Settling in

Apparently, if the emails, gchats, and questioning over Skype from my father are any indication, I am a bit remiss in my blogging responsibilities. Sorry! I’ve been getting settled in to my apartment, my new job, and a whole new country.

I will do an update on my apartment once I can find a cord for my camera. I left mine at home back in the States and need to buy a new one here (relatedly, isn’t “home” an odd notion? I’ve moved a number of times in the last few years and only the last place I lived ever really felt like “home.” Now I’m trying to make this place my new home and it is really hard work!). My apartment is quite large (I have a bedroom!), but there was A LOT of cleaning I needed to do when I first moved in. I’m just finishing up the last of it and once I do that and put up a few more things on the walls, I will photograph/record it.

I’ve been spending a great deal of time getting to know my new city. I’ve been to the big EMart (like a super Target, but better) a few times, I found a local supermarket I like for my everyday groceries, I’ve been out to eat a few times.

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Yes, that is an octopus. Yes, it was delicious. Yes, I ate a ton of this for dinner one night. AND IT WAS CHEAP!

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BBQ on Monday nights is a thing. SO MUCH GOOD FOOD ON THAT TABLE.

Ok, I’ll be honest, I’ve been out to eat a few times. It’s just so GOOD. And the prices aren’t that bad. That soup, split between two people (there was a ton of soup…we each had 3-4 bowls) was about $6/person. BBQ is more expensive, at around $12/person, but still totally reasonable for a large group. It’s also a fun meal, since you get to mix the meat with all sorts of yummy things (see all that stuff on the table? It’s all there to accompany the meat!)

I needed to work some of that food off, so this past weekend a few of my fellow teachers and I went to climb Palgongsan (Mt. Palgong). The mountain is amazingly beautiful and only about 40 minutes outside of Daegu. If you want to visit, just take the 1 bus (the red regional bus) out there. Once you see mountains, get off, or wait a little longer and the bus will take you about 1/2 way up. It’s really cheap (1,600 Won, or about $1.60 US) and very convenient. It does tend to get crowded on weekends, so get to the stop early.

We started our afternoon by wandering around the Temple area. There are many different temples and shrines, each constructed to best suit the type of prayer or offering one is making. The buildings were quite beautiful and the whole Temple complex had the scent of incense wafting through the air to really add to the ambiance. The highlight of the Temple area is a 50 foot tall Buddha. The area around it is covered in intricate marble carvings and statues with beautifully manicured gardens. It’s quite a peaceful setting.

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This 50 foot Buddha is one of the highlights of Palgongsan

After the Temple area,we decided we were too tired to hike up the mountain so we headed down to the main road and around to the cable car area. Thank goodness we did that; that cable car was one of the longest rides up a mountain in my LIFE! I swear it took us almost 10 minutes to get to the top. However, it was totally worth my nerves being rattled (such a tiny car and the door kept almost coming open. AHHH!), as the view at the top was breathtaking. The fog created beautiful layers and really highlighted the mountains in the distance. I’m sure it would be great to see Daegu and the surrounding areas from a distance on a clear day, but this was beautiful in its own way.

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A view from the top. This is pretty much what I saw while eating dinner in the restaurant at the top.

After our cable car ride, we headed back down the mountain, past a street full of these cute (and sometimes weird) statues, and tried not to fall asleep on the bus ride home.
034I‘m working on making friends (I am part of a knitting group!) and figuring out how to do everyday things (how the heck do I mail a letter?). I know that it will take time before I feel completely comfortable (how do I even order food in a restaurant without just pointing and hoping for the best?), but this is the exciting part and exactly why I wanted to travel. ADVENTURE!

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