Teaching English in Daegu, South Korea!

Archive for the ‘LanaLee’ Category

Off the Beaten Path…Sokcho.

In early June, Lana and I set off to go to places unknown. In the far north eastern part of the penninsula. A little beachy town called Sokcho (속초). We had a 3- day weekend and decided we wanted to spend it away on a trip! The bus ride from Daegu —> Sokcho took nearly 6 hours. Although, it didn’t seem that long I had a lot of sleeping to catch up on. I ventured to a bus station unknown to me called Bukbu which means North. Information was incredibly hard to find about buses at Bukbu bus terminal. I ended finding some old information from an old blogger and just showed up early to make sure that I could make a bus time.

Bus ticket to Sokcho from Daegu!

The bus left at 8:30 and I got in around 3:00 to find that I had no idea where I was going. Luckily, the city bus driver knew I wanted to make my way to Seoraksan. I kept getting further and further into the woods and really started to believe that I was lost but somehow I didn’t care.  It was actually a nice feeling to be a bit lost and have to figure out where I am. Lana and I met up around 5 and went back into town to find some beach and dinner. Our first beach feeling and sightings…

First glimpse of the ocean and our shoes came right off and our feet went straight into the sand and ocean!

Being in the ocean, hell, being near the ocean I could smell good, clean air! Something that if you live in a city…you really miss. My lungs were doing back flips because they were so happy! It was so beautiful : )

We are in the ocean!!!! (© LanaLee)

Day 2

Starting early we headed to Soeraksan. We walked the 2 km to the national park. Soeraksan was so beautiful! Everywhere my camera was pointing it was a great picture! It had nothing to do with me, I have to give the mountain allll the credit. Some highlights from our hike~

Off the beaten path.

It must have been a really popular weekend to go to Seoraksan because the paths were so crowded with people. It was almost like we weren’t on a mountain… Luckily, Lana is a master hiker and took us through her own trail over boulders n such.

Follow me!

Beautiful scenery.

Clouds blanketing the sky.

As we took a break to take in the scenery these giant grey clouds moved above us so fast. The weather was still a nice temperature and an appropriate amount of humidity.

Onward!

Venus...?

Amazing view.

We reached what everyone was calling “Big Rock.” There was this area with beautiful rock and a stream running through it. Naturally, we wanted to go there. We jumped down, across a small stream and rushed to take pictures as an adjushi was yelling something in Korean at us. Despite his hostility, we got some beautiful pictures. : )

On Seoraksan with our Seoraksan hanks.

Next stop…the beach! Since the beach is only about a 20-25 minute bus ride from the mountain to the beach, we were going to head down to the beach for some relaxation. Funny thing is we got distracted on the way down…

Motorized bike ride along the bay.

Sokcho Beachy.

Sokcho Beach.

Sokcho beach was crowded, but not so crowded you couldn’t find a place to park yourself to lay in sand. It had crazy boat rides, a pier and classic beach arcades. It was really nice just to sit down in the sand, close my eyes and listen to the waves.

The sun setting. NOT on the water, which was a strange concept for me to accept.

It was our last night in Sokcho but we had packed so much into our trip that I felt satisfied. I do however feel like there is so much more to explore and am looking for forward to more trips there in the future. On our way to find the bus we met the best member of this city…

Beachy!

So long Sokcho, I loved you! We shall meet again!!!

Woobang Towa

Winter in Daegu can get very cold and lonely. Recently, I feel like I am lacking vitamin D perhaps because I have had no motivation to blog 😦 It may be because in my apartment there are no windows that shed light into my apartment!! If I want some sight of the outside world, the consequence is that it will be very cold. So with my heat cranked up and the window shining in the slightest bit of light- here I am, blogging.

A strange winter in Daegu...the snow. Everyone is freaked out haha. To me it is a pleasant surprise.

Christmas time in Daegu was so ‘christmassy.’ To a level that I am not used to. In the O’Connor household we don’t even have outside lights for our house and our tree usually goes up on Christmas eve. This year I got a fake tree…its all I could find and Jeff and I decorated it almost 3 weeks before Christmas. In downtown Daegu there were beautiful lights everywhere- more so than usual, Christmas lights! Christmas lights on the great big ol’ trees, in restaurants and lining the streets.

Christmas came and went but not without a thrill seeking attitude. My two friends from Anyang; Lana and Jake and with them they brought the excitement!! Jeff and I thought it would be cool to visit the Woobang Tower and look over the city. It was their first time in Daegu, and it was something that Jeff and I hadn’t done either! We went there with the intentions of going to the top of the tower and look at the whole city, a fun, relaxing touristy thing to do. As we were walking up the loooonnnnggggg trek to the tower we see people falling off!

