Jeju-do

3 11 2010

At the end of September we had six days off for Chuseok (Korean thanksgiving)  so Patrick and I finally took a trip to Jeju.  I can’t believe it took me 2 years to go to Jeju.  It was awesome.   We rented a scooter and drove all around the island.  While we were there I took over 800 photos!  Yes, I went completely nuts with my new camera, so that’s why it has taken me so long to post.  Here are a few of my favorite photos:

 

Patrick with our scooter on the first day of our vacation. Here we are stopped on the coast road to take some photos.

This was our first Jeju sunset (they were all beautiful). This one was at Gwakji Beach, on the northwest side of the island.

 

This is Patrick and me inside the lava caves at Manjanggul. The lava tubes were huge! You could walk through about a 2km stretch of the tubes.

 

A random spot along the coastal road driving down the northeast coast to Seongsan Ilchulbong. We saw cranes (at least I'm thinking they're cranes, I'm no bird expert) all over the island.

 

Approaching Seongsan Ilchulbong (sunrise peak). Seongsan Ilchulbong is a volcanic crater that you can climb up. The thing to do is to climb it before dawn and see the sunrise. For some reason we thought we would actually do this. We didn't. Instead we climbed it in the afternoon.

 

Patrick at the top of Sunrise Peak. I still maintain that while this was a pretty cool place, it would have been much cooler if there were a few dinosaurs roaming around in the crater. Patrick says I'm insane, but I know I'm right on this one.

 

The town of Seongsan-ri, as seen from the top of Sunrise Peak.

 

A pretty spot along the southeast coast road.

One thing Jeju is famous for is it's Lady Divers, unfortunately there aren't that many left today. However there are lots of statues of them. (We did see a few live lady divers while we were riding around.)

 

Patrick looking at tiny crabs at Pyoseon Beach.

Pyoseon Beach

A pretty spot in the park for the Cheonjiyeon waterfall.

 

Fields of tea at the O'Sulloc tea farm. This was one of my favorite things in Jeju. The green fields were so beautiful. Definitely worth venturing away from the coast to see this.

 

We spent our second last night at Geumneung Beach, before heading back to Jeju CIty. It was gorgeous. Our hotel was directly across the street and cost about $45 for the night. That's Patrick off in the distance.

Finally, one last sunset. This one was at Geumneung Beach.





I Love my Crockpot

22 10 2010

My first ever crockpot banana bread

When we first moved to Busan, Patrick  and I bought lots of little appliances and things for the apartment.  But, by far the best purchase we made was our crockpot.  On average, I’d say we use the crockpot two or maybe three times a week.  How I survived this much of my life without one, I don’t know.  When I first started using a crockpot, I figured it would be great for making stews, which I did at home with my mom’s.  But since buying this crockpot I haven’t made a single stew.  I have made plenty of other yummy food though.

Some of the great things we’ve made:

- Huge pots of spaghetti sauce

- Sweet and Sour Pork (This one was awesome.) Here’s the recipe we used:

http://busycooks.about.com/od/porkentreerecipes/r/sweetsrcppork.htm

- Curry

- Sour Cream Salsa Chicken

And most recently BANANA BREAD!  I really wasn’t sure if this would work but it did and I’m super excited since I have no regular oven.  Next week Zucchini bread.

This is the banana bread recipe I used:

http://baking.about.com/od/crockpotbaking/r/bananabread.htm

My favorite crockpot item though, has to be yogurt.  Making yogurt in the crockpot is so easy, and it’s delicious.  Plus it’s way cheaper than buying yogurt, it’s not full of sugar, and it cuts down on plastic wasted.  Here’s how to do it:

Crockpot Yogurt

Ingredients: 1 carton of milk and 1/2 cup of plain, live-culture yogurt

Step 1: Dump a carton of milk (I usually make 2 or 3 liters at a time) into the crockpot and cook it on LOW for about 2 hours.  Make sure it’s on low – you don’t want to boil the milk.

Step 2: After about 2 hours unplug the crockpot and let the milk sit for 2-3 hours.  While the milk is cooling take 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of plain, live culture yogurt out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter and warm up to room temperature.

Step 3: Check the temperature of the milk after 2-3 hours (depending on how cold your apartment is).  You want the milk to reach the point where you can stick the tip of your pinkie finger in and keep it there for 15 seconds without it hurting.

