Thursday, July 25, 2013

Jagalchi Fish Market in Busan

One of my favorite places we went on our trip to Busan was Jagalchi Fish Market.  Koreans love seafood, the fresher the better.  The fish market consisted of hundreds of booths outfitted with all kinds of fish and sea creatures...I couldn't even begin to tell you what most of them were.  There is a large indoor structure with countless tanks and ladies selling fresh seafood, as well as an outdoor section.  There are food stalls everywhere, at many places you can get your food from a tank and they'll cook it right there. (or NOT cook it and eat it raw).  We were not brave enough to try anything, but maybe with a friend who speaks Korean we'd have more courage.  (or better yet, we should learn ourselves...)

We laughed as we watched an octopus and a squid hop out of their tanks and squirm around and stared wide-eyed as old ladies chopped heads off fishes and skinned eels for customers waiting.  I love seeing how different cultures "do things" and this trip to the fish market was beautiful to me.

Our First Trip to Busan

As our summer break is coming to a close, we took a trip to Busan, Korea's second largest city. Neither of us had ever been--we had a great time!  We were only there for two nights and one full day, but we tried to see as much as we could--which included a lot of walking.  I had to buy new shoes - the flip flops weren't cutting it.

Busan is a port city, (apparently the world's fifth busiest seaport ) but is also known for its beaches and seafood.  It was fun for us to get out of rainy Seoul and spend a few days at a beach town.  (It wasn't as sunny as we hoped, but since I'm not 16 anymore and don't need that tan I actually came to appreciate the overcastedness. At least it didn't rain!)  Busan felt foreign and familiar at the same time.  We're looking forward to going back!

Seoul is in the northwest corner of Korea and Busan is in the southeast.  Driving might take four and a half hours but we opted to take the KTX this time.  The high speed train reaches speeds of up to 190 mph.  It makes for a quick 2 hour 15 minute trip, which is convenient and comfortable.

The photos you'll see below are of our train ride, an evening and a morning spent at Haeundae beach, our meals at Nobul Budaechiggae and a delicious meat restaurant recommended by this website, (supposed to be named An-Ga but I couldn't find the name on the place anywhere, only by God's grace did we find this place), pics around town including the ubiquitous love motels and fish markets, a few blurry shots of Gwangalli Beach and Gwangan Bridge at night (wrong lens meh), a beach party we happened upon, and Busan tower at Yongdusan Park.  We also visited Gukje Market and Sinsagae at Centum City (the largest department store in the world) (sans photo evidence).

Maybe my favorite part of the trip was visiting Jagalchi Fish Market, the largest Fish Market in Korea.  I will dedicate a whole post to that because I took too many photos to fit into one entry!

It was great to get out of Seoul for a few days.  It's also always great coming back.  Every time we leave the city I am reminded how much I like it here.  With that said, the two trips we've taken over the summer have definitely inspired us to get out more and see what beautiful Korea has to offer.  I hope to have many more travel posts for you this year as we see more of this country we call home.

Friday, July 12, 2013

This Tree's Just Full of Surprises

A few months ago, a tree in our yard bloomed and it was one of the most beautiful things I saw this year.  I was going through a bit rough time (with Kim Jung Un breathing down our necks and all) and the flowers were so beautiful and I was so excited that a Cherry Blossom Tree was in our yard because I had no idea.

Well TURNS OUT it wasn't a Cherry Blossom Tree at all!  We noticed when my parents were here that these green things were coming out of the branches and WHAT DO YOU KNOW it ended up being an apricot tree!  Even more exciting than what I though.  I looked up apricot tree flower and sure enough the blooms look exactly like what we had earlier this spring.  I'd been duped.

So now we have sweet precious apricots greeting us each day.  I'm so thankful we were able to stay this summer and see and taste this wonderful treat!!

