It’s my birthday today!
I saw a post with this same title awhile back and at first I thought, why would someone write a post like this? I’ve done a lot in 30 years and writing just 30 of those things down doesn’t seem fair to everything else I can’t write down or can’t remember, taking my first step was a big accomplishment I’m sure, but I can’t for the life of me remember it. A few weeks back though, I was sitting with a student, who is just a year younger than myself, and we were talking about accomplishments. I thought it was an easy enough question. Tell me five of your accomplishments. He said he had none. I was taken aback and thought maybe he didn’t know what accomplishments were. I tried to explain and he said again that he had none in his 29 years of life thus far. I thought that was rather depressing and through more conversation we realized we have very different perspectives on accomplishments and our perspectives really affect how we view life and how we live. I thought graduating from high school and university definitely counted as accomplishments, he said those were expectations. Sure, they were expectations for me too, but once I actually graduated they felt like accomplishments because I had put so much work, tears and sweat into them. I think waking up and dragging myself out of bed sometimes is an accomplishment, we all have those days, don’t we? He was more of the mindset that if he had so many accomplishments already, he wouldn’t have anything else to live for, he would have accomplished everything already. I, on the other hand, feel that I can accomplish something everyday, be it small or large and if I don’t accomplish something in a week, then I’m doing something wrong, but again, the accomplishment can be as small as cleaning our house, don’t we all feel so much better in a clean house? With that in mind, here are 30 things, mostly the larger of them, that I’m proud I set out to do, did and I feel accomplished having done so because no matter what they are, they made me who I am today. Here’s to turning 30.
- Learned how to set off on my own and be confident in myself and my abilities.
- Saw the Taj Mahal.
- Climbed the Great Wall of China.
- Bungee jumped in Korea.
- Visited Angkor Wat and ate duck tongue in Cambodia.
- Went up the Eiffel Tower, visited the Louvre, the Castle of Versailles and Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France.
- Sunbathed topless on Southbeach in Miami, Florida… and also on the rocky beaches of southern France and both times got the worst sunburns a girl could want.
- Got 7 tattoos.
- Drove from Dayton, Ohio to San Francisco, California and only stopped for a few hours in Denver, Colorado to sleep. We stopped at my aunt’s and cousins’ house at 3 in the morning and I hadn’t warned them I’d be coming through at all, because I didn’t know I would be. It’s still a story we tell today.
- Learned that no matter how far I go, my family, the whole bunch of them, will be behind me and that is why I can travel and do what I do.
- Got married twice… to the same man. Our first wedding ceremony was a traditional Korean ceremony in Busan, Korea and our second was a fairly traditional American one in Dayton, Ohio. I say it was fairly traditional because there was a white dress and toasts and all that jazz but our ceremony consisted of prayers from Buddhism, Christianity, Native Indian and Muslim books, to wit, as well as a reading of a Dr. Seuss story.
- Ate the best roe stuffed chicken at a yatai in Fukuoka, Japan with my husband.
- Spent four weeks traveling through Vietnam from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City and learned a lot from the people we met about forgiveness.
- Snowboarded in the Rockies with my family.
- Went rafting in Nepal after which we were stuck by the side of the road and had to sleep with some locals for a night before we could catch a bus to another city. They showed us the true meaning of hospitality. They were some of the nicest people in the world.
- Made my own perfume in France.
- Graduated from Ohio University.
- Visited Sleeping Beauty’s real castle, Neuschwanstein Castle, in Germany.
- Learned to say ‘no’, when I don’t want to do something or when I should not be expected to do something or demanded to do something, without explanation. I think too many people are afraid to use this word or to let people down, but sometimes it’s use is important to the self.
- Saw the Statue of Liberty and enjoyed the views from the top of the Empire State Building in NYC and ate some of the best meatballs and pizza I’ve ever had.
- Stayed with an Austrian family in Steyr, Austria and ate the simplest and nicest breakfast of salmon and baguettes with them in the morning.
- Listened to the Vienna Boys Choir in Vienna.
- Rode on top of a bus for 6 hours in Nepal and made it safely to our destination.
- Saw the Sydney Opera House from a boat.
- Had an amazing childhood with forts in backyards and mud pies in sand pits and the best sisters and cousins to build and make them with a girl could ask for.
- Went to a rodeo in Texas.
- Traveled to Germany, France, Monaco, India, Nepal, Austria, the Czech Republic, Korea, Japan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Australia.
- Ate deep dish pizza in Chicago.
- Learned about the importance of learning history so that we are not doomed to repeat it at the Dachau Concentration Camp in Germany.
- Learned the importance of saying “I’m sorry” and never going to sleep angry.
There is still so much to see and so much to do and plenty of learning ahead, but I am pretty happy with what I’ve done so far. Here’s to 30 more years of travel, fun, lessons and love.It’s my birthday today! Here’s to 30 things I’ve done, learned and loved. 30 Things I Did Before I Turned 30 It’s my birthday today! I saw a post with this same title awhile back and at first I thought, why would someone write a post like this?
