Monday, July 22, 2013

And I quote...

“It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression, 'As pretty as an airport.”
― Douglas Adams
The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

And I quote...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sh*t my students say

Today, after a year and a half, one of my special ed kids finally called me "Liz Teacher" was a special moment.

Then she tried to bite me.

I'm still calling it a win though.

Sh*t my students say

Monday, July 15, 2013

Bongam Reservoir Party

Started by one of my predecessors, every year the local expats get together for a party at Bongam Reservoir.  Since I've been known to organize a few things, several people had asked if I would put together this years gathering.

(click on pictures to enlarge)
flyer I made for the event
(I've been trying to brush up on my Photoshop skills)

Bongam Reservoir is located atop Mt. Palyongsan, which is located on the border and separates the two city districts of Masan and Changwon.  The mountain itself can be described as resembling "8 dragons wriggling" with the reservoir located in the center.

 (click on photos to enlarge)

There are several paths and hiking trails that lead up to the reservoir, but the easiest and most preferred is the trail leading up from the 정다운요양병원 bus stop (Jeongdaun Yoyang Byeongwon), a hospital in Bongam-dong, Masan.  Although, there are quite a few other, and more difficult hiking trails coming from Palyong-dong, Masan and behind the Maxim Factory, near the bus station, in Changwon.  (Although, I'm not sure if anyone hiked that particular trail this year.)

these are the horrible stairs of death, just at the top of the "easy" route 
They are steep, and uneven, and just one fall away from certain injury 
the bathrooms are at the bottom of these stairs, needless to say, 
once you are up them you "relieve" yourself in the woods

The setting provides a great place for a large number of people to gather, as it has 2 pagodas (one quite large, and one near a shallow part of the lake itself), an area for setting up tents, and a ton of space to roam around and mingle, all amongst the beautiful scenery that embodies the park.

Instagram worthy

Seeing as how the reservoir used to serve as the water supply for Masan and Changwon, the locals aren't keen on swimming in the reservoir itself.  Hence, our party usually starts early to late evening and lasts overnight.  Some choose to camp, and some head back down the mountain once they've had their fill.  The party is always a great time and a great and local alternative to the Korean nightlife.

the only "no swimming" signs are near the damn
(you can see the small pagoda in the far background)

looking over the damn, toward the trail leading back to Masan

We swim, we grill, we drink and talk well into the night (or early morning if you will.)  This year, myself and some others stayed up well past sunrise and just walked down the mountain in the morning.  I never even set up my tent.  Others slept in the pagoda or camped for the evening.  All in all it was a great time, and I hope that the expats of the area carry on this beloved tradition.

Hugs & Kisses,

Monday, July 8, 2013

And I quote...

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

And I quote...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Chang-dong Art Village, Masan

The lovely art village in the Chang-dong district of Masan is slowly popping up on the radar of locals & expats in the area, and rightfully so.  Not long after Masan merged with neighboring cities, Changwon & Jinhae, the city began to see some decline after the government offices were relocated to central Changwon.

The art village in Chang-dong, was built to help revitalize the area after the downturn in popularity and industry.  Per this ChosunIlbo article, "the city spent W2.3 billion (US$1=W1,168) to lease 50 empty store spaces and offered them free of charge to 50 artists for a two-year period. It also cleaned up the urban landscape by burying electrical cables, repaving back streets and refurbishing stores. It set up new street lights and created outdoor exhibition zones and rest areas to give the neighborhood an artsy feel."

As it has now been more than a year since the village opened, I feel it is safe to say that the project is a wild success.  I spent a pleasant Sunday afternoon there, and even on a weekend evening, you were able to stroll along though some of the art studios and see the artists working, as well as visit many unique shops that have popped up in the area (can you say AMAZING gourmet chocolate anyone?).  The show stoppers, however, are the murals and street art peppered along the walls and ground of nearly every nook, street, and corner you can find.  

Even on an overcast day, similar to when I was there to photograph, the bold colors are enough to brighten any mood (the coffee and chocolates didn't hurt either!)  This is truly a new treasure of a town with such a tumultuous history.  
(click on photos to enlarge)

Let's hope that Chang-dong's art district will not only help to invigorate Masan's economy while supporting the creative arts, but will also be used as a guide for future developments in other struggling communities.

Keep Korea quirky.

Hugs & Kisses,