Three things to do in Geoje

One of the best things about Korea are the many “red” days (bank holidays – time off).  This summer I went to Geoje with two friends.  If you’re not familiar, Geoje is a small island off the east coast, near Busan.  It has some lovely beaches and can be accessed by bridge, making it easier to travel to than some other Korean islands (such as Jeju and Oedo).

Most tourist information focuses on how to get to Geoje from Seoul.  However, this account will be from Daejeon, in central Korea.  There is a direct bus from Daejeon to Geoje.  It can be caught from the Express Bus Terminal and is 18,000KRW (about $16.50).  The bus ride itself took about 3 hours.  From the terminal in Geoje, I recommend finding a love motel – we paid 70,000KRW a night for a “VIP” room with two double beds.  The hotel that we stayed in was called Maldives (말다이브스) and was near to the terminal; the bus terminal in Geoje is also the starting location for city buses, so this is where you will go to catch a bus to the beach.

If you model your trip off of ours, here is what you will do:

1. Gujora (구조라) beach.  You can catch a bus from the bus terminal; it will take about an hour.  There are many buses that lead to Gujora.  Check the screen at the bus terminal.  The cost will be about 1,100 KRW (less than a dollar).

 

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2.  Oedo (외도 ) island Botania botanical gardens.  Oedo can only be accessed by ferry.  The costs of ferry (return) plus the garden admissions are 26,000 per person.  You can take a city bus (1,100KRW) to the ferry site.


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3. Windy Hill (신선대) is a hill with a windmill.  The view is lovely and well worth the 1 hr bus ride.

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Have you been to Geoje?  Where did you go on your last trip?  Next post: Samcheok and Sokcho!

Apartment tour

Better late than never, right?  Five months after moving in, it’s time for a little apartment tour…and you’ll see just how “little” once you see the size of my apartment!  It’s about 30m², which is tiny, of course, but much bigger than the apartments that most (single) foreigners live in.  However, with my new position I decided to reward myself (and my cat) with something slightly more comfortable.  And I find that it’s the perfect size for us.

 

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The spare room has been converted into a living room, dining room, and hobby room.

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kitchen01 the view from my bedroom: to the far left, obscured, are doors to the laundry and living rooms.  To the right is the bathroom.  On top of my refrigerator you can see my oven, microwave, and electric kettle.kitchen02 kitchen03Longtime readers will recognize the photo collage that I made last year for my Día de los Muertos altar.  That cabinet stores shoes.

kitchen04 The view from the door.  The phone is for my door intercom.  That brown thing hanging from the pipe by the ceiling is a St. Brigid’s cross; Shane bought it for me in Ireland and put it up there when he helped me move in.  I’m not religious or superstitious, but I like having it up there.

bathroomBetween the kitchen and the bedroom, the bathroom.  Like most apartments in South Korea, my bathroom is a wetroom.  When I shower, I do so right next to the toilet, there.  This bathroom is much smaller than most that I’ve seen, but everything had been remodeled right before I moved in, so it was worth it to me.

 

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And, in the interest of honesty, my laundry room and junk room.  It’s actually much neater on the other side, but I have the clothes horse up and no one needs to see my underwear, haha!

I hope you enjoyed the apartment tour.  I’m always thinking up new ways to make it more comfortable, so please feel free to make suggestions.

 

종이정원 (Paper Garden ) | blooming art

This weekend I popped in on 종이정원 Paper Garden, located in the youth mall of Jeonju’s Nambu Market (전주-시, 남부 시장).  What makes Paper Garden cool?  Check it out for yourself.

 

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Paper Garden uses “upcycling” to transform pretty, textured papers into clever pots for seeds!  To plant, simply lay the paper on a plate or another flat surface, dampen, and wait.

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Cards are about 4,000-5,000won each ($3.75-4.75).  

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If you want to learn more or plan a visit, check out Paper Garden on their Facebook page.

Liebster award and some ‘splaining

This is going to be a roller-coaster post, and more personal than my last ones.  Let’s start with the good news, shall we?

Liebster Award

Loving Distance nominated me for a Liebster award!  Liebster award nominations go to the best new blogs with under 200 subscribers.   Liebster nominations are kind of pay-it-forward deals, where the nominee answers several questions and then asks some of another blogger (who is then nominated and repeat the process).  Here are the questions that I was asked:

1. When did you start blogging and why?

I started blogging about 13 years ago (although this blog is less than a year old).  I started Day is Night as a way to organize my goals during a long distance relationship; I also thought it would be a great way for me to keep in touch with my family, as I live on a different continent than they do.

2. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? 

Some incarnation of Selena.  When I got older I wanted to be a writer.

