Thursday, June 30, 2011

Long Weekend Part 2: Samcheok Beach

Our 3-day weekend consisted of a stop at Samcheok Beach located on the east coast, which is where we stayed for our trip to Haesingdang Park (aka Penis Park).  It was quiet, practically deserted, and relaxing at the same time.  It was nice to get away from the bustling city of Seoul along with having our toes in the sand.

(taken by Cath Witten)
Having some fun!  Took us a few tries to get this shot...had a lot of fun in the process =)


While we were watching the sun rise, I just happened to look over to the sight of these soldiers marching silently across the sand.  It caught me off guard and startled me a bit.  

Most of the time a picture can not capture the true beauty of nature.  

Our next stop, Busan (or as some pronounce it "Pusan")...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Four Months

Oh goodness...four months have passed.  I don't really have much to say at this moment...except for the fact that I know, I have decided, that I will definitely not extend my stay here in Korea once my contract is up.  I will be moving on.  To where?  I haven't the slightest idea...

I was going to provide you with a different quote, but I can't keep going without providing you with what may possibly be my favorite.  This quote, along with others, was posted in my slightly padded cell (cubicle) at my previous job back home.  It was there to keep me motivated, to remind me that I would move on to something else, perhaps better (?)...and that I would experience, discover for myself, more of what the world has to offer.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed
 by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do.  
So throw off the bowlines. 
Sail away from the safe harbor.  
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover." 
~Mark Twain

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Black Hole

That's what I'm calling Seoul.  Whenever I meet another expat who's been here for 3-4+ years, I always ask them how long they initially planned on living and working here in Seoul...the answer is always one year.  After one year they would return home and after a few months back home they would return to Seoul.  I can see how that could happen.  It's easy to get used to, or sucked into, the lifestyle here.  You go out every night for a few drinks with your coworkers and friends (especially when you don't want to go back to your lonely one room apartment), you can easily get away with never cooking for yourself, public transportation here is wonderful, your apartment is paid for (minus the utilities), and it's easy to save some money for whatever you may have planned in the future.  Oh yeah, Seoul also serves as a great "home base" for traveling to other parts of Asia.  But then it's also easy to get stuck in a routine, or rut, if that's what you would want to call it.  Some of the expats I meet make a life out of teaching English here.  I don't see myself staying here another year.  Life here can be very convenient.  

But then again it's also difficult to not get out of, over, the depression after a few weeks or months of living here.  One of my coworkers who arrived here on the same night as me turned in his six weeks' notice earlier this week.  I heard the news from my other coworkers, but I definitely understand what he's going through.  However, I promised myself that no matter how bad things got for me, except for an emergency of some sort, I would stick through my one year contract.  Living and working here is no vacation and it's absolutely nothing like home.  South Korea is quite the experience for a waygook, foreigner. Of course, you also meet some great people here.

"have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer." ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Long Weekend Part 1: Samcheok Haesindang Park...

Get ready for this one...aka Penis Park.  Yep, it's not a typo.  Kinda ironic considering the Koreans are very conservative.  The park, with over 50 phallic sculptures, is located in a fishing village on the east coast.  It's about a 45 minute bus ride from the Samcheok intercity bus terminal and it was well worth the trip.  There's another penis park in Jeju-do, which is an island located off the southern tip of the Korean peninsula.

Legend has it that a "virgin whose restless spirit was affecting the village's catch.  A fisherman discovered that she could be appeased if he answered the call of nature while facing the ocean, so the village put up phalluses to placate her."


Yep, that's a bench...

How romantic...

Comparing sizes?  According to statistics, only in their wildest dreams..

What really startled me is that the mother even took pictures of her children standing in front of one of these statues while they were "holding on"...

They even have statues representing each of the 12 animals from the Chinese zodiac.