I’m Becoming A Professional Panda Cuddler

Just kidding! I haven’t made another career change and left you in the dark!

Just an impending continent change.

As the cat was already let out of the bag, I figured that my return to the Orient and imminent departure from Europe warranted an explanation of sorts (even though I’m sure many aren’t surprised I’m returning to Asia). So, here goes.

While Asia is by far my favorite continent, it wasn’t my initial intention to return so soon to re-set up shop. As you may or may not know, I successfully passed all my exams over the holidays, and the next step was to secure a position in an international school, which took its time to secure, but secure it did! As any plan takes its course while developing, I first had my wallet set on Dubai (then I decided I wanted to keep my rights), then came South America (but alas, I’m too new a teacher to get any interest. Sad face), then I finally circled back to Asia (and HELLO interviews). While I can’t even give you a ballpark of how many schools the world over I applied to, I have happily accepted a position at Kang Chiao International School within their East China Campus’ Bilingual division. This means my third home-away-from-home is going to be set against the backdrop of Shanghai. That’s right – China is receiving me next, and I’d be a big fat liar if I said I wasn’t scared.

For starters, when I think of China, many unpleasantries come to mind, such as: trough toilets, gutter oil, yellow dust, dog festivals, the great firewall, fashion masks for hopeful breathing, and mystery meat.

However, while that pupu platter is scary, I’m trying to instead focus on those fascinating traits that originally caused Asia to flood my heart, and then get back to exploring even more! Even though I spent three years in Korea, the only countries I didn’t make it to in ASIA Asia are anything Chinese. I feel like a giant asshole having never been to the biggest part of the continent, but now is the time! And now is also the time to conquer the Myanmar, the India, the Hong Kong, the Mongolia, the Taiwan, and the Russia of it all.

The travel excitements go without saying, so some other whathaveyous that I’m super excited to have in my life are: Pandas. PANDAS! Cuddling a Panda in Chengdu is definitely going to happen. Then there’s noodles and FLAVORS and hot pot. I can’t wait to be back in a place where flavor is bursting all over the place (sorry Spain and your love of salt). Dumplings because, well, dumplings. In fact, there are already plans to venture to a new Hello Kitty dim sum restaurant in Hong Kong sometime in September with my Korean Kookster in Krime soon to become China Chingu, Chrissy. I’m excited for Chinese temples, stepping foot on The Great Wall, spending a Chinese New Year IN China, and learning so much about a massive world power that I know nearly nothing about.

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The only thing I liked about the Shanghai Pudong Airport during my brief 2012 layover.

Oh, and of course while I’m not exploring and cuddling Pandas, I’ll be tasked with teaching even more cute little elementary hoishis Language Arts, and depending on their level, History, Geography and some other subjects as well. I’m leaving the co-teaching life behind to have my own students, plan all my own lessons, have my own classroom and full control. This will be a couple steps up from Korea, and a giant leap up from my job in Spain. It’ll be an adjustment, but I’m really thrilled for the new experience and responsibilites, and in a school that looks so incredibly beautiful and majestic on their website. The school is massive and there will be around 150 foreign teachers, 3 of which I hope are normal.

This position will also allow me to get experience in the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, provide many opportunities for professional development, and I’ll have a massive amount of technology at my fingertips.  The whole application process caused me a lot of anxiety once I started getting offers from schools in China, and I’m so happy with the decision I’ve made for the next jump.

Of course, as with when any chapter ends, I’m starting to get the pangs of sadness that go along with leaving a place that has been home. Even though Madrid and I never hit it off (as is demonstrated by this here blog), this country is exquisite and diverse beyond belief. I keep reminding myself to look up at all the beautiful buildings and perfectly crisp blue skies, because in 4 months those will be replaced by grey skies and communist blocks. I’m hugging my kids a little tighter, getting my brain and paperwork in gear for what’s to come, making plans to explore the still unexplored, and hardcore lighting the fire under my Greek Lamb’s ass to get his foot on the gas so we can have many more days of exploring and eating on a new continent together.

And voila! Have you ever visited, lived in, or taught in China? Do you have any tips for me, or any must-sees or abandoned places I must hit up? Do let me know in the comments! 

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32 Times Of Treinta y Uno

When I look back on year thirty-one, it looks like a very weird year. Nothing immediately crazy stands out to me until I actually look at it with a closer eye. Then I realize that this year was very much defined by leaps of faith, incredible travels, and was actually quite the successful year, with some (big) emotional bumps along the way.

Thirty-one started off with a romantical getaway to Brussels with Lambchops, complete with decadent Belgian chocolate aplenty and terrorist scares following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris. Spring time saw the Sistahood of the Traveling Yarmulkes of Diamonds and Schaeffs pop off to my fourth continent for a Moroccan getaway filled with camels and schmatas. My first full summer in years was spent exploring Greece and its downward spiral via shiny red vespa, and bouncing through the culturally rich Balkans. And now, thirty-one has come to end on a high note with a purposeful trip to New York which included passage of all Teaching Certification exams; and thank God because my entire life revolved around them for 3 months (hence the lack of bloggery).

That was a lot of happenings, and what better way to sum up the year than by highlighting year treinta y uno with thirty-two times my life saw a filter or two through the Instagram lens.

So, without further adieu…

1. Birthday & Balls In Brussels With A Babe

Lambchops and I booked a very last-minute (per the usual) jaunt to Brussels for my birthday weekend, where we drank delicious beer, ate the most decadent Belgian chocolate, visited European Parliament for my Mr. Politician man, and played with these giant silver balls at Atomium, a structure that is entirely retro inside and was originally designed for the 1958 Brussels World Fair. It was bomb, and we had lots of silly fun trying to get the perfect photo cupping these balls.

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2. Dining Amidst Hemingway

I only had one spot in mind as to where I wanted to spend the night of the oldest I’d ever been, and that was at the oldest restaurant in the world according to the Guiness Book of Records certificate that sits in the front window of Botin. Justin wore a vest and tie and his horrible shoes, we tried their Cochinillo, and we paid a visit to the table in the corner where one Ernest Hemingway used to sit and drink himself away before writing about how Madrid is the most difficult city to fall in love with. I agree with his drunk musings.

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3. Hello Year Of The Goat!

I really miss celebrating Lunar New Year in a place where it’s celebrated, but thankfully Spain has Chinos by the bushel and two of the few friends I made in Madrid are an Asian and a pseudo Asian like I. So we went out to indulge our noodle and MSG dreams, and it was divine. Except for the tofu. It could have used some more spice.

