Top-Ten Tuesday: Forgotten Travel Moments

In an attempt to become a more active blogger, I’ve started a new series . Every Tuesday, I’ll be posting a top-ten list about something related to the travel/expat world.

I was looking through old travel photos and they brought back many memories and untold stories . I’ve decided to share.

                                                                        1. Granada , Spain 

An interesting statue in the gardens of the Alhambra. ( Granada, Spain)

An interesting statue in the gardens of the Alhambra. ( Granada, Spain)

                                                                                2. Orlando, Florida 

Just after feeding the gators.( Orlando, FL)

Just after feeding the gators.( Orlando, FL)

                                                                3. London, England

Snapping street signs to find our way back once we realized we were getting  lost.

Snapping street signs to find our way back once we realized we were getting lost. ( London, England)

                                                            4. Seoul, South Korea

Performers relaxing before a flag ceremony. (Seoul, South Korea)

Performers relaxing before a flag ceremony.
(Seoul, South Korea)

                                                         5. Dover , DE

Stumbled upon this thing at the Firefly Music Festival. (Dover, DE)

Stumbled upon this thing at the Firefly Music Festival. (Dover, DE)

                                                                                       6. London, England

One of many failed selfies with my bff and travel buddy. (London, England)

One of many failed selfies with my bff and travel buddy. (London, England)

                  7. Toledo , Spain

This breathtaking view on a tour bus in Toledo , Spain

This breathtaking view on a tour bus in Toledo , Spain

                                                                                       8. Morocco, Africa

Watching a rug "show" in Morocco. Before taking this , the shopkeeper pointed to me said I looked like I knew Arabic. He tried several times to start a convo with me in Arabic and seemed very annoyed when I couldn't respond.  (Morocco, Africa)

Watching a rug “show” in Morocco. Before taking this , the shopkeeper pointed to me said I looked like I knew Arabic. He tried several times to start a convo with me in Arabic and seemed very annoyed when I couldn’t respond.
(Morocco, Africa)

                                                                                     9. Beijing, China

Found this fun little guy at the Beijing Zoo.

Found this fun little guy at the Beijing Zoo.

                                                                                      10. Beijing, China

A children's camp followed us around the Forbidden City before finally asking for a picture. You can just make me out in the back.

A children’s camp followed us around the Forbidden City before finally asking for a picture. You can just make me out in the back.

 

I would love for this an interactive type of tag so I tag EVERY READER to contribute their own travel moment photos or a top-ten list.

5 reasons to visit Jukdo Market in Pohang, SK

Jukdo market is often referred to as one of the must-do’s of Pohang, South Korea. In less than 3 hours,  I discovered parts of Korean culture I didn’t know existed before.  Jukdo market is huge and , unlike most flee markets, isn’t filled with second hand goods worthy of a side-eye.If you need more convincing, here are 5 reasons to visit Jukdo. **

One section of Jukdo Market

One section of Jukdo Market

5.  The Food

Both local and foreign foods abound here.  Dozens of streets are filled with fresh-water tanks and stands where seafood is sold and cooked right in front of you. Even if you’re not grocery shopping, it’s a place for sightseeing.  I saw a live crab almost as big as my head!

The baby crabs

The baby crabs

Fresh Fish for sale

Fresh Fish for sale

There’s also tons of cheap veggies and fruits as wells as some Korean specialties.

Veggies

Veggies

Rice cake desserts

Seaweed

Korean rice cake dessert

Korean rice cake dessert

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Red bean paste sugar donut

4. The Clothes

You can find traditional Korean clothes -like Hanboks- and Western style clothing also. Beware-like most clothes in Korea-they run small.  

Hanbok

Hanbok

3. Handmade Art 

In need of some inexpensive decorations for your new apartment? Browse through streets and streets of handmade pottery,furniture, and paintings.

Handmade pottery

Handmade pottery

2. Unique Souvenirs

There are children’s toys, stationary,plants, and shirts with “Engrish” settings. If you’re after a unique gift for someone back home, you won’t have to look too long to find one in Jukdo market.

Pretty Plants

Pretty Plants

Intresting "Booby" signs

Intresting “Booby” signs

1. The Experience

Nothing quite says “Welcome to Korea!”, than a morning here . Besides being surrounded by Korean language , cuisine, and culture on all sides, the many stares and people running up to greet you in English are sure to remind you how far away from home you are. It seemed like I was always the center of attention here, whether I was taking  a picture, attempting to explain I didn’t  speak Korean, or dodging out of the many motorcycles speeding by. Everyone was friendly, however, and seemed satisfied when I answered every question with “Miguk” (American).

**Pohang’s Jukdo Market is opened from 8 am-10 pm and closed every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month. Buses 101, 103, 105,107, and 108 all make stops here.

