Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Buttermilk Falls, Watkins Glen, and an Update

Hello lovelies!
Here is the second post on my adventures in upstate New York! This time we will be mostly looking at pictures of Buttermilk Falls and Watkins Glen. At the end I have a quick update for you on my life.

Here we go!
Buttermilks Falls is the name of a couple of waterfalls right at the entrance to Ithaca. The first waterfall you see is the most impressive, but the whole path is lovely.

The view of Buttermilk Falls from where you walk in.

International Fireworks Festival

Hey guys, sorry I missed Tteokbokki Tuesday last week. I was feeling a bit down and homesick so I spent the evening with hot chocolate and watching tv. Let me catch you up on some of the things I have done since my last update.

Two weekends ago I went to Daegu to visit some friends from EPIK orientation. That is one of the great things about orientation, friends and their couches all over Korea. Anyway, Dageu is a smaller city about an hour north of Busan. It is known for being extremely hot and it also has a very active expat community. It has only 2 subway lines so it isn't as easy to get around as it is in Busan and there aren't as many cultural activities to partake in. That being said it was a lot of fun to see another city and go on a hike similar to Jangsan mountain here and see the city from above.

 Me and the girls reveling in the view and rejoicing 
that we finally made it to the top

Busan hosted the 10th anual International Fireworks Festival last weekend at Gwangali beach. Some friends had an apartment with a good view from the roof near buy so we opted to watch from there as opposed to the beach so that we could avoid the crowds. We went down to the beach around 2 to check out the festivities and because we were told the subways would basically shut down after that and it would be impossible to find a spot. Lies. The beach didn't really start to get packed until around 5:30 or 6. The fireworks themselves were spectacular if a bit long, though that might have been because we weren't right in the thick of it. Anyways, I would recommend going to see it at least once if you are near Busan in October. Be warned though, the crowds after are insane. It felt like the zombie apocalypse. There were soldiers in the subway guiding people a long but I think they just managed to increase the panic in the atmosphere. The line between sanity and a mob seemed very thin. Probably riding off the high of the festival many people, myself included, decided to celebrate Halloween a week early. We went to KSU and hopped around the clubs there. We saw some really incredible costumes so I would suggest hanging out there if you are in need of some Halloween festivities.

The gang outside CU. I am dressed as Belle from Beauty in the Beast in case you are wondering. 
Our group was definitely not the most impressive.
And yes, we are being photobombed.

What are some of your favorite hikes in Korea?
What do you do to celebrate Halloween in your home away from home?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Ithaca, Wineries, and the Finger Lakes

I spent two days in up state New York with my family. We spent the first day in Ithaca and the wineries around the Finger Lakes. It was gorgeous there, fall was the perfect time to go. The blues of the sky and lake mixed in with the bright fall colors was beautiful.
I took about a gazillion pictures. Due to this over abundance of pictures, I'm separating the trip into two posts. Both of which will probably be mostly pictures. Oh well.

This post will discuss the wineries, Finger Lakes, and Ithaca. The next will cover Watkins glen and the Buttermilk Falls.

Standing on the dock and taking pictures with my phone.

When we got to Ithaca the first thing we did, besides find a Walmart to go pee in, was visit a little bakery simply called the Ithaca Bakery. I got an everything bagel with cream cheese and lox. It was phenomenal. I have no idea what the rest of their food was like, I assume great as well, but my bagel was perfect. This might be slightly influenced by how hungry I was after the three hour car ride.

Mmmmmmmm. Look at that bagel!

After we were satiated food wise, we went to the wineries! The wineries in Ithaca are so cute. The wine is about average I think, but the views are wonderful. All the wine tastings were cheap too. Two of them were three dollars for six wines, and the other was five for five but our favorite wine-tasting-helper-person (what is the name for that job???) gave us way more than five tastings.

On the way to the winery trail we spotted a huge waterfall, apparently taller than Niagara Falls, though obviously much thinner. I absolutely adore waterfalls, so of course we had to stop for tons of pictures.

Taking selfies with the waterfall.

The viewpoint was pretty far away, so it's hard to grasp how tall and impressive the waterfall was.

