Travel

Exploring Taiwan

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Rewind to the summer of 2016.We had a week off from work for vacation. Time is precious so we decided not to waste it. I concocted a plan with my partner in crime to escape from our mundane lives.Taipei, Taiwan became our destination and the rest is history….

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It was a short flight, around 2 hours from Korea to Taiwan. We landed after midnight, took a taxi with a guy who seemed to be an ex-NASCAR driver and made our way to our airbnb. Our host was very hospitable and showed us all the in and outs of where we would be staying for the next six days. Sadly I lost the pictures I had taken of the airbnb but it was sooooooo nice. Lots of space, really clean and quiet.

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We spent our days exploring Taipei and even ventured out to Taichung and Jiufen. We visited Taipei 101, Elephant Mountain, night markets, arcades, a bathroom themed cafe that I also lost the pictures to, Rainbow Village in Taichung, the stunning old streets of Jiufen, the Golden Waterfalls, and the Ying Yang sea. The sun was scorching, the people were charming, and the beef noodle soup was absolutely divine.

The last day of our trip was spent on the northern coast of Taiwan, staring out into the Pacific…. wondering where to go next…………..

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Chuseok (추석)

Chuseok is a big harvest festival in Korea and is usually celebrated for three days. It’s also known as the “Korean Thanksgiving”. People usually visit their hometowns, and spend time with family as they eat traditional Korean food. Last year, I was able to see what a traditional Chuseok looked like at Namsangol Hanok Village. I ate traditional foods, watched various traditional performances, and even tried on hanbok! (Hanbok is the traditional Korean dress).

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At the village, I tried a traditional rice cake…………………………….

 

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And I also tried songpyeon ( 송편). Songpyeon is one of the most popular Chuseok foods. They are stuffed with things like sesame seeds, cinnamon, jujube, or honey. One thing that makes them extremely different than other rice cakes is the fact that they are steamed over a layer of pine needles. This attributes to the name, with the word “song” (송) in songpyeon meaning pine tree in Korean.

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During the course of the day, there were many different traditional performances……..

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Even though in the majority of the pictures I kept getting the back of people’s heads, my absolute favorite were the pungmul performers! 

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After leaving the village, we ended the day by eating traditional kimchi, seafood, and potato pancakes!

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Chuseok has slightly different dates each year, and I’m not sure if Chuseok was just celebrated ( this past week) or is being celebrated right now in Korea. Either way, Happy Chuseok!!!!!!!

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FIFA Fever

*Disclaimer: Sorry these photos are not the best quality. Also, some photos are duplicated because I couldn’t help myself from editing them 🙂 *

Every four years, fútbol (soccer) enthusiasts across the globe suffer from a condition known as FIFA Fever. Though I’ve never been to a world cup match, during my stay in Seoul I got the chance to go to a friendly match between South Korea and Brazil. This game (my first professional match by the way) is one of the top highlights from my trip! Here’s a brief summary of what happened:

My best friend and I were actually running late to the game but that had no affect on our animated excitement. Our adrenaline was pumped up even more while on the subway as 95% of our fellow commuters were watching the game on their phones. -Random side note: I noticed that staring down at your phone for the entire subway ride is the norm here. I’m pretty sure its to avoid that awkward stranger eye contact. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t have a cell phone while in Korea, so I was that creepy people watcher.-

When we arrived, we were on the wrong side of the stadium and literally ran to the other side…

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It was wall to wall packed in Seoul World Cup Stadium. I couldn’t help but thank the Lord that I’m not claustrophobic.

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The game was fantastic and I think that both teams played very well. The crowd was also so full of energy with Korean chants being shouted from one end and Brazilian samba music being blasted from the other. Not to mention the most epic wave known to mankind 🙂 (I was so in awe that these people brought their own instruments, I creepily took a picture of one.)

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Sadly, in a few days the World Cup will be wrapping up and FIFA Fever will be over. But don’t worry, in another four years we’ll be captured by this contagion once again 🙂

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Changdeokgung (창덕궁) Palace

During my stay in Seoul, I got the chance to visit one of the five grand palaces!!! Changdeokgung, which literally means “Prospering Virtue Palace”, was the second palace after Gyeongbokgyung, and was constructed in the 5th year of King Teajong. I didn’t get to visit the garden 😦 but the parts of the palace that I did see were sooo beautiful. From the bright color patterns to the little stone figures on the rooftop, Changdeokgung is amazing 🙂

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EWHA Womans University

I know, I know its been like a month since my last post, I’m sorry!! I’ve been busy with homework, studying for midterms (october is midterm month), preparing for presentations, and of course I’ve been having wonderful adventures!! In this post I will be talking about the university I am attending this semester which is EWHA Womans University. EWHA is a private university located in the heart of Seoul, South Korea and is currently the largest female educational institute in the world. EWHA is well known in Korea and is considered one of the top universities to attend along with the other SKY universities (Seoul N., Korea, Yonsei). Although Korean males can not attend, foreign male exchange students can apply. The university was founded in 1886 by a missionary by the name of Mary F. Scranton. I know you’ve probably noticed the spelling of the name of the university and no, it is not a mistake, the founders of EWHA used “Womans” instead of “Women’s” on purpose. They believed that every woman attending the school is worth being respected, so they chose not to clump them together under the word “Women’s”. Also, the word “EWHA” translates to pear blossom, which decorate the campus beautifully in the spring. I am taking five classes which are, Public Diplomacy, Financial Management, Public International Law, Strategic Management, and International Marketing. Now enjoy these pictures I’ve taken around the EWHA campus!! You can click on the pictures to make them bigger!! 🙂

The ECC is HUGE!!! I'm going to dedicate an entire post to it because there is so much to do inside!!

The ECC is HUGE!!! I’m going to dedicate an entire post to it because there is so much to do inside!!

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So many hills!!

So many hills!!

This is a model of how the original EWHA looked.

This is a model of how the original EWHA looked.

The EWHA Museum

The EWHA Museum

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International Education Building. Two of my classes are held in this building on the 14th floor :)

International Education Building. Two of my classes are held in this building on the 14th floor 🙂

A guard on duty at the back gate

A guard on duty at the back gate

This is where most of my classes are held, in EWHA's business building!

This is where most of my classes are held, in EWHA’s business building!

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The daycare center

The daycare center

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The view from the top floor in my dorm :)

The view from the top floor in my dorm 🙂