“What is that?!?!?! What are they doing!!!??”

That was the Sky Jump, hell no am I doing that.

We finally make it to the tower and find out that the Sky Jump is only 20,000 won and originally it is 40,000 won. Wow! A Christmas special. There was an urge to do it if it was such a low price. I nearly crapped myself. It took a lot to just buy the ticket. I had Lana coaching me through it with encouraging words. With the sky jump ticket in hand we headed up to the 72nd or 73rd floor.

I am afraid of heights so just being in this elevator I was very scared. It didn’t help that there was a video of a previous sky jumper on the tv in the waiting room where the girl was just screaming and crying!!! Oh no, was that going to me? Am I going to go through with this?

The view was beautiful from the observatory- I thought “who needs a jump? I can see just fine!” Jeff, Lana and Jake were signing forms and beginning to get dressed while I was still fiddling with my decision to go through with it. I couldn’t be the only one not doing it- I was going to go through with it, no more being afraid!!!

1st we got suited up in bright colored uniforms equipped with loop holes for the pullies.

All suited up and ready to jump off a tower. (Photo © Lana)

2nd Decide who the order in which we will jump off this building. Jeff volunteered first, Jake second and Lana and rock, paper scissors for 3rd and 4th.

3rd Picture taking time-

All 4 of us before we began jumping!

4th. Jump. Walk to the edge of the ledge and grab onto to a pole and let your feet come off the ground. AHH, but you are still holding onto the pole. Then you hear them say…”let go.” NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Once you let go you feel a drop and then they take your picture like below-

Jeff flying.

Jake being bustled about in the wind.

Dangling in the air. Keeping it together.

Loving every second of floating in the air!

After the picture there is no warning- DROP! DOWN YOU GO!!!!!!!!! It was so nice to hit the ground and see Jeff and Jake smiling and clapping for me. Ahh, I did it : ) I am proud of all of us!!! What a great way to spend to Christmas!!

SKY JUMP:

  • 123 meters high (403.6 ft)
  • Plummet for 10 seconds
  • Land in the middle of a bullseye

Woobang Tower while on a walk through Duryu Park.

Thank you to Alex who told me he noticed that I hadn’t written in a while and inspired me to get back to it already. : ) (pingbacked?- i hope so!)

It’s Cold- Let’s go see the Flaming Lips!

It’s really cold. Seriously, I have never been so cold. So I thought it was time to warm up and go cuddle with Lanalee in Anyang. I was feeling quite homesick so it was so nice to be with someone who knows me. I made a 3 day weekend out of this trip, leaving right after school on Friday. I wanted to save money so I took the Mugunghwa train…the train that takes about 4 hours from Daegu to Seoul. I brought along things to do, but if I didn’t have any headphones I would have gone mad! The man next to me was watching a very cheesy murder mystery drama in English with Korean subtitles…without headphones. It was harder to tune it out because I could understand what they were saying- what are the odds?

Saturday we started early-ish. We wanted to get some winter clothes shopping done! We were determined!!! Destination: Namdemun and Myeong-dong; H&M. When Lana and I shop together, we usually do pretty well. I’d say we did just fine with all that we got!

 

Shopping in Myeong-dong- this cat meant that there was A CAT CAFE AROUND! Wish I could partake : ( (photo courtesy of Lana)

After shopping we found Chris trapped on the other side of the gates in the subway. You see, Chris lives in JeonJu where there is no subway system, so this technology is obviously too advanced for him. I think they use candles to light their houses in JeonJu. : ) Chris, Lana and I went to find Jake and the Happy Guesthouse- our hostel for the night.

 

Altogether again! (photo courtesy of Lana)

We were waiting for the owner of the “Happy Guesthouse,” to come find us to take us- the directions weren’t too clear…

Our hostel. It was great!

It was so nice to see my friends from home  : ) We all went to dinner in Itewon- near our hostel.

"Lemon Soju Shot" (photo courtesy of Lana)

After dinner we were pretty sure we knew where we were going…THANKFULLY the lovely people from the ‘Seoul Foreigners Tourism’ representative…was standing near by. They helped us tell the taxi driver where to go. The drive seemed like it took forever then finally…

The Flaming Lips- IN SEOUL! First concert in Korea.

What...is...the light??

The Flaming Lips! ❤

Oregon sticker!! (photo courtesy of Lana)

Yippie! HOORAY!!

