Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunrise Sunday at Homigot

Anyone who knows me in the slightest bit knows that I am not exactly a morning person.  Alright, I am not at ALL a morning person.  I hit the snooze button.  I drag my feet getting out of bed.  I whine.  It's safe to say that being around me first thing in the morning is an experience not wanted by many.  I say this about myself to tell you about my Sunday morning.

It was decided last week that Homigot, a famous landmark in Pohang, needed to be seen.  Not only did it need to be seen, but it needed to be seen at sunrise. Currently the sun rises in Korea at 5:43am.  I live just about an hour from Homigot.  Do the math and imagine how thrilled I was about getting up at 4:30am.  Let me paint you a picture as to why the very "un-Jenn" time of sunrise was decided. There are two enormous stone hands that seem to cradle the sun as it rises and sets.  One juts out of the ocean and (when photographed correctly) is at it's most beautiful right at sunrise.  With my time in Korea coming to an end, I want to experience as much I can in the little time I had left.  One of those things was a Homigot sunrise with Dan.  Check.

What's next on my list of "must see" adventures you may ask?  Well, next weekend we are going to make yet another attempt at finding that amusement park and those ever elusive cable cars in the beautiful town of Daegu.  Let's see if we can get our navigational challenged butts in gear and check another item off my ever-growing list.  Until then, here are a few pictures from our early morning adventure to Homigot.

Sunrise at Homigot with Dan

The famous "Homigot Hands"

Quick kiss before leaving.  One of the best mornings since arriving in Korea all those months ago. 

Even though it was early (before 6am) when these pictures were taken, it was by far the best part of my Sunday.  If anyone in Korea has the option to see Homigot at sunrise you would be doing yourself a disservice NOT to go.  Grab your guy (or girl) and watch the sun peek out from being one of Korea's greatest landmarks.  Breathtaking.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Aimless Afternoons in Daegu

Last weekend the boy and I ventured to Daegu for a little time away from Pohang.  We had grand plans for the day that included making it to Apsan Mountain (rumored to be one of the most beautiful spots in Daegu) and roaming around to all the little places their website CLAIMED they have such as: cable cars, a small amusement park, multiple museums, etc.  Now, i'm sure all of those lovely things were at this beautiful mountain but we just weren't able to find them.  Seeing as how neither of us speaks fluent Korean or has the best sense of direction (you all know I don't) we wandered around for a bit until eventually the heat became unbearable and we called off the search and went back to civilization.

Even though we didn't get to cross another amusement park off our list, we still had a great time.  In between amazing western food, wandering the streets of Daegu, the beauty of the mountain or an impromptu drum concert, our day ended up being great.  Not what we expected, but great.

Welcome to the overcrowded streets of Daegu.

The Boston Buttsteak at New York Steakhouse.  

A trip is not really a trip for us until we pose with something in a plush costume or cardboard cutout.

The outside of a Korean war museum. 

During our search for the ever-elusive cable cars, we were able to sneak in a waterfall and a happy smiling photo to remember our day of aimless wandering.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Koreanisms and Time That Flies

#163. In Korea it is very commonplace to see sculptures of a penis just about everywhere.  In a garden frequented by small children.  Casually included in traditional carvings.  On the trails to a hiking spot.  In the middle of a bustling market.  The Korean culture just doesn't see anything wrong with displaying phallic symbols...well...everywhere.

#164.  When businesses open or there is a big sale promoting a store there are always dancing girls.  The dancing girls are usually on tall boxes, wearing short skirts and almost always dancing and signing to a popular k-pop song.  I have seen them in the freezing cold, sweltering heat and everywhere in between.  Do they attract more customers?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

#165.  As I have previously discussed in one of my recent posts, Koreans believe that a persons blood type also denotes their personality. They believe in their blood type much as the way westerners view their zodiac signs.   Korean celebrities include their blood type on their biographies or resume so that their potential employer will know how they will perform.  A man may ask a woman what her blood type is in order to determine whether she may be a good potential partner in a relationship.  Broken down, here is what the Korean culture believes when it comes to the correlation between blood type and personality.

