Goodbye Korea Series: Busan English Library

I don't know why it's taken me 10 months to post these pictures, but at least I'm posting them. Towards the end of my time in Korea, I have to admit that I was frustrated. Homesickness really got to me and I had to work with a really inconsiderate person. Due to this, I left Korea happily. Now, ten months out, I really miss it, especially the library. Sometimes, we get so caught up in how we're feeling at the moment.  Working at the library was really one of the best jobs I've ever had and I truly miss every single person there.

For my goodbye dinner, they took me to Korean BBQ, since it's my favorite. Afterward, we went to noreabang and sang to our hearts content. It was a great evening spent with my favorite co-workers.  I even received a few gifts, including shoes for my future baby! In the two years I worked at the library, I made so many good memories, too many to name. I'm so thankful for having the opportunity to work at the Busan English Library and it will always be a cherished time in my life!

Creepy Camping Photos | Gyeongju, South Korea

Previously, I posted about our disastrous camping trip. It was quite the adventure, but an experience I will always cherish. So many crazy things happened, but I do think it was worth it. If you read about it, then you know how unprepared we were. While we were setting up the tents, we realized that we didn't have a light source. I guess we assumed we could sit by the campfire the whole time. 

When we went to the mart we were able to buy two cheap little LED lights. We spent the rest of the evening eating Korean BBQ and playing cards. Before we went to sleep, we took a few creepy photos. I think they look like pretty cool and I wish we had time to take more. At least I have these and I can always remember that unforgettable trip!

Goodbye Korea Series | Annie and the Boys

It's been a while since I've been able to post about Korea. I feel like that was such a distant time in my life. It's unbelievable but I still have a lot to post about Korea. Before we left, one of my adult students, Annie, wanted to take us out to dinner with her husband, Woo. I've met with her before but it's always just her, but this time we were able to meet with the whole family!

She took us to this amazing buffet that overlooked Gwangan Bridge. It was inside a really classy hotel and when we walked in, I was so impressed. I couldn't believe the views and the quality of food. My mouth is just watering thinking about it.

In my first year of teaching at the library, I didn't even know what two of my favorite students were her sons. When I finally found out, I realized that it all made sense. Her sons, Rex and Caley, had the best manners and really studious. I always told her that her sons were amazing and that I hope that one day my kids are just like them!  I was so happy that we were able to meet with the whole family one last time before we left Korea.

Adventures in Camping | Part 2

Last week, I posted about our first camping experience. It was definitley a whirlwind and it only gets better. I can't wait to share the rest of the story with all of you! In case you missed my Korean camping misadventure, you can read part one here.

Last I left you, we finished setting up camp and realized that we didn't have any food. Before setting up our tents, we drove from Busan to Pohang and from there to Gyeong-ju. Basically, we spent most of the day in the car and were pretty exhausted. Despite our feelings, we needed to fill our empty stomachs, so we all jumped in the car and searched for a place that would satisfy all our shopping needs.

We had many issues on this trip as I stated before. Our main problem was our location. We were far into the countryside and we missed our chance to go to a mart. On the way to Gyeong-ju, Gwang-jin missed the exit for Costco and instead of turning around, he decided to keep going. After driving for another 45 minutes we finally found a Mega Mart in Eonyang and we were able to get all the food we needed. We happily stocked up on all the essentials and headed back to Gyeong-ju..

Once we finally made it back to the campsite, we realized that we didn't have a table, seats or even a way to cook the food. By this point, I was beyond frustrated and just went with it. Thankfully, they found an old table and rented a grill. We didn't have any seats so we just found big rocks and sat on them. The boys also realized that they didn't have any way to start the fire. A nice Korean dad at the tent next to us came over and started the fire for us. I think he took one look at our "beggar" style camping and decided to help. I'm pretty sure we wouldn't have been able to eat if it wasn't for him.

Even though we all had a long frustrating day, the minute we started cooking, all our worries disappeared. We were all a bit annoyed with Junnie, but we know he meant well. He kept saying that he wanted to give Markus and I an unforgettable experience. How could I be mad at someone so sweet and sincere? We spent the rest of the evening stuffing our faces full of delicious barbecued meats and playing games. It was actually a fun night and it was like the stressful day didn't even happen. Around 11pm it started raining, so we all went inside our tents. We played a few more games and then around 1am we called it a night.

