Friday, 10 January 2014

A Quick New Year's Update

It's been nice taking a break from this blog these past couple of months, though I am starting to miss posting here as often as I once did. 2014 is finally here, and I'm hopeful it'll be one of the most exciting and enriching years of my life. I'm looking forward to the adventures ahead, as well as to regularly posting here again. In the meantime, here's a rundown of some of the stuff Angela and I have been up to over the New Year holidays.

One afternoon during our vacation it snowed pretty heavily here in Seoul. There was a strange yellowish tint to the air, possibly desert sand blown over from the Gobi Desert, which I know Korea sometimes experiences.
Whatever the cause of the yellowness, we felt like we were in some kind of apocalyptic, nuclear fallout.
Another day during vacation we headed to the area around Namdaemun in Seoul. On the way we passed Prugio Valley, one of the city's more striking buildings.
We explored busy Namdaemun Market...
...and visited Namdaemun itself, the ancient South Gate of the city. It had been closed for refurbishment for the last five years, after it was severely burned in an arson attack in 2008. It was great to see it restored back to its former glory.

We walked around the busy shopping district of Myeongdong, where christmas lights were still in full show.
In Myeongdong we visited a dog cafe. This was our second time visiting one of these establishments, where we befriended a whole array of furry companions.

On New Year's Eve we went partying with our friends at numerous bars, including our usual drinking spot, Ska Bar.
January 4th marked our first year anniversary, which we celebrated by spending a night at a hotel in Yeongdeungpo district. We also had a wonderful restaurant meal, drank lots of soju, and played our favourite card games, UNO and Hwatu, together. Our first year together has gone quickly, but it was one of the best years of my life, and I'm so excited for the future time we have together.
At the restaurant for our anniversary.

The very fun Korean card game, Hwatu (also known as Go-Stop), which Angela introduced to me.
The view from our hotel.

That's it for now. Not much else worth mentioning, except the fact that we are both getting really tired of teaching and are very eager to leave this country and embark on our next adventure. We've already started some preparations, having sent a bunch of stuff home and done some research on the countries we'll be visiting. Apart from that, it's business as usual: lots of work and not enough sleep. This month I'm doing intensives at school, which means going in earlier and teaching a bunch of extra classes. It's a bit of a drag but nothing worse than what I've dealt with before.

Another thing I wanted to mention: though we've had a little bit of a snow and some crisp days here and there, this winter has, so far, been A LOT milder than last year. I haven't had to put on extra layers or even use my gloves or scarf that much. We're not even halfway through January yet, so I don't want to jinx it, but so far I'm really pleased that we're not having to endure the sort of bone-shattering sub-zero temperatures we were experiencing this time last year.

What else? Oh yeah. My dad's coming to Korea! But that can wait till the next post.

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