When the concert was over, all of us were ready for another! One more time! Unfortunately, Chris went back to JeonJu but Lana and I went and cooked up some delicious food. The next morning I DID miss my train- but it was okay. It was nice sitting in the sun with Lana at Seoul Station ahaha. This Seoul trip can be summed up with one picture…which I stole from Lana (again)…

Lana and I drinking black coffee. Black, drip coffee.

“The Stuff You Didn’t See Before.”

In the past 4 months that I have lived in Korea, it has been nothing but extraordinary! The really great and eventful trips (aka the ones with the most stories and pictures…) are the hardest for me to blog about. I find myself having writers block with too much to write. Today that has changed.

Wayy back in September, it was Chuseok Holiday. Jeff, Franki, Alex and I ventured up to Seoul to do some sight seeing. We took KTX from Daegu to Seoul which took about 2 hours. Seoul is the biggest city that I have even been in, so I was looking forward to a ‘big city’ feel. Unfortunately, instead all I got was a slap in the face by a monsoon. We arrive the day before Chuseok, and it just so happened to be the first day in over 100 years that Seoul had been hit so hard by rain. I am an Oregonian, so I know a thing or two about rain, but this was unlike anything I had ever experienced! I was absolutely miserable. We scurried to our hostel (The Open Guest House-highly recommended) where we found Franki and Alex anxious to venture out. We were not about to let the monsoon stop us from doing SOMETHING, RIGHT?!?!

Off to Seoul Tower we went. On the way I thought that A. We might die in the car from scary cab driver driving, B. We might die because there is a monsoon with thunder and lightening and we are going to the highest place with umbrellas standing in water and C. My feet were cold.

1st Seoul Tower. At the top of the Seoul Tower there was no visibility so we ate cafeteria food and contemplated our next adventure. Yes, we should try…

Jeff and I at Seoul Tower. We were there!!! We just couldn't see anything...haha

After wandering down flooding streets we decided to try a new angle…not outside possibly.

2nd. Virtually everything was shut down except for a couple of shops. Mainly the shops that sold Big Bang socks.

Jeff and Alex in the rain at Namdaemun Market.

3rd. Meyongdong shopping area. Not a whole lot of shopping happened here but Franki and I did discover a wonderful place that has cheap prices for t-shirts and sweatshirts! The rain was on and off during this time of day but we were ready to settle in somewhere. After a big dinner of pasta without bread sticks we headed to Itewon.
4th. Itewon. Every foreigner has heard of Itewon. It has a huge foreigner population and US bases are around there. In blogs and books (like the Lonleyplanet) they say that this place is so much fun and there is so much to do. Maybe I am just lame but it wasn’t my favorite place to be. If you like to go clubbing and to places such as the “Ginger Lounge” then this place is for you! Anywho, we went to Mad Dog Grill then Seoul Pub.

Thumbs up for Seoul Pub! Pitchers of CASS....

5th. Gyeongbok palace, Seoul. This palace is massive. It was Chusoek, so there were many people there to watch the traditional ceremonies that they show that day. It was amazing the wide array of people who were visiting- so many languages were overheard, I always wonder what their connection or desire is to be in Korea.
We arrived early and watched the show from beginning to end of the changing of the guards. My favorite part might have been the fake mustache and beards that the soldiers were wearing…. ^-^
Around the palace was a whole new world. Jeff was making connections to a book he was reading about South Korean history and battles that happened inside of this palace. We were walking around the same place where men have battled defending the King and these homes were homes of people who served the king- it was unreal.

This pond was my favorite part.

6th. Insadong Art Fair. Just down the street was Insadong Market. Insadong might have been my favorite place to be in Seoul this trip. It was calm, beautiful and full of great food.

Street food!

The Dragon Egg that we waited in line for 25 minutes to eat. Delicious.

The Dragon Egg up close.

After the Art Fair we visited a temple near by and I learned a bit about Buddhism.
7th. Noryangjin Fish Market.
Only a picture can tell you about this place.

Noryangjin Fish Market.

Thats a crab...

Live octopus! Lunch...

Trolling around this huge market looking for fresh seafood takes farmers markets freshness to a whole new level. I do worry about the humaneness of the fish…I think some of the fish were blinded by the people who sell them. : (
We chose to eat for lunch this day:
1. 2 octopus
2. 2 crab
3. 4 oysters
We were laughed at a little bit when we went to the restaurant to get our food prepared because there was little food to prepare. IT WAS VERY EXPENSIVE! It was so expensive that even 4 of us couldn’t afford to buy anymore food. Altogether for those 8 items its was close to $50.
Let me back up.
See here is how it works-
Step 1. Pick your food from a vendor. Pay them.
Step 2. The vendor brings you to THEIR restaurant.
Step 3. Tell them how you want your food prepared. PAY THEM TOO.
Step 4. Eat your food and your side dishes too!! Get all of your money’s worth!
Okay, so with that said there were extra costs that we were unaware of. I think that we paid a little bit for the experience and it was worth it, but just be warned that it is expensive.
  • My friend Alex (Alex & Franki have a blog too and they featured a live video of Alex eating the octopus!!! Check it out! 

