Update & Adventure to Nami Island!

Hey, everyone! I know it’s been a while again, but I am here with another update, followed by a new adventure! I have had a few more adventures since I started my blog again, but I still have some adventures from earlier this year that I need to share.

October was quite busy, even after the Chuseok holiday, as we prepared for Halloween festivities. I also began an online course through my university back home on publishing. Mostly I’m learning about book publishing and the insides of the industry, and so far it is really interesting and everything I’m learning could very well help me in the future, but it’s an 8-week course so it’s also quite intense. As much as I want to continue working on my blog and write new updates, my course takes priority. Fortunately, I have gotten a lot of work done earlier in the week, so I am finally able to write a new post!

Today I will be sharing a trip I went on with my boyfriend (of course) to Nami Island. We went during the holiday weekend of Children’s Day in May from Saturday to Sunday. We took the train to Gapyeong and then a short bus ride to our guesthouse Jarasum. I wish I had taken pictures of the place because the aesthetic was all English and American and the overall theme was very much jazz-inspired. (Upon research, I learned that Jarasum is the name of the annual jazz festival in Korea.) We meant to spend some time in the basement area because they had a bar with jazz memorabilia everywhere (and a super narrow spiral staircase), but we were there just for one night.

Jarasum Guesthouse

Really the highlight of the trip was Nami Island, and it was our sole purpose of being there. I had heard about this island while researching various places to visit in Korea, and Nami Island was described as “magical” and “romantic;” it was even used as a set for the Korean drama “Winter Sonata,” which I have not seen yet. We took a bus up to the ferry dock in late afternoon and after a quick ferry ride, we stepped onto the island.

These beautiful trees

Even from first glance, this island did not disappoint. The famous path through the tall trees and strings of lights took my breath away and I hated that my phone camera couldn’t do the view justice. In reality, anytime I can get amongst trees and nature and green things is such a relief after spending so much time in the busy city, and Nami Island really felt like a breath of fresh air.

River view

I really did feel the romanticism of it all, mostly in the trees and numerous ponds and traditional decorations. I can’t quite find the words to describe it, which is unfortunate for a blogger like myself, but I felt at complete ease just surrounding myself with nature and with the person I love at my side. We even saw an ostrich hanging out on the island and I think that may have been the first time I ever saw an ostrich in person. It was huge and it was magnificent!

An ostrich & a rabbit
We even saw a bunny, and it looked so sad with that little eye

As the sun began its descent in the sky, we decided it was time to leave this enchanted island and find a good place for dinner. We got back on the ferry and looked around at the restaurants nearby. Gapyeong is actually very near to Chuncheon, where dakgalbi originated. (If you haven’t read my post about that yet, you should!) Dakgalbi restaurants were all around us, and there really wasn’t much of anything else. I was not at all opposed because it’s one of my favorite dishes, but it was hard picking which one to try.

Breathtaking

Unfortunately, we ended up at a restaurant that wasn’t so great. The food was alright, but my boyfriend was disappointed in the service while I was terribly distracted and nervous over the giant spider dangling over our table. I usually don’t mind spiders and other creepy-crawlies, as long as they are within a reasonable distance for me to smash them. Because this spider was over my head and out of reach, I felt completely vulnerable and I dreaded this eight-legged creature plummeting down into our food. Everything went smoothly, fortunately, and we ate our dinner without interruption.

Flowers everywhere

Getting back to our guesthouse was a struggle since the buses had stopped running and the taxi drivers were few and far between. Many of us sat and waited for a taxi to show up, and most of us followed common courtesy and surrendered the arriving taxi to whoever had been waiting the longest. This was interrupted, however, when a group of tourists jumped in and a few others, including my boyfriend, argued with the driver over who was waiting first, and the driver waved them off as the tourists climbed into the taxi. It took so long for another taxi to show up, and the other people waiting continued chatting about what happened and about other things, that eventually two Koreans who were waiting for a ride of their own offered to give us a ride to our guesthouse. It was so strange riding in someone else’s car, and I wasn’t able to speak a word to them, but we were very grateful to them for giving us a ride and I did my best to express that.

More water

It was still pretty early when we got back to our guesthouse, so we decided to buy some snacks at the nearby convenience store and hang out on the roof outside our room. In early May, the evenings were still a little chilly, but it was a good night to sit out and look at the sky. I can’t remember now if I saw many stars, but I imagine we saw a few out there in the small city. In the morning, the sky was gray and the weather was rainy as we packed up our things and checked out of the guesthouse. We looked for a place to have breakfast and ended up finding a coffee shop with warm pastries near the train station. I really didn’t want our romantic trip to end and go back to reality, but I was glad that we went in the first place.

This cutie
My favorite traveling companion

I would love to go back someday and explore more of the Gapyeong area because that is where you can find a little park called Petite France that looks like a slice of a French village placed in Korea. There are still many places in Korea to visit, as well as the neighboring countries, and I hope to continue exploring them and tell you about my adventures!

Island of Romance
Two people attempted to take this picture for us, and the second one got frustrated with the first for not taking it at the right angle

Thank you so much for reading and I’ll do my best to keep sharing my stories with you!

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Life Update: October edition!

Life Update

Hey, everyone! It’s been a while (yet again) since my last post, so I wanted to make a quick update. I will be addressing a few different things in this, so bear with me!

First of all, let me fill you in on my September. Since my last post, I have been busy at work, as usual. Now that we’re in the second semester of the school year, expectations are much higher and the classwork is much more challenging, so I have had to push the students quite a bit and I come home exhausted every day. We have also had some sudden changes in terms of staff at my school, so there has been a recent adjustment period for that.

More importantly, I was preparing for my trip to China. Don’t worry, I plan to make a post just for this, but I met my mom in Beijing during my Chuseok holiday and then she came back with me to Seoul for about a week. The process just to get the tourist visa was a struggle in and of itself, and then every night I came home from work and scrubbed my entire house from top to bottom. I wanted my mom to be as comfortable as possible in my tiny studio, and that included trying to get rid of the hair that my cat Tiggher has left in every square inch of my apartment.

Tasty cake
Red Velvet Cake from Billy Angel Cake Company (holy crap)

Now that my mom has returned home, I’m falling back into my routines and working harder to keep up with chores and what not. My Korean class has also started again and soon I will be starting an online publishing course through my university back home, as part of my writing certificate that I never finished. I am also planning a trip home for Christmas, and bringing the boyfriend along with me, so we will be preparing for that very soon.

Since my days are getting a bit busier and I will have to spend more time studying and working on assignments, it will be more difficult for me to maintain a blogging schedule. I have tried to post an update every Friday, and I did well for the most part, but other times I struggled to complete a post in time and a couple of times I published two posts a week to make up for it. What I will do from now on is write as much as I can, just type up my ideas as I think of them, and post them when they’re ready. If I can write a little bit every day, then maybe I can post maybe one or two updates every week, most likely some short posts. The important part to me is just to keep writing, and improve myself as a writer.

Sleepy panda
Here’s a sleepy panda for you (Sneak peek of China update!)

I still have plenty of ideas for my blog, and if there is anything you would like to read in my blog, please let me know! I want to thank you for continuing to visit my blog, and if you are visiting for the first time, welcome! I hope you enjoy!