Korea Livin'

this is a new chapter in my life...let's see where it takes me...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Drum roll...

You all should have guessed...Miss MaLeah, Miss Pro-Procrastinator...

Of course it would take me more than a couple days to update you.

As of October 9th (or 16th), I am officially in Korea for another year. DYB, Korean teachers and students, have all influenced me to stay one more year. After thinking about it and praying about it, this is the best decision for me. As much as I miss my family and friends, this gives me another year of teaching experience along with being immersed in a different culture, learning the customs of others. There is much more I have yet to explore here. But don't worry, be happy. I will be home, God willing, next year (September-ish 2013).

Cheers to another year of funky smells, socks, and styles.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Since Thailand. Since 4 months in 1 post.

And now that I have brought you up to date with my Asian Vacation and a quick run down on May and June, I know you are wondering how I have been since then and what has kept me so busy.

July and August were fun summer months, aside from being sick. I battled a throat infection (thank you Korean air) and tonsilitis....or something. Honestly, I have lost track of the times I have been sick here in Korea. It is becoming a bit of a joke. Especially when you hear about what is next in this post. However, there were good times to be had, and I had them. I went on a couple adventures with my hiking group, CIK (Climbing in Korea). We went river trekking, twice. As always, the first part of the hike, I thought to myself, "What was I thinking?!" but in the end, it's worth the pain. Also, there were many evenings spent with friends on our patio (aka Family Mart plastic furniture) and strolls along the river with Em and Layla. We found a cute waffle cafe about 15 minutes from our apartment - we call it Cafe Road - filled with cafes, italian restaurants, and cute boutiques. It has been one of our favorite places to walk around. There is also a nice Thai restaurant in the area as well. Oh! And in July, there was an event called "Mudfest!" It was interesting to say the least. I would go again...but change a few things...definitely get a hotel and not stay at a pension. Floors are not my fancy. Mudfest is where I met Ben. We have a mutual friend, Steve. Ben and I have enjoyed getting to know each other and we meet for church on Sundays. He has been my date on a couple occasions and we continue to develop a close friendship/bond. He'd fit right in with my friends back home. Also, Em's boyfriend, Kevin was in Korea visiting for about 2 weeks if I recall. I had a lot of fun getting to know him and finally meet the man I have heard so much about over the past year. Him and I tease each other a lot about who Em loves more. I think I win! These were the most exciting parts about the two months...

We are reaching the end of September now. In fact, tomorrow is my ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY being in Korea. I wish I could say I was celebrating, dolled up, a night on the town with my friends. Unfortunately, my overly active self has landed me a nice spot on my couch until further notice. Wednesday of this week, I woke up having troubles breathing. After two hours, I finally text my co-worker, Daniel, to ask him what I should do. He called me, keeping me as calm as possible until he was at my door. Right then, he grabbed my purse and helped me to the hospital. The Dr was able to see me right away...checking my temperature (slight fever), squeezing a pressure point on my hand which brought me to near tears, and pushing on my stomach as if he were trying to grab my insides (another tear jerker). Of course, we can't forget the "Open mouth say, "Ahh...(in a heavy Korean, broken English accent)"" I made my way to the xray room, confused as to why he wanted to see my bones (yes, that was what I was thinking). After about 5 more minutes, I went back in to see the Dr, watching him look at my results. Fortunately, Daniel came in with me so he could also listen to what the Dr was going to say. Daniel has been in Korea a couple years longer than I have and has taken some Korean classes. He can understand more than he thinks. Dr's results: Pneumonia. Definitely not what I was expecting. As best as he could, he tried to explain that it has affected my right lung and I will have to take antibiotics for a week, rest, and be back for a check up on Tuesday, October 2. This house arrest is boring. Did I mention that this weekend is Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving)?! I had plan to go to Gwangju with Ben to see a couple museums, eat lots of Korean food, and relax. But, instead, the long 4 day weekend will be spent in Suji-gu with Ben, movies, books, and soup. Needless to say, although I'm not getting to be my usual adventurous self, I'll get to spend quality time with an amazing person. Our goal: Read a lot, watch a lot of movies, eat good food, clean my apartment, and study!! Maybe, if I'm feeling well enough, we will go to church on Sunday.

And there you have it!!

My post in a couple days will be the one you have all been waiting for...will she stay? or will she come home? Most of you may know, but the ones that don't know, I'd like to keep you on the edge of your seat for just a couple more days.