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4. Wore The Gaudiest Thing I Own

Never one to shy away from a good prop, I wore the gaudiest thing I own to take in some Gaudi on a weekend pop off to Barcelona with Jen. I realized that all I remembered about Barcelona from my 2006 trip with MayMay was Giuseppe, a nap that lasted forever, and Paella followed by some sort of free shot. So we wandered, admired all the stunning Gaudi, found his first commission off the beaten path, ate the best Patatas Bravas ever, and once again ate Paella to remember. I can also now say I have truly (soberly) visited Barcelona.

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5. This Man

The seasons changed and Justin and I took in a few Tinto de Veranos terrace-side this fine gentleman. Truly a treat to the eyes and worthy of remembrance.

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6. Sistahood Of The Traveling Yarmulkes

This was a trip we first only joked about, and then when everyone got on board it was pretty fabulous. Four crazy sistas who have been bickering and loving each other since the Willow Elementary days found ourselves exploring Madrid and then the most culturally shocking country I’ve ever visited – Morocco. What started out as a holiday where we were keeping our JAPpiness under lock and key, turned into an education about a place where so many religions co-exist peacefully. Morocco was colorful and vibrant and accepting, and perhaps one of the most visually intriguing places I’ve ever visited.

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7. Semana Santa’s Own Ku Klux Klan

Semana Santa is Easter, or Holy Week in Spain, and I had no idea that these costumes were traditional to the holiday until the sistas and I stumbled upon them late one night. It was one of the most unsettling visions to walk in to, and we were all a bit disgusted but couldn’t stop staring. However, after some brief research, the Nazarenos actually have no correlation with the Ku Klux Klan, known to wear the same costume in white. In fact, this tradition pre-dates the KKK. Essentially the origins of why they wear these costumes is still a mystery, however their faces are covered as they are in mourning and in repentance for the sins of the past year. Can’t say I’m a fan, but I still find this cultural aspect utterly fascinating.

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8. In A Boat With A Dream Boat

My dreamboat came for another visit to España, we went to Retiro Park, and he refused to let me do the rowing. How romantic.

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9. Fucking Four Names! 

I think it’s safe to say that everyone from our first year in Korea assumed Thomas Sean Dominic Kelly (otherwise known as 4names) fell off the face of the earth. Well, newsflash, he didn’t and he’s still alive and popped over to Spain to pay me a little visit. We did a couple Asian things, like got bubble tea and posed in front of this Korean restaurant, and then we went and drank many a glass of Vermouth and caught up about life since everyone thought he died. It was a great blast from the past.

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10. Shika Shocka Hip Hopping

Two years ago Shika volunteered in the Philippines, met Dustin, came to visit him in Koko, we hit it off over fluffy whipped creamy waffles, fresh lobster, Mickey Mouse ears, and fancy bows. Since then we have become great continent hopping friends from Seoul to NYC to Madrid and back again. During her quick trip to Madrid we people watched in front of the royal palace, caught up about our boys, and enjoyed the most deliciously ginormous tomato dinner. Everything about her visit was a little bit o’ heaven.

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11. An Afternoon At The Bull Fight 

I still do not condone this bullfighting business, however, it also sits as one of my favorite, most Spanish experiences since arriving in the country. Before attending I was told things like “It’s an art”, “It’s so beautiful” and was eerily perturbed by that phraseology to describe something so barbaric. Then I went, met an avid bullfight goer, and witnessed the artistry first hand. It’s backwards, but it’s a huge part of Spanish culture, so to me it’s worth the experience. And boy was it. I wrote about it here if you want more of the bloody details.

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12. Chef #dadbodenlacocina 

Justin is quite the wizard in the kitchen, and I dearly miss having someone cook for me since he selfishly chose to depart España. Well, this night he cooked a massive Paella feast for me and his favorite Frenchies. It was a very tasty evening.

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13. First Father’s Day In Four Years

2015 was the first Father’s Day I’ve actually been present for in four years. I arrived back state side the day before, and the next day we all took him to the cafe at Paradise Cove for lunch and a dip in the great big Pacific. He was so happy and I was so happy to be home to celebrate and take this photo in the most appropriate place we ever could have.

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14. Our Jeanelly Became A Novak!

The first of our Fab 4 got hitched on the beach in Malibu to the amazing Alex, and it was the island party I couldn’t wait to get to! There was so much wind, so much dancing, so much wine, and so many lovers all in one place. Not to mention, I also had my first plus one to a wedding and came in tow with my handsome Greek man who got his first taste of America.

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15. A Grand Tour Of Los Angeles As Promised 

In 1999 two little teeny boppers promised the cute boy working at the front desk of our London hotel that we’d give him a Grand Tour (capital G and T) of Los Angeles if he ever found himself there. Well, this summer he did and the Sistas Schaeff took him on that Grand Tour. Even though he didn’t want to take us up on our long overdue offer of a trip to the happiest place on Earth, we found the next best thing. Our feet and Walt’s star will have to suffice until next time when he decides he’s only as old as he thinks he is.

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16. Googling Away In Silicon Valley

Lambchops and I paid a long overdue visit to my favorite Baller in the world and his brand new bride, Michelle. We barbequed, swam, imbibed, and stayed up late gossiping like the good ol’ days, then woke up bright and early for a grand tour (there’s a trend here) of Google, which was awesome! Later that night we also got the royal treatment at Facebook when Lambros’ Godfather showed us around. I’d say this guy’s trip to America was a great giant success.

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17. Countin’ It With This Gem

The guy who has always been so damn close to my heart, Mr. Yoga Master, Mr. Crystal Celebrity on Instagram, and I had a divine lunch at Veggie Grill where he gifted me this pretty Amythyst. When we first saw each other in the parking lot I don’t think I let go of him for like 5 minutes. I was SO happy! When we sat down we realized it had been about 5 years since we last saw each other, and it was like no time had passed at all. My Adam Reff is still one of the most lovely and amazing people and it was the best catch-up date I’ve had in a long long time.

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18. Grouchy Gavin

I love Kendra and Justin’s little grouch! This time around he didn’t take too fondly to me, but that’s ok. I understand what ‘Terrible 2s’ means and there’s always next time Gavy boy! Auntie D still loves you and your adorable little face tremendously!

