Wednesday, April 18, 2007


This past weekend I went hiking along one of Seoul's most famous landmarks: Namhansanseong. It's an old fortress wall which stretches almost 10kms southeast of Seoul. It was completed in 1626 and designed to guard Seoul from invaders. Interestingly enough, it was guarded by Buddhist Monks, who were more soldier then pacifist in those days.
The hike up to the south gate was a little tough however the walk along the ridge was very easy and since the weather was very warm and sunny, the pathway was full of Korean families out enjoying the Spring air, dawning the latest fashions (it often just as common to see Korean woman hiking in heels as it is hiking boots) and blasting their little radios (drowning out all sounds of nature is also preferred). But even with the crowds, it was a perfect way to spend my Saturday afternoon.
On Sunday I had the pleasure of joining Tyler in Itaewon to watch Ottawa lose a good game of hockey to Philadelphia. Although Ottawa lost, we had a lot of fun, drank a bit too much beer and ate a few too many bites of Poutine...but it was worth it!

This weekend I will be celebrating my birthday ... unlike previous years, this will likely a quiet affair (must be an age thing) and I am hoping to go hiking again on Saturday and meet some friends for dinner Sunday evening.
Of course it means I will get to open the rest of my birthday gifts from Jon (which I am more then a little excited about). They have been sitting on my shelf for over a week now and (although it's tempting) I haven't peeked once - definitely a sign of maturity , non?

Off to work now... enjoy the photos below - I also threw in a few photos from around my neighborhood (I love the river photo - those yellow flowers are everywhere now!!! Beautiful!)
and a photo from my class trip to the energy center...which was fun and educational...just the way I like it.


Namhansanseong - you can see the fortress wall in the distance
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Reflexology Pathway...yes it was a little painful walking on the stones, but good for my health non?

A map of Namhansanseong hiking trails

Namhansanseong Subway station
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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Spring is in the air

Yep, I officially suck at keeping my blog up to date.

First of all, I am feeling better - my cold has almost completely gone away and besides being a bit tired from the weekend, I am feeling better then ever!

OK - on with my update...

Spring has arrived!!
I have been saying it for weeks - but it is true. I have worn flip flops for a week now and my toes have never been happier.
But it's more then just the warm air on my toes that tells me it's spring: the ajjumas have begun sporting their sun-visors, young girls are wearing long socks and mini skirts, umbrellas are everywhere (not for the rain - but for the sun), the yellow dust has come and gone (rendering all the kiddies to play inside for a week), the cherry blossoms are in full bloom and the stinky smell of sewer has begun to fill the streets ....which I affectionately call the 'summer smell' ...more like bum smell , but you get the idea.
Spring in Korea is a contrast of beautiful, strange and at times...stinky.
But it is one of my favorite seasons in this country.

Jon arrived last Friday for Easter weekend...yep, just the weekend. He arrived Friday and flew back to England on Monday! It was all very romantic and special. I feel so lucky that we got the chance to see each other, even if it was for such a short time.
Two and a half months was incredibly long and we both agreed that we just couldn't wait any longer to see each other, hence the weekend visit.

He arrived with a bag of gifts for me (my birthday is in 2 weeks - mark your calendars!!) and a few goodies for my coworkers: magazines, newspapers and music.
It isn't often that we get visitors and even less often that we get repeat visitors - so seeing Jon twice in a few months is a big deal for my coworkers as well as me.
Also, getting anything from the 'real world' is a huge treat and the goodies were quickly nabbed by the 'vultures'.

Since we only had a couple days, Jon and I decided to have a low key weekend. Jon came to school with me on Friday to help my class celebrate our Easter party. Then, Saturday we spent the afternoon at the cherry blossom festival in Youido Park and then took the cable car up to Seoul Tower before we headed to Itaewon for an evening of Thai food and cocktails.
We spent Sunday morning watching old episodes of Fawlty Towers, and Sunday afternoon we chilled out with a movie (well half a movie - we watched 300 and left half way since it was so terrible) and then went for some Indian food.
It was a lot of fun, but far too short.
Thankfully, Jon is returning in 4 weeks for another (much longer) visit.
Needless to say 'we' are doing very well.
I can't wait for all of you at home to meet this wonderful man who has turned my life upside down.
I am sure you will love him as much as I do!
... sigh..

Anyways, since Korea has finally warmed up and the yellow dust has finally settled -
I am hoping to finally dust off the hiking boots this weekend and get up a mountain. It's been far too long and I have been far to lethargic over the last month.
Especially since this will be my last Spring in Korea, I am feeling the need to make the most of it.

Off to bed now...but before I go I want to wish Kelly a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!
Today she turns 30 and I am so sad to not be home to help her celebrate. I know you are going to have a fabulous day!! I can't wait to hear all about it.


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