We hope everyone has been enjoying the sunshine when you can find it! ;) We have had some nice days here in Korea and now it's starting to warm up even more! Yesterday it was even hot enough to wear a skirt to school (a big jump from when we were wearing long underwear, heavy coats, and thick socks to school everyday). However, today reminds me of Oregon as it's been very rainy and cloudy. But that's ok, the sun will return later in the week! :)
This past weekend was beautiful here! On Friday we were able to meet up with our friends Natasha and Nick, who live on the southern coast of Korea. Our story of how we became friends is very interesting. Last year we both were following the blog of another English teacher, Lily, who lives in Korea. Reading other peoples blogs helps future English teachers get the feel for Korea and learn more about daily life. Sometimes both Natasha and I would comment on Lily's blog and mention things about our future plans. It turns out both of us were planning on applying to the same program in Korea and Lily brought us together by letting us know that! From there we started emailing back and forth, comparing application experiences and such. Both her and her husband and Tyler and I were all set on coming to Korea in August until there was a surplus of new teachers and some teachers needed to be pushed back to the November intake. Somehow Tyler and I were able to keep our August departure, but Natasha and Nick had to wait until November to come to Korea. We continued to talk through social media and after all those months of talking and communicating we were able to meet up in Gwangju this weekend!
It was really great to finally meet them in person and we had a great time eating delicious food at our favorite Western Restaurant!
On Saturday we knew it was going to be extra nice outside so we wanted to go explore more of Mt. Mudueng, the mountain we hiked on earlier this fall. Now, we say mountain, but in comparison to mountains in Oregon, this is just a tall hill. ;) We figured out how to take the bus to the base of the hiking area and it was really easy (and fairly quick too!). So off we went on a mini adventure! The mountain is very beautiful and definitely not a walk in the park to hike , but it was fun! We randomly chose a direction that we were pretty sure we hadn't climbed the last time and started off!
|The base of the hiking trails with TONS of hiking stores.|
|Off we go!|
I know we've definitely talked about this before, but hiking culture in Korea differs slightly from America. All hikers are fully dressed in colorful hiking cloths. Most have a hiking pole or 2 and generally all hikers have a small hiking backpack stuffed with many hiking supplies, which commonly includes alcohol of some sort. Korean's cover their entire bodies with cloths, shielding it from the sun. Their nice hiking cloths are probably breathable, allowing them to wear them in the hot sun. But it's definitely different seeing the face masks and bandana wrapped around their heads with a giant hat or visor to complete the look. Needless to say, we look extremely different than the norm.
|Beautiful red flowers!|
It also isn't uncommon for people to sit anywhere and enjoy some coffee, alcohol, and snacks along the way. ;)
|Napping anywhere is permitted and normal as well.|
The hike up was pretty vertical, but thankfully not too long. It was beautiful walking next to a stream and seeing lots of little chipmunks! Once we made it to the top (of where we wanted to go) we walked through this paved area and got many views of the city. It was very nice! We even got to fill up our water bottles with fresh and cold mountain water!
|Gwangju! That round roof building is the World Cup Stadium, near our church!|
Because we hiked later in the day the trails weren't as busy and as we came down the mountain we didn't see anyone until the end!
|Pretty little bridge.|
At the end of our trail we came upon a small traditional temple! It was very pretty!
On our way home we were trying to decide what to eat for dinner. Thankfully the "Chicken Man," as we call him, was right outside our apartment complex. He sells roasted chicken on the street for only 6,000 won (~$6). So we bought a pre-cooked roasted chicken for dinner and thoroughly enjoyed not having to cook that night! ;)
|Great deal for a small cooked chicken for 2!|
So we had a nice weekend outside! Next week is our mini vacation to the coastal city of Busan! :)