The first winery was called Americana Vineyard Winery. It was in a cute building that was super halloween-y and adorable on the inside.

See? Cute and all the lights and spiderwebs!

The second winery was our favorite! This is because our favorite wine-person was there, and they had the magical dock where I took ALL the pictures. It was called the Sheldrake Point Winery. It is totally worth going there just for the best wine-person. His name was Will, I think, and apparently he is my future husband.

Will mentioned that he was happily married pretty soon after starting our tasting. This is due to the fact that my family was four women and we were joined by another group of two women as well. He had all the ladies. He was joking around with us all and cracking everyone up. At some point he pulled out his cellphone to look at something and I noticed he had the same phone case I used to have (it looks like an old gameboy case). When I told him this he said "maybe not married for long" and winked.

So now my family calls him my future husband. Sorry YC :P Kidding!

The best winery!

The view from inside.

There's my favorite dock! So much blue!

The last winery was the only one where we bought wine to take home. We got this sparkling wine to combine with a strawberry wine. It was delicious. The lady totally won me over with the combo. That winery also had cute little gifts. My mom got me a magnet that said "Fight like a girl, drink like a lady". Perfect.

The view from the porch of the last winery.

Yeah, you guessed it. The name had goose in it. I believe it was the Flying Goose actually.

On our way to the hotel after the wineries, we stopped at the same waterfall from the beginning of the trip. This time we wanted to walk to it from the bottom, but it was getting dark and starting to rain. So my mother, she's a saint for putting up with me, and I powerwalked and jogged to the base of the waterfall. All so I could snap a picture for this blog. Sorry not sorry, mom.

The picture I made my mom run through the rain and dark for. She thought we were going to get killed by a serial killer.
Also the picture was so dark I had to touch it up tons. Oops.

Afterward we went to downtown Ithaca for dinner. I love college towns, they tend to be safe and have a good range of food.
We went to a place called the Mahogany Grill. My pasta was yummy, but the best part was the truffle fries. Dear god, best truffle fries.
I recommend it just for that. TRUFFLE FRIES.

See those truffle fries in the corner? GO EAT THEM.

So in a couple days I'll write another post detailing (i.e. expect lots of pictures) the Buttermilk Falls and Watkins Glen.
Until then, here are a couple more pictures from the first day!

Posing on the lovely dock.

Obligatory travel shoe picture.

More of the lake! And my eye.

Have you ever been to Ithaca or the Finger Lakes in general? Have you done a winery tour? Where do you think has the best truffle fries?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Photo Sunday: Finger Lakes Preview

This past Thursday and Friday I went to Ithaca, the Finger Lakes, and Watkins Glen.
I'll be writing a post detailing these adventures later in the week; my family is visiting, so I don't have time now.
I took tons of pictures, be prepared.

But, to prepare you, here is a preview picture!
Also, I'm sorry it's late, as stated my family is visiting.

This picture is my favorite from the trip, which is why it gets to be the Photo Sunday. I thought it deserved it's own post.

Look at those blues! The Finger Lakes are absolutely gorgeous. The colors are surreal.
Love love love.
This is the dock belonging to the Sheldrake Point Winery. More to come on the wineries in upcoming post.

Have you been to the Finger Lakes? Did you think it was as gorgeous and unreal looking as I did? Anyone else think docks are just adorable and so photogenic?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tis The Renaissance Faire!

Tis is olde English right? I'm pretty sure adding an e to the end of old makes That olde English too.
But back to the topic of this post, the Renaissance Faire!

I went to the PA Renaissance Faire this Sunday with my friend, her boyfriend, and YC. I don't know what I expected it to be like, maybe my high school's tiny faire, but it blew me away. It even has permanent buildings!

That mansion is right before you enter the gates. Insane right? Also, my friend and her bf had awesome costumes.

Tteokbokki Tuesday: Jinju Lantern Festival

So Jinju holds a huge lantern festival every October. The festival grew out of the military custom used during the Imjinwaeran War (1592) of lighting lanterns to prevent enemy Japanese soldiers from wading across the Namgang River. It has grown to include floating lanterns highlighting cultures from around the world. You can also buy your own paper lantern for 3,000 won and adorn it with wishes and dreams before sending it on its way down the river. Lanterns are still lit to remember the veterans of the Jinjuseong Fortress battle (Imjinwaeran war) and short firework festival tops the whole event off.

