Visa Mayhem & Korea Malay

Posted: August 28, 2010 in Uncategorized

I write to you now, from a Korean Jimjilbang, or Korean bathhouse as translated in English. For the past few hours, I have been relaxing in the various saunas, hot tubs, steam rooms, and pools this place has to offer. And, might I add, the hot tub area has segregated men’s and women’s floors, for one very important reason: No clothes allowed. Yes I did it, don’t try to imagine it but just know it as a simple fact. It was really relaxing actually, and a very interesting experience. When in Korea, right? Some of you may be jealous, or disgusted, but both parties are probably wondering why I am soaking it up in the lap of luxury on this little excursion. Surely there must be a good reason, right? Yes there is. One being it only costs $10 to stay here all day, and I can sleep upstairs in the sleeping room on a mat with a heated floor. Sounds kind of nice actually, I’m looking forward to it. As you can imagine, spending a night here in Seoul can be costly, so this seemed like the obvious choice for a frugal traveler such as myself. The hot tubs and saunas are a nice bonus, I won’t deny that. Why Korea? Why not? The 90 days on my China visa was about to run out, so I needed to leave the country, I’ve never been to Korea, I have friends there, I like new places, new foods, new sights, new sounds, walking around naked in a bath house…..er wait, scratch that last one. For those of you who think it’s weird, it’s actually quite common here. It’s where families go for a day or two to just unwind and relax. They have an arcade, internet bar, all sorts of restaurants, snacks, massage, Brillo pad body scrub, you name it! I’d definitely do it again, especially for 10 bucks! Anyways, my China visa is good for one year, but I have to leave every 90 days and come back as its only a tourist visa. And my school that I will be working at in Shanghai will change it into a 1 year work visa so I don’t have to leave, but it doesn’t officially start until September 1st. My visa was up on the 21st of August, so I missed it by a few days. “Oh, well. Guess I’ll have to go to Korea,” I thought. I’ve spent about a week here, and fly back to Shanghai tomorrow morning to immediately begin teacher training for the upcoming semester. Your prayers are appreciated as there are still lots of unknowns about where I will live, who I will live with, and what my schedule will be like. I’m hoping to find some great fellowship ASAP, and some cool roommates to share an apartment with. So without further ado, here are the highlights of this beautiful country that boasts an amazing cuisine, when you can do enough hand gestures to actually order something that is……

PS: Special shout out to my friends Leslie, James and Sara for letting me crash and show me around the country! I admire your hearts for the Lord and I will be praying for you indefinitely for God to bless your ministries!

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James and Leslie took me out for some Dak-Kalbi (sp?) It’s a local dish in Chuncheon, a city about an hour and a half east of Seoul. It’s made with super tender chicken, cabbage, rice cakes and special red sauce. I’m not 100% sure about all the ingredients, but it was amazing! They fry it up right in front of you, then you put some in a lettuce or sesame leaf, wrap it up and enjoy.

 

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Don’t you just want to eat your screen right now?P1020970 P1020971

Then they made a skin coat of rice that was fried, then topped with cheese and rolled up into a delectable little rice cheese roll, also amazing. I didn’t have a bad meal in Korea, if that helps your imagination….

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This is Sara, Leslie, Me and James. They played host, and did an amazing job! Made my time in Korea very unique.

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I also had a chance to meet up with Taylor and his wife Ashley on a day trip to Seoul. Taylor used to teach in Qinhuangdao with me for ELT Edge. He has now moved with his wife to teach in Korea for two years. It was awesome to catch up with him!P1020985 P1020988

Went hiking at Seoraksan National Park in northeast Korea. It has the highest peaks in South Korea and a big Buddha statue to boot. Although South Korea has a lot awesome things going on for it spiritually in Christianity, it still also has a lot of the traditional folk religions, as well as Buddhism.

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Some more statue shots.

P1030005 P1030008 Here I am halfway up one of the many peaks.

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Saw some people rock climbing, I was a bit jealous. It looked like quite a challenge! They were working their way up all day.

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A few more shots for you to take a gander.

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View from the top. The only thing there was a small cave with some Buddha statues in it for worship.

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Back down at ground level. These are a few shots of the river that cuts through the valley, and some of the falls created by it.

P1030059 P1030057 Cool mossy area.

There you have it! Despite language barriers (which can sometimes be the most fun and interesting part), a good time awaits for all in South Korea! I’d recommend it to anyone, especially the food! That’s all for now, thanks for reading and I hope to hear from anyone whose been following! Lift me up as I head back to China and start many new beginnings, and please don’t hesitate to send me your prayer requests as well! PEACE.

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Comments
  1. Matt says:

    Those rock climbers were cool! The Seoul Tower is a cool sight to see, The view shows how big the city really is. Lifting you up on this end.

  2. Erin Osell says:

    Even though I have a bed, I really do want to sleep on a mat on a heated floor. i’m not sure why. Perhaps I can attribute that newfound desire to your amazing writing skills 🙂

    Looks like you are having an amazing trip, buddy, and I’m glad you have found a place to work. I will continue to pray for the Lord’s provision for the things you mentioned and also to have time of rest and a heart that continues to yearn for him.

    Oh! and I did want to eat my computer screen… 🙂

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