Category Archives: Travel

Flashback Part 2: El Nido

IMG_6807While the beginning of our El Nido trip was rainy, the end of the week saw a brief respite in typhoons. It was beautiful even with the rain, but better with the sun.

We spent an afternoon renting kayaks and paddling around the bay. The process for renting kayaks was pretty sketchy; because of the typhoons and the high waves, a lot of the outlets were refusing to rent kayaks. We checked in with a few places and were refused, even though we kept insisting we just wanted to paddle around the bay. In better weather, you can take the kayaks across to the other islands, but with the high waves the operators thought we might try anyway and capsize. We finally found a small restaurant with a few kayaks out back and assured the man that we wouldn’t go out past the bay. 
img_0287 img_0284 So we just paddled around the boats and out to the edge. The waves were really high once we got near the mouth of the bay, but we stayed in obviously safe areas and enjoyed paddling. None of us are expert kayakers so we were thrilled enough with just hanging out in a boat in the water.   Continue reading

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Flashback Part 1: El Nido

It’s been a cold and loonngg winter, so naturally I’ve been daydreaming about warmer times. And trying to convince myself they actually exist. Could it really have been that warm? In an effort to remember, I was perusing through pictures from our trip to El Nido last year. With the bustle of the summer we never got around to blogging it, but I’ve found it invaluable to look back at old travel posts and remember the details, so I’ll reminisce in a post.

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We flew from Seoul to Manila on Cebu Pacific on a 10 PM flight, and of course chose the discount airline that kept the lights on the entire time and blared repeated sales pitches over the loud speaker for Cebu Pacific paraphernalia. For four hours. We landed with a 6 hour layover until our next flight with the intention of sleeping in the airport, but there was nowhere to sleep. The floor was covered with passengers and we couldn’t find anywhere left comfortable or out of the way, so we hung out at a tea shop in a daze until our next flight. 10590679_10152237552206674_7505176778808914224_n

We landed in the tiny airport in Puerto Princesa, Palawan with the plan to take the bus to El Nido, but when we landed we were immediately approached by van providers and figured we would give it a go rather than make our way across town to the bus station. Thus we were ushered into a van for the most terrifying five-hour drive, with our driver hurling around corners and honking at dogs in the road without hitting the brakes. We did make it about two hours earlier than other vans. Continue reading

Hiking Cheonmasan

img_0923This weekend we decided to take Roo out for a hike. We haven’t been out since the fall and thought she could use an adventure. Although we walk Roo frequently I also thought it would be nice to get out of our normal paths in the neighborhood. img_0935One of our favorite hikes nearby is close to Gimpo airport and consists of a network of parks and easy trails around and up a small mountain. It’s a short 4 stops away on the train. Unfortunately when we got to the subway station we couldn’t convince Roo to get in her bag for the train ride – not surprising since we neglected to practice putting her in her bag since our last hike months ago. So with a change of plans we took a taxi to a mountain pretty close to us for a hike. img_0896img_0937The weather was surprisingly springy (what a mean trick for the end of January – we still have months) and we were happy for the respite from the cold and wind. As always, Roo and Ryan were bounding up the mountain while I slowly made my way up the steep hillside. Continue reading

The Last… Half of 2014

2014 led to a pretty strong standstill for the blog, but with a plethora of photos and nowhere to put them, a 2014 recap is in order.

In the fall I took two trips to Seoraksan, once with Ryan and friends, and once as a school trip. The first time we still caught the fall colors, although we were weeks past the rush on the designated “peak foliage” dates 🙂 Unfortunately, there was an intense fog. This hike was the same one we did last year (Ulsanbawi) with sweeping views over the sea and surrounding mountains, but this time we could hardly see past our hands. IMG_7147

IMG_7119The next day of our trip was nice and sunny, perfect for our walk through Heulimgol Valley. Continue reading

From There to Here: Our New Home

After a very fulfilling and extremely busy summer full of visiting friends and family, travel, and work (hopefully the first and only summer with work), we are finally getting back to the blog.

As the year progressed at our first hagwon in Songpa-gu, Seoul, Brittany and I both noticed an overwhelming restlessness that permeated our jobs. Despite our well-intentioned and extremely kind administration, classwork and curriculum were tedious, obviously ineffective, and frankly boring. While we loved our neighborhood and experiences, our apartment was…unique. Being fairly unsatisfied with our jobs and our apartments, but still digging Korea, we got new jobs, and with them, a new city and new friends.

Our new home is just outside of Cheongna-dong in Incheon, Korea. We had pretty low expectations for Cheongna, aka “The emerald of the world” (self-proclaimed). Cheongna is a fairly new development on the outskirts of both Seoul and Incheon. On our original ride out on the train, we couldn’t help but feeling we were moving to the Nebraska of Korea, as the sprawling cityscape gave way to farms and older looking small cities. Continue reading

The Tourist’s View of Seoul

When my family came to visit this summer, we got the chance to head to some big tourist destinations in Seoul that we hadn’t been to. We even took the Seoul City Tour Bus – a hop-on, hop-off route to all the big tourist spots in Seoul- making us officially tourist material. The bus was a good way for us to get around to a few of the sites without too much walking for my jet-lagged family.

Namsangol Hanok Village

IMG_6148 copy The Hanok Village was surprisingly interesting, mostly because of our volunteer tour guide, Reggie, a high school student practicing his English and nervously sharing historical anecdotes about the different houses.  Continue reading

Korean Baseball: Fighting! Fighting!

For my family’s visit in June, we decided to head to our first Korean baseball game. After watching some games on TV and hearing from others, we anticipated Korean baseball games to be way more fun to attend than American games. We headed to Jamsil stadium to watch the Doosan Bears and the LG Twins.

IMG_6142 copy We attempted to buy tickets online in advance but never did manage to figure it out, so we just showed up at the stadium before the game and bought tickets. At first this seemed bad; the tickets were for a general area without assigned seats, and everyone was sprawled on the empty seats, which were covered with food and blankets. Families were having picnics on the upper walking-area, and I thought we were going to spend the whole game standing up, with my grandma (in her eighties and visiting Korea!) standing the whole time. Luckily, once we started asking around, families very happily moved their jackets and food and other goods and offered us seats. Continue reading