3. What’s on the top of you to-do list?

I really need to grocery shop, but (fun fact!) major grocery stores in Korea close on 1st and 3rd Sundays.  It’s meant to give small businesses a chance, but all it really does is stop me from shopping on the weekend.

4. If you could live anywhere for a year, without having to worry about money, where would you live? 

Germany, definitely.  I’ve always wanted to improve my German.

5. How did you meet your significant other?

Shane and I met on a Facebook group for foreigners living in our city.

6. What advice would you give to couples who are new to a long distance relationship? 

Make the distance something that you will cherish; it’s likely that you’ll never again have that much space to grow and yet that much loving support.  Create the mementos that you’ll treasure in the years to come: handwritten letters, little surprise gifts.    Anyone who says that distance is easy is someone who you don’t need relationship advice from.  However, difficulty doesn’t have to mean strife, and you should care for and value yourself as your partner does, instead of focusing on countdowns and the things that you miss.

With that said, it’s time for this post to get very real.  To borrow a term, last month Shane and I “consciously uncoupled.”  I don’t want to frighten people who are in LDRs and hate reading these sorts of things; let me be clear that it is more difficult to be a foreigner than it is to be in an LDR.  Sometimes, when you don’t fit in one place, you start chafing in others, too.

The hardest part of ending a relationship is feeling, suddenly, remote.  It’s not unlike the feeling of being a foreigner or of beginning a long distance relationship.  I hope you’ll all keep reading.

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Some pictures from the day we broke up.

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Crochet afghan

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Way back in September, not long before Shane and I began our LDR, I made a list of goals for the next 4.5 months.  One of those goals was to crochet my first afghan…and I actually did it!  I finished this blanket in December or January, but waited until he and I returned to Korea to do the last row.

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The pattern that I used is here.  Obviously I improvised, and because of my improvisations, I ended up using quite a bit more yarn than I had expected to use.

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The blanket is not perfect and it’s not thick, but it’s very soft and warm, and it reminds me a little bit of a falsa (a kind of Mexican blanket).

Have you ever crocheted or knitted a blanket?  Any suggestions for what I should make next?

 

 

eSpoir nail polish: REVIEW

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If you are not a slave to your nails, you will be after this.

Let it be known that I gave up without a fight: the minute that I spotted eSpoir’s Naked collection, it was all over.   eSpoir is owned by Amore Pacific, the massive beauty monster responsible for some of Korea’s best loved brands: Mamode, Etude House, Innisfree, Laneige, and others.  eSpoir is a mid-priced brand (by Korean standards) that has you covered for everything, from skin and brows to fragrance and make up.  However, this review will be focused only on their nail line.

eSpoir’s nail polishes come in a color selection that I would compare to Essie in that it is very current and on-trend.  They retail for 5,000W (about $4.70), but they have the quality of a much pricier brand.  I bought five of their polishes from three different lines, and they all had the same consistency and were all very long-lasting; it was not unusual for me to wear this polish for a week or so before they would begin to chip.  My previous favorites, MODI nails by Aritaum, usually chipped within a day or two.

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Now, without further ado, the nail polish!

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Nude Tude (누드 튜드) from the Naked Collection.  This is the perfect neutral if your skin tone is too warm or olive for some of the bluer-toned whites that are so popular this year.  It is incredibly flattering and wearable.  Shown here at 3 coats.

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Greyscale (그레이스케일) from their regular collection.  Greyscale is perfect year-round, but I especially love it with this year’s spring color palette. Shown here at 3 coats.

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Undressed (언드레스드) from the Naked Collection.  As you can see, this is a color that really pulls from your skin’s undertones.  In the bottle it appears a bit cooler, but I quite like it on.  Shown at 3 coats.

 

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Deep Forest (딥 포레스트) from their regular line.   A true green that builds to a very deep, mysterious green by 4-5 coats (seen here at 3).nails07

Skin Skinny (스킨 스키니), from the Naked Collection, is a very pale pink, shown here at 4 coats.  I still felt that it was somewhat see-through, so I added another coat and the pink intensified.

And what would a nail post be without a nod to my favorite base and top coat?

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Both from MODI, available at Aritaum.  I believe these were 3,000 each, but they regularly go on sale for 1+1 (buy one get one free).  I much prefer both of these to ORLY, OPI, Sally Hansen, Essie, China Glaze, Ulta, and the others that I’ve tried.  I’ve repurchased the base coat in particular about 5 times.

Have you tried eSpoir?  If you’d like to, you can check out their entire nail collection right here.  If there’s a Korean beauty product that you’d like to see reviewed, just let me know!

