Well, it’s hard to believe, but we’ve been in Korea for over a year! Time flies… It doesn’t seem possible that a year has gone by, and we will be packing our bags and leaving Korea in just four weeks.
We both agree that the past year has been one of the best years of our lives. We’ve met and made so many great friends, we traveled and experienced so many new places, and we’ve been able to spend so much time together. Words cannot describe how blessed we feel.
I’ll go through the highlights of the past year, and at the end of this post, I’ll brief you on our plans for the next few months.
JanuaryWe arrived in Korea on January 17, 2013. Our wonderful boss Julie and our school owner took us out for Korean food on the night we arrived. At the time, we weren’t so crazy about the food, but over the past year, we’ve really grown to love the food here. Our favorite dishes include kimchi jjigae (kimchi soup), galbitang (beef rib soup), Korean bbq (all you can eat meat buffets), udon (noodle soup), and kimchijeon (Korean kimchi pancakes).
FebruaryMost of February was spent with good friends. We enjoyed hiking, and exploring our island.I also went and toured the DMZ… It was the first time I felt the depth of the war between North and South Korea.
MarchWe started teaching full-time in March, and we really fell in love with our kids. Teaching these guys has been one of the most fulfilling jobs we’ve ever had.We spent our weekends in March hanging out with friends and getting to know Korea and our island better.
AprilApril was a big mile marker for us. It marked the month we bought our mountain bikes–which was by far the best investment we made in Korea. From then on out, we were avid mountain bikers on the weekends.It was also in April that I had my first Jjimjilbang experience. Little did I know that I’d be hooked on theses bath spas in the future!
May In May, we went to what is known as the most beautiful place in Korea, Seoraksan National Park. This trip really lit a fire in us to see as much of Korea as we could during our year stay. We made our Korean bucket list, and started planning weekend trips to check off items on our list.We also spent time enjoying the spring weather and exploring our island on our motorcycle.
JuneOur trip to the Beosong green tea fields of Korea was a fantastic trip. It also started our addiction to green tea!We also had a great time (throughout the whole summer) mountain biking with our friends!
July July was a spectacular month for us. We celebrated the 4th of July with fireworks and friends! We also toured Seoul for the first time. We went to the King’s Palace, and sipped on coffee at a dog cafe! At the time, we didn’t realize that we would end up falling in love with Korea’s capital city.We celebrated our two year anniversary by taking a weekend trip to Busan. My favorite part was the artistic Gamcheon Culture Village, while Jared loved walking through the Jagalchi Fish Market.
AugustWe went to Borneo Malaysia in August. The highlights of Borneo were seeing all of the wild monkeys!
SeptemberIn September, we had a blast zip lining at Herb Hillz in Daegu.We spent our Chuseok break in Seoraksan. We loved it so much the first time, we were anxious to go back and explore more of that beautiful national park! After Seoraksan, we headed to Seoul to check out a craft market, the Trick Eye Museum, and go to the World’s largest church on Sunday.
OctoberWe went island hoping in October and had a great time enjoying the fall weather while camping on Yeonhwa Island.I also got my hair cut.And we worked on our mountain biking tricks… well, I tried to work on my tricks.We had a great time celebrating Halloween with our kiddos at school!
NovemberHendrik and Dorette left for South Africa in November… It’s been lonely the past few months with out them here. A highlight (for me) in the month of November was selling some of my bracelets at the Hongdae Craft Market in Seoul!
December We spent December spending time with good friends, and enjoying the crisp winter air every chance we could!I had a blast having friends over to make DIY Christmas Cards!Christmas was filled with ginger bread houses, Santa outfits, gifts, and parties at work! After Christmas, we headed to Japan where Jared’s little brother Jacob met up with us. We went to Kyoto, and then spent a few days in Tokyo!
JanuaryAfter we got back from Japan, we decided to take a last minute trip down to Jeju, “Korea’s Hawaii.” We had fun exploring the lava caves, and climbing Mt. Halla, Korea’s tallest mountain.At the end of January, we took a memorable trip up to Seoul with Jacob. We went to a Dr. Fish Cafe; a place where fish nibble at your feet after you’ve enjoyed a cup of coffee. We also walked around the traditional streets in Seoul, soaking up culture and history.
FebrauryWe went Snowboarding in Muju for Lunar New Year at the end of January, and then we spent the first of February enjoying our island with friends.Looking back over the last year in Korea, we feel so blessed to have seen and done everything we packed into 2013…and we are so excited to see what else 2014 has in store for us!
March-July Well, above is what we have planned from March to July. As of now, our travel plans include China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Nepal, India, Dubai, Qatar, Turkey, Greece, Croatia, Italy, France, and England. A lot of our stops will only be for a few days, but we are excited about seeing and experiencing new parts of the world!
What are we looking forward to the most? We have the opportunity to volunteer at Bykota House in Cambodia for a month. Mark and Rhonda Benz founded the Bykota House in 2004, and we are so excited God has lead us to further His kingdom in Cambodia in this small way. Please visit www.bykotahouse.org to find out more about the wonderful things God is doing in Cambodia, and how you can help!
August: Job search! Let me know if you hear of any jobs in the Health field. I’ve got my Master’s degree in Health Promotion and Wellness Management, and I’ll be on the hunt for a job in my field when I get back home!