This artisan market is relatively new, only starting in October of last year, but they sure have a following. Vendors selling handmade soy candles, bags, aprons and other crafts sit next to vendors selling organic treats and drinks for those food lovers out there. Their market in the Maronnier Park in Hyewha once a month is the perfect place to spend a Sunday, especially now that the weather is nice, eating good food for lunch and meeting some really great people.
Most people meandering from stall to stall were clearly there for the lunch goods and the lines at the stalls, though longer for some, moved rather quickly. Couples and groups of friends sat with their delicious treats on benches, under tents and on the grass as they ate and enjoyed the atmosphere. There were vegan burgers, pesto pastas, flower salads, pork sandwiches and more. There were drink vendors with homemade syrups ready to whip up a drink of your choosing. It was easy to forget we were in the middle of Seoul because it felt more like a smaller village market on a Sunday. The vendors all matched in the way that they decorated their stalls in a rustic manner with mason jars, glass bottles overflowing and wood accents.
Music played from speakers, though not too loud to be a nuisance, and there were even performers, which made sense as Hyewha is known as the theater district. Vendors come from different establishments around Seoul and are featured on their Facebook page and site in the weeks leading up to the market so that guests have an idea of what will be there for the eating. Most dishes cost around W4,000 – W5,000.
Directions: Hyewha Station, exit 2. Walk straight and the park will open up on your left.Marche@ Munchies This artisan market is relatively new, only starting in October of last year, but they sure have a following.
Last year, my work schedule was such that I had to leave the house at an hour much too early for anyone to be awake. Yes, I was finished by noon, but some things, like mornings and breakfast, should not be rushed in my opinion. Breakfasts, and I mean the kind with eggs, hashbrowns, pancakes and all of the goodies that I think of as breakfast staples, went out the window and the meal became more of a snack time with coffee before lunch. It was sad really.Since becoming more of an all around freelance worker, substitute jobs and writing gigs, I’m also becoming much more aware of what I need to be happy and productive and one of those things is a good breakfast. If you’re not a breakfast person, I have to ask why and then silently wonder to myself if you’ve just never had consistently good meals in the morning. After a good morning meal, I feel ready to go to start the day with energy up the wazoo.In our house, my husband naturally wakes up about an hour or so earlier than I do and starts the coffee or heats the kettle for some tea. I tend to lay about in bed reading and enjoying the view out the window and of course some extra cuddle time with the cats who are also later wakers as well. When the smells of coffee beans come wafting into the room, I get my move on. Breakfast is usually my time in the kitchen. Korean style breakfasts, soup, rice and veggie side dishes mainly, only grace our table once a week or so and then of course it’s my husband’s turn in the kitchen to do what he does. I should say though, his breakfasts are usually easier because his mother ships up soups frozen in plastic bags, about 10 at a time, so all he does really is thaw them and heat ‘em up. How lucky is he?
I don’t think my dishes take any more planning than his do though. Breakfast is always whipped up in 15 minutes and it’s a good thing because I’m hungry right out of bed, which is probably why I usually make the breakfast.Since I do the cooking, he heads in after to do the dishes and so our days start. I’m not sure what else could be better… for us anyway.Mornings In Our House Last year, my work schedule was such that I had to leave the house at an hour much too early for anyone to be awake.
One of the reasons I love living in Korea is because almost everyday there’s something to chuckle at. It may be due to my own misunderstanding, a Konglish word I should have guessed, a spelling error that ends up being something totally different or just a natural inclination of Koreans that is completely opposite of my own. There is just always something.
A couple years ago, I was slicing and…
It’s strawberry season, as if you didn’t notice the bucketfuls being sold in the markets and from trucks driving through your neighborhoods everywhere right now. Nonsan is Korea’s largest strawberry producer and the city welcomes people from near and far every spring for the Nonsan Strawberry Festival which took place this past weekend to the delight of many, myself included. Visitors can taste some of their delicious strawberries freshly picked from the strawberry fields nearby as well as other goodies all involving those delicious sweet seductive strawberries.
The highlight by far is hopping a board a shuttle bus that will take you from the festival grounds to one of the nearby strawberry farms. There are numerous farms in the area, so the festival spreads the love and buses visitors to different farms throughout the day, which also ensures there are enough strawberries for everyone. The trip is a short 10 to 15 minutes and upon arrival the farmer allowing visitors down his precious strawberry aisles explains how to properly pick the strawberries, by pulling up rather than down. The busload of people, which sounds like a lot but isn’t once everyone is inside the long covered rows of delicious smelling strawberries, head inside paying the farmer just W10,000 to eat as many strawberries as one can.
We’re told there’s a 30 minute time limit for munching, but 30 minutes comes and goes and though we may be one of the last lingering in the tent chowing down, no one seems to be in a rush. After our bellies are full and feeling slight achy from the massive amount of berries just consumed, we head to a tent next door where a small carton is provided to everyone as an added bonus. You can’t take any strawberries away from the eating tent, they’re all to be eaten on the spot, so the small carton to take home was a lovely surprise. An old woman inside pounds strawberry rice cake and offers free bites to taste and jars of jam and rice cake are being sold to patrons at very fair prices.
