Well...to start, we're now living up in Seoul. To be more exact we're in Gunpo-city, Gyeonggi-do Province. The area is quite different from where we were last year. It's rather modern and up tempo compared with Cheongok Dong, down in Ulsan. Instead of being on the last bus stop out of Ulsan, we're off the Line 1 of the Seoul Metro Subway, which essentially gives us access to this fair city of 22 million people.
The city of Gunpo was formerly an industrial and agricultural area with only a few reminants of this recent past. Today, it's being built up rapidly and has been reconstructed to have something of a new urban fabric. What I mean is that the city has taken the time to widen streets, add lots of trees, side walks, and parks. In many old parts of Seoul these things do not exist, but the government here is spending billions of dollars trying to improve the green factors here. From my window at work I see a golf course, luxury apartments, a couple smoke stacks and factories, and Suri-san Mountain set back behind it all.
Sarah and I have a nice 3bd/2ba apartment just up the street from work. It literally takes us about 4-5 minutes to walk in each day and we often go home between breaks at work to grab a bit to eat or catch a couple quick zzz's.
From our door step it takes us about 15 minutes to walk to the Gunpo subway station. About 1 minute to a convience store. 3 minutes to Paris Bagette bakery. We have several small grocery stores within 2-5 minutes, along with numerous chicken hof's (fried chicken + beer halls), samgyupsal restaurants (bbq pork restaurants), pharmacies, screen golf (video driving ranges), and dozens of other businesses.
It sounds like we're in the middle of a dense urban landscape, but we can actually walk to the base of Surisan Mountain and get a nice reprieve from city life. It's not a huge mountain, but it does climb up about 1000ft and gives us a chance to get away from it all. As everyone knows I love getting outside and hiking, so for me the access to three local mountain ranges is perfect. To the north we have Gwanak-san, to the east Morak-san, and then Suri-to the west.
Before getting back to Seoul, Sarah and I had a really nice visit home. We spent a nice, yet chilly couple months bouncing around Cody WY, Denver CO, Minneapolis MN, Hopewell Jct NY, Lancaster PA, and Lawrence MA. We're not sure when we'll be back, but maybe as soon as this summer for a shorter visit. We'll have to see how things unfold.
Some of the highlights for me in Cody were: photographing the Northfork of the Shoshone River near Cody, getting pushed around by the wind on a frozen reservior near Meeteetse while ice fish with Mike. Taking my nephew and niece, Ben + Abby, on a little hiking adventure around the fields in their backyard. As well as taking my nieces, Ava + Violet, on a couple walks around the windy streets in their neighborhood. Lastly, nearly polishing off a bottle of Crown Royal with Sarah's dad, Terry. Of course, coffee chats early in the morning are always enjoyable, with Sarah's Mom, Marla. This has become sort of a tradition.
Down to Denver: had a great time meeting up with my old buddies from NAU at Kerwyn + Elena's house. Got some good news about them expecting a pair of twins, as well as meeting, Duzan, Maurice and Sarah's son. Also, recently got word that Jed and Leni had their first baby girl, Ivi Mae. While there we took in a nice art walk in downtown Denver, skiied Keystone, ate some gourmet home cooking ala Elena + Kerwyn, as well as getting in some nice rounds of darts.
Over to Minneapolis: we walked into an awesome welcome home party at Poppy + Edward's. I got to jam out to some great local music at the 331 club in NorthEast with Jeff and got to snowshoe in the Minneasota Valley N.W.R on a bright sunny day with a foot and a half of fresh powder on the ground. We also had a great time hanging out with Carly, Stefan, and Aislyn for a couple days, doing a little bit of dining, sleding and chatting.
Further east to Hopewell Jct: Had a great time catching up with my folks and seeing all the home improvements they're done over the last couple months. We also had a great time over at my Jan and Tom's eating, drinking, and catching up. Tom and I even took a nice day hike/snowshoe trip us into the Catskills. Was a perfect day for it.
My parents have been venturing out more and more and found a great little Thai restaurant they took us to in Beacon. Fine foods and conversation were had on numerous occasions, but the best meal of all was a fantastic mexican restaurant they took us to just before flying back to Seoul. I've had tons of good Mexican food over the years, but this place was top notch.
A lot more happened then what I've mentioned here, including a couple short trips to visit my grandmothers in MA and PA. As always, we had a lovely time chatting with them and see what they've been up to. Oh...and to the people in MA. I think I'm a fan of Brown's now. Markey's was my childhood favorite, but Brown's had some of the best scallops and haddock I've had in years.
As you can see...eating was a big part of our trip home. After eating mostly Korean food for 13 months we were on a mission to enjoy as much good home cooking and Western style restaurants as we could. We ate everything from organic T-bones, to Thai, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Greek, and so on. Food is life.
Anyhow, I'm getting ready to walk home. It's been a nice relaxing day a work. 4 classes and some grading and I'm off. Hope everyone reading this had a nice day, too!