Over the weekend we attended our dear friends wedding on the east coast of Korea. The couple opted to have the wedding at the dive shop that we’ve all come to know as our home away from home on the weekends.
Friday evening we got off to a bumpy start with a flat tire along the way in the middle of nowhere…still two hours out from our destination…Lol… Thanks USAA…ehh…or not (lesson learned). So just how many did it take to change a tire? Thankfully with help from some friends that coordinated with the local police station, an ambulance, police car, a fire truck, and a local garage all came to our rescue. Unfortunately we were missing an important piece of the puzzle, the lug nut wrench. Who would have thought? Lol… Poor Mr. B he took it out of the queen Volvo and put it in my car because he noticed that I didn’t have one. He was going to pick one up to replace his, but forgot. Hence our Dilemma. Eek. Eventually we got on the road after some grumbles, f-bombs, and Korean photo ops.. Yes, after the tire was fixed they wanted a photo with Mr. B shaking the local policeman’s hand and bowing to one another. Again, we’re going to be featured on some side of the road signage on the importance of being prepared. We were again back on the road, thankfully so because we were transporting the booze, THEE dress, and dinner reception decor. Basically the party don’t start till we roll in. We can laugh about it now. We rolled in and rolled right on into bed.
We cannot take credit for the cake, it’s the one item we didn’t transport. The poor thing just didn’t make it all the way in and out of Seoul and to the East Coast. The top slid off the cake and the fondant shaped sea creatures drooped and reshaped themselves. The lovely Ms. Louise and I did our best and tried to shift some of the fondant. At the end of the day it all worked out.
The wedding and dinner reception was small but in the best way possible, sweet, and intimate. It was the perfect recipe for a relaxed and very memorable day. There were lanterns that provided romantic candlelight on the dining tables and twinkle lights strung from the ceiling of the tent above. Swoon! It was awesome getting to see all the various little details the bride and I discussed actually come to life.
The guest toasted with fabulous reds and whites the entire night, and dined on Greek salads, savory potato curry tarts, fresh grilled corn on the cob, grilled burgers, bratwurst, and vegetarian kabob. Many heartfelt thanks to Roy, Jeff, Mark, and Mr. B for being grill sergeants and keeping our bellies at bay throughout the evening.
The entertainment was absolutely perfect with live musical performances during the ceremony and throughout the dinner reception from Ms. Laura Kenny, or Kenny as she’s known to the group. Wow can this gal sing! Download her song on iTunes here! (Shameless plug)
The newlyweds brought together such a diverse group of friends. Everyone just clicked so well and really enjoyed the good company. It was wonderful getting to meet in person all the faces and names we had heard so much about. By the end of the evening we were all good pals sharing laughs as if we had known one another for longer than 12 hours.
How was your 4th of July? Did you get to celebrate with a good ol’ cookout? Take in the local fireworks display? We hope it was possibly your best one yet!
We didn’t do a typical Independence Day celebration this year, but then again are we ever doing the typical over here? Nah… But boy did I miss me some grilled cheeseburgers, bratwurst, and fresh corn on the cob, oh and our families too! Thursday evening right after work we grabbed some snacks and hit the road south to meet up with our friends at a ferry port. We purchased ferry tickets to visit the island of Ulleungdo and Dokdo. These islands are located off the coast of Korea have been on my bucket list since moving abroad. Yippee I get to now cross them off! I love getting to cross things off my list!
Friday morning we woke up early, ate our Korean breakfast consisting of a rice porridge, kimchi, fresh tomatoes, and coffee. Lol…of course we tried it, but as you know there are just something’s you can never shake…mine is an American style breakfast. I opted for yogurt, a banana, and coffee.
We boarded the ferry that took us 3 1/2 hours to reach the island of Ulleungdo. Here is a link to see more about the island. http://wikitravel.org/en/Ulleungdo
The island was absolutely beautiful! We loved how preserved and untapped it still is! There is hardly any industry, except for tourist and fishing. However even with the tourist there isn’t a ton of large luxury hotels eating up the land. The water was so clean, so blue, the air was so fresh, and the land was so lush and so green! I really had to keep pinching myself to remind myself that we were still in Korea. It was just that breathtaking.
