Page 3 of auspicious Travel Blog Posts

Asia » South Korea » Seoul September 4th 2010

A typhoon hit Korea a few days ago and raged through the night. I woke up around 4am unable to force myself to sleep any longer. Instead, I contemplated the apartment collapsing around me and being stuck in the downpour in measly PJs. Unable to bear such circumstance, I got up, took a shower, and put on some sturdier jeans. As the hours passed, schools were delayed or closed. Munhak Stadium’s rooftop took on $8 million in damages, which I witnessed firsthand when travelling back and forth from the postal office. Trees were UNROOTED from the ground. I’m talking large trees knocked over with gnarled roots curling in the air. Large leaves and branches were strewn everywhere. One of my coworkers described her bus ride to work. Only a few stops from school and one of ... read more
Class 3-6
goodbye card
goodbye with the girls

Asia » South Korea » Incheon August 29th 2010

A year goes by in a flash. And even faster as I get older. Most days this past week consisted in goodbyes, but there have been a surprising set of hellos as well. I know many travelers have heard of or experienced couch surfing, but I only recently tried it out. To be honest, the Incheon group seemed evacuated, dried out and moldy with the sound of dying crickets in the wind. So, I figured, why not light a fire and organized a couple gatherings. Hello It turned out to be a great experience. It's like a traveling melting pot: a lovely couple from New Zealand, a couple local Koreans, my friends from Germany and Korea, and native teachers from Ireland, England, and the States, all of whom love to travel. I learned that what sounds ... read more
CS 2
Old and New Friends

Asia » South Korea » Incheon August 15th 2010

The rain has been pouring since the predicted typhoon hit a few days ago. It's a bit strange to hear someone say, as if in afterthought, "Oh, and there will be a typhoon later tonight." As my contract in Incheon draws to a close within 21 days, my place has turned into a chaotic mess of documents, work, clothes, and boxes. It's not so much that I've doubled-up on my belongings since first arriving or that packing has driven me insane, but more that I like to throw everything out into the open. When everything's packed up, I feel satisfied knowing I'm onto the next place and next adventure. With the humidity and summertime, the air swells with the cry of the cicadae. Though their song is an annoyance to many, I have always loved the ... read more
Maple Leaves
Purple White Orchids
Cherry Blossoms

Asia » South Korea » Incheon July 23rd 2010

Camp, for me and many other teachers, was one of the most intimidating challenges when teaching ESL in Korea. Where the average teacher creates 1-4 lesson plans/week during the regular school year, a camp extends the workload to 10 or more lesson plans/week. 1 hour = 1 lesson. At my school, camp lasts one week of 15-18 lesson plans (for winter and summer). Standard Class: 20 students ranging from grades 1-3 in middle school (7th-9th grade in the US). There is no co-teacher to help translate or control unruly children, and you want to make the camp fun and memorable for the kids. Now, this probably sounds easy, right? Just play a lot of English games and you’re finished. But, if a teacher really wants a successful camp, it requires a lot of research, perhaps a ... read more
Balloon Buster
Creating Slogans & Commercials
Creating Slogans & Commercials

Asia » South Korea » Gyeonggi-do July 10th 2010

During a friend’s wedding, I met a friend of a friend, a cute and charming guy who, at a later date, asked me what I wanted to see in Korea. I replied Jeju-do, Jeollanam-do, and Suwon Village. Since the first two are at opposite ends of the peninsula, he asked me on a date to Suwon Village. I confess that because of the mixed elation and nerves for my date, my view of Suwon Village may be biased. He (I’ll refer to him as GY) picked me up early Saturday morning and we headed East. On my own, I doubt I would have ever made it out to Suwon because my weekends fill up quickly trying to have fun with friends before I leave in September. Fortunately, good timing intervened and I found myself inside a ... read more
Pungmul 2
Government Official2
Twisting Straw

