During the first weekend of October I went to the Lantern Festival in Jinju! To read more about the festival, view the related post here!
Located in the south central part of Korea, Jinju is a small city of just 300,000 people. But for ten days a year, nighttime traffic is bumper-to-bumper and walking the streets means shuffling, wading and weaving through crowds of people. Why? The Jinju Namgang Yudeong (Lantern) Festival.
This video takes you along with me as I travel to Andong, South Korea for the 2014 International Mask Festival! To read more about my experience, check the related post here!
This adventure has been incredibly fun, but it has also taught me a number of invaluable life lessons: lessons that have opened my mind and my heart; lessons that have changed me; lessons that I'm quite certain I would have never learned in my home country. Conveying all of them (including how to avoid creepy old men, lice remedies and universal charades) would require I write a book, but for time's sake, I've decided to include the more valuable of the lot.
April 19th marks the five year anniversary of my big move from Smalltown, USA to the bustling metropolis that is Seoul, South Korea. I've lived out a number of exciting and unique experiences over the past few years that include riding elephants through the jungles of Thailand, working in the slums of India, camping with nomads in the Sahara Desert and teaching English to some of the most adorable children throughout Asia. I've made memories that will undoubtedly last a lifetime.
While eating breakfast at my hostel in Barcelona last month, a CNN news brief aired declaring that tensions were high and nuclear war was eminent on the Korean peninsula. A Korean backpacker that I had met earlier that week looked at me and simultaneously, we rolled our eyes, irked by the excessive urgency and seriousness in the reporters' words. The others in the room, who hailed from all corners of the globe, looked worried and advised us to prolong our stay in Europe rather than return to a country that was in such a hostile state.
The concerned comments didn't end there. Messages from my friends in America began flooding my inbox with questions regarding my well being and my parents even offered to purchase for me a plane ticket back to Mississippi.
I've pretty much got it down what I need to do to get Tom out of Korea. I'll be heading back to the Vet about a week before we fly to get his final documents in order. I've got his carrier all ready to go, although I'm not sure whether to add a frozen cup of water for him in there.
I am going to take you through the last full year I experienced here in Korea, and I will do this by showcasing it through the seasons.
In February I went back home to Florida
and visited family. I was able to get away from the cold of Seoul and enter the warmth and sunny skies of South Florida.
This last year has been filled with ups and downs, adventures and good times with friends. When 2012 started I was mostly focused on the upcoming school year moving to 2nd grade. I was busy with planning lessons and considering the school year ahead as a team leader. At the same time I was single and getting accustomed to this new life style. As 2012 grew on I learned some important lessons and some good times.
For my flight home I'll be flying Korean Air, which is funny because when I first flew to Korea this was the airline I took. Since then I haven't flown Korean Air again and certainly miss their good meals and excellent service. I picked this airline because I figured for the price and prestige, Tom will have a good flight. Thankfully the wind will be blowing towards America, so our flight will be about 9 hours.