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19. The Golden Gate Bridge of Greece 

When we were driving through the Zagori of Epirus in the northwest part of Greece, Lambchops told me we were going to see a bridge just as famous as the Golden Gate Bridge. I don’t know what I was expecting, but the bridge of Kokkorou was unbelievable, dates back to 1750, is one of the most famous bridges in the country, and this photo looks like I’m at the center of the earth!

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20. Met Some Real Life Hitchhikers

When I was waiting in line to buy my train ticket from Thessaloniki to Sofia I cut in front of two Frenchie guys who ended up being my favorite travel companions. Turns out Alexis and Konstantin had hitchhiked all over Europe from Paris but couldn’t for the life of them get someone to hitch them out of Thessaloniki, so fate had it that we were to be train buddies to our next destination. They also happened to be the first hitchhikers I ever met (hello, we don’t do that in America) and helped me concoct the perfect travel itinerary. The day they left Sofia they pulled out all their signs and I was in awe with how much work actually goes into being a professional hitchhiker. Two thumbs up!!

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21. Bosnia And Its Baklava

Perhaps my favorite destination on my Balkans Bouncing tour was Bosnia; Sarajevo in particular. I didn’t know nearly anything about the city prior to visiting, and actually still thought they were in a war that happened 20 years ago. In contrast to the war, Sarajevo and Bosnia is one of the most exquisite, interesting, and culturally diverse places I’ve ever visited, and the Baklava there is to die for. Everyday in Sarajevo I went to this specific cafe called The Baklava Shop and sat on the ornate turkish ottomans and sipped my Bosnian coffee while people watching. It was the perfect midday pick-me-up and I sorely miss the tradition.

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22. The Bridge That Fairytales Are Made Of

Mostar came to me as a suggestion by those hitchhiking Frenchies I mentioned above. I spent a day in Mostar and absolutely adored it. From the cobble stoned streets, the greasy Cevapcicci, the medieval architecture, the insane war-torn history, watching daredevils jump from Stari Most, and climbing up the most claustrophobic minaret of Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque to get this photo. Mostar is definitely a place that must be put on the map of must-see destinations. In fact, make that the whole of Bosnia & Herzegovina.

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23. Mounting Montenegro

I am not a hiker, in fact, I only do it to say I’ve done it or because there’s a view I absolutely can’t miss. I don’t like that #FOMO crap. And well, the hike up to the fortress in Kotor, Montenegro was definitely worthy of the hike. I even personalized it by wearing pink shorts, gold espadrilles, and silver purse. I’m never one to skimp on glitz, even while I’m sweating. My newly acquired friend and I took the long route (~5 hours worth), on our way stopped for some fresh goat cheese and Coca Cola at a home on the side of the mountain, and then admired the breathtaking fjord from high above. All of those Top 10 Places to Visit in 2016 lists put Kotor on the map and I’m just glad I got to see it before even more cruise ships begin to venture there. Truly stunning.

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24. Scared Shitless In Skopje

Skopje, Macedonia was a very bizarre city. Perhaps the most bizarre I’ve visited. There are sculptures and buildings that look like they’re hundreds of years old but were built in the 2000s, it houses Shutka, home of the highest concentration of Gypsies in the world, and has the massive Millennium Cross (bigger than Jesus in Rio) high on the mountain top, which is where I stand perched here. I met a couple Turkish guys on the double decker bus up to the base of the mountain, and well, they were a couple of monkeys who wanted to get up on this gazebo. So you see, once again, #FOMO kicked in and I didn’t want any of that. To actually take this picture was a task, as it took me a solid 20 minutes to hoist my very scared tuchous up there, a couple skinned hands, and then after that was done, even longer to get me down. See what happens when #FOMO fuels you? You land on top of the world (sometimes).

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25. Shuffled Through Shutka 

Did you read what I wrote above about Shutka? Or this post I wrote about it a few months back? I heard about this place in passing yet again from those Frenchie hitchhikers. Shutka is just full of juxtapositions, slums, and nothing I’ve ever seen before. Those white bouquets I want to believe are leftover decoration from wedding season, which I’m really sad I didn’t get to see. I heard Gypsy weddings are a treat for the senses. Regardless, Shutka was an experience and I got scolded later for accepting an offer into a Gypsy home. Who said curiosity killed the cat?

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26. Exquisite Egremni 

For my last weekend in Greece, Lambchops took us to Lefkada, an island that can be reached by car from the mainland via an underground tunnel. Our destination was Egremni Beach with water so fluorescent you can’t believe it’s not highlighting words in your textbook. Not-so-fun-fact other than the moody afternoon we shared here, is that we were probably some of the last people to get to enjoy its luscious seashore. About a month later Lefkada suffered a major earthquake causing the mountain leading down to the water to completely collapse leaving a shoreless sea. Travesty.

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27. LALA En España

Even though Joshua Becker was in my country of residence on a feat of love, I’m glad I was squeezed into the equation as we had a lifetime of things to catch up on. We drank lots, saw royal things, ate the best Paella in Madrid, and visited the center of this here country. All roads lead to Madrid, and I love having any chance of home visit me!

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28. Scary Or Stunning?

Thank God my roomie likes to celebrar and decided to have a Halloween party at our casa. They looked more beautiful than death and I finally got to put my ‘when in Spain’ Picasso costume into action. We also have enough face paint left over if you’d like your face painted too.

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29. My Life From October To December 

You may have noticed an absence on here for 3 months, and well, that’s because this is what my life looked like. And it all paid off as I am now a fully certified teacher in Elementary Education and ESOL. Now to find a job.

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30. Met Gorgeous Georgie Boy! 

Kayla gave me the news of their new addition on my last birthday, to which I responded with a hearty “I beg your pardon, what?” Well, the adorable little man came this summer and was a huge reason I had to take my tests in New York in December, aside from it’s closer and cheaper to fly to NYC than LA. I had to meet this little slobbery boozy dinosaur, and it’s official, I’m in love!

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31. Shoving Kimchi In Sammy’s Face 

That’s what he gets for never visiting me in Koko. It’s actually quite shocking that he never did, but oh well, because we found ourselves in NYC’s Koreatown, and my little piece of heaven. We were walking down the main street for a little while looking for a place up to my hardcore Korean taste but everything looked super catery to tourists or white people which is a no-go for me. Sammy, being the social butterfly that he is, asked a gang of Korean guys where we should go, and at first they suggested a very white looking place. When he told them I lived in Korea they gave us the good stuff. So, here we are eating BBQ and devouring kimchi and makkoli at Jongro BBQ (which also happens to be my favorite part of Seoul). Happy tummy and fresh breath with one of my favorito homies.