Ireland Day 5: Kylemore Abbey and Co. Limerick

Wednesday the 12th started out the right way: with a big Irish breakfast and a Kinder Egg.

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These are still illegal in America.

We set out early and arrived at Kylemore Abbey just as it opened.  It was cold, rainy, and windy, and the day before we had heard that there was a storm in Limerick, but we felt refreshed and unhurried as we toured the Abbey.

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From the Abbey we made our way to the Gothic church.

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From there we were to drive on to the Burren, the Cliffs of Moher, Bunratty Castle and Theme Park, and then, finally, to Shane’s parents’ house.  But the weather had other things in mind. We were a couple hours out when phone calls from his family started coming in; at this point the weather was rainy and windy, but not nasty, and we appreciated their concern but didn’t alter our course.  However, within the next hour the wind was whipping us around, semis (lorries) were tipped over on the streets, and we decided against the Burren and the Cliffs.  Bunratty, however, was right near to where Shane’s parents lived, and we had purchased tickets ahead of time, so we decided to drive on and see if we couldn’t get in.

We could not.

With this new knowledge, we sat in the parking lot and plotted.  We now had the entire day in Limerick, but the power was out, many roads were blocked by fallen trees, and there was no telling if the wind would pick up again.  We decided to head to pop in on the calfs and then head to his parents’ house.

I’ve not mentioned this before, but Shane’s parents are farmers, and they have some cattle.  Since learning this I’ve been eager to see some calfs (and to see Shane in a new light – who doesn’t like to learn new things about their partner?), and Shane had promised me a trip to the farm.  In my mind, I pictured a red barn, a white, wooden fence, rolling fields, and friendly, mooing cows.  I told Shane that I wanted a picture sitting in the fence, petting a cow.  He said, “The fence is electric.”

On to my rude awakening…

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The cows were in sheds to take shelter from the storm, and they did not want to be pet.  They were, however, very curious, and much bigger than I had imagined.  I was scared, but Shane was not – he walked through them like he had been doing it every day of his life, and I have to say that it was really cool to see him in wellies, shooing cows away.

In a separate shed were two young calves.

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Yuck!  (Just so my readers know, Shane’s parents tend the cattle at the least every morning and night – it was 4 or 5pm and his dad arrived as we left.)

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Maybe brothers?

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The happiest moment.

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Later, Shane told me that the beauty of photography is that by cropping out the other calf from the shot, he made it look like I was ignoring the calf to my left.

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In another pen, a mother with her newborn:

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Shane told me that I probably shouldn’t try to go in there to pet that calf. Sometimes it’s funny how little he thinks I know about animals!  Just because I didn’t grow up on a farm doesn’t mean that I have no sense, haha.

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Got milk?

After this, Shane and I drove the few miles to his parents’ place.  The power was out, and it would remain out for several days – even through his brother’s wedding.  Despite this, it was an absolutely lovely time.  I didn’t take any pictures of the wedding, so the next post with pick up on the 15th, the day after the wedding.

Ireland Day 4: Queen Maeve’s Cairn, Croagh Patrick

Shane and I were a short drive from Queen Maeve’s Cairn, so on the morning of the 11th we got up early and drove over.

Queen Maeve’s Cairn (also called Knocknarea and Queen Maeve’s Grave, Tomb, or Resting Place) is basically a mound of rocks atop a hill, steeped in legend.  I had asked Shane to tell me about it before we arrived, but he told me to wait, and that he’d tell me on the way up.  So that’s how I’ll tell it.

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Back in the days of legends, there lived a queen named Maeve.  Her kingdom was Connacht, and its rival was Ulster, where her husband was king.  Their kingdoms were equal in every way, except that the kingdom of Ulster had a massive prize bull.  Maeve could not let this stand.

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So Meave set out to find a bull that would fight the Ulster bull.  She heard of a bull living in Cooley, who had been born to her herd but left because he would not be ruled by a woman.  So Maeve sent her men to rent the bull from his owner, but the deal fell through in the 11th hour and began a war.

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The battles went on and on, and Maeve’s forces were repeatedly rebuffed by Ulster’s warrior, Cúchulainn, a young boy barely 17 years of age.   But in the end Maeve sent her warrior, Ferdiad, who was the best friend and foster brother of Cúchulainn.  Although they were brothers, both warriors were committed to their kingdoms, so they met on the battlefield with the knowledge that only one would survive.

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Every day they would fight, wounding each other terribly.  And every night they would drink together and share medicine.  Both warriors had been trained by the same master, Scáthach, but she had given each of them a secret weapon that only they could use.  Cúchulainn’s weapon was the Gáe Bulg, the death spear.

