, I wasn’t about to venture out onto the street. I rode around for about 10 minutes, and returned to the front of the Family Mart where I had met my new friends.
Documents the solar eclipse that happened on July 22, 2009. It was a really special time for me, especially since I got to spend some time celebrating with my students. I miss them and think of them every single day.
Hiroshima: December – January 2009 – 2010
I visited Hiroshima, Japan for a New Year’s trip. It was one of the most moving experiences I’ve ever experienced. To be in a place where nearly 150,000 people died was very humbling. I thought it would be fun, and it was, but while visiting the Children’s Peace Memorial, I broke down and cried.
My trip to the oldest and biggest fish market in Seoul. It was huge, and smelled like fish.
My first mountainous triumph. This is when I fell in love with the mountains in Seoul. The feeling of being on top of that mountain was one of the most exhilarating feelings I’ve ever experienced, and the full-body fatigue I felt at the end of the trip was euphoric. I ended up finding a really nice temple where they gave out lunch for free, provided you wash your dishes. Fair. Nice photos are available at the bottom of the post.
I decided to do a writeup on Myeongdong, one of Seoul’s most popular shopping districts.
I visited a ~700 year old temple where kings of dynasties past were interred. I also walked along Cheonggycheon for the first time. It is a man-made river running through Seoul, and it was absolutely gorgeous that day, after the rain had stopped. Nice photos too.
A post reflecting on my first complete year in Korea. Looking back, I am still grateful for the same things that I wrote about in this post: my family and friends, and the support they’ve provided me.
I had lost my iPhone in a taxicab in Seoul. There are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of taxis in Seoul. I thought my phone was long gone. Then, a few days later, I got a call from my good friend who was a student of mine while I was working with the English as a Second Language program at Brock University. She told me that she had to meet me, and that it was urgent. The taxi driver had found my phone, and called her, since she was listed in my iPhone’s contact list as her Korean name (우영하). She took a 5-hour bus ride from her city to Seoul, met the guy around 11:30am, and met me at a mall. I had no idea that she had my iPhone. As I was telling her about how I lost it, the pulls it out of her pocket. I have never, ever been more surprised in my life. That act of kindness from her was absolutely touching. Shortly after she gave it to me, she was back on a bus for the 5 hour trip back to her city.
I had the privilege of attending a traditional Korean wedding. The bride was my coworker, who happens to be Chinese. The colours of that day were indescribable. It was a great day for my coworkers and I, and provided me with a lot of insight into traditional Korean culture.
I partnered up with an actor in Korea, Michael Arnold, and his friend Jennifer Yun. He is a big advocate of saving the old (and beautiful) buildings of Geumho-dong. The government is displacing the people of this area, tearing down their houses, and putting up skyscrapers. Anyway, I took some nice photos that day, and it gives a great view into traditional Korean buildings versus the mega-apartments of Seoul today.
I had found my favourite mountain in Seoul. Includes some nice photos and a video.
I went out to the heart of Seoul, and spent the day walking around, observing. As you can see from the photos, it was absolutely gorgeous.
I was in Japan to renew my visa, and got to spend some time in a gorgeous city called Fukuoka. The park I visited there was so perfectly manicured; it looked like someone had gone through it with a pair of nail clippers. Absolutely gorgeous. See the video at the bottom of the post. Nice pictures also.