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32. Goodbye Chipless Passport

This is sort of funny, but it was very annoying at the time. You see, my passport expires/d on March 6, 2016 so I made the earliest appointment for renewal at the consulate in Madrid for January 7th. I made it back to America, but when I went to fly back to Madrid I was flagged and denied entry because my passport lacked 3 full months of validity on it. Whoops. Turns out Spain continues to pick and choose what they want to wave their finger at, and passport validity is one of them. Since my just shy of 3 months validity wouldn’t fly (literally), I had to run all over NYC at 12:30am looking for an open Kinkos and a CVS to take my new flawless passport photo (I had to have it retaken due to the definitely drugged up guy who took my first and rejected one) in order to make it and apply for an emergency passport the next morning to fly the following night instead. I succeeded and have since put a note in my calendar for 9.5 years from now to renew my passport at least 6 months prior to the expiration date. On a positive note, when the nice man working at the passport center announced my name he said “Wow!! We were just talking about how flawless your photo is! It’s the best passport photo we’ve ever seen!” The next 10 years of my life thanks you kind sir.

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And there it is! That’s a wrap on 31! I guess now that I look back it was a pretty solid year. Now here’s to 32, which is looking to me like a big fat year of transition, and another big move. L’chaim and here’s to you 32!

 

A Summer Holiday In That Other Side of Greece

The last time I was in Greece was in October 2007 with my mom and brother. I’ve wanted to return so badly, and finally had the free time and a pretty sexy reason (if that’s even a requirement) to return. This time for a couple months (yikes) holiday in between my trip home and my return to Spain in October. Not too shabby and a lot a bit scary. I’m here this summer with absolutely nothing to do but eat tzatziki and the reddest tomatoes on the planet, walk around getting blacker by the second, jump in mediterranean waters, squeeze in some exam studying, tend to this blog which I’ve handsomely neglected this year, and see some untouched Greece along the way. Nothing to do. Who even has time to say that? Not many, especially the Greek I’ve come to see.

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My heavenly first meal.

So here I am in the northwest region of Epirus, neighboring the island of Corfu and Albania, in the city of Ioannina, which I’ve been told has about the same population as Santa Barbara County (for those interested in population counts and want a point of reference). It ain’t big, but my, is it beautiful and untouched, and a side of Greece that few, if any, think of when the country comes to mind. At its center lies Lake Pamvotis, with the unnamed island perched in the center. Surrounded by mountains on all sides, the city of Ioannina was once quite secluded and a journey to get to, until the initiation of a great highway system.

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The view from way up in the mountain village of Ligiades.

On my first day here, Mr. Chops zipped us around town via sparkling red Vespa, and my first thought after “I hope I don’t fall off this thing,” was “this is exactly what I envisioned for my European life!” those eons ago when I first planted the seed of a life in Europe in my 10 year old brain. The city consists of a bustling stream of cafes and shops surrounding the hushed part of town lying within the once-upon-a-time castle walls. There are cobblestone streets aplenty, renovated buildings side-by-side with ones in disarray and graffiti, a stunning lake, and of course since it’s Greece, captain of all things ancient and crumbling, a plethora of remnants from the Byzantine and Ottoman eras.

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Lambchops has been quite concerned for my boredom here, and how I’ll keep busy for a summer, which is unbearably sweet. To be honest, there isn’t a ton to do in the realm of excitement, so I understand, but I’m also not looking for a crazy time; and gorgeous places are within a mountain’s drive or boat ride away. I also like to wander, so I’ve done enough of that to turn about 5 shades of negro darker and find myself in a new part of town on most days when he comes to fetch me after work around plus or minus 3pm.

Of the ways I’ve spent my weekday afternoons while he’s been busy working his brain off and I’m not trying to add my womanly touch to his quarters (lots of scrubbing required), well, let me break them down for you.

1. Drink Coffee Like the Greeks Do, and People Watch

There are so many cafes in this city that it’s quite hard to choose just the right one. They’re all so cute, and when I look for a cafe to sit in I definitely look for a ‘cute’ ambience. I know, how girly of me. But after coming from Korea, land of the cafe, to Spain thats sucks as far as cafe culture goes, Greece has the cafe on lock. After you’ve chosen your locale, choose your coffee. Nescafé rose to fame some time ago with their Frappé, or simply Nescafé because they own that entire market. They’re quite sweet, and from the looks of the tummies on most men, consumed on the regular. I personally have been ordering an Espresso Freddo, which is essentially espresso over ice with sugar, only I ask for medium sugar because health (and I just can’t do espresso black because of sensitive tummy and bitterness). And when I’m feeling particularly in need of calming, and mind-traveling, a glass of white wine, because I’m in Europe and that’s what people do in the afternoon besides eat a huge lunch and nap.

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The lines of people waiting to retrieve their 50 euro per day is real.

2. Walk Through the Castle Walls

If you’re in the market for some quiet wandering, just walk towards the lake and you will be met with these ancient walls at one point or another. Once you enter it’ll amaze you how you can hear a pin drop. It’s so unbelievably quiet (unless you’re being followed by a hoard of loud and obnoxious out-of-work youths). These homes are from what I have been told some of the most expensive property in the city, and date back 100s of years. This region of the city has seen many changes in power whether under the Byzantine or Ottoman rule of Ali Pasha. Walking through here is one of those reasons why Greece is so fascinating to me as an American. It’s amazing to see structures like Ottoman bathhouses that have been preserved from seriously hundreds and hundreds of years ago.

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3. Visit Its Kale Fortress

As I already mentioned, it’s really amazing to walk through a modern city, and then stumble onto remnants of eras passed. Within the castle walls lies yet another set of walls, and the former home of the Ottoman ruler Ali Pasha. Sitting high on the acropolis overlooking Lake Pamvotis, this fortified area underwent massive amounts of renovation during his rule. While his palace is in ruins, there also lies Fetiyie Mosque overlooking the lake, with his immaculately designed tomb just in front, and the Byzantine Museum in between the two.

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Fetiyie Mosque, The Byzantine Museum, & the residence of Ali Pasha.

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The final resting place of Ali Pasha and one of his wives.

