Thursday, 31 January 2013

Busan Aquarium

Busan Aquarium


Star Fish

Giving it all that

Jelly Fish

Tropical Fish


 Busan Aquarium turned out to be the perfect place to escape cold and rainy days.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Our Weekend: Freezing For A Reason

Friday saw the end of Winter camp and the start of a four day weekend, which is always welcome. And this weekend was particularly packed with friends and fun things to do.

On Saturday Nick and I headed to the beach early to take part in the Freezin' For A Reason January dip in the ocean for charity. I was umming and aarring about whether to do it or not, and at the last minute decided that I couldn't let Nick do it on his own. I won't be doing that again in too much of a hurry.
Before the dip. Shall I? Shan't I?
In the sea, freezing
I stayed in for at least 30 seconds
Nick post wee
We did it!

Saturday night was our last night out all together before Tash and I leave for our 3 week holiday in England and sadly Grace and Anna head off for greener pastures. To celebrate, or commiserate, we headed to KSU.
I don't know what the joke is
The next day was the final of the tennis, so we spent the night at Beached showing Murray our support. Sadly, us staring fixedly at the screen failed to help him, so we played darts instead.

Monday I became one of the guys and joined them on a walk up the mountain with Ziggy, on the way back down we treated ourselves to some goat, which is amazing.
Momos dog love
The Start of the walk
VIP mountain top crew
Circle of Life

Mountain Restaurant
And finally today, feeling like it's about time that I prepared myself to finish off this last week and a half that's left of school, I decided to relax. We went for breakfast at the coffee shop down the road and then spent the afternoon lazing in Spaland.
Bagels for Breakfast
Amongst all of this, I also managed to watch Silver Linings Playbook, which I absolutely adored.

Now it's time to prepare for our last few days at school until March!

Friday, 25 January 2013

Sonny Angel Dolls: The Big Gamble

My Sonny Angel Dolls
My Sonny Angel Collection's rapidly growing

I never was a gambler at home. I've been on the roulette tables a total of three times in my whole entire life. The closest I came to serious gambling was the 2p slot machines at Whitby arcades. This avoidance is mostly due to my disastrous luck. The only time in my 26 years on earth that I won a raffle, I was told to give the prize back as it was for the roller derby team's fundraiser and I was the 7th player in a row to win. To avoid looking like it was a fix, I reluctantly gave my prize back. But in Korea something's changed me.

Sonny Angel dolls. They are these grotesquely cute, nude babies with wings on their backs and weird things on their heads. They disgust me so much that I've actually started to like them. They come in different sets, there are animal sets, fruit sets, vegetable sets everything you could imagine, sculpted in cheap plastic and attached to their naked baby bodies.

There are 12 different dolls in each set. The problem is, it's like roulette as to which doll you'll get. It's all a big secret about which model is in the box. You don't find out which one you've got until you've bought it, taken it home and unwrapped it. Or, in my case, until you step out of Artbox where you wildly rip the box to shreds.

This is where my gambling has started, and at 6,000 (about 2.50) a pop, it's not a cheap habit to have picked up. At the moment I am currently putting all of my money on the Animal Series 3 where, if you're lucky enough, you can get a French Bulldog headed angel or, if you hit the jackpot, an alpaca headed angel. Only, so far I've got the buffalo and a weird lop eared rabbit.

I think Tasha has spotted my addiction and bought me one for my birthday. Looking at all of the possible models I could get, I stated, 'As long as it's not the pig, I don't care'. I've mentioned what my luck's like so no doubt you can guess which doll I had when I opened it. There was the little angel piggy face looking back at me. What were the chances??

So until I get the French Bulldog and the Alpaca, you can probably find me in Artbox, desperately hopping from foot to foot, waiting for the check out man to take my money so I can tear open the packaging.

There are tight regulations on gambling in Korea, so it seems that teenage girls (And I) have found another way to roll the dice.

Artbox Sonny Angel Dolls
Artbox's tempting display...

