Friday, July 5, 2013

My Year in Review: Part Three of Three

The Seoul Lantern Festival in November 2012

I am finally up to the last review post for 2012... Yeah! I can finally move onto 2013 posts now! You can catch up on the last two posts here and here.


September

September was amazing... +Jackie and I went to eat in Itaewon at a great place called Suji's. Outside we met a couple of girls who invited us to a peace festival for free. It sounded great, but there was so, so much more to it than that.

The next day we got to the Olympic Stadium and the whole thing was strange. It felt strange as we were paraded into the stadium and it felt strange when we noticed the majority of the participants were color-coordinated in each section and continuously did things in sync. It got even more strange when the announcers started speaking. There was a ton of odd religious imagery to their words, very much the kind of stuff you would expect from Revelations-obsessed out-of-the-mainstream, wild-eyed Christian fanatics.

We began to feel trapped. It didn't help that the stadium was so packed that nobody could really walk. Only peer pressure was keeping us there, but we finally had enough and bolted for the subway. It was... an odd day. The second most surreal day I've had in Korea.

There was also an exciting time at the annual POLY workshop! Nearly all of the teachers from all the POLY schools in Korea come for this all day event. We are assigned classes to take and have to sit through them no matter how not helpful, or sometimes helpful, they are. Honestly, everyone seemed to hate the thing, but I picked up some good ideas; not enough to justify spending the entire day there, but good ideas nonetheless.

After the workshop, Jackie and I went and explored Incheon. It has been built up quickly for an expected influx of people for various huge events coming up (Olympics, etc). But that also means there are beautiful, enormous skyscrapers that appear to be vacant. The streets stretch out for miles, giant, wide-laned roads, without any cars on them. It is all a bit surreal. The cool thing is, the part that is inhabited looks amazing. We managed to sneak our way to the top of one building to take some pictures of the sunset.






October

The weather began to cool down in Fall, but that did not stop us from exploring Seoul. At the beginning of the month we headed out to see the Banpo Bridge Light Show. The pictures looked amazing. First, though, we set our sights on checking out the Seonyudo Park. It is a park that was once a power plant. Nowadays, though, it is a public park and garden. We strolled through at night and it was rather romantic (plus it was free!).





Later that night, we walked to the Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain for the light show. We were expecting a lot, and in retrospect, it was probably not a smart thing to have such high expectations. The show started with music over some loudspeakers. They were actually rather quiet and difficult to hear. The water began spraying from the bridge and the lights played off the water. It was interesting at first, but began to wear thin because it was the same few things over and over. Fifteen minutes later, it was over. The best thing I can say about it is it is a relaxing time sitting by the river.



Later in the month, we went to Busan for the first time to experience the Busan International Film Festival. It was a lot of fun, and Busan is now my favorite city. We've gone there twice (a total of five days) and are going again this weekend. I wrote a lot about the trip, but here are a few more photos and a video of things we saw.

Hiding in the Busan Museum of Art



Even later in the month, we went on a gigantic hike up Seoraksan and almost died. Okay, that is a bit of exaggeration, but it took forever. The next day we were exhausted and decided to take a dip in the ocean, the freezing, freezing ocean. We also went ziplining. I had never been! I felt like Spider-man!






November

Fall seemed like a great time for out of town trips. In November, we headed out to a temple and to an Apple and Jazz Festival. We had a great time and met some awesome people. I would have never thought apple could go well with hot dogs or pork! My eyes have been opened to the power of apples!







For Thanksgiving, we had friends over for dinner. It is really hard to find a turkey in Korea though. So, instead, we had gigantic gourmet turkey sandwiches! Jackie is a great chef and the entire night was great. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it again!

One other thing we did was go to the Seoul Lantern Festival. It seems like there are two or three a year, but this one was more impressive than the one I went to in the summer. All through the stream there, there were brightly colored floats and lanterns. At night the entire place exploded with light and color. Jackie got there late, but once she arrived, it made the night MUCH more enjoyable.


 






December

Lotte World, totally not ripping off Disneyland/Disney World
December moved quickly. At the end of the month we were headed back to visit the United States! On the 15th, I went to Lotte World for free to celebrate our fifth graders moving on to middle school. I got a nice hoodie out of it. I do not particularly enjoy amusement parks, but I was looking forward to this. And, boy, was I disappointed. We spent the vast majority of time waiting in lines. I had a horrible time. Oh well. I did get to practice my driving on the bumper car course. I had not driven in eight months!



Santa Parade!




Christmas was quickly approaching! We had a lunch for work that was tasty. On Christmas Eve we had a Christmas pageant with the kids at work. Oh yeah, we worked on Christmas Eve. It was okay. The kids seemed to have a good time singing Christmas carols and whatnot. We did have Christmas off. That was nice. Jackie and I spent it together alone. We opened presents and I was able to video chat with my mom.

At the very end of the month, we left for the United States. The flight took forever and we transferred in Shanghai, which was frightening. The airport we were in was scary, it was disorganized, and every worker looked angry. The terminal looked like a prison. Fun times!



At that is it! I am all caught up with 2012! Thanks for reading and for following my blog. I have a lot more pictures and posts ready for 2013. I've already done many things this year and have some very exciting things coming over the horizon.
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