4. Ferry Out To the Nameless Island

A ferry leaves the main port in Ioannina every 30 minutes and makes its 10 minute journey over to the island, which plays home to approximately 100 people. Aside from the restaurants serving up fresh seafood (the specialty I hear is eel, and not my thang), there are a few streets filled with residents begging you to buy souvenirs of silver and baklava from their little shops. Delicious baklava I might add. Once you get past the main entry point, you are free to wander and roam through the white-washed walkways and see the many Ottoman-era monasteries that litter the tiny island. I walked past some, but frankly it was too hot to ascend the hills, plus I get cathedraled or religiositied out and am more into seeing how the people live and the picturesque streets and boats. I basically went to the island and spent a lazy afternoon walking around, swatting mosquitos, itching my bites, visiting the Ali Pasha museum where he was beheaded, drinking white wine by the lake, and talking to two little girls who were in awe of the foreign English speaker at their cousin’s restaurant on this tiny little island.

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The salvaged canon (and balls) used by Ali Pasha to protect from the Turks when Ioannina was seized between  1820 – 1822.

5. Visit Ioannina of the Mountains

This is of course just what I call it. One of my first days here, we took the vespa way up (about halfway up) the mountain on the other side of Lake Pamvotis to a lookout point, that also happens to bear a monument in memoriam to the people of Ligiades who were massacred by the Germans in October 1943. Fun little fact about Ioannina is that before World War II, it was also home to the biggest Jewish population in all of Greece. Who knows, perhaps the Greek side of Mama Schaeff’s family originated from here before settling in Odessa. I wonder! Though not religious in any sense of the word, I am fascinated by Jewish history, and love that Mr. Chops has enlightened me to that history of his city. And funny I’d end up here, in the land of Greek Orthodox.

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6. Jump In A Pool

When the heat needs to be beat, jump in a huge vat of water at a hotel pool. Ioannina is about an hour from the beaches of Igoumenitsa, Sivota, and Preveza (amongst others) which we have definitely visited, but you can see are a bit out of everyday reach when sans vehicle or public transport. So pool it is! Lambchops told me about Hotel du Lac which has a lovely pool open to the public for 8 euros a pop, which is more than worth it for a dip and a shade change in the dead of summer. They also have other nice spa treatments and massages which I may just treat myself to in the not so distant future.

7. Get Fit

Lambchops and I said we were gonna get active and keep our health regimes in check, which I think we’ve both done a decent time of maintaining despite the lack of cooking utensils and materials in his apartment. That aside, we are big meal sharers, and I found the studio Yoga Union which is excellent, unlike the yoga I signed up for in Korea (me, a sweater who never sweat, imagine that). I signed up for the month, and at the very least it gives me one thing I need to commit to!

8. When All Else Fails…

Take a nap, because the entire city turns into a ghost town between the hours of 3-5pm. The siesta culture here is insane. Even more pronounced than that of Spain, the country that claims the siesta. I was out walking around one afternoon and was literally in awe. It’s one of those things you don’t really fully believe until you see that absolutely nothing is open and any restaurant that is actually open is sans comida. I’m not kidding, there’s even a typed out reminder to keep your trap shut during said hours in the entryway to his apartment building.

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Now that you’ve seen the exhilarating ways I’ve been spending my early afternoons, stay tuned for the late afternoon/early evening excursions to come. They’ve been beautious and open an eye to a historical and lush side of Greece that you will definitely want to see if you haven’t already!

Yang Yang Up The Ying Yang

Joshy had been talking about this hippie dippy surfer enclave that pretty much straddles the 38th parallel on the east coast, called Yang Yang, for forever and a day.  Only he pronounces it like you’re pronouncing it if you live in the west, only it’s really supposed to be pronounced like they pronounce it in the east, like YahngYahng, but we’ll just keep pronouncing it like YangYang because it’s more fun that way.

Anyways, enough with the pronunciation lesson. Like I was saying, he’s been wanting to go FOREVER, but when his brilliant plan got thrown into road trip motion he went into mini freak out mode like OMG WE DON’T REALLY NEED TO GO. But we were getting the F out of Seoul, and we were utilizing that international drivers license that Dusty boy procured whilst Stateside.

So, after a minor hiccup and foreigner free pass at the car rental place, we rented our Hyundai and joined the swanky Sonata club of Korea.

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Of course no road trip is complete without a playlist, and my 7th grade crush’s recently dropped hit provided just that. Sean Sahand errrbody…while I crawl inside myself.

As much as everyone was enjoying the jam and the J’s, instead of the suggested 3 hours allotted for the journey, it took us approximately 7 hours to reach the glorious beaches of YangYang, and we forged through all types of weather to get there. I’m not kidding. We thought we were going to reach the beach and head right to the mart for hoodies and sweats. There is no shittier feeling than being dressed for summer in the middle of winter atop Mt. Seorak. But there we were, umbrellas turned inside out and eating piping hot hotteok to keep us warm.

They behaved for the photo, thankfully.

They behaved for the photo, thankfully.

Good thing we had our optimistic giant in tow, who knew the sun would come out tomorrow, because as soon as we hit the coast, the sun surely was a glistening. That was about the time we reached the vicinity of our beloved YangYang! Only we overshot it a bit, but that’s ok! We found the absolutely stunning oceanside temple shrine Hyuhyu-am and took a wander. It was so beautiful and magestic! You do not get to see these blue skies in Seoul, THAT’s for sure!

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Broing out.

When we finally got to YangYang, it took us a hott minute to find the pension that Veny took the reigns on booking after Joshua had booked a single bed in jumbled Korean for 4 of us. We love each other, but not that much. We didn’t mind the momentary confusion though because we were so obsessed with all the personality, tattoos and hairstyles in wild abundance. It felt like we stepped out of Korea for a weekend. Everyone was tan, and no one, NO ONE was sitting on their cell phones whilst in the company of another. It was wild. 

After dumping our belongings in our room that was the size of a California King bed (and that’s being generous), we took to exploring the oceanside town.

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This marks the first time I ever tried samgyeopsal. Couldn’t turn down pig from sweet ajummas. That’s a rarity. 

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These mushrooms looked quite phallic. So obviously I documented.

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Veny posed beside her unsuspecting fashion icon.

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Dusty boy got down ‘n dirty with his ajussi squat.

Joshy tried to shoot down a stuffed bottle of Cass with arms, to no such luck.

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And I hopped a fence (without falling) to sit on the wine cork looking things that break the waves on the dock.

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It felt amazing to breathe the fresh air and get that salt and sand between our toes.  And even though it was a sad realization that this was one of our last weekends together, I was so happy to be spending it with the ones who became my greatest family these past 3 years.

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That night we enjoyed each other’s company over some Sean Sahand serenades, some very strong beverages, some sparklers on the beach, and some cheese balls.