Our first floor neighbors keep hitting the tree to get all of the apricots off and the other day they rang our doorbell and presented us with a bucket of apricot syrup (in the making).  We were touched by their thoughtfulness and now have to wait only 90 days it all to break down.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Summer Rolls

My favorite thing to eat at Vietnamese restaurants are these delicious wraps made with rice paper, grilled meat, and veggies.  (Goi Cuon I think). They usually come with two sauces and I dream about eating them.  Summer's great because I have time to make all the foods I've been wishing for time to make and it was time to tackle the Vietnamese wraps which as I looked online people were calling them summer rolls so OK now that's what I'll call them (especially because they are a perfect summer food!)

Oh MAN were they good!  And so easy to make. We had them for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and late-night snacks.  I kid you not.  The boxes below yielded about 50 rolls, I'd estimate, but I just made as many as I wanted at a time.  They lasted about a week.  

First I made my sauces.  I used this recipe for Spicy Peanut Sauce (which is so good I eat it by the spoonful) and this recipe for Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese Dipping Sauce--it reeks but it's delish).  These sauces are what MAKES these.  SO Good. 

Then I cut up my veggies.  Of course, you can use anything you want but I used Korean perilla (sesame) leaves (a type of mint leaf that I feel bad for you if you live where people don't eat these), red bell pepper, sprouts, tofu, red cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, and enoki mushrooms.  A few times I added some shrimps but these are just as good vegetarian.  

Then you take some Vietnamese rice papers and dip them in hot water for a few seconds.  (I use a shallow pot.)

Afterwards you put the goodies on the rice paper, as shown below, not forgetting plenty of peanut sauce!  Then you just roll those suckers up like a burrito and you're good to go.  I like to use a small spoon to dump the Nuoc Cham in the roll after I take the first bite. 

The prep work took a bit of time but it was totally worth it to have these on hand for a week.  We'll probably take a break from them but definitely make more the following week! :)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Our First Anniversary Trip to Juwangsan

A bit more than five years ago, when I was looking up information about Korea, in consideration of moving here, I came across this picture of an "Enchanted Lake" and thought it was beautiful!  Ever since then I've wanted to visit.

Little did I know how much my life would change in those five years.  

For sure I can say the last thing I expected to happen when I moved to the other side of the world as a young single lady was that I would get married, but of course, "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." (Proverbs 16:9)

I feel like I can't even write about the past year because I'm not eloquent or sentimental and all I can say was it was the best. 

I feel like a reset button was pushed and my life began again.  The world seems much more open and less scary and everything seems more beautiful with my man by my side.  

He has treated me with kindness, served me faithfully, made me feel special, unique, and beautiful, taken care of me, called and related to me as his best friend, and shown me Christ's love on a daily basis.

I just love being with him and soaking up our time together.  

I pray that God gives us many more healthy years together as one.  I pray that we can grow stronger as a couple that seeks after the Lord's heart, not just our own desires and wishes.  

We love traveling but decided to stay in Korea for the summer.  What a perfect time to visit the Enchanted Lake!  After doing some research we found it was located in Juwangsan National Park, about a four and a half hour drive from here.  We rented the school's van and took off June 20.  We spent a few days hiking, relaxing in our hotel room, playing Monopoly Deal, Settlers of Catan, and Ticket to Ride.  (<---Our favorite new game!) and waking up early to get the photos I wanted.  (Thank you Babe!!)

Korea is chock full of beautiful mountains and national parks. Juwangsan National Park is pretty small compared to others, and definitely off the beaten track.  We loved our time there.  It was beautiful and it was great to get out of the city.  We stayed in a sleepy little farm town called Cheongsong which is known for growing apples.  It was very different from the busyness of Seoul, but of course very Korean, thus "homey" for us.  

It definitely made us want to travel more in Korea and we're hoping to take more weekend trips next school year!  Until then, here are just a few of the pics we took from our time to Juwangsan and Jusanji Pond (The actual name of the "Enchanted Lake :) )