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On the third day, both warriors met and began to fight again.  Ferdiad soon had Cúchulainn at his mercy, and Cúchulainn knew that his death was near if he didn’t do something quickly.

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So Cúchulainn called for his death spear, and it was floated down the water to him.  It was a curious spear, and would kill any person that it pierced by breaking into several pieces inside their body.  But no one could use it because no one could launch it.

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But Cúchulainn knew how.

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On that day, Cúchulainn placed the spear between his two toes and launched it at his brother.  It ran him through and killed him.  In the ruins of his childhood, Maeve achieved her victory yet: her army stole away the Cooley bull, and matched him against her husband’s bull, who was beaten.  Maeve, when she died, was laid to rest in a tomb on the hill Knocknarea.  She was buried so that she would be always facing Ulster.

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“The wind has bundled up the clouds high over Knocknarea,
And thrown the thunder on the stones for all that Maeve can say.”

– William Bulter Yeats, Red Hanrahan’s Song About Ireland

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After leaving the Cairn, Shane and I made our way to Croagh Patrick.  But on the way we spotted these ruins and stopped for a peek.

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From there, we headed to Croagh Patrick.

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The legend of Croagh Patrick is that, ages ago, St. Patrick was traveling Ireland and converting and blessing the people.  However, he soon became tired and had the idea that he could climb to the top of a mountain and bless all of Ireland at once, effectively converting everyone.  So this is what he did, and now, once a year, Catholics and interested persons make the trek up Croagh Patrick.  At the top of the mountain they say mass.  Many of these people climb barefooted.  Although Shane is not religious, he has climbed the mountain twice.  Luckily for me, today was not one of those days.

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This is as high as we went.

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Across the street from Croagh Patrick was a famine ship.

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Shane told me that this ship represents the people who died trying to immigrate to America.

From here Shane and I drove on through Connacht.

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That night we stayed at Oliver’s Seafood Bar, Bed and Breakfast in a little town called Cleggan.  We were quite a bit out in the wilderness, and driving through the country at night is a huge fear of mine.  It was emotionally exhausting for me to drive on roads with no lights, no houses, no reflectors, knowing that there could be sheep or a serial killer just feet away.  Luckily for me, Shane was incredible: supportive and empathetic, he helped me handle my anxiety about the countryside.  Nevertheless, that night I came back to our B&B and fell asleep at 8:30 and slept 11 hours.  And it’s a good thing, since the next day we’d be driving for hours, fighting a status red storm, before finally arriving at his parents’ house.

Ireland Day 3: Glenveagh and Sligo

On the morning of the 10th, the bad weather broke, or we drove out of it.  It was early afternoon when we arrived at Glenveagh National Park, and the rain had mostly stopped.  We caught a shuttle to Glenveagh Castle and settled in for a tour of the house and gardens.

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What man wouldn’t want a dressing room like this?

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Glenveagh Castle can only be accessed by guided tour, which was €5.  The shuttle to the Castle and gardens is usually €2-3, but I don’t recall that they charged us for this; possibly because it was the off-season, early morning, and raining.  The tour itself was very basic, and the guide didn’t seem eager or engaged with the subject (this bothered Shane more than it did me).   Half of the rooms we were directed to and told that we could tour at our leisure, without commentary from the guide.  There was also a video for viewing, but we skipped it and headed to the gardens.

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From touring the house and gardens, we decided to walk back to the carpark instead of taking the shuttle.  It was only a couple of miles, but we took our time walking.  Now, I’m a city girl through and through, but I have to say that one of the things that I most enjoy about dating Shane is being taken out of my element and out of my comfort zone.  And there is something affirming about being outside together, just walking, surrounded by nature.  During our first year together, in Korea, we walked everywhere, and it wasn’t just good for our bodies: it was great for our relationship.  No distractions, just the two of us, walking and talking and being genuinely entertained by each other.

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From there we drove on to Sligo, where we were staying that night.

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My driving’s not that bad!

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Finally, after night had fallen, we arrived in Sligo.  We were staying at a Best Western, but it was very difficult to find (it was listed under a different name).  But when we found it, we were pleased with the room and ended up eating at the restaurant.

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The food was bar food: bland pasta for me and a ham and veg plate for Shane.  I thought his was good but he thought it had too much gravy.  Sligo is a very pretty town, but it was basically closed down by 8pm, when we arrived.  So keep this in mind if you want dinner or entertainment there.

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By the Yeats statue

Shane and I walked around Sligo that night.  It was a very walkable town, cute, but it was empty and I felt unsafe.  I’m sure that it’s great during the day, but I recommend to travelers that you decide exactly what you want to do in Sligo and plan your trip accordingly.