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We left a nice gift of cheese balls on the terrace for the next visitor.

Before hopping  back in our swanky Sonata back to the big city, we worked on our pasty city “tans” one last time, and enjoyed the gaggle of fully dressed Koreans enjoying  a day in the sun.

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To all those wishing to get the heck out of the landlocked concrete jungle of Seoul, I wish I had more solid directions than ‘just drive East’ to give you. But unfortunately I don’t because I didn’t drive, and I’m a moron with a map. While Veny was playing navigator for our Daddy Dustin, I was taking pictures of a sleeping Joshua in the backseat.

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If you get a chance, hit up YangYang. It’s definitely an unspoken about gem that’s more than worth the weekend jaunt.

 

The Tapperilla Has Arrived

This post originally started out as a farewell to Korea, but then I thought, what the F, you just got to Spain and people want to know about THAT right now. They’re also probably noticing the blog name change, so you should probably address that.

So, if you didn’t notice, then you should get your eyes checked, and if you did, congratulations! Not really, but if you did notice then you can conclude that yes, I have arrived in Spain, and yes, tapperilla isn’t actually a real word.  Deal with it, because the ‘little tapper’ is now who I am, and I get to keep both of my 2nd and 3rd home identities in check.  Thank you to my fellow kookster for being supafab with words and the Spanish language.

Which now brings me to Spain and how you’re probably so curious about how I’m settling in, right? Well, I’m settled but I’m not settled exactly. I’ve been here for a week exactly as of 2pm this afternoon, and I’m still shackin’ up with myself, my salmon pants clad teddy, and my suitcase of air packed clothes in the tiny room at Hostal Veguin that I have oddly come to enjoy, mostly because I have no other choice.

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Painful, right? The good news is that this teency hallway is located on the poppin Calle Fuencarral in Malasana, which is my neighborhood of choice, and where I’ve been striking out errrday in the apartment hunt. While patience is something I don’t have much of, I’m working on it and hopefully that means I’ll find myself a cozy lil home for all you fine folks to come visit soon enough. I’ve been piso hunting for a good 5 days now, which is far longer than any of my new friends took to find their’s. But, they also did get here significantly earlier than I did, and now everyone is here and pounding the pavement like I am. All I gotta say is thank you sweet Javier at the Spanish Embassy in Seoul for enforcing that I book accommodation for a full month rather than the mere week I was anticipating. Phew!

So yes, you read correctly, I’ve made a few friends! Hallelujah! The first night I was so sad and depressed and jet lagged over 4 timezones that I pretty much teary eyed myself to sleep because I A) had way too many things on my plate and no clue where to begin, and B) was lonely and friendless. But now I’ve gotten a fair amount of ducks in a row and met some lovely young ladies to go through the tedious process of setting our lives up together.

We had an orientation, which was pretty much anything but helpful since it was 90% in Spanish, though the part that was done in English was regarding the life set up stuff, so at least there was that. Since then, I’ve gotten Spanish digits, set up a bank account with EVO and can now pull money out at any ATM for free (once I get paid the big bucks, of course), locked down and loaded up my Abono to ride the metro, trains, and buses, and now start the waiting process of getting assigned to retrieve my TIE alien card. So things are coming together and seem a tad less scary than they did a week ago. YAYAYUYUH.

I don’t think it’s actually really hit me yet that I am legit living legally in Spain. Though everyday when I’m walking around I can’t stop gawking at the buildings and the juxtaposition of the insane graffiti, all while saying to myself and the air “everything is SO beautiful!” I don’t think that sentence will ever go out of style.

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From the small area that I’ve wandered around, Madrid is so breathtaking. The architecture, the people, the fashion, and the passion I see just walking down the street. Literally, I have never seen so many couples, young and old, bodies smashed up against a building wall or railing in the most intense make out session midday. It’s unreal. I’m not a big enjoyer of PDA, and I hate to compare but I’m going to because I can, but Spanish make out seshs are so much better than Korean tummy tickle bwing bwing fests. So yea, the city so far is everything I have dreamt of and more, and this is just my unsettled self talking. Wait til I get a place and my clothes hung in my own closet.

I’m starting school tomorrow, and there is one other Auxiliar, maybe a third, I’m not sure, at my school. I got reassigned last minute to a bilingual elementary school, so I’ll be teaching more subjects than just English which makes me SO happy. I’ve been in touch with the bilingual coordinator, Carmen, and she speaks legit English all the way down to starting emails with “Hey guys”, and I hung out with the other Auxiliar, Stacey who is a guy, last night over tapas. Things are coming together!

For now, know that I am ok, albeit annoyed and craving my own home, but I can deal. Start looking into flights because I’m only moving into an apartment that’s cool with the whole world coming to see me and drink sangria.

Ya hurrrrd?

Ya hurrrrd?

 

Lovely Liebster Love

The month of August was an utter and complete whirlwind. I’m back in LALA Land, but still whirling from the constant moving that did not stop for a month. There was packing to get out of my apartment, schlepping to Joshy’s apartment, too many emotions, and then the final schlepp to the airport which took even more out of me. Now that I’m back home, I’m suffering from major Korea withdrawals and being that emotional basket case who cries at lunch from this stupid empty feeling. Not to mention, the anxiety is mounting as my impending move date to Madrid grows nearer.  I feel this ridiculous sadness as I mourn the loss of Korea, and an I-don’t-even-know what the feeling is, of moving to yet another continent with one checked bag and less than stellar Spanish in 20 days and counting. Needless to say, I’m a mumbo jumbo of so many feels and it’s stressing me out.

But, in the midst of my swirly twirly typhoon, I got nominated for a lovely Liebster Award by Courtney of Adelante! I stumbled upon Courtney’s blog when I began researching and getting hardcore legit with my move to Spain. She was featured on another blog by a past Koreana turned Spanish lass who did a low down on all of the different teaching programs in Spain. It was a natural progression to follow along with her on her journey, and not to mention, admire her stunning photography. So, thank you mucho for the nomination, I am honored and hope we can meet soon enough in España!

What is a Liebster Award, you ask?

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Well, I actually had to refer to the internet because I’ve heard about it, but wasn’t quite completely in the know myself. The internet is a wealth of knowledge, in case you were curious. Essentially, the Liebster is an award awarded to bloggers by other bloggers, and in German means something along the lines of “dearest”, “beloved” and “sweetest”. It’s a bit like a chain letter, in that once you receive the award you’ve got to pass it on to other bloggers who you enjoy! Or, you can just bask in the honor and carry on with your life relishing in your adoration.