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013

I've been a victim of the photo editor today which would keep freezing my computer and then the fonts I had been using would have disappeared...but here goes my year in pictures.

Leaving Work
Saying goodbye to my office job and starting to get ready for the big move
Lots of trips to London to collect our Korean visas ready for D Day

Last Roller Derby Game for SSRG
My last roller derby game, saying goodbye to the team

Our new home
In Busan and getting used to our new home city

Diamond Bridge Walk
Finding our feet and walking over the diamond bridge

Summer finally comes, festivals in China Town and visiting the orphanage

Summer Vacation
Summer Vacation in Seoul and Jisan Festival
Mum and I
Mum visitng, going to Jeju Island.
Resting at the top of Seoraksan
No biggie, but I climbed a mountain. Amazing fireworks and halloween
All the group
Seoul and DMZ trip to celebrate birthdays
Present time
Christmas away from home with new and old friends

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Health Kick

Health Kick

Rice, every day, for breakfast, lunch and dinner is starting to catch up with me. At first, the food I avoided because it was too spicy or just plain weird is now what I crave, so the weight I lost when I first got to Korea has found its way back to me, and it's invited its friends to join in.

Therefore I'm jumping on the fitness bandwagon and hoping I can stay on it. Without roller derby in my life, I've noticed that it's alot harder to stay motivated when it comes to fitness, I no longer have to chase those nippy jammers or try and dodge the girls with the sledge hammer hips who are aiming straight for me. It's been way too long since my yoga mat and I got hot and bothered together.

I'm turning to this website to help, although sometimes I feel like it's a bit X Rated watching the instructor, it's only 12 minutes a day and has always left me sweaty and achey before.

What videos and sites do you use to motivate you??

Monday, 21 January 2013

Birthday Parasailing

With all the excitement of Japan and Christmas, I forgot to say much about my birthday surprise from Nick. The only hints that he gave me up until the day were that it involved a flying cap, he wasn't going to have me dive with sharks and that it was weather dependent. I went to bed the night before kind of praying for rain.

Unfortunately, I woke up the next morning and the skies were a brilliant blue and the sun was shining. I wrapped up as best as I could and was rushed to KSU where we were getting picked up. It almost felt like a kidnap, we came out of the metro exit where there was a van waiting for us, the door was rolled open when Nick and I approached, and he pushed me in before I could say anything about the Parasailing sign that was printed all over the van.

The van was filled with lots of jolly Koreans, including the cutest toddler I've ever seen, who all minded their own business for the hour drive out of Busan.

The van wound through tiny villages up a mountain road, and eventually pulled over when we had got to the peak of the mountain, and lead us up a muddy hill, where he said that he was going to check the wind.

When we got to the top, there were a handful of people already there, decked out in proper outdoor gear, my Hello Kitty Mittens and fur coat seemed a little out of place. They were dragging their heavy parachutes to the edge of the hill, edging down backwards and waiting for the wind to lift them off their feet. The take off seemed pretty erratic, but once they were up in the air they were peacefully sweeping around.




After a lunch of make your own kimbap where one of the other men in the van kept force feeding me spicy clams, it was time for me to take flight. Luckily I had been partnered with someone who was pretty experienced, so I just stood while he strapped me up, and then pretended that I understood the instructions that he was giving me in Korean.

That was possibly the most scary part of the whole experience, worrying that he had said some crucial information, that I would do something wrong and we would plummet down. Even more worrying was the fact that there was clearly a graveyard on the ground, hundreds of metres below.




Once the wind had swooped us up into the air, and the initial panic was over, it turned out to be really smooth and relaxing. There was an amazing view of the rivers and mountains around us, and every now and then we would swish past Nick and his partner so would madly wave at each other.



Unfortunately my coat proved to be impractical again, so after about 20 minutes I was freezing as we were up so high, so I was very happy to feel solid ground under my behind as I landed less than gracefully on my bottom with a bump. Thank you Nick for such a great birthday present!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

2013 Goals


2012 was an exciting year for me and I hope that 2013 will hold as many surprises and adventures.

