I was very excited to see this week’s photo challenge theme. I consider myself to be an urbanite. I love the traffic, the tall buildings, the noise and the modernity of the cities I’ve visited and lived in. Here are some photos of some of the cities I have been to and adored.
Today (July 1st), is Canada’s birthday. Today the country I call home is 145 years old. I decided to skim through my photo albums and find photos that had my country’s flag in it. I’ve posted the photos below as a tribute to my home country and the nation that gave the world peanut butter, snowmobiles, gas masks, basketball, IMAX, insulin and of course, ice hockey.
Have a Happy Canada Day wherever you find yourself on planet Earth.
Cape Spear, Newfoundland
Cirque du Soleil Tent, Seoul, South Korea
Outside of COEX Mall, Seoul, South Korea
JSA Museum, Korean DMZ
United Nations Memorial Cemetery, Busan, South Korea
Nestled inside the trendy, university district of Hyewha-Dong in Seoul, is a great little cafe with the most delicious cupcakes. The cupcakes of Cafe Everyday do not only taste great, but also look like individual pieces of art.
These cupcakes look almost too good to eat, but if you have a sweet tooth you will eat them anyway.
I’m not too sure what the calorie count is on these tasty suckers, but you will lose weight in your wallet or purse though purchasing these treats. The average price is about 4000 WON ($3.50 USD) each.
Though these cupcakes can be a little pricey and maybe a little high in calories, they are certainly worth a taste. You will admire their creative designs and then devour their deliciousness.
6. The friends we have made from around the world.
7. I’ll miss the challenges and joys of teaching. As well as the amazing children.
Bonus: I’ll definitely miss my home church here. I’ll miss everything from the community of my small group to the challenging teaching times and everything in between. If you need a home church while in Korea check out Onnuri English Ministries (www.onnurienglish.org).
For those of you who have lived here, currently living here or have visited Seoul; what do or will you miss about Seoul?
Ahhh….The cardboard box! Is there a greater symbol in the world that represents moving? The act of packing up your earthly belongings and moving them from one location to another can be summed up in a light and practical recyclable container. Last week we used a number of boxes as it was moving week for us. We sold and donated things we didn’t need, want or couldn’t bring with us. We boxed up the irreplaceables and shipped them and everything else will be brought on our backs and carried in our hands to the airport.
The last time we moved was actually within Seoul. At that time the cardboard box was not a symbol for us. The ladder-lift truck is a more accurate symbol for moving in Korea. Most people live in high-rise apartments. This makes moving a little more difficult. Instead of going up an down the elevator you can hire a ladder-lift truck. These trucks have a platform that can reach a window in your apartment. Items are then placed on the platform and lowered to the moving truck below.
Both the cardboard box and the ladder-lift truck are symbols of moving. Both sum up the practical side of packing yourself, your family and your belongings up and relocating them elsewhere. The emotional side of moving to another place is a different story.
6 years ago, my wife and I embarked on a journey from Canada to South Korea. We came to see the world, live overseas and pay off the debt of our undergraduate studies. Our plan was to come and teach for a couple of years and then move on. This plan was reworked, retooled, changed and revised over the years. Instead of staying for two, we stayed for six.
Teaching English has sustained us financially during our stay in Korea. That was until last week. After 6 years of teaching (5 years at the same school), we exited the school grounds for the last time. It was a bittersweet moment. Bitter because we both have enjoyed teaching the children. I’ll miss the classroom discussions, the hand made origami presents and seeing students progress in their studies.
The moment was also sweet too. We were leaving with our heads held high. We were confident in our decision to move on from the world of teaching English. We were and still are excited about what will happen next.
The picture above is of the rules of my classroom. These ten simple rules kept my grade two students from descending into anarchy. Well, that and a complex reward system that involved sweets, mechinal pencils for participation and yellow/red cards and a firm “talking to” for stepping out of line. I wonder if people the world over followed these simple rules (excluding rule 1), would our world be a different place? Could these basic principles keep our world from caving in on itself?
The end of our journey here is almost over after 6 years. Not 6 long years, but 6 great years. In 6 years, South Korea went from being the place I live to, well….Home.
Games are a part of most cultures. The games may differ depending on where you are. In some countries a game can be anything from chasing a ball around a field, a puck around an ice surface or driving a little white ball into a hole barely big enough to contain it. Games can also be as low key as a board game with fake money around the kitchen table or spelling words with little wooden tiles. The Korean culture is no different. Games are very much a part of this culture. Most of the games here are like games in a lot of developed countries, which involve gathering oneself around a computer screen or a TV . Traditional games can still be found if you know where to look.
One of the places to experience a couple of these traditional games is at Namsongol Hanok Village. Here you can try your hand at Tuho and Paeng-chigi.
(Photo courtesy of my father)
The object of Tuho is to throw arrows into a canister. Pretty simple concept, but not always as easy as it may seem.
Eventually you do get lucky or skillful and hit the money shot.
Paengi-chigi is a variation of something most of us have played with as children – spin tops. These spin tops are wound up with string and then let go. In order to keep the tops from falling over, they are then hit with a thin leather strap.
This game can become a two person game when one participant tries to knock over the other participant’s spin top with his own. That I haven’t seen in person, but it does sound like a fun activity.
Games can be found in all cultures and many have advanced throughout the years. In the end the main objective to playing any game is to have fun.