Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year from BEIJING, CHINA!!

Hello, Everyone!!

It's been a while since I have updated my blog as many of you have been following my Korean Adventure on Facebook. I have been on winter break and spent the last few days in Beijing, China and today had the pleasure of visiting The Great Wall of China! More on that later...

It is hard to believe 2010 has come to a close and it is surreal for me to reflect back over the last year and discover where I was this time last year and where I am just one year later. I must say that for as much as I miss my family and friends back home, I do believe that making the move to Korea was a good one. I'm completely enjoying my time in Korea and would have never imagined I would spend New Years Eve in CHINA and New Years Day hiking the Great Wall!! Really?? Who does that? Oh yeah..I do! ;-)

As far as my travels during my first four months in Korea, I have been to Gyeongju and taken a weekend with the Silla Culture Center to see the Tombs of Kings and Queens as well as learn about the great Silla Dynasty and the history of Korea and Japan. I have participated in a Tea Ceremony, wore traditional clothing, flew a kite, walked a famous pond at night with a lantern, and learned more about Korean culture than I ever even imagined possible. I have seen the mountains of the eastern side of Korea, visited the Grotto and seen the largest Buddha ever, visited several temples and shrines, and even went to a festival at a Buddist temple. I have enjoyed the Hot Springs in Deokgu and jimjibangs in Pohang. I have shopped the markets of Seoul, Deagu, Pohang, and (of course) Uljin. I have made friends from Korea, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Canada, and England and discovered English is NOT the same everywhere! :-) I shared Thanksgiving with thoughtful Korean co-workers who realized I was homesick and took me out for a special traditional Korean meal, and spent Christmas with great friends of six countries all in one place enjoying excellent food. I have ridden my scooter north and south two hours each way from Uljin and even got to attend a Korean wedding as the only foreign guest. I have tasted all sorts of food from Korea and many tasty treats from my eclectic international friendship network. I take a belly dancing class twice a week and am trying to do yoga. I have taken a trip to China, seen Harbin preparing for the Ice Festival, shopped and bargained at the Silk Market in Beijing, eaten real Peking Duck (yummy) and tobogganed down the Great Wall of China. Now, on New Years Day 2011, I am sitting in the Happy Dragon Hostel in Beijing, China, tired, my legs are sore, it's colder than I can even imagine, and I'm happy. I'm content, cold, and happy...and I like it. :-)

So, in this New Year, I have a challenge for all of you reading this. Try Something New!! Get out of your comfort zone and just do it! Take that trip you always wanted to take! Go see that famous wonder you have always wanted to see! Taste that food that you are afraid of, but have heard was wonderful. Friends, life is too short to live with regrets. Unfortunately, we all have our regrets, but there is nothing we can do about them. Live for today. Enjoy each moment you have been given on this earth and make the most of your life. Life is too short to be unhappy or stuck in a rut. Some people may think I have totally gone off the reservation by moving to Korea for a year. Maybe I have, but I would not want to change anything about these last four months other than maybe having my boys here to share this experience with me. I have made a lifetime of memories in the last four months and am looking forward to the next eight.

Blessings to you and yours in the New Year! Happy 2011!!!