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Thoughts while waiting at Incheon Airport 

On one of the worst days of air pollution that I’ve experienced in six years, this duly accessorized Korean girl is madly stuffing her duty-free booty into an empty bag she brought just for this purpose. I feel like it says something about our industrial-consumerist society that even as we choke on the particulate matter from our factories, we can’t stop buying shit we don’t really need because, hey, it’s kind of a little bit cheaper!

On first look, one may be tempted to think she’s sorting airport garbage, but they already have that covered here at Incheon International Airport. 

That’s because it’s a duty-free party down here at gate 119

So much tax-free makeup, so little time before glacial melting and air pollution ruin the fun of looking good. 

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Mongolia

Golden Gobi Guesthouse
Ulan Bator
Mongolian Steppe & Ger Stay

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China

Happy Dragon Hostel
Beijing
Great Wall of China

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Vietnam

I am a little behind on blogging; we’re in Mongolia now! Here are my posts from Vietnam:

Hanoi
Hanoi Hostel
Halong Bay

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Hong Kong

Finished up my Hong Kong blogs! I am now in Vientiane, Laos.

Day 1
Day 2
Hostel

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Farewell Korea!

Leaving Korea after two years was bittersweet. While I didn’t always love my life there, I can say I was much happier after I quit teaching! Ha ha. What I will miss most is my friends. I feel like I really made some genuine, lifelong pals there. I am kind of sad about going home where my network is much smaller. In Korea you can bond quickly with other English teachers as you have so much in common. Also, it is easier to get lots of people to do fun stuff together… No one has kids, no one works on the weekends, and everyone has enough money to have fun. For example, I would never be able to get such a big group to go camping together back home in NC. Also my Korean friends are so thoughtful and sweet. They all got me awesome farewell gifts and wrote the sweetest/saddest letters and cards.

My official farewell dinner was last Sunday night at my favorite Indian restaurant. 19 people total!

During my last week I met up with as many people as possible! Then on my last night ten of us went to my favorite Korean restaurant.

I tried soju for the first time!

Ohee couldn’t make it to either dinner so she went to the airport with me yesterday morning. And cried!! I don’t like goodbyes so I laughed instead. I’m so awkward. But I will see her again when I am the Maid of Honor in her wedding in August!

Here are the awesome presents I received…

I will always remember my time in Korea fondly. But I am also eagerly anticipating my future, which right now entails traveling for five weeks and then returning home!

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Lotus Lantern Parade

The Lotus Lantern Parade is an annual event in Seoul held in honor of Buddha’s birthday. From the Visit Korea website: According to Buddhist beliefs, the lighting of a lotus-shaped lantern symbolizes a devotion to performing good deeds and brings light to the dark parts of the world that are filled with agony. The parade features more than 100,000 massive, illuminated lanterns in the shape of lotus flowers, stupas, elephants, dragons, and more. There is also a post-parade celebration, which includes the time-honored ganggangsullae dance (a traditional circle dance in which everyone holds hands to dance and sing among flower petals), the burning of written seowon (wishes and resolutions), and the release of lanterns of hope (a ceremony in which 100,000 wish lanterns are let loose into the sky).

Directions: It’s best to be near the end of the parade, so you can get some lanterns afterwards when they pass them out for free! From Jonggak subway station on line 1, take exit 2. You can walk a few blocks from there to Jogyesa Temple as well.

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