PS. I will post pictures from the last few months soon. Waiting is the best part!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The country of Humidity, Tsunamis, and Songkran

When I first touched down in Korea, I knew I would eventually get a break from my teaching life and get the chance to do some traveling. What I didn't know, was the endless possibilities of where I could go. Some suggested the Philippines, while others insisted on Vietnam, Malaysia, China, or Japan. With that being said, I also knew Thailand was a place of interest, especially with the consideration that I could travel with two other girls - Amy and Monica. As Amy and I established our friendship and became close quite quickly, my mind was made up. Hands down, Thailand it was!

Her friend, Monica, from back home (Chicago, Illinois) was going to join us for our Asian Vacation. In December/January, our dates were set and cleared from HR to take vacation at the same time. Monica was also able to get those dates off from work. As we were searching flights and prices, we started to think it was going to be a lot more expensive than other expats had led us to believe. But then we chose a travel agency - which brought our price from $831 round-trip down to $587 - Thank you Hana Tour!!

That was the 'hard' part. Casually, we looked on the internet for places to stay and where we wanted to go. Unfortunately, all we knew was that we wanted Thai massages, manis/pedis, the beach, and a few cocktails - with some site-seeing, of course. Luckily, Skofe (the adventurous, fun-spirited Canadian) had enough ideas to guide us. After our extensive FB (Facebook) e-mail exchanges and internet searching, we had our mind made up that we would visit Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, and Bangkok. 

Our itinerary looked a little something like this:

Sunday, April 8th - Fly from ICN (Incheon Internation'l Airport) Seoul to Bangkok for a transfer to Phuket.
Monday, April 9th - Take a ferry to Koh Phi Phi Island.
Tuesday, April 10th - Koh Phi Phi adventures
Wednesday, April 11th - Koh Phi Phi more adventures
Thursday, April 12th - Koh Phi Phi more relaxing
Friday, April 13th - Koh Phi Phi last day of fun on the island
Saturday, April 14th - Take a ferry back to Phuket 
Sunday, April 15th - Fly to Bangkok - explore
Monday, April 16th - Bangkok all day for more exploring. Fly back to ICN at 11pm 
Tuesday, April 17th - 7am : arrive back in Seoul

Instead of boring you with every inch of detail, I thought it would be a nice change to let the pictures of my trip do the talking. But, the ONE story I MUST share is that one of my dreams came true! I had the chance to feed many macaques (monkeys) AND hold, yes I said HOLD, a gibbon all on the SAME day. It was this day that made me fall in love with Thailand.

Without further adieu...

Day 1
The sticker ticket!

Bangkok Airport

beautiful sunset

flying into Thailand

when all you want is a picture of the first "restaurant" and you capture the goobers (funny older men)

Amazing 1st meal

Owner of the hostel - he was SO helpful - from the UK

Tuk Tuk's...never got the chance to ride one, but they were mini party buses.

First dinner in Thailand (Phuket)

Day 2

Our hostel in Phuket

On the ferry to Koh Phi Phi

Andaman Beach Resort - our 5 night stay

Walking to our room

When you get off the ferry, Thai people swarm you to get your business...this was the man that helped us choose Andaman Resort

Songkran (Thai New Year)

police?! where?!

our wing!

The wild cats that greeted us every day. 

on the ferry.

before we headed to the ferry, we enjoyed breakfast in our hostel.

fire show

our waiter. good man.

the day we'll never forget - BURN!!

choosing a tour...

no big deal. cats come to take the leftovers...

in our wing...getting ready to head out for the night!

Day 4 - Tsunami!!

the highlight of my trip!!

on our tour...about to snorkel for my first time, EVER!

it was love. his name is Peter.

right before we were told to run to the boat...

a quick "hi" and "goodbye"

waiting among other boats to get word about the tsunami status..our tour guide was WAY too laid back for our comfort levels..

possibly the reason for my wrist infection - will have to post those pictures too.

if you know me, you know this is the happiest moment of my life!

lovers and friends.

Bamboo Island - Hat ladies

Day 5 - Recovery mode from the Tsunami scare...

we met an amazing Finnish couple - this is Tommy

and this is Sara - sweet, down to earth, cool chick

dinner out with the couple

Bring it Songkran celebrators...

Songkran (Thai New Year), it started as a little water and clay put on your forehead with a prayer...and it has exploded into a huge water/clay fight that lasts about 3 days...it's MADNESS!! Thai people are so welcoming about sharing their tradition with foreigners.

Goodbye Koh Phi Phi...back to the mainland

Our last days - spent in Bangkok

our second stop on our day tour in Bangkok...rode on one of these...

housing in the country...


Tiger Temple

many Thai locals meet here to spend the day BBQ-ing and playing in the dirty waterfall to cool off

delicious street food.

a peek of Songkran celebrated on the streets in Bangkok..


policeman...they were fun to attempt a conversation with/

In honor of their King