8th. National Museum of Korea.

Korean cave men.

The museum was so large that we didn’t visit all of the exhibits. I do recommend visiting it though.
9th. Han River. Park???

Jannon on the Han River.

10th. Hongdae.
Hongdae was a blast! This was my first night in Korea that I witnessed people partying until the sun started to come up- it was insane. After grabbing dinner and dancing at S Club, we wandered into a park. Yes, a park with swings and a slide. From then on we were harmonizing with other Koreans and forgieners to such tunes as Build Me Up Buttercup.
 

Franki and I with the mascot for a (smoothie bar?) in Hongdae.

The coolest norebang I have ever seen!!!!!

11th. Korean War Memorial.

Jeff and I didn’t actually go into the museum- but there so much to look at just outside of it. The statues say so much and have so much emotion written all over their faces its hard not to feel something.

Korean War Memorial, Seoul Korea.

Brothers.

Korean War Memorial.

Korean War Memorial.

12th. Anyang.

Jake's birthday!

Our final destination was Anyang city, to visit friends from home- ❤ Anyang is a beautiful city and it showed us a very good time. Lana houses us in her Offictel- a big apartment! It even had its own shower and a heated toilet seat : ) We celebrated Jake’s birthday and the fact that we were all in South Korea! It was a perfect way to end our amazing trip!

Our farewell at the subway station!!!

That was our Seoul trip.
love, Shannon

Running, running and running.

I am going to run in the Daegu Marathon in April. Daegu Marathon

Map of the race. I am doing the small blue one teehee.

It is called a ‘mini-marathon,’ 10k course. How did this happen? I wondered the same thing.

Last week, standing outside of Viniroo my friend Bridgette and I are talking about getting in shape. She recently joined a gym and has been doing a good job at making it there! She slips in the fact that she is training for the Daegu Marathon in April. She mentions that I should join and train with her. I am thinking; “yes! I need to be healthy and have a purpose.”

“How long is the marathon?”

“26.2 miles.”

oh shit.

I am all for it, and Bridgette is very supportive and took control of a training schedule. Her excitement is contagious!! Although, through the excitement when I looked at the training schedule everything hit me- 26.2 miles is a really long distance…I haven’t even ran 3 blocks in a year. I shouldn’t blame grad school, but I kind of do. Its the nature of the beast, you are so incredibly busy!!!! I should have found time to exercise but when would that have been? In between my hour and half commute home? I remember one week in grad school Lana and I ate licorice candy and coffee for dinner for a week. haha, so 26 miles seemed like too much for me. So I am feeling nervous about this distance then Jeff tells me about how the word marathon came to be. In ancient Greek or Roman (I can’t remember, sorry) a man named Marathon was sent with a message to deliver that was 26.2 miles away. He made it to his destination, relayed the message and then died. Great.

I researched and saw that there was a ‘mini- marathon.’ That made me feel better. I didn’t want to die. I called Bridgette a bit nervous to tell her that I can’t do the full race but I want to still train with her and do the shorter race. Fewf, now I feel much better.

TRAINING. (2 days so far…)

Jeff and I started training this week. 2 miles for 4 or 5 days a week and slowly increasing mileage.  He is not running the marathon, but wants to be healthy still. We are running at a school near my house. The first day there were 3 of my 5th grade boys playing baseball. They were shy at first then tried to run with us! It was very cute. The second night was a bit different. We went to the same school but there were a lot of my students. It was a bit distracting, I wanted to care for them but I also wanted to run. They wanted me to play baseball and whatnot!! I invited them to run, but they remembered how much they had hated it the day before. Not only were my kids there wanting to play there was this little girl, maybe 5 who wanted to talk. She stayed in one spot on the track and asked my different questions-

“What is your name?”

Next time around.

“Where are you from?”

Next time around, her and her dad grab my hand and run 2 laps with me!- the little girl held my hand not the dad, just to clear that up.-

On top of the students who want to play there are middle school boys who come out and want to practice their English. They were shouting “Cheeseburger! Cheeseburger!!!” at me. Evil.

2 days so far, and we have a big Korean final tonight. Wish my luck!

Happy Birthday to LanaLee!!

Happy Veterans Day!

Happy Pepero Day!

equalopportunityforallofthesenationalholidays.