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Caution: South Korea Thus Far

I could perfectly describe my Korean experiences so far in one word:overwhelming. That’s not to say it’s been bad at all-I’m learning and seeing new things every  day and that is, after all, what I came here for. But sometimes when the things that were so simple and easy back home-like getting a cell phone,swiping a bus card, or even getting home- takes so much extra time and effort, it’s easy to be exhausted. I also think I’m realizing that I’m going to be here for at least a year, which means I don’t have to rush anything.

How I Feel I Need To Be At The mOMENT

How I Feel I Need To Be At The Moment

When I was in Spain, I accepted every invitation and took every weekend trip I could because I knew I only had six short months-just a handful of school breaks- to see Europe. While a year can go by just as quickly, I’ve decided that I can ease into this transition. It’s okay that I didn’t KTX train to Seoul within the first month or that I couldn’t order a meal in Korean if I was starving. Being so new and having no idea what is going on or what I’m doing is an icky feeling, but it’s part of being a true expat. So, I embrace it.

I’ve come up with some personal goals to help me ease into this new experience. Maybe they can help others in the same situation.

5. Learn the Language

I’m starting my second week of Hangul classes. Fluency is too much to ask for; I’m just hoping to no longer be illiterate in Korean  by the end of it.

4. Stop focusing on “I”

I feel like I have too much time to think ponder the meaning of life, how I should know it by now, and every embarrassing moment since 4th grade. So, I want to find activities- like volunteering,yoga,freelance- to fill the void.

3. Build “Girl and Her Pink Backpack”

This is an amazing opportunity to travel so I want to see as much as possible and record even more for others to experience also.That brings me to the next goal…

2.TRAVEL

On the weekends and during vacations , I want to see Korea and Asia.

1. Be comfortable with the process

I’m not going to learn the language overnight, be the perfect teacher by tomorrow night, or be up for every outing every time. That’s okay. I’m here-I’m going to take advantage of it. That’s all that matters in the end, right?

Oh, Korea. I will try!

Oh, Korea. I will try!

Do you have any tips for settling into a new place?

Hello, South Korea :Jeonju Hanok Village

It’s  hard to believe thar this week marks my month anniversary in South Korea. Between starting work, finishing up my EPIK orientation, and trying to settle in to a new life I haven’t blogged at all. It’s about time I catch up and what better way to start than with my first official outing in South Korea – Jeonju Hanok Village .

Walking into Jeonju Hanok Village

Walking into Jeonju Hanok Village

Located in the now developed city of Jeonju, Hanok Village is a well-preserved testament to traditional Korean culture.

Along with my orientation group, I  started off with a walk through the village that included a stop at a traditional paper factory and store. We got to see how the women actually make the paper goods from start to finish. And of course we got to view the finished paper craft products in the near-by store.

Making Paper

Making Paper

Paper  Crafts

Paper Crafts

Paper Crafts

Paper Crafts

After a sampling of traditional Korean wine, we headed off to view many of the historical buildings in the village. Among these were the first Christian church built in the area, a  school-house, and numerous religious sites.

These curved roofs are a signature part of Jeonju Hanok Village

These curved roofs are a signature part of Jeonju Hanok Village.

Schoolhouse

Schoolhouse

First Christian Church

First Christian Church

The highlight of the day was lunch. It was my first time getting to try bibimbap. The dish is as traditional as Korean food gets and is one of the main reasons people travel to Jeonju. They’re known for making the best bimimbap.

bibimbap

bibimbap

A Typical Korean Lunch

A Typical Korean Lunch

I burned off lunch with a quick walk around the neighborhood. I wondered in and out of more shops, found some intriguing street art, and even more intriguing street food. Worthy mentions were hottek ( a pancake filled with brown sugar and served warm) and it’s even more appetizing counterpart–silk worms.

Silk Worms -Yummy

Silk Worms -Yummy

The day ended with a traditional drumming lesson and a tea ceremony , which for me , was the highlight. A woman dressed in an extravagant Hanbok(a type of Korean dress)  schooled us on the origins of Koreans’ love affair with tea, why green tea is so healthy, and how to properly make and serve a cup.

The Tea Ceremony Begins!

The Tea Ceremony Begins!

Instructer in traditional  Hanbok

Instructer in traditional Hanbok

Attempting to play the drums.

Attempting to play the drums.

Jeonju Hanok Village offers a lot more than I got to experience. If you’re ever in the area you can try making your own paper crafts, learn to do the dragon dance, and even spend the night in their village’s sleeping accommodations. 

 

Bye,Philly: The Road to South Korea

My last week in Philly was supposed to be epic. I was going to do so many things and have so much material for this blog. I planned out a week that included seeing the Liberty Bell, stopping by the Edgar Allan Poe House, a photo next to the Declaration of Independence and finishing it all up with one more night on the town in South Philly.

Instead , I did a lot of cleaning, packing, and stocking up on deodorant. Then  I had family to say goodbye to, friends taking me out for farewell drinks, and on my very last day-I just wanted to sleep in my own bed one last time.

However, I did manage to fit some exciting things in my last weeks at home .