It wouldn’t be a chain letter award without rules, now would it? No one will die though if you don’t pass it on in 8453845 seconds.

  • Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you
  • Answer their 10 questions for you
  • Nominate 5-10 blogs that you think deserve the award
  • Create a set of 10 new questions for them to answer
  • Notify your nominees!

So now, without further adieu:

 
1. If teleportation were suddenly discovered, where would be the first place you’d go?

Back to Korea, just to pop in, and then I think India. I want to go to India so badly and it’s tippy top of my list. I’m so ready to get down and dirty with my feels and frustrations in a pit of filth. The filth part is an exaggeration, as I obviously would prefer cleanliness.

2. Out of all the places you’ve traveled to, which country had the best cuisine? Which had the worst?

I’m extremely biased to Korean food, because let’s face it, I’ve become so Asian since spending the last 3 years there and it’ll always hold a special place on my palate.  I think it goes without saying that Korean food is my favorite foreign cuisine, but I’m going to disqualify it because I spent the most time there. Of everywhere else I’ve traveled I’ll say Vietnam because pho, vermicelli, banh mi, spring rolls, and endless Vietnamese coffee, which is the best cup o’ joe on the planet. The worst was definitely Laos. Maybe Steph and I just consistently frequented the wrong haunts, but while beef jerky is delicious, it does not a dinner make. Nor does slosh that tastes like forest.

See. Devoured.

Demolished that Sriracha red sea.

I believe this hunk of junk was called "Day Smashed Meat"

I believe this hunk of junk was called “Day Smashed Meat”.

3. If you could live in one city anywhere in the world for the rest of your life, where would you live?

Florence, no questions asked. Both times I’ve been there I just wandered and got lost and got lost again. It is my favorite city in the world and I adore it to death, even if Papa Schaeff did get pick-pocketed by a coupla gypsies slangin scarves while we were strolling through Ponte Vecchio.

This was the first time I met a Smart Car. In awe of the stupidity.

2006 was the first time I met a Smart Car. In awe of the ridiculousness.

4. Is there a city or country that some people are crazy about, but you’re not interested in visiting?

Malaysia. It is the one country, particularly in Asia, that I have zero desire to visit. I’ve had a layover in Kuala Lumpur and couldn’t stand the airport. But I can say that about Shanghai’s Pudong Airport too, but I still want to go there. I also don’t like the name. I know that sounds silly, but I don’t like the sound of it and maybe that has some influence on why I don’t want to go there. Kinda like how I don’t like pork because I hate the color of it. I’m weird, I know.

5. Do you have a go-to playlist for long-haul flights? If so, what does it include?

I don’t really have any playlists on my phone, I think I’m weird like that. I usually just shuffle my songs, end up skipping past a bunch I don’t want to listen to and then go into my songs to find the one I want when shuffling proves too annoying. I’m a little ADD in that sense. However, there are a few songs that always get my travel bug bouncing, and that actually really made me pull the trigger to move abroad.

The first is Boston by Augustana. My favorite lyric comes from this song, and it’s the song I always equate with inspiring me to leave America. It’s a bit sad, but also happy in a backwards way, at least to me. The second is Dog Days are Over by Florence & the Machine.  Token cliché because it’s from Eat, Pray, Love, but the words really resonate and the movie came out during the time I was applying to move to Korea, so it’s got lots of sentimental value. And last is Gypsy by Lady Gaga. This song pumps me up, and also makes me nostalgic for everywhere I’ve been and everywhere I want to go and all the people I love near and far.

6. What are three things that you can’t travel without?

A notebook, my phone which doubles as my camera (I know, I need to get a good honker already, I’ve just been a slacker), and medicine. I usually bring a little baggy of American drugs that I know I may need, usually containing some kind of stomach aide and something for feminine issues because shit gets real when you visit moist destinations. Apologies.

7. What’s your biggest pet peeve on airplanes?

Mostly just my restless leg syndrome because it takes me forever to get comfortable and I move around a lot, so I think I annoy myself maybe more than others. Oh, and people kicking my seat. Or having a middle seat. Or a more specific travel time when the flight attendant was so rude to me when I told her I didn’t eat pork and they gave away the last chicken dish (when I had specified that I don’t eat that), and she told me that I would have to deal because that was all they had left. I’m sorry. You gave my food away, make it happen. I’m flying 12 hours and hungry and paid an arm and a leg and I want to eat! This of course has only happened on American carriers.

8. What foreign language do you wish you could speak?

Since I’m going to Spain, I wish my Spanish was a million times better, though I’m hoping it’ll rush to the front of my brain ASAP. Other than that, I wish I could speak Hebrew. I used to be able to read it like a wizard, so I’d like to think that muscle memory will return if I study. I’d also like to expand my vocabulary beyond prayers and whore. Israel is on the bucket list of living, so perhaps I’ll have the chance for some progress.

It was a legit struggle, even on my Bat Mitzvah.

I was out of practice and it was hot atop the Masada. It was a struggle, but I succeeded and became a woman.

9. What is your favorite movie about travel?

Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Midnight in Paris, which I guess is more arty, but has the travel and getting lost in a city element. But definitely Vicky Cristina Barcelona. I’ve seen the movie a million times, and every time I watch it I totally relate to Cristina on the getting lost in a city and culture aspect, and the added cherry on top of getting swept away by a local. It’s so whimsical and always makes me want to teleport to Europe right then.

10. What’s one destination that you are dying to get back to?

That’s a toughy because I’ve got a handful of places I’d like to hit up again. Though I’ll give Greece this one since I went in an October when it was the end of the season on the islands. They felt a bit ghost-towny, but still beautiful. I’d definitely like to return during the high season to see what the real fuss is all about. I’ve also got a reason to return since I’ll have a local Grecian tour guide who will double as the best reunion ever!

Because us Schaeffs are normal.

Brotha Schaeff petting my head in front of some ruins because we are normal.

That wasn’t too bad! Now to nominate my nominees. I actually had a couple I’d like to nominate but know they’ve already been awarded. I’m not sure what the rule on that is, aside from maybe the chain breaking or them being annoyed. I don’t know! I’ll just do it because I want to and they can break it if they want to. Afterall, this is about telling other bloggers that you love them!

My Nominees:

1. Tom of Waegook Tom. This guy CRACKS ME UP with every post. I think he’s my favorite blogger on the interwebs. I die every time. I also know you’ve been nominated because I read every post, but I guess I’m just nominating you to tell you that I love you.