Step 4: Now that the milk has cooled scoop out a cup or two, and mix it with the room temperature yogurt.

Step 5: Pour the milk and yogurt mixture back into the rest of the milk and whisk it, so it’s well-mixed.

Step 6: Wrap the whole crockpot in a couple of heavy towels or a blanket and let it sit for 6-8 hours. (I usually do all this after work and then let it sit while I sleep.

Step 7: When you wake up in the morning you will have nice thick yogurt.  Whisk it all well, put it into containers and into the fridge.  After a few hours your yogurt will be cold and ready to eat.  I like mine over granola and frozen blueberries.





Buddha’s Birthday Parade

30 05 2010

May 16th there was a big parade to celebrate Buddha’s birthday.  Fortunately for us it started right by our apartment at Gudeok Stadium and we just kind of stumbled on it.  The parade went from our neighborhood to Busan station.  We watched part of the parade from a little baseball bar that overlooks the street where the parade was so that’s why some of the pictures are from above.

This is part of the ceremony that they had in Gudeok Stadium which is where the parade started. We watched for a while but then decided that since we were hungry we'd go get some food before the parade started.

Yay the parade finally started. This is one of the buddha floats.

A lotus flower float (this was one of my favorites)

This is us about to get pushed out of the way by the parade. This Korean man in the audience kept taking Patrick's camera and offering very kindly to take our picture. The only problem was that everytime he did it it was like the first time he ever held a camera and it would take him a good two minutes or so to figure out how to take a picture. By which time the float or whatever would already have passed us.

Unfortunately this pictured turned out a bit fuzzy but this lady just perfectly shows the mood of the parade. Everybody seemed so happy to be a part of it.

We weren't really sure what this motorcycle riding, fire shooting pig had to do with the rest of the parade but it definitely won the prize for funniest float.

Lots of ladies with lanterns...

... and finally some more lanterns.





Our New Home

30 05 2010

This was the state my bag was in by the time it got to Busan. I guess it goes to show that you get what you paid for and I paid exactly $20 for this bag. At least I didn't lose anything out of it.

Our apartment as seen from standing in the front entrance...

... and now standing in the kitchen...

... and the kitchen itself. The apartment isn't huge but it's a good size for the two of us and it's starting to feel like home.

This is me eating a giant bowl of kimchi jiggae at the bar down the street from our house. We're pretty sure that the lady running the bar assumed we couldn't handle the spiciness and watered it down for us because she warned us that it was spicy and then it was totally not spicy at all.

This is Gudeok stadium which is right near our house. The weekend before last it was all full of people getting ready for the Buddha's birthday parade. But we thought that it was a festival and that there would be a show so we went in and sat down. It took us about an hour or so to realize that we were watching the dress rehearsals/organizations, at which point we gave up and went to the beach.

The lighthouse and breaker near Songdo Beach. It only takes about 15 minutes on the city bus to get to this beach so we'll be spending plenty of time there once the weather decides to warm up.

Patrick with the beach in the background. I was having some camera issues this day so I didn't get a really good shot of the beach itself. But it's pretty nice.

Now me in front of the beach. Notice the fake whale in the background. There's also a big ring with fake dolphins jumping through it.

These people seemed to be doing some kind of ritual. They kept tossing buckets of worms and praying. We weren't really sure what was going on but it looked pretty cool.

Starfish

You can't really tell in this picture but these are little tiny clams, they were each only about 1-1.5 cm wide and they were all over the rocks we were walking on.





Our First Week Back in Korea

9 05 2010

Settling In

We’ve been back in Korea for one week now and it’s hard to believe that we’ve only been here for such a short time.  It already feels like home.  This time around we’re in Busan, which is on the south coast of Korea.  Coming back to Korea for a second time is so much easier than coming the first time.  For example when you arrive the first time everything seems so different and complicated.  Going to a restaurant or a grocery store is such a big deal.  This time there is none of that.  We still have the excitement of exploring a new city but little of the stress.

Work

We got pretty lucky in our first week in that Wednesday was Children’s Day.  Now ordinarily if a holiday fell on Wednesday it would be kind of annoying but for us to be able to work two days, then have a day off to rest, clean our apartment and unpack was pretty great.  So far our school seems quite good.  Our schedule this time is 2:00-10:00 but our first class isn’t actually until 4:30.  So when we arrive we have 2 and a half hours of prep time.  Most of our classes are literature based and most of the novels we are using are classics.  The school very recently changed management and it seems like the new management is very organized and is getting off on the right foot.