We rented a large passenger van and cruised around the one main “highway” stopping off at all the little must see marks on the map from our car rental guy. It’s really easy to travel to all the locations, park, and walk. You honestly could do the island in one day if you rushed it, but we took our time, plus we had the entire weekend.
The guys got in some dives and were really excited about the clarity of the water and just how much sea life there was. Mr. B is already putting together a fun dive trip for the 38th Parallel divers. Something to stay tuned in for.
One morning we took another ferry, another hour and 40 minutes to Dokdo island. Here is the link http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=264142 . The really awesome history about Dokdo is that Korea is constantly fighting with Japan over it, and still is. Japan has even wrote in history books that they teach their children that the island is theirs.. But Korea unfairly took it….but it’s not the case, and they found historical documents showing otherwise. While it is rather close to Japan, Japan would love to have it for the fishing rights. It’s pretty interesting. Oh and Korea has one resident living on the island. Also Korea is manning the island with stationed Korean police.
The ferry ride seemed much longer because we ended up cruising over two fishing nets that got wrapped up inside of the propellers. Oops. They did a number on the boat because it delayed our trip significantly. In the end they couldn’t cut away all of it and decided they needed to service it once we docked back on Ulleungdo. I felt sorry for the group leaving Ulleungdo that night that was scheduled on that very boat.
I think the a-ha moment was when someone decided to take a smoke break in the restrooms and the smoke detectors went off. I just sat looking up waited for the overhead sprinklers to kick on, luckily they didn’t. I’m not sure where the disconnect was with the passenger and all the signs posted in Korean not to smoke, smoke free vessel, etc. Eh…. I guess sometimes the struggle is that real.
We were nervous because the day we took the ferry to Dokdo island the waves were larger and there was the possibility we wouldn’t be able to dock on the island to get our chance to set foot on it. Thankfully we were able to dock and had some time to snap a few photos. It was really neat!
We met an older Korean gentleman, actually two different ones. Both such characters absolutely worth notating for future memories. The one worked on the ferry and kept a personal log book of guest he’s spoke with, said hello, blessed. He insisted we sign his log book and that we tell him where we were from in the states, after responding he proceeded to give us many thumbs up. We felt loved nonetheless. The other character sought us out while in line awaiting to board the boat back to mainland Korea. He handed us his business card and stayed he wanted us to return back to the island in August for a 5k that we could run or walk, all expenses paid. This man meant business and stood there wanting confirmation with guarantee we were coming. Sweet man. He then pulled us out of line insisting we get a photo with him in front of the boat, again posing with the thumbs up. Lol, I see a pattern here… So we got the photo, he seemed happy, but then later pulled just the two men out for a photo. It was harmless, but the joke was that our faces were now going to be on some Korean noodle restaurant sign that endorses just how delicious the noodles are. Do us a favor and keep your eyes peeled for us if ever in Korea. So that wasn’t the last of him, once on the boat he then purchased us all cold canned coffees and passed them out to our group. Too kind!
Fortunately and unfortunately, MERS the Middle East respiratory syndrome, has really made a dent in the tourism for Korea. Its made for some pretty fantastic advantages for travelers such as less people and discounted prices at some attractions. Almost all the attractions on the island were empty and we almost always had a discounted price.
The entire time we were on the island we ate what the locals ate, mostly seafood. Honghapbap-mussels with steamed rice, haemulcheon- seafood/green onion fried pancakes, sanchae bibimbap, ojing-eo bulgogi -squid grilled at the table with vegetables and hot pepper sauce. We tried the local flower shrimp, chicken shrimp, tiger beef, and frequented and befriended a local coffee shop.