Asia » South Korea » Seoul June 27th 2010

The past two weeks, I visited Namsan Tower twice. The first time as a first-timer with my friends from Australia and Germany, and the second time with my fellow native teachers. "Nam" = South. "San" = Mountain. It has the #1 view of Seoul. You can see Myungdong and sprawled neighborhoods of surrounding districts, gorgeous green mountains, and the Han River. The best means of getting there is taking Subway Line 4, Myungdong, exit #3. You will see Pacific Hotel and go up the alley on the right-hand side (just keep going straight for about 15 minutes). You can either walk all the way up or take the cable car (7,500 W round-trip). When you get out of the cable car, the trees are lush and green, arching over wide wooden steps. You climb up and ... read more
Lovers' Locks
Box-Head Man
Lightshow on Namsan Tower

Asia » South Korea » Seoul » Seodaemun-gu June 26th 2010

After countless palaces and temples in S Korea, Japan, and Thailand, I wanted to see something different. After some research, I found Seodaemun Prison. This historical location was built during the Japanese occupation to control Korean activists. My research also suggested against younger visitors as it holds some gruesome reenactments of what happened during 1908-1945. I was meeting three friends in different areas of Incheon and Korea, so we had a few stops along the way. As a tip for anyone living in Incheon and wanting to get to Seoul quickly using the subway, get yourself to Bupyeong. From Bupyeong, you can grab an EXPRESS BUS to Yongsan. You go up to the Yongsan tracks and choose the side that has the electronic sign reading 급헹 (Express) 용산 (Yongsan). From Yongsan, we made a few transfers ... read more
Alley Bookstore
Memorial Murals2

Asia » South Korea » Seoul » Jongno-gu June 19th 2010

Two of my friends recently moved to Korea from Germany and Australia, which meant it was the perfect time to play tourist. I had taught in Korea for the past 9 months, had visited Korea frequently growing up, yet I had not visited most of the popular tourist sites during all that available time. Gyeongbokgung (Gyeongbok Palace) is often listed as the #1 place to visit in Seoul if you have little time to spare. We decided to check for ourselves. I met up with my recently acquainted friend, Ozy Brett, at Subway Line 3, Gyeongbokgung, Exit #5. Actually, that's a lie. I got off on the wrong subway exit and had to taxi my way over to the correct area. Taxi-speak: Ahnnyeong ha sae yo. Hello. Gyeongbokgung ooh roh daeryuh ju sae yo. -> Please ... read more
Old Alleyway
Old Flicks in Korean

Asia » South Korea » Incheon June 16th 2010

In Korean public schools, teachers are required to do at least one "Open Class" where teachers from other schools and government officials attend your class to evaluate your performance. Sometimes you are also videotaped, which I was today. In fact, I have yet to understand where the tape will be put to use, but I shove it aside as "one of those Korean things." The Open Class followed weeks of preparation. I had to create a perfect lesson plan that felt more like a classroom advertisement. Then I dealt with rising tensions between me and my co-teacher. We had differing preferences. She wanted to rehearse the open class. Many schools do this in order to present perfect students who know all the answers and don't cause ruckus. I felt this would make the class superficial and ... read more
Gi Won and Eun Hae

Asia » South Korea » Busan » Haeundae-gu June 4th 2010

My friend and I were in desperate need of vacation and agreed on an impulsive trip to the Southern Coast of South Korea. We took the KTX train to Busan (3 hrs from Seoul) and a flight on Korean Air for the return (40 mins to Gimpo Airport) using our hard-earned money to splurge away our hard-earned stress. Don't get me wrong, working in Korea has many perks (like the pay, opportunities to travel, hilarious students that always make your day...), but it is also riddled with tiring obstacles (melodramatic office politics, disorganization, an educative system that needs revamping...). We arrived late Friday evening and my friend's acquaintance picked us up. As a local, he knew all the hidden spots. In the span of an hour-and-a-half, he showed us every prime angle of Busan with the ... read more
Lanterns at Gwanganlli
Gorgeous Trek
Scuba Diver's Home

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