Home

Our apartment is a large studio, I measured it out with my feet and it’s roughly 500 square feet or so.  I suppose that by North American standards it would be quite small but it’s really all we need.  We spent a good part of Wednesday cleaning it and arranging the furniture the way we want it so now it already feels like home.  The neighbourhood is pretty nice.  There are mountains all around us and we only live about a ten minute walk away from school.  We found a cool shopping area called PIFF square which is only 2 subway stops away so I think we’ll be spending lots of time there.

Exploring

One of the great things about living in a new city is that you get to explore.  Considering that we’ve only been here a week I think we’re doing pretty well so far.  Last Sunday we met up with Patrick’s sister for lunch near Busan Station and walked around there.  We also went to Beomnaegol to find the Kyobo bookstore (yes we are both such nerds that on our first day back in the country our priority was to find the bookstore).  Wednesday as I said earlier we went to PIFF square and Friday night we went to this cool bar in a cave with one of the other teachers.  Yesterday we went to this big riverside park near Sasang station.  Patrick had seen that there was a big skate park there so we went to check that out figuring he could skate while I went for a run.  Unfortunately the skate park was pretty lame, but the running was great.  There was a 5km long trail that went all over the park.  Today we did some exploring a little closer to home and found a good grocery store that isn’t too far away.

That’s about it for now.  I haven’t really taken any pictures yet but I’ll work on that this week and maybe next week’s post will be a little photo essay about our new life here.





My Book!

16 02 2010

This year for Christmas I made Patrick a photo book showcasing what I thought were the best photos he took of our trip.  It was a little bit belated but last week I finally finished and published it.  You can check out a preview of the book (and order a copy if you’re interested) here:

Our Trip Home from…
By Photos by: Patrick…




My First Couple of Weeks in Colorado

19 12 2009

A rainbow near Evergreen, CO

I’ve been in Colorado for two weeks and I have to say I love it here.  I’ve seen more wildlife in the last 2 weeks than I had seen in the last two years.  So far I’ve seen deer, elk, buffalo, hawks and LOTS of Canada geese, and we saw an amazing shooting star one night as we drove home.  There’s also something really great about having an amazing view of the Rockies every time I go out.

Patrick is working a lot so we’ve been trying to go out and see something every day that he has off.  So far we’ve done pretty well.  It seems like there is so much to do here that it’s hard to stay inside.  Today I just went out for a good walk with the dogs.  We walked to this park where there were hundreds of Canada geese resting up before continuing on their way down south.  I wish I had had my camera with me.  Maybe I’ll go back tomorrow.

The other day we took a bike ride from Patrick’s mom’s house in Aurora all the way into downtown Denver.  I think we biked about 15 miles or so altogether.  The great thing was that at the end of the day we just hopped on the light-rail with our bikes to come home.  While we were downtown we rode around and saw some of the sights.  We also went to the Colorado History Museum and the Tattered Cover.  The history museum was pretty small but it was interesting and the Tattered Cover is this great bookstore they have here.

Chatauqua Park

On Monday afternoon Patrick and I drove up to Boulder and went for a little hike in Chatauqua Park.  I’m still adjusting to the high altitude here and couldn’t breathe  so it wasn’t a particularly long hike but we did find a herd of white tailed deer.  We were able to get incredibly close to them and take some really cool photos of them.  They were obviously pretty used to humans but we still didn’t get too close.

Deer

On Sunday Patrick was working so his mom and her boyfriend Nick took me up to Red Rocks and Georgetown.  Red Rocks is this amazing outdoor amphitheater which opened in 1941.  Lots of really famous bands, like The Beatles,  have performed there.  I’ll have to come back in the summer to catch a show.  Georgetown may be the cutest town I have ever seen.  The day we went up there was a Christmas festival going on so there was a horse drawn sleigh, chestnuts roasting on an open fire and carols playing in the streets.  It was like walking onto a movie set.  Georgetown was originally a mining town in the 1860s and there are actually still several buildings from that time standing.

Me at Red Rocks

It's like a postcard.

Eating chestnuts by the fire.








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.