My friends took me to Korea Town in NYC to prepare. We stopped by the Mandoo Bar and I had my first taste of Korean food. It was pretty good but I must say-the food here in South Korea tastes better. Maybe it’s just the environment? 

Mandoo Bar 

2 W. 32nd St( Between 5th Ave and Broadway), NYC

Kimchi

Kimchi

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Mandoo

Miel Patisserie 

204 S. 17th St. Philadelphia, PA

Back in Philly, a high school buddy and I tried out Miel Patisserie, a bakery in the downtown area. The prices here are a bit high for the small pastries but they’re pretty rich. You can probably get a coffee drink and a sweet or two for under ten dollars. It’s a nice place to come for a quite chat or to catch up on some work alone. They also serve lunch here so that might be another option.

Macaroons and Latte

Macaroons and Latte

Vango Lounge & Skybar 

116 S. 18th St , Philadelphia, PA

Next up we stopped by Vango Bar. I was bit skeptical about this place; they have some pretty horrible reviews on Yelp.com but my friend had a Groupon special and cheap drinks are better than none. Thankfully, we were pleasantly surprised. The staff was nice and courteous, the drinks strong and generous, and the food was the best I had in a long time.We shared four small plates of spicy tuna roll, vegetable dumplings, grilled claims, and teriyaki chicken. It was delicious-especially the  sushi. The decor is pretty special too-glass bottles are actually built in to the wall and illuminated and instead of chairs, there are couches for you to recline on. If you want a party, I suggest coming during the weekend after 8pm. If you just want to relax and enjoy your company, try a weeknight or come before 7. We visited during the slow hours and found everything to be great.

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Blog Awards & The Pink Expat is Moving!

I hope the old saying, “Better late than never” still rings true because this post is long, long overdue. I thought the best way to start a new year of blogging is to catch up on old business. So, here is my delayed thanks to those who have gifted me with awards in the past months. The givers probably don’t even remember selecting me for these but it means a lot that people are still reading, commenting, and liking this blog enough to share, even though the posts have been quite sparse lately.

Let’s get it started.

First, the lovely peeps over at Cultfit gave me The Inspiring Blog Award.

cultfit-inspiring1

 I was really happy to receive this one, mainly because one of my goals with this blog was to encourage and be encouraged by travel. There are no specific rules for this – which I find refreshing so I will just list a few blogs below that inspire me in some way.

1)    The Redhead Chronicles -> Funny and relatable lists, rants, and observations from a follow 20-somehing trying to navigate through life. I initially followed because the author reminded me of my redheaded BFF Nat but I stay for the humor .

2)    Write 2 Be -> As a writer/journalist just starting out, I find plenty of advice and encouragement from Ms. Jimmetta  .

3)    Wholeheartedness -> An endless collection of feel good quotes. Seeing these on my reader makes me smile, even on bad days.

 

Next up, Snigdha of GetSetAndGo nominated me for Kreativ Blogger Award.

kreativ_blogger_award_copy

I’ve been following her for a while and spent many hours exploring India on her blog. It’s great being noticed by the people you notice.  

This award asks for 7 interesting facts about 7 nominees and me.

We’ll start with the nominees:

1)    Transplanted Tatar  -> Good ole’ fashioned travel blog featuring stateside and international destinations. Plenty of great photos to see too.

2)    All Around Ana -> I read for the honest & entertaining posts about teaching English in Saudi Arabia.

3)    Full Moon Africa -> Great for planning fantasy trips to the mother continent. I added lots of things from this site to my “ to-do” list.

4)    Food.Life.Zen -> Gorgeous pictures from a fellow Spain-lover and world traveler.

5)    The Harrises of Chicago -> Beautiful photos of international trips as well as their native Chicago.

6)    Inside Public Minds -> Well-written and informative commentary on today’s political, social, & other “touchy” issues.

7)    For The Intolerants -> There’s a little about everything here: travel, life, food etc. Dedicated to finding the less popular aspects of life.

 

Now, the 7 interesting facts:

1) I had a dream and now I want to write a book about aliens. Do I have any knowledge or prior interest about aliens? Nope. But I’m easily inspired.

2) I’m really into mythology. Particularly, the Greek myths and Native American legends.

3) My favorite poet is Langston Hughes.

4) I hate the word “Savory”.

5) I’ve been afraid of escalators since getting stuck on one when I was eight years old.

6) My favorite city is London.

7) I’M MOVING TO SOUTH KOREA! Since coming back from Spain, I’ve been working on a plan to go abroad again. After a long year’s worth of work and several (hundreds) moments of desperation, I finally made it happen. In February, I’m moving to Gyeonbuk, South Korea to teach English as an EPIK teacher. I know there are tons of blogs dedicated to EPIK teachers in South Korea but I could hardly find any about teachers living in Gyeonbuk. Hopefully, I’ll be able to bring you guys some unique posts about places and things you’ve never seen before. I’ve never been to Asia before but as always, I’m down for the adventure. And I can’t wait to share it with you all.