The shrimp was out of this world! We were blown away by the taste and the fact they were only boiled. No old bay seasoning here folks. We would have ate sooooo much more, probably our weight in shrimp, but at 80,000 won a kilo…. Eek…bit pricey.
The tiger beef was outstanding as well! Again pricey coming out at 100,000 won per couple, we had three couples. But where else are you going to get to sink your teeth into a local delicacy like the island tiger beef? Nowhere but Ulleungdo so you just have to do it once.
The coffee shop was fantastic! The owner so nice and had excellent taste with his quality of bean choice. We highly recommend getting a nice treat there after a meal. Try the waffle, trust us it will not disappoint!
All and all the trip was wonderful and getting to pal around on the island with some good friends made the trip that much more! So if you find yourself needing to get away from Korea without getting to far away, check out the mysterious island of Ulleungdo.
More helpful information about traveling to Ulleungdo Island:
These are two of my favorite photos from this past weekend at the beach. I feel like they just exude summer. The calm, carefree, slow, peaceful, just be in the moment type of days that you only get to really feel during the dog days of summer (no pun intended). These are the days I find myself clutching onto for dear life as an adult.
What a view! We woke up every morning to this view of a Korean seaside village with brightly colored roofs, and the sea water so flat and crystal clear. Every spare moment I could snag I’d hideaway and find myself with the biggest grin on that balcony reading, sunning, watching the dear sweet ajumma’s tending to their flowers and vegetable gardens below, and at night taking in the beach or starry sky.
The days were filled with the perfect amount of sunshine, pillowy clouds, warm sea breeze, freshly brewed coffee, and meeting new friends. Plus I heard that the dive conditions were excellent, once you got past the frigid water temperature. The evenings just as breezy and blissful, filled with the celebratory Memorial Day Patbingsu, and BBQ. Ahhh perfection!
As we wrapped up our last evening with friends I made sure to pause and look towards the twinkly sky and give my heartfelt thanks to the many men and women that lost their lives defending our freedom. Without that selfless sacrifice we wouldn’t get to enjoy these carefree beach weekends year after year.
The dive shop that Mr. B frequents has become like a second home to the both of us. We look forward to the ocean breeze on our faces and in our hair. The escape of letting the crowded city and everyday stress behind. Catching up with friends that have become like family to the both of us. It’s deeply cherished and has absolutely become a big part of our lives.
It was a special weekend as we were invited back to the opening of the shop for another year of diving. The shop’s opening ceremony kicked off with paying respects to their ancestors, Korean rice wine flowing, and a big ol’ BBQ with copious amounts of food being served (Thank’s again for grilling Jeff). It was surreal to look around that night under the big tent and realize that we didn’t all speak the same language, we didn’t come from the same countries, but everyone there all held the same passion for diving and that made everyone one in the same in that moment.
Whoa! It’s not hard to see that I am running a week behind…again… EEK! I feel like we just try to squeeze every drop out of what is left of summer! It doesn’t stick around to long here so I feel uber guilty if we don’t get out in the evenings after work, and that is preciously what we have been doing.
Anywho, without delay I’ll get to it with the Labor Day fun!
I joined Mr. B on the east coast of Korea where he and a group of friends planned a weekend of diving. I have decided and told Mr. B that when we retire we will live on the beach or at most a block away from the beach. I couldn’t ignore my huge heart singing out relocation, to the ocean, the sand, the sounds… it just calms and soothes whatever your current mood or state of mind is and seriously, if the weather wasn’t being the biggest show off too! Not so hot with a slight autumn chill in the air. It was the most welcomed break and I took advantage of every minute it had to offer by catching up on my Kinfolk Magazine, sunning my pale leggies, strolling leisurely along the beach line. AH! Oh and then the drive home up, over and through the lush green mountains. I never imagined Korea to have the mountains that it has.
Here’s a tip…If you ever make a trip to Korea, do yourself a favor and get outside of Seoul, or whatever touristy city you choose to see the countryside and mountains too. You won’t regret it.
