Heya folks! I can’t believe November has come and nearly gone so quickly; I feel like I’ve missed out on my favorite season entirely!
I’ve spent many Autumns in the US and the UK, and adored them both equally. Growing up in America instilled in me an appreciation for Fall festivals, and all the seasonal delights they brought with them: sticky, hot apple cider, funnel cakes, caramel apples, pumpkin and pecan pie… I love everything and anything containing allspice and cinnamon, so Autumn is when I’m in my culinary element. Along with all the sweet treats, I love how crisp and smoky the air becomes in Autumn; there’s something so ethereal about Autumn mornings, chilly without being too cold, and sunlight pouring down through canopies of honey-colored leaves.
Autumn in the UK is a bit chillier than in the US, and they don’t celebrate the pumpkin with the same fervor us Americans do, but there’s still that crisp, cinnamon-laced scent to the air. Around this time of year is when all of the Christmas markets begin to set up in the UK, too, bustling with people and scented with pine needles and mulled wine.
Needless to say, Autumn in Korea has been a different experience entirely.
Even though Ulsan is a coastal city, we’d managed to spend six months here without visiting any of its beaches; this is pretty much due to the fact that it is super fast and cheap to get to Busan, way faster than trying to catch buses out to any of Ulsan’s beaches. We finally decided it was due time we visited Ulsan’s most popular beach, Ilsan Beach, even if it meant sitting on a bus for over an hour…
So a couple weeks ago we had an awesome three-day weekend in S.Korea’s second-largest city, Busan, which is a convenient 40 minute train ride away from us! The reason for the three-day weekend was Buddha’s Birthday, which meant that the city was decked out in bright, paper lanterns for a few weeks.
Before heading to Busan, we visited the temple closest to us: Junggwangsa.
The weather here has taken a drastic turn towards Summer, and the heat has encouraged Eoin and I to get up early and get active! We started taking Taekwondo lessons this week, so our newly-acquired blender has been put to good use, with lots of early morning fruit and matcha green tea smoothies to power us through the day :d
We ventured outside of Ulsan city this weekend for the Ulsan Onggi Festival, since the weather was amaaazing, and we hadn’t really done any cultural Korean things yet. Onggi is a type of traditional Korean ceramic pottery, most notably used for fermenting kimchi and bean paste.
Sorry for the very belated update; I missed out on the past two weekends’ worth of excitement thanks to a horrible fever and some sort of never-ending virus / cold thing, but Eoin and I are thankfully healthy again!
The most exciting thing that happened to us this month was receiving our first paychecks! It’s been simultaneously strange and amazing actually having too much money to know what to do with; we’ve made some pretty big expenditures this month (fancy blender / food processor, sterilizing air-washer machine, North Face hiking gear, + loads of food and other bits and pieces) and we STILL have loads left over.
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: TEFL is a remarkable thing! 😛
Anyhoo, Ulsan is absolutely covered in mountains and hiking trails, and today we finally took our first hike (decked out in all our brand new spiffy hiking gear, obvs!).
I can’t believe we’ve been living in Korea for over a month! March has come and gone in what simultaneously feels like forever and no time at all!
It’s taken us this entire time to get properly settled into our flat, but now we finally have everything we need to function properly…aside perhaps from a bread machine. Whole wheat bread is non-existent here; it’s an actual tragedy ;-;
The landscape around our apartment has changed drastically in the past few weeks, with the cherry blossom trees coming into full bloom this weekend.