I would like to say that we slept through the night and woke up the next morning and made breakfast.  You would think that after all the stress we already went through that the camping gods were done toying us, but you would be wrong. Oh so very wrong.  It rained through the night and at 3am Markus and I were startled awake by something cold and wet. We sat up and realized that our whole tent was flooded with water. We woke up the boys and they told us to go sleep in the car. I slept for about 30 minutes but then woke up to metal hitting metal. When I looked outside, the boys had taken down both tents. They decided that we would either find a motel or go sleep at Junnie's grandmother's house in Pohang. Markus and I didn't want to stay at his grandmother's house so we decided on a motel. Although, we still had to go to Pohang to drop off the tents. After dropping them off, the boys again decided that we would skip the motel and drive the extra hour and half to Busan. At this point, all I could think about was my warm and dry bed. So, I readily agreed. When they finally dropped us off at our apartment, I looked at the clock and realized that it was 6am. We didn't even camp for 24 hours. We were out for only 22 hours! We waved goodbye to our friends and sought solace in our warm beds.

So this concludes, my first camping adventure. I know it was a crazy and unbelievable experience. Just writing about it, brought it all back. It's funny though. When I think back on it, I don't remember how annoyed or frustrated I was. I remember how much fun I had. I remember all our inside jokes and getting to know one another. It's one of those stories that I'll tell my kids when I tell them about my time in Korea. It'll be the time that mom and dad went camping in Korea and had the time of their lives.

Adventures in Camping | Part 1

In the two years that Markus and I lived in Korea, we were blessed with some amazing Korean friends. I know I've talked about it before, but I can't stress how important it is to make connections, especially when you live far from home. It's already scary enough moving to a new place, but moving to a place where you don't speak the language and don't know anyone is terrifying. Thankfully, we were able to meet some great people.

Our dear friend, Junnie, is someone that I will always be thankful to have in my life. I don't think I've ever met such a kind and thoughtful person. He is always thinking of others and always trying to do his best. He might not always make the right decisions, but his intentions are always sincere. Back in May, he even planned a camping trip for Markus and I. It was really sweet and Markus and I were really excited. Although, neither one of us had ever been camping before. We were all planning without experience but we knew it would be a great adventure!

After a lot of going back and forth and cancelled weekends, we finally settled on a date. We previously cancelled a weekend in February because it was rainy and cold. We didn't have the proper gear and Markus imagined us all dying of hypothermia or something similar. So when Junnie finally pulled up with a huge video camera and our other camping comrades, Shin-chang and Gwang-jin, I knew that it was going to be a really interesting experience.

We began our journey in Busan and then headed out to Pohang. If you use the map I drew, you can follow along. We had to go to Pohang, because Junnie's parents had the tents at their house. Now looking back on it, I don't know why we didn't just rent them in Busan or borrow it from a co-worker. So from Busan, Pohang is around 1.5 hours away. By the time we arrived in Pohang, we were hungry and tired. After we made a pit stop at Junnie's house and met his sweet lil Korean grandmother, we headed out to get some lunch. Thankfully, Junnie knew of a really cheap Chinese place and we were able to eat a lot of food for really cheap. Gwang-jin kept saying it was the only good thing Junnie did that day.  After we ate, we still had to buy all the camping supplies.  Since none of us had been camping before, we were really unprepared.  We stopped in a random town and realized that they didn't have any meat or much of the supplies we needed. We decided that we needed to head to the campsite to be able to set everything up before nightfall.

After another 1.5 hours of driving, we found ourselves at the campsite in Gyeong-ju. It was actually quite beautiful, but really out of the way. While we were driving up, Markus and I wondered why we didn't just camp out in Busan. Gyeong-ju looked just like Busan. By the time we started setting everything up, we were all delirious and tired. The boys worked really hard, while I ran around taking photos. Once we set up one of the tents, we realized that it wasn't enough room for all five of us, so they started pitching the other tent. Once we were done, we realized that we had no food and needed to go to another city to get the food. So again, we hopped into the car and began the search for food.

If this seems exhausting, trust me it was and I lived it. This isn't even close to the end of the story. There is so much more, but I will continue the rest of the story in the final installment of Adventures in Camping!