Tourists for a Day

Yesterday was a national holiday, Gaecheonjeol, so Daniel and I took advantage of the day off work by going to Seoul and doing some sightseeing. We started in Insadong, where I was looking for a purse and wallet. No such luck, but I bought Daniel a hat for his birthday and two scarves and a pair of earrings for myself.

Our original plan was to go to Changdeokgung Palace but while reading a brochure during lunch at Little India (not highly recommended) I discovered that you can only see the gardens on a guided tour and the last one was at 2:30. It was already 2:45. The main reason I wanted to go to that palace was for the gardens so… Another day. Daniel hasn’t been to any palaces in Seoul so we went to Gyeongbokgung Palace even though I have already been. It was close and is supposed to be the best I believe. We didn’t pay to enter the grounds but just wandered around the front and took photos of the guards at Gwanghwamun.

From there we walked down Gwanghwamun Square to Cheonggyecheon. We got ice cream and beers and enjoyed sitting by the stream for awhile. Daniel was even brave enough to stick his feet in.

So that was the highlight of my weekend. Saturday I went shopping in Myeongdong (H&M/Forever 21) for some new fall clothes: five shirts, two dresses, and a few accessories. Sunday was my “bum day”. Also it was the season premiere of Dexter! Daniel and I did get around to watching Scream 2 and I must say it was better than I remembered… very suspenseful at times. Now for Scream 3…

Last week I made Red Curry Chicken with potatoes, broccoli, and zucchini. This week my experimental meal was Mustard Chicken with Baked Mac Cheese.

I am getting more excited about my Christmas vacation and have been in full planning mode. I booked all my accommodations this week! In Singapore I am staying at Wink Hostel. Then in Bali I am staying at Puri Oka Beach Bungalows in Candidasa and Nirwa Homestay in Ubud. I was also psyched to discover how cheap spas are in Bali… Looking into a cooking class as well.

I am bummed that I won’t get to go home for Christmas this year but I made the decision not to for many reasons, the biggest one being the expense. My entire trip to Singapore and Bali will be cheaper than just my plane ticket home. Also the time is too short to fly that far due to jet lag (there and when I get back) and chaos (trying to see everyone in a week). And the weather might be bad and I don’t want to get stuck somewhere in the snow.

It also sucks that I won’t get to spend Christmas with Daniel but that is because we work at two different kinds of schools here. I work at a kindergarten where the school is closed for one week in the summer and one week at Christmas and that is the only time I am allowed to take vacation. Daniel works at a hagwon where summer and winter break are the school’s busiest times (since public schools are closed the students take extra classes at hagwons) and he is not allowed to take off then. Bummer, huh?

Anyway… We are thinking of going to Peru for a month next August to do an intensive Spanish course. I have been wanting to go to Peru (Machu Picchu!) forever and learning Spanish would be helpful for both of us if we plan to have careers in America. But I want to do it when I’m not in school so August is the only time. Daniel may stay in Peru for longer and study more.

So now the plan is…
June: China-Mongolia-Russia
July: Home
August: Peru
After that: ???????????

Last random note: I have an ingrown toenail. I’ve never had one before. It really hurts. (Yes I know how to clip my nails properly; this is from stubbing my toe and breaking part of my toenail off.) I have soaked it in warm water and put Neosporin on it. Any other home remedy suggestions?

Weird Korea Part 24: Just as I was about to hit “Publish”, I realized I have been neglecting my “Weird Korea” section. Sorry ’bout that. So, Korean men like to get really wasted, puke, and pass out in public. There used to be a website dedicated to photos of this glorious pastime but it won’t work now and I remember hearing that it was shut down by the government. So for now you’ll have to make due with the Facebook page.

-Jen Pace

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