Over Memorial Day we spent a wet and wild weekend on the shores of a wonderful little island of Cebu, in Moalboal, located in the Philippines. The location isn’t very touristy, it was just our style. Most resorts in the area cater to Scuba divers, so entertainment is very laid back and there are next to no night clubs. You can relish in the fact that a cold beer is less than 45 Pesos in most bars, or about 50 cents in US Dollars.
While Mr. B dove with our friend Chris, I spent most of my time snorkeling, and relaxing on a rather magical porch, sunning, reading and of course…sipping on something fruity and refreshing. Just look at the view! The sea lapping right up to our little porch, pleaseeee take me back!
On the last day of our trip we all went sight-seeing around the island, swam with whale sharks, and experienced a “natural” massage at the Kawasan Falls, and ate halo-halo the Filipino dessert made from UBE (purple yam) . Experiences I will never ever forget!
We are aching to get back to the coast again. I do believe that I am suffering from lack of the sea, sun and sand as we speak. That porch off the ocean solidified that we need to invest in a beach home someday. Ahhhh, Somedayyy. When I am in the office I feel the soft quiet pull of the salty wind and sand. So, so unbelievably ready for the summer in South Korea, how about you?
We survived the typhoon. I apologize for not updating and posting that in a more timely manner. Most of the storm took it’s toll on the southern portion of the peninsula. Thankfully it wasn’t nearly as bad as they had predicted it to be. Unfortunately there were some casualties, our hearts and prayers go out to their families.
I can’t believe I’m saying this already, Friday was the “unofficial” last day of the summer. Labor Day marks we Americans last chance to extend everything we love about the summer months, i.e. wearing white pants, throwing Backyard BBQ’s, doing yard work, watching fireworks, getting in the last beach trips of the season, and the best for last, just our patriotic excuse to get together with family and friends.
Labor Day is quite different in Korea… For starters it’s a US holiday and is not recognized in the Korean culture. The typical patriotic feel from past years being at home isn’t quite there as well.
That’s okay! We took full advantage of the downtime and extended weekend. We quickly realized that it’s you who creates the mood and feel for each holiday or celebration. Near, far, wherever you are. Hope you were able to make the most of it too!
We drove to the East Coast. It seriously looked like Seattle, don’t you agree?
Just kidding, I had jean shorts on. Talk about almost enjoying the apoditimy of summer in one sitting. All that was missing was the hum of lawn mowers, the smells of freshly cut grass and burgers on the grill lofting in the air, and fireworks lighting up the sky. For the moment I was reminded of home.
We did grill out the first night at the beach. Our friend Alan is a master grill sergeant! He used a rustic Korean grill..I should have snapped pictures to share with you. When I say rustic I’m talking really, really, rustic. No complaints here, he grilled up really tasty chicken kabobs and we are still alive to tell the tale, HA-HA! I think you would have enjoyed it too, perhaps next time you can join us?
The second night we “grilled” I use the word in quotes because techincally yes we did grill, however we did it at a Korean BBQ restaurant. Hey! It counts, right? We had a blast story telling and enjoying good food with our friends.
The weather was much cooler these past few days. There is a real sense of Fall in the air. The humidity is slowly moving out of the weather forecast too. You think the weather stopped these diehard divers? Nope. wet suits and smiles is all I witnessed getting on and off the dive boats each day.
Today, for the second time in a row this weekend, I woke up with Mr. B and went to the indoor pool. Yesterday I swam 30 laps, today I pushed myself a bit harder and did 50. Mr. B jokingly said that he needed to buy me a wet-suit for the pool because my lips were turning blue by the time I got out. When he said that, it instantly took me back to childhood memories, the days of swimming until my lips were blue, teeth chattering, convulsing shivering, but not daring to admit it’s time to get out and warm up.
Those were the days!
I stuck around a bit longer this morning to watch the Scuba students in action. Don’t tell Mr. B that I said this, but he’s such a natural! He loves scuba and it truly shines through when he’s helping to assist the students, or explain something more in detail. It’s just so darling watching him light up.
