Before we get TOO far into July, I want to give a shout out to some of the awesome things I was able to do in June, my second-to-last month in South Korea.
For the first half of June, the weather was beautiful and perfect for getting out and having adventures. Then, the rainy season hit with a vengeance: about 5 days of solid downpour. Since then it's been raining, drizzling or threatening to rain pretty much everyday. For the first time ever, in my entire life, I bought a pair of rain boots. Bright red, thank you very much.
View from my window on a rainy day. Swamp.
But, earlier in the month, I took advantage of nice weather to hit the mountain on a super expensive Giant mountain bike. The Giant company was letting people test ride the bikes for free. The bike that I was on cost between $3,000 and $4,000. It was an awesome bike and an awesome, exhilarating ride.
I have made it to a few more games of Daejeon's professional soccer team, the Daejeon Citizens. One game in particular was pretty interesting because they were playing a team from Japan (Sapporo), and it was an exciting game. Unfortunately, the concession stands, which are really just a handful of under-stocked convenient stores, ran out of food within the first few minutes of the game. And this is at a World Cup stadium!
Flying the Japanese and Korean flags.
Before the game.
One of the most memorable events of June was going on a retreat with our church at Hannam University. We went to beautiful Songnisan National Park where we stayed in a great pension nestled between mountains on the bank of a river. I was able to mountain bike, fish, hike, play frisbee, play basketball, eat good food, and have a great time getting to know the other people in our church a bit better. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the weekend:
The mountain biking crew.
At an old Confucian school in the park.
A few other highlights:
1. Moved up to a new belt in Taekwondo. Now I am green/yellow. Watch out world.
2. Hiked Gubongsan Mountain, also known as 9 Peaks. It was a fantastic hike and afforded beautiful views.
Time for some makkoli, traditional rice wine, and snacks on the top of one of the peaks.
3. Sangsoo Herbland! This place was unexpectedly awesome. It was an Herb Theme Park. Sansoo, the man himself, is quite the character, there is plenty of flora for the plant enthusiast, and the gift shops offer a plethora of herb-infused products. But, the main draw is definitely the Flower Rice at the restaurant.
Singing in the rain with Kai-Li. Check out the rain boots.
Gott Bap, literally, "Flower Rice."
The name says it all.
4. Yuseong Spa is the most popular and well-known tourist attraction in Daejeon. According to the guidebook, "it was discovered and developed during the Baekje Kingdom (18 BCE- 660 CE). These hot springs are rich in calcium and sodium, have a therapeutic effect on skin irritations and also help maintain healthy skin." I didn't go to one of the spa hotels that have Korean baths that make use of this water, but I did wade into the outdoor foot spa.
5. Suttongol Mountain Valley was a beautiful valley that was surrounded by high mountains, making for a scenic but very difficult hike!
So these, and a host of other mini adventures, made June quite the exciting month. Just wait, though, until you hear about July.