Final Days in Daegu

Two weeks before Andy and I left Korea, his friend Sam moved to Daegu.  It was kind of bittersweet since here was his friend he hadn’t seen in so long – in his city! – but we only had a two week ‘layover’ so to speak.  We showed him around a bit and had a few good days.

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Updates Coming Soon!

My dear readers, I am so sorry I’ve been neglecting you!!

My contract in Korea came to a bittersweet end in March.  It was very hard to leave the great life Andy and I built for ourselves in the ROK.  However, our leaving meant we could go on a 3 week vacation – wahoo! We backpacked through Cambodia and Vietnam, flying back to Korea for a final day and a half to collect our stuff.* Then we flew home and have been here ever since.  I am going to write a few proper blog posts to finish off the Korea chapter, don’t worry!

I’m still around to answer any questions or respond to comments.  My Geoje post is a regular hit it seems!

New posts coming soon… watch this space 🙂

*Super loud shout-out to Keir and Emily who kept our six GIANT suitcases in their small apartment for three weeks.   Amazing friends!

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Taejongdae Park

Understatement of the blog: winter in Korea is cold.  Really cold.  Hailing from the northern US, I thought I knew what cold was, but I had never really walked for long durations outside before.  We regularly get cold fronts from Siberia (it sounds like a joke, doesn’t it??) paired with icy winds.  Can you say brrrr?

Overlooking the pebble beach

Regardless, a little cold won’t stop me from enjoying all Korea has to offer. 

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Cat Cafe

One of the things I was most excited to try out in the ROK was a cat cafe.  Korea is home to all sorts of cafes – cats, dogs, even sheep! Some friends had been to one in Daegu, but didn’t recommend it.  Keeping that in mind, I looked up a nice one in Seoul and Andy and I went back in December.

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Presentation Day

Every month or so, my school has Presentation Day.  The 3rd and 4th graders choose a topic and give an oral presentation, usually last 1-2 minutes.  Some even have visuals.  The winner is awarded a gift certificate.

A few months ago, I had a few free moments and so I took some pictures of the students in our new classroom.  The topic was “food.”

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Bukchon Hanok Village

One of the touristy draws in Seoul is the Bukchon Hanok Village.  Hanok is traditional Korean architecture.  At one time, all homes in Korea were built in this fashion, but tradition gave way to more modern apartment buildings.  A group of residents in Bukchon protested renovations in the 1960s, and their homes were preserved.  Today, 999 hanok homes stand as a testament to the former lifestyle.  I’m happy they’re still around – they are much more beautiful than high-rise complexes.

the start of the hanok
walking up to take it the view
most doors were ornately decorated
many galleries and workshops are located in the village
Andy overlooking Seoul – you can even see N Seoul Tower!
Milk delivery
lots of pretty details
a peek at the courtyard past the front door
Seoul’s mascot, Haechi
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Another family visit

Andy’s family came for a post-holiday season visit.  They were here over a week but it sure went quick! We spent the bulk of the time in Seoul (with a quick jaunt to the DMZ) and then here in Daegu.  Here’s a few photos.

Joseon-era guard at Gyeongbokgung (royal palace) in Seoul
the whole gang
Andy and Sammie before Nanta, Korea’s own percussion/cooking show
I spy a North Korean soldier
at Dorasan train station – last stop before North Korea
Jane, Andy, and Daniel at Namdaemun (market)
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Snowboarding at High1 Ski Resort

Winter has definitely hit Korea! Korean winters are not only cold; they’re extremely windy.  A very unpleasant combination.

Instead of becoming a hermit (and laying on my ondol floors all winter), I went snowboarding at High1 Resort in Gangwon-do.  Gangwon-do is the most northeastern province in South Korea, on the North Korean border.  It’s actually in the Taebaek mountains, where Andy and I originally had an interview last year.  Gorgeous, but isolated.  No thanks.

Map of the mountain

Being an expat in Daegu means there are tons of organized trips every weekend, and so Andy and I choose to pursue one for our trip.  There’s almost one every weekend for the entirety of winter, so it wasn’t difficult.
Our trip included:
– 4-hour bus ride to the resort
– clothing rental
– equipment rental
– 3 meals
– a really strange “party”
– surprisingly nice accommodations, if you can overlook the sleeping on the floor part
– lift passes

View from our condo
View from our condo

Pretty good deal in my opinion.  No organizing required.  As for the actual snowboarding… it was a lot of fun! Some of my previous knowledge reentered my brain, but I still cannot do a toeside turn for the life of me.  My knees can attest to that fact.  I think the next time I go snowboarding I might buy a lesson just for that simple skill, because I really need to learn it to improve at all.  Our trip included a lesson, but it was in Korean, so I opted out.  Andy was a good teacher though!

Using an airgun to remove all snow from the board… why??
Hitting the slopes!
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Seongseo Rose Park

A tortoise welcomes you to the park

The Seongseo Rose Park is just ten minutes away from me.  In the spring and summer, there were thousands of sweet-smelling blooms.  In November, most of them have been wrapped up in thatch for the winter season.  Despite this, there are still a few stubborn flowers peppering the scene.

Bundled up for the winter season
Not yet wrapped up
Waryong Mountain in the background

Part of the reason I avoided the park during peak season was the atrociously humid weather – the other, the tremendous bees.  I do regret missing the park at its best, but even in the cool weather it was an enjoyable experience.

tea rose hybrids
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