Last summer, I found out about my summer vacation super late so I couldn’t book any overseas trips, but I did go to two cities on my vacation. I wanted to go to more, but I got sick at the start of my vacation and it was so hot and humid at the time, I only found the energy for two cities.

The first city I went to was Daejeon. I saw caricakes, the youtuber, do a video on a day trip she took out there and got excited about it. So, I basically just made her itinerary my own. For some reason I took the 7AM train out of Busan. I was taking the Mugunghwa which is the really slow train, but cheaper than the KTX, so it took a little over 3 hours to get there. I don’t think I’ll ever leave that early again when traveling around Korea.

Faces at The Bottom of the Well

Faces At The Bottom Of The Well: The Permanence Of Racism: Bell ...

“Black people are the magical faces at the bottom of society’s well. Even the poorest whites, those who must live their lives only a few levels above, gain their self esteem by gazing down on us. Surely, they must know that their deliverance depends on letting down their ropes. Only by working together is escape possible. Over time, many reach out, but most simply watch, mesmerized into maintaining their unspoken commitment to keeping us where we are, at whatever cost to them or to us.”

Early in January, my friend and I decided one Saturday to go to a cafe after we did our medical tests for our renewal for EPIK. Well, she was planning to go and I just invited myself along. The cafe itself is kind of nestled up in the woods in this tiny little area. I guess it’s more of a small town. The first time we went, this weekend in January, we took the longer route. No matter what though, you have to take the subway and transfer to the bus.

There are five main beaches in Busan (Haeundae, Songjeong, Songdo, Dadaepo and Gwangalli) and before December, I had visited 4 of them. Songdo Beach had been on my list for awhile but for some reason I never went. Although beaches are really the same anywhere you go, I really wanted to take the cable car in Songdo.

Given that the Coronavirus has taken hold of everywhere in the world more strongly than first thought, so many people are confined to their homes. In Korea, we were never under a lockdown notice. However, as mentioned in my last post “Solo Trip to Gangneung” I’m a teacher and since it’s advised public officials don’t really do any traveling, I haven’t been to any other cities since February.

And so, I thought this might be the perfect time to catch up and upload blog posts of the places I went last year just to remind myself of a time before confinement and I had the luxury to get on a bus every weekend to a new city in this country.

(I actually wrote this blog post in November, but just never got around to posting it.)

I’ve been learning Korean very, very slowly over the past few years. I learned Hangul years back when I first started watching Korean dramas. That was the easiest part of learning Korean. Recognizing the characters and learning to write only took about one hour. I built up my reading by frequently reading Korean webtoons or Korean children’s books. Grammar and sentence structuring was and is the hardest part. I don’t even like grammar in English. And of course, building up my vocabulary is something I need to work on.

Back in November, I did the Igidae Coastal Walk with my friend and her parents. It was a beautiful day so it was a perfect time to walk along it. The whole walk takes about 3 hours to complete. I’m not in shape and I’m not a hiker so there were some points that left me out of breath. It was an amazing experience.

The walk spans from Namcheon to Oryukdo, about 4.7 km (about 3 miles). We live closer to Namcheon, so that is where we started our trek. I’ve been in Namcheon before, but never really walked past the big MegaMart. Past there is a nice walkway by the ocean and can be a great morning walk on the weekends.

Last year I didn’t do much reading once I’d moved to Korea. I was overwhelmed with the move, settling in and wanted to travel when I could. Plus, with a full time job that I had never done before, I spent a lot of time preparing lessons because I was unsure how it would go down. I also got in my naps after school whenever I could.

This year I’m determined to read a bit more. I set my reading list to a more manageable ten books for the year. If anything, I can read at least one book a month. So far, this year I have read two books. At the moment, I’m juggling just a couple of books.

Right now, the corona virus is restricting a good amount of people to their homes and their cities. You can travel if you want to, but as a teacher, it’s recommended that you don’t, since we work with kids. I do hope the virus does calm down a bit and less people get sick. If you’re in Korea at this time, stay safe, wear your mask and wash your hands often/use hand sanitizer.

A few days before the outbreak in Korea spiked and began increasing at the rate it is now, I had a week of vacation left and took a trip on my own up to Gangneung, a city on the East Coast of Korea. It’s in the province of Gangwon-do and I’d been hoping to visit for a long time. From Busan to Gangneung, the bus ride is about 5 hours. It seems terrible, but because the buses here are so comfortable and roomy, I slept for most of the ride. And I had the views to keep me company when I wasn’t asleep.

Every October for about two weeks, Jinju hosts its’ annual lantern festival. There are many lantern festivals throughout Korea in different cities, but I believe Jinju is the most famous one. I decided to take a solo trip out there to experience it. Based on the videos and pictures I had seen when looking up the event months back, it was going to be a very beautiful time.