Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Mark & Magaly's March Muiido Madness

Magaly and I share birthdays (March 6th, 1987), as well as a few other random things. Like allergies to penicillin. And a fondness for beers on the beach. Well, then again, who doesn't like a beer on the beach?

For this year, our 26th birthday!, we headed to Muiido (무의도) for the first island weekend of the season. We went to Muiido in June of last year. It is a bit of a hassle to get to, but still quite close to Seoul. You just have to take a subway, bus, boat, and another bus to get there.

We got there in the afternoon and enjoyed some time on the beach. The day was warm, but as it was early March, there were hardly anyone on the beach. A zipline must have been installed in the past year, and every once in a while someone would zip past over our heads. One of the first things we did was grablunch. Muiido has some nice seaside specialties like 해물라면 (seafood ramen) and 해물칼국수 (seafood cut noodle soup). Being good considerate residents of Korea we ordered food and shared it. Except we didn't share with Megha since she is 설사녀 (diarrhea girl). Half kidding: we couldn't share with her because she doesn't eat meat. The ramen was definitely the better choice.
Very serious Hyeonsu...
We spent the afternoon lazing about, playing cards, talking, and enjoying the ocean. Well, Muiido is a bit dirty, so it was more about walking around and avoiding broken glass or washed up corpses. It was a good place to start island visits this year, because it can only go up from Muiido. I do love their little shacks though... cozy, warm and only 10,000 won a person.

As the sun came down, Muiido decided to laugh at our foolishness for coming in early March. The wind picked up, the temperature dropped and the door to our shack kept falling off. Magaly was feeling a bit under so she headed back to Seoul while the rest of us tried to keep warm. Although explicitly prohibited, we decided a fire was in order and gathered sticks, logs and kindling.  The fire was ready to commence after watching the muggy sunset.

We lit the fire and left it to be watched over by an oyster-cooking friend while we went off for a more substantial dinner. If you live in Korea and haven't had 조개구이 yet, you probably aren't a very adventurous eater. It's one of those interactive Korean dishes. Various shellfish are cooked in front of you. Make sure you force the youngest member of your group, that'd be you HS, to ensure the shell fish is cooked through. Cut them up with your handy kitchen scissors and enjoy with the condiments provided. 맛있당!

As the night grew thicker, the temperature fell greatly. Wind was blowing in huge gusts; every once in a while they would blow off our door. When we finally went to sleep it was with a slight fear that the door disappear during the night. I had to pee throughout the evening, but didn't want to leave our cabin as I feared opening the door would disturb its precarious connection to the frame.

After a sleepless night, we headed back to Seoul. I had originally wanted to climb the small mountain on Muiido, but it was far too cold. Instead, we went to Hongdae to see 설사녀's new apartment in Hongdae. I must say, I'm a bit jealous. While I'm a huge fan of HBC, Hongdae would be an amazing place to live. And her apartment looks like it is far away from the madness so it isn't too noisy. What an ideal place!

We got a very late lunch at an Italian restaurant in Hongdae with lunch sets for about ten dollars. By the time we finished eating and chatting, it was getting quite late. We said our goodbyes and headed home. Although I feel that my birthdays are becoming less important each year, I hope my birthdays in the future can be just as fun with just as wonderful people.

Oh, I miss my beard...

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Yesterday was pretty spectacular. I woke up, got ready, and then took the subway as normal. On the subway, I checked my e-mail to find that the decision had been made for my John Hopkins application. Unfortunately, I couldn't open the letter on my smart phone, so I had to wait for school.
Waiting made me pretty anxious
I opened the letter (well, e-mail) to find that I had been accepted into the International Development program at John Hopkins! I certainly am proud about this feat, but still not really sure where I'll be going to grad school. Too much rides on financial aid packages... I've gotten one from John Hopkins, and, even though it is generous, I would still end up with 40,000 in debt. Ouch.

Anyways, back to my great day. I had some good lessons and fun activities that worked well with classes. I had Korean class downtown at 7 pm, so I decided to take a jog from work. The route was a bit loopy, but quite wonderful. I ended up running east from my school under part of Bukhansan, through Pyeong-chang dong, Bu-am dong, and Cheong-un dong. It was VERY hilly, but so beautiful. I'm one of the few joggers in Seoul, so it is a bit awkward to be running in the streets. But I find such wonderful places, so I just ignore when people stare.
View from the north

So many cute cafes on this street

The ticker said 'Welcome to Korea' in English. Not really sure why...
As I was getting further south, there were more and more policemen. I wasn't really sure why, until I ran into a plaza with a huge plaque for the Cheong Wa Dae museum. Huh? Was I near the Blue House?

Yep, apparently I had run right by Park Geun-hye's new residence. Pretty awesome. Also explained a lot of the barbed wire on the mountain.

After a bowl of tuna jjigae to warm me up, I had Korean class downtown. I haven't attended the Korean Foundation courses in a long time, so it was great to be back. I've downgraded a level, but it is ok because I need to review grammar. Maybe I'll make this run a weekly thing.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Working on HTML

My Photo Page

I have been practicing writing in HTML so I wrote this entire page in HTML. It has been a lot of fun. I'm using the website Code Academy which is quite informative and uses a really smart pedagogical approach. I made the following table. It took about an hour... but it is kind of cool. Some people that I really like and hyperlinks to their facebook pages. The picture of David and Shela goes to Shela's facebook page cause, well, she is much more active on facebook. The pictures of Sarah's kids goes to Sarah's page, because that is where I get all the latest updates about my niece and nephew. WOW!

Some Wonderful People