To start with, at the beginning of 2012 I stupidly decided to set myself 52 goals to achieve rather than give myself resolutions. Unsurprisingly, I didn't achieve them all, but I managed to do over half, by which time I'd totally forgotten about these 52 things I was supposed to be doing, and did them without thinking.

Some of the goals included:

- Learn to eat with chopsticks  Something I was completely hopeless at before I came to Korea, but I definitely threw myself in at the deep end. The first day at school in Korea, less than 12 hours after I'd landed in my new home, we we were served lunch. I was feeling a bit lost, and starting to think maybe I had made a mistake, and when I saw that there were only chopsticks supplied to eat with, I could feel a lump in my throat. I eventually managed to get what I presumed was pasta in tomato sauce into my mouth with these two metal sticks, only to realise that it wasn't warm pasta as I had presumed, but cold, spicy cabbage, also known as KIMCHI! I have my ups and downs with chopsticks, and still suffer from performance anxiety, when I know a Korean's watching me in awe as they don't believe any foreigner can actually use chopsticks, that's when I'm most likely to cross my sticks and send my rice flying across the table, but I've come a long way from not even being able to pick up a massive lump of chicken.

- Run an 8 minute mile  that probably sounds easy peasy to lots of people, but I'm not a natural born sports person, so doing this was a challenge. 2011 was the year I did the roller marathon, so lots of running was done before hand to train for that, by the end of the year I was doing it in just under 9 minutes. But once the marathon was over, I lost the motivational goal and the running petered out, especially once I came to Korea and running 'out of season' is seen as really bizarre by the Koreans. Unfortunately this is one that's being shelved for when I get home and can train without being gawped at and can give myself a goal to aim for.

- Try something new every week  although every week I may not have consciously tried something new, I know that since March last year I have definitely experienced hundreds of new things. Food, places, situations and people. Trying to speak Korean, paragliding, mountain climbing, banana boating and eating pig neck are just a few new things that I tried this year.

And the list goes on and on and on...

So I decided to reign it in a little this year and here is my goal list for 2013:

1. Learn how to shuffle a deck of cards well...rather than flicking them all over the floor.

2.Try the 30 day challenge, inspired by this TED talk. Try something new everyday for 30 days. I decided to try and start this week with Italian language lessons, not handy for my current situation, but I hope it will prove useful when I'm back in Europe!

3. Eat Less Sugar the only thing I can think to compare Korea's consumption of sugar to is Buddy in Elf. Everything is made super sweet here and I'm worried I'm going to go home having developed extreme diabetes and have rotten teeth, so I'm trying to resist temptation, although I had a brownie yesterday so not going too well so far...

Not the most exciting list, but perhaps alot more attainable than the 52 goals I had last time, so wish me luck!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

New Year Update

ziggy 1
Our first meeting
Because of doing the Japan blogs I've not had chance to say much else about what's happening at the moment.

We are in the throws of Winter Camp here, which means working 9-1:30 with lots of different classes, teaching lots of different things which is proving to be lots more interesting than regular school. I think the hours tip me into prefering Camp too.

Nick was looking after the cutest puppy ever last week as his co teacher was on holiday. We took him on lots of adventures, to Haeundae beach where he got to go in the sea for the first time, and on a snowy mountain walk. I was drugged up to the eyeballs with anti allergy tablets, my camera was filled with dog pictures which I've tried to cull as they're never as cute when you look back, and I think that even Nick would admit that he turned alot softer. It was quite sad having to say bye to Ziggy when the time came to give him back.

Four weeks left before I go back to England for 3 weeks. I am so excited, I've already started making lists of all the things I want to eat and do while I'm there. Running upto to December I had the difficult decision to make of whether to stay in Korea for another year or whether it was my time to leave. Both options had their pros and cons but I decided to stay for the sake of money giving me the opportunity to do more when my second year is up, and plus I have lots more of Korea to explore, and I hope I might actually be able to make it out to China this year to see Clare.

Lots of exciting plans to start off 2013 with.

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Ziggy on the mountain

Mountain explorers