2. Meagan of Life Outside of Texas. Meagan’s blog was one of the first that I stumbled upon when I was applying to come to Korea, and even though we’ve never met, we’ve virtual-talked about cool places all over Korea, and she was the inspiration for many places I visited or want to visit in Korea. Not to mention, she totally got me connected to other K-Town bloggers.

3. Nathan of Open Road Before Me. While I don’t enjoy hiking to save my life, and Nathan does tons of that, I always love reading his posts because he’s such a wonderful storyteller and paints the greatest visuals when he writes.

4. Joella of This Beijing Life. I never really had a desire to go to China, but Joella’s blog was one of the things that made China become a blip on my radar.

5. Ryan & Stephanie of Hedger’s Abroad. They always post stunning photos, and a bunch of places that I’ve traveled to in Korea and beyond were inspired by reading their tales. They’re also a super cute couple that enjoys traveling together, and I dig that.

 

My Questions:

1. What’s your most embarrassing travel story?

2. What’s the weirdest food you’ve tried?

3. What’s the worst experience you’ve ever had while traveling?

4. What song without fail will always pump you up?

5. Who was someone you met on your travels that really left a lasting impression on you?

6. How old were you when you got bit by the travel bug? Where did you go?

7. What’s the funniest place you’ve ever visited?

8. What is your preferred method of transport? Air, land or sea?

9. Have you ever gotten super sick while traveling?

10. Do you have a favorite photo from your travels?

 

Good luck guys! Sorry if you’ve already received the honors, but now you’re just doubly special! And once again, thank you Courtney!

A Wild Ride At Yongma Land

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During my innocent high school days, Nick and I used to go back to his dad’s apartment sometimes for lunch. Whenever we would, I’d eat a can of Chunky soup from the pantry, some Carl Buddig turkey (there goes my absurd memory for detail again), and some Kraft singles while I’d wait for my soup to heat up. Then I’d plop down in front of the tele and turn on Unsolved Mysteries. Robert Stack always creeped me the F out in that brown trench coat of his, but I think I really liked it. He was the perfect host for my favorite creepytime show. All of the stories on Unsolved Mysteries were primarily from like, 10 years prior, and the acting on the show was horrendous, but it gave me my daily dose of eerie and it made me happy slash vigilant in always looking behind me.

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Why am I telling you this, you ask? Because I wanted you to know that I’ve always loved spooky things, ok?? Especially movies like The Shining which I watched for the first time in high school at 2am, and still haunts me to this day. That’s why I had to purchase the REDRUM t-shirt you see in the following photos. It was the perfect dress for the occasion, because you know I never miss a chance to play a little dress up.

Remember when I broke into that abandoned insane asylum last summer? That was so cool, and still tops my list of favorite things done whilst in Korea. Since then, I’ve read about quite a few other haunted or abandoned places on this peninsula, and one of them that happened to be closest to Seoul is Yongma Land, an abandoned amusement park. It looked like more of a carnival to me, but that’s neither here nor there, and it went out of business sometime in the mid-nineties due to a lack of Yongma Land-goers.

Since I’ve been dying to go, I grabbed my fellow abandoned places explorer, Joshy, and a very appropriately dressed Veny, to check it out with me. From Seoul, we all hopped the Jungnang line to the Mangu Station exit where we had about a 20 or so minute walk (if we hadn’t gotten lost en route) to the park. As you would expect, we took the very scenic route (read: the wrong way) after being detoured by some picnicing ajussis in the bushes. We walked along the path they told us to, but veered off to our other left instead of following this here sign like we should have. But should doesn’t make for the most enticing story, now does it?

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Our other left took us around a golfing range and into what we discovered to be the back entrance and what was probably at one point the water park of Yongma Land. Before dredging through the mushy hills and spiderwebs, we modeled in the once upon a time pool, and on the decomposing water slide filled with crap and a burnt teddy bear.

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We finally decided to try one of the staircases leading up to who knew where, and our first try proved to be a ghastly mess of monster ants and spider webs up the ying yang. Take two led us up this staircase on the left.

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And Joshy, forging the way for his ladies, took this route, which we did not.

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Instead, we went rock climbing, which Veny did not enjoy but cameraman up there did.

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If he’s anything he’s a gentleman!

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Behold! Back door entry to mounds of crap for everyone!

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Once arriving at the park, or sneaking your way in like us, the entry is 5,000won to Mr. Youn who still minimally maintains the grounds. When we arrived and dusted ourselves off, we thought we snuck in for free, but alas, a 6’4″ white man and his ladies stick out. The park has actually become quite popular for shooting k-pop videos and commercials, so we weren’t surprised to find quite a few groups there for photo shoots.

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Or this pervert and his muse.

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We let the perverts carry on as we explored and got our hands and butts a delightful shade of dirty. First up, dat Disco Pong Pong all the kids love so much. Joshy the giant was terrified during this photo opp.

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WALL-E!

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Office chair graveyard by Aladino and his magic carpet.

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Air vehicle graveyard.

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Always the gentleman, he carried our bags as we (dis)mounted large objects.

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K-Love bus buddies since day one!

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Hardcore rockin n’ rollin in this one. Their complimentary weights really balanced it out.

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Methinks I’m too big for this one.

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Jump on it, ride it, dat pony.

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Views at the top, in the castle and bumper car graveyard.

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Back to the future with this generic video game called…Video Game.

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And when we were ready for a bath and a meal, we left through the way we should have come in had we followed directions properly.

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If you are itchin’ to get out of Seoul, or want to fulfill the inner lust for the abandoned, shlep yourself to Yongma Land! It was super fun and an out of the norm way to spend a weekend taking colorful photos.

To get there, take the Jungnang line to Mangu Station exit 1. You’re going to walk straight out the exit down the main road where you’ll pass an Emart with a McDonald’s written all in Korean. Turn left when you get to the next main intersection. Keep walking straight until you come to the next major intersection. The road will sort of curve to the right into a smaller street. Walk down this street and keep following it. A little ways up when you hit a cake shop on the right it’ll curve around to the left and FOLLOW THAT. We made the “mistake” of just walking straight up the small street but that led us the super round about scenic route way (which you may enjoy). If you go the “correct” way, it’ll lead you up a street littered with little restaurants and straight to the entrance above. There’s also a sign with Mr. Youn’s number on it if you need to call him to let you in.

Happy riding!