Back from the fields, the festival grounds offer up tons to see and partake in and plenty to eat of course. The strawberry goodies include strawberry makkoli (rice wine), strawberry cupcakes, strawberry cakes, strawberries dipped in chocolate, strawberry jam, strawberry & pepper paste and then there’s the vegetarian tent of food, soups, jjajjangmyeon, fishy pancakes, grills to have a grill out and more. There’s really something for everyone. There was free popcorn, cake decorating tents, a fondu dipping tent among other experience tents to partake in and plenty of strawberry statues and people in costumes to pose with.
Nonsan is a perfect day trip from Seoul and the strawberry goodness was totally worth the day out. If you missed it this year, there’s always next year. Be sure to check out the other spring festivals in Korea that are worth the trips out and don’t miss your chance. These townie food oriented fests are the place to be for some great fun in the sun with some flowers and tasty treats this spring.
319-10, Daegyo-dong, Nonsan-si, Chungcheongnam-do
충청남도 논산시 중앙로 522
Train from Yongsan Station in Seoul to Nonsan Station, check the Korail Website for times. The shortest trip is on the KTX and takes around an hour and a half. (Book in advance!)
There are also buses from Central City Terminal in Seoul which should supposedly take the same amount of time as a train, but with traffic it’s hit or miss.
From the terminal there are signs directing you to the fair grounds.
Website: http://www.nsfestival.co.kr/ (only in Korean)
When: early to mid-April
Cost: W10,000 for picking strawberries + the cost of foodIf you missed the strawberry festival in Nonsan this year, there’s always next year. Sweet Sweet Strawberries! It’s strawberry season, as if you didn’t notice the bucketfuls being sold in the markets and from trucks driving through your neighborhoods everywhere right now.
This month was surprisingly exhausting even though I only technically worked for six days. Really, I was working a lot more than that which is why I was so busy I suppose, but most of the ventures this month were without pay and were more for networking, volunteering or educational purposes. There was an article by Tyler Ward that got a bit of traction this month called Busy Isn’t Respectable Anymore, did anyone else read that? It was interesting because I think he just decided he didn’t like the word “busy” anymore, though I think it is a valid description for some periods of time or places. I have to say that I don’t use the word that often unless it’s true and I do think that some people overuse the word either because they want an excuse not to do something or they feel that way, but I don’t tend to feel busy probably because I plan everything and am very adept at scheduling and knowing how much time I need for myself. With a good plan I tend to feel efficient and not busy. Taking a note from him though, I should say this month wasn’t so busy as it was productive. I was very productive.
The month started out with a great showing from the Crazy Multiply Art Collective. I shadowed the ladies, two of whom have recently departed Korea for new adventures in life, so that I may step in as curator along with Amy Smith for upcoming shows. I’m really excited to be involved with Amy in this venture as it is so inspirational to meet other artists and the collaborations that can come out of the events that Crazy Multiply has had are amazing. It’s great to have an artistic outlet and to provide inspiration and a platform to other people with artistic curiosities in Korea. I can’t wait to start planning the next show with her soon.
I should also give a shout-out to Olivia McNair, the artist who did the piece that I’m standing in front of in the photo. She is so talented and I hope her future endeavors are fruitful and provide her with ever more inspiration for work. Beautiful, especially with bird nests on your head. ^^
The next round of the Lotus Lantern Supporters has also started and I helped the group in choosing the newest volunteers and starting off a great educational experience that the new-comers are sure to have. The Lotus Lantern Festival is just around the corner and even if you’re not volunteering, you should totally be there the last weekend of April for some magnificent lanterns, floats and colorful Hanboks galore. Spring has officially begun and the weather agrees that it is time for people to get out and about. The flowers are blooming and the sun is shining… when the yellow dust is not covering the skies, yuck! Strawberries are on sale by the bucket-fulls and the grass is starting to change back to green from the pale browns that winter brought.
Taking walks and finding new places or old places that are just new to me, and interesting things to get into are what the spring is all about to me. Taking walks and putting one foot in front of the other on a path to adventure.
Here’s a good story: my husband gets free things, bags, shoes, t-shirts, whatever from sponsors for different concerts. Last summer one of the sponsors made pants and he came home with a few pairs and since they were all the same he kept one pair and gave the others to some friends. The other night we head out to meet one of the friends that had received the pants and it wasn’t until we were leaving the restaurant that we noticed that had dressed… exactly the same! You can see below. The pants, that can’t be missed with the particular detailing on the rear, a green jacket over a red hoodie. I couldn’t help but grab a picture and title it for them. Best Friends Forever!
Every Single Day also had a great concert at V Hall this month as they enjoy a break between TV shows. They wrapped up Miss Korea last month and spent this month recording new music for the next TV show that will start the second week in April. I enjoyed the concert clapping and bouncing along with my good friend from over at Spit On The Street.
It was a productive month with friends, free time, alone time, cat time, couple time and a little work in between, all as it should be.March On The Go! This month was surprisingly exhausting even though I only technically worked for six days. Really, I was working a lot more than that which is why I was so busy I suppose, but most of the ventures this month were without pay and were more for networking, volunteering or educational purposes.