Type A
Best Traits
Earnest, creative, sensible
Worst Traits
Fastidious, over-earnest

Type B
Best Traits
Wild, active, doer
Worst Traits
Selfish, irresponsible

Type AB 
Best Traits
Cool, controlled, rational
Worst Traits
Critical, indecisiveness, small mind

Type O
Best Traits
Agreeable, sociable, optimistic
Worst Traits
Vain, rude

The heart of summer has finally hit Pohang and it is noticeable to everyone who steps outside.  The weather is blistering hot and as humid as can be.  Thankfully, due to the fact that we are so close to the beach, there is usually always a small breeze to make the heat bearable.  During the past few weeks, I have been all around Korea trying to squeeze in as much fun, culture and memories as I can.  My departure date is looming in front of me and getting closer and closer all the while.

After talking tonight at dinner with some friends, something came to my attention.  We refer to time in two separate ways.  There is "Korea time" and "our respective homeland time."  It may not seem different to the average person but it sure is to us.  Here, our weeks fly by.  Before we know it, it's the weekend.  Then Monday.  Then the weekend again.  At home, time seemed to crawl by at a snails pace.  While it's great that our weeks go by so quickly here, this also means that our time seems to be on fast forward constantly.  It seems like only yesterday I was talking about how I couldn't believe that it was April and I had less than 7 months left here.  Now we're on the heels of September and I have less than 3.

With time flying by, I have to start making plans for the rest of my time.  Go to the cities I have yet to visit.  Try the food I have been too chicken to try (live octopus for one).  Squeeze in as much time as humanly possible at the beach.  Spend time with my amazing friends.   Buy the souvenirs for myself and family members.  Clearly the next few months will be a great whirlwind but I honestly wouldn't have it any other way.

Get ready readers.  The next few months should prove to be quite interesting.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Gyeongju World

A few weeks ago, I went with a group of friends to Gyeongju World.  It is a small amusement park about 2 hours away from my beloved town of Pohang.  We rode rollercoasters (big an small), ate ourselves silly with dip n' dots ice cream (love it) and had a blast being child-like with all of the rides.  Being an amusement park lover of all sizes, I had a perfect day.

Gyeongju World:  The happiest place in Korea

The entire group before our day of fun

Before the drop zone ride.  I did not ride this one.  Far too scary for me. 

Right before the first rollercoaster

Next on our list of amusement parks is The Everland Amusement Park in Seoul.  It is the 5th largest amusement park in the world and NEEDS to be visited before I leave this country.  Consider it tacked on the ever-growing list of places to visit before I leave.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Oh Korea: Blood Type Mystery

Oh Korea...

Today I had a new student in one of my upper level classes.  During the lesson my supervisor comes in to check on how he is doing.  Here is the conversation following the class.

Supervisor:  How is the new student doing?
Me:  Actually pretty great.  He is a little behind in his writing but all in all, I think he'll do fine.
Supervisor:  Really?!  (look of surprise) His mother told me he has type A blood, which means he has a small mind.  Be aware of that when you teach him.
Me: Oh really?  I don't know what I am.
Supervisor:  Oh i'm certain you are O+.  That means that you are outgoing and cheerful.  You cannot be any other blood type.

Oh Korea how you continue to amaze me.

Monday, August 1, 2011

International Fireworks Festival

A few weeks back was the Pohang International Firworks Festival.  The title alone should give you a hint as to what kind of show we were able to experience. With fireworks displayed by Japan, Korea, Australia and the Philippenes, we got quite the range of awesomeness.  One of my friends from high school happened to recently move to Suwon (near Seoul) and came down for the weekend for the festivities.

We had an awesome time on the beach watching the fireworks and spending time with friends.  Here are a few pictures to give you a better idea as to what we did for the weekend.

The first night of the fireworks over the Posco bridge

In between fireworks at TILT
Kennedy, Leighton, Dallas, Dan and Tristen

Showing Dallas, Tristen and their co-teacher
around downtown Pohang

The beach in Pohang.  The busiest i've ever seen!

Leigh and Emily watching the fireworks with us

The finale of the night