Sometimes I follow blogs and think to myself, “wow, that bloggers life comes off as almost perfect”. Think about it…you get to choose what photos make it on your page, your topics, your comments, etc.
Life is made up of so many perfect and imperfect moments. Eventually we realize that each happens for a reason one way or another.
So here’s a run down of the perfect and not so perfect moments of our 5 year anniversary weekend happenings.
First, many people asked, what did you do for your anniversary weekend? How did you celebrate…well we went to the East coast…naturally.
Some of the new dive students said,”Mrs.B, you don’t dive”, “You are okay just hanging out for the weekend?”
The answer is, I enjoy it. Getting to watch Mr. B totally in his element, reading a good book I just downloaded, relaxing, and snapping pictures, chatting with friends, meeting new people. What a perfect gift! Hmmm well… minus the stomach bug that’s been plaguing me for the past 2 1/2 days. If you didn’t already assume, chalk that up to the not so perfect moments.
Saturday morning started off a bit rocky. We wanted to be on the road at 4:30am…however… Father time totally worked against us. Yes, that sounds about right, blaming him! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Aka.. Didn’t hit the snooze button, turned the alarm completely off. Oops….
Still made great timing, no traffic. Everything worked out rather perfectly.
Saturday afternoon the skies sort of matched my stomach. Gray. Luckily the dives were going well for the eager group of 30. Unfortunately on the opposite end of things I was still on the fence, stomach not feeling 100% like itself.
In between dives I made myself get up and take a walk. Convincing myself that the crisp beach air would do me some good. I ended up leaving my camera in the car with final thoughts of it will just be a short walk, no need to carry anything extra.
Aren’t those your famous last words? Ah! I didn’t think I’d walk around as much as I did. I really should have took the camera with me.
Again, convinced myself to go back to the car and then If I felt up to it again I’d go back and snap some photos. Eventually that is exactly what I did.
Yes! In my flips! Did you really think i’d have something different on?
Sometimes all you need is a little mind over matter. (EEk! Little did I know I’d pay for that when retiring off to bed).
Anywho, I enjoyed my walk up…
and finally over and down…
a mini mountain that hugged the harbor area the divers were using to practice their skills. It was pretty neat to look down on the ocean below to see if I could spot them.
I stumbled upon an elderly Korean couple singing to one another and taking in the oceanic views. Also on the walk I found a temple, and laughingly watched a Korean family with two children that were being playfully teased by their father for being afraid of the metal grated pathway affixed to the mountainside. I guess you can add to my list throughly enjoyed my people watching too.
Sunday morning the sun poked right out behind the gray skies. It turned out to be an absolute perfect day for the divers. Plus while my stomach continued to remind me I wasn’t going anywhere I had ample opportunity to catch some rays.
Ahhh…What an incredibly peaceful place!
I’m convinced even though the beaches here on the East coast are bare compared to that of one stateside, a beach is a beach, the feelings of calmness, peace, and relaxation still loft in the air. Heaven on earth.
Memorial Day! The “unofficial” beginning to the summer months! This is the day the pool opens. Gone are the worries that wearing white pants are judged. This weekend kicks off friendly Pennsylvanian neighbor lawn wars too.
Memorial Day weekend has always been one of my favorite long weekends of the year to look forward to. Not only because it gives me time to reflect on our past and current heroes, but because I get to celebrate my very own hero, my husband!
Typically, in the past this weekend meant going to the beach, eating my weight in ice-cream and fresh fruit, sand in my shoes, fireworks, long bike rides, and the smell of bar-b-que in the air.
This weekend always represents the little taste of summer before it really actually begins.
Just because we’re in Korea doesn’t mean we let the Memorial Day weekend festivities go by without getting out and enjoying ourselves.
Saturday we packed up the car and were some of the only crazies on the road at 4AM, bound for the (East Coast) Sacheon beach.
Lots of diving, cooking out, toes in the sand, and laughs all around.