I couldn't pick just one picture so you get two this week.

This is the lantern tunnel of wishes! So pretty. 
I opted to let my float down the river.

These are pretty floating Pegasus. I love them <3

Anyhow, there are lots of amazing festivals to see in Korea, like literally every weekend. It's fabulous. And they love fireworks! So much to celebrate. 

What are some of your favorite festivals around the world? What festival does your hometown do really well? I think my hometown of State College, PA does the 4th of July like none other. Our fireworks are bomb y'all. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Photo Sunday: Sunrise and Clouds

Hi all! Sorry this post is late.

But guess why; I was at the PA Renaissance Faire all day Sunday! It was awesome! I'll be writing a full post on the Faire either today or tomorrow.

I'm sure you're waiting with bated breath.

Check out this lovely sunrise over the mountains. Caught this on my way to work Friday. I took about seven pictures trying to get good ones while driving. Super safe, I know.

I think this one looks like Aslan is about to crest the hill to gaze down upon Narnia.

Anyone else love the Chronicles of Narnia? I only like the movies (I'm horrible I know). I also don't really like the last movie, the third I think? Too many in your face religious references. 
I like it better when Aslan is just a magic lion....

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Packing: What you need to bring to Korea

I spent many hours scourging the internet trying to figure out what exactly I needed to pack when moving across the world and while many of those posts were very helpful a lot of them contradicted themselves or just weren't specific enough. Like no shit sherlock I have to bring underwear... Anyways I will try to break it down for you, but bear in mind I am from the United States so things may very slightly from country to country and Korea is constantly changing so if you are reading this a year from now some things may be out of date.

Let's begin by talking about clothes as they will most likely take up the most space in your suitcases. My suggestion is to bring mostly professional clothes as they will have to last you for at least a month before you can go shopping. This is probably even more essential if you aren't in a big city with easy access to shopping and western stores. Your professional wardrobe should also include shoes, but don't stress about this one as you will wear indoor shoes at school. For the ladies I have found a good pair of black flats to be essential and for the gents a nice pair of loafers? Here are a few other things to remember about professional attire in Korea.

Tteokbokki Tuesday: Beomeosa Temple edition

So a couple of weekends ago a group of us thought we would spend our weekend in search of inner peace and cute monks at a Korean Temple. One of the wonderful ways in which us foreigners, aka waegooks, can experience Korean culture is through the temple stay program. Lucky enough for us there was a temple right here in Busan that offered a temple stay program with an English translator. 

While we did not manage to find inner peace, we did find cute monks so I call it a win. Haha. But in all seriousness, it was a wonderful experience. We got a small taste of what Korean Buddhism is like as we were only their two days and one night (honestly it was a little more that 24 hours) and they weren't strict about enforcing Buddhist etiquette with us. This lovely picture is from our 3am wake up call for the first service of the day. We also got to string our own prayer beads which included doing one bow for each of the 108 beads. Needless to say we were feeling a little sore the next day. We did however; make new friends, great memories, such as singing Fresh Prince of Bel-air for the monks and we saw really beautiful architecture and got a glimpse of a beautiful way of life. 

All in all I would recommend giving a temple stay a try. Here is a link to the temples that offer programs in English, http://eng.templestay.com/ and another helpful website, http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/AC/AC_EN_4_4.jsp

Friday, October 3, 2014

Cooking Experiments! A New Idea

So YC came up with an awesome idea that I think I'll be trying out in the near future.

Cooking experiments!

We'll try out recipes from various countries and chronicle the results. This will include pictures of the attempt, how it turned out, and the recipe we used.

Also, I'm really bad at cooking, as in I messed up instant mac and cheese on more than one occasion. So, this should make the whole thing quite amusing.

What do you guys think?

The other week YC and I attempted to make onigiri, so here is a summary of how it went as a preview for these upcoming blog posts.
Sorry I don't have the recipe for this one, but we will be doing a redo where I'll include the recipe. So stay posted!

Here they are! The onigiri!