korea

Begin Again.

img_2674

It’s been so long and I don’t know where to start. Pick the pen up… put it back down…Type a few lines..then delete it. This was a vicious cycle that lasted for a couple of months. Those months turned into a year and some change…

It’s been a little over a year since my last entry and so much has changed since then. If you are familiar with my blog (hopefully my readers have stuck with me ><) then you know that I experienced a life changing adventure in the fall of 2013. From late August to December, I was an exchange student in Seoul, South Korea at EWHA Womans University (and yes I spelled that correctly).

After the program ended, I returned home, clawed my way through my last semester of college and then graduated with a BBA in International Business. In the summer of 2014, I took on an unpaid internship at the Mayor’s office. I know it sounds real fancy but I only met the Mayor once. Understandable. I’d imagine he’s a pretty busy guy. I worked there for only three months but I learned some valuable skills and had some exceptional experiences there. August came. I left….

Late August and September was spent not doing much. I became a homebody that sat in front of my laptop screen, picking away at the keys and trying to complete course work for my master’s degree in Marketing. With my eyes closed….

I open them and it’s October. One random day I went into my optometrist’s office for a checkup and left with a job. For the next few months I would assist her with administration work. An official office worker. Look at me adulting. Could this be it? Have I reached my goal? I could just stay here. Pay is good and the job was a skip away from my house. Everything was comfortable. But by the end of January I had become uncomfortable with how comfortable I had become. Something had to change.

Fast forward to August and in the wee hours of the morning, I was scrambling in the dark. Trying to gather loose odds and ends that I hadn’t yet packed. I was on my way back to South Korea but this time switching roles from student to teacher. No time for second thoughts. I’m already at the airport checking in my luggage. There’s just something so exciting and gut wrenchingly terrifying about change. But I boarded the plane, taking my flight into the unknown.

That was 2015. Now it’s 2017. I finished my year contract at one school and now I’m at another. But that feeling has come back. I know that my time being a teacher has an expiration date on it because it’s honestly not my passion. What is my passion you ask? Well, I’m like 98% sure it’s photography. Yes 98% sure. How much longer will I be in Korea? I honestly don’t know. But I’ll continue to soak in every moment here.. until it’s time to move on. Whether it means going back to America or some other country, I’m excited to see how this year pans out. I’m ready for the mystery that is 2017. I’m ready for the twists and the turns, the adventures, and the growing pains..

I’m ready to begin again.

Cheers to the New Year

 

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).

DSCN2557b

DSCN2568b

DSCN2569b

DSCN2571b

DSCN2577b

DSCN2576bc

 

DSCN2632bc

DSCN2602bc

 

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

 

DSCN2583b

 

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.

DSCN2587b

DSCN2600b

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

DSCN2653b

DSCN2662

DSCN2666b

DSCN2671bc

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

DSCN2605b

DSCN2610b

DSCN2612bc

DSCN2613bc

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

DSCN2689b

DSCN2690b

DSCN2692b

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!!!!!!!

DSCN2648bc

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 🙂

DSCN2350b

DSCN2351b

 

DSCN2352bc

 

DSCN2355bc

 

DSCN2360bc

 

DSCN2361b

 

DSCN2363b

 

DSCN2365b

 

DSCN2367b

 

DSCN2372b

 

DSCN2381bc

 

DSCN2383bc

 

DSCN2397b

 

DSCN2384bc

 

DSCN2393b

 

DSCN2394b

 

DSCN2405b

 

DSCN2400bc