Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial

So despite getting to bed around 3 am, I was awake around 8 am. I decided I better get moving instead of falling back to sleep for a few more hours. I checked out but left my bag as I was going to Sun Moon Lake for one night and would be back the next day.

I stopped at Ren Ten Tea as I wanted to get a drink before I started my day but it was too early and no tea was finished brewing yet. So I headed to the MRT and got on a train to the Chiang Kai-Shek stop. You could buy a card or a one way token. I just did one way tokens, which meant I had to buy one each time so the card could have been more convenient.

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Chiang Kai-Shek was a soldier and statesman, head of the Nationalist government in China from 1928 to 1949, and subsequently head of the Chinese Nationalist government in exile on Taiwan. In 1975 after his death they decided to build a memorial in his honor.

Since I was unable to get a tea I bought a sasaparilla from a machine at the memorial. It tasted a bit like bubble gum to me.

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This is one of the gates that surrounds the memorial and gardens.

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There was a pond with fish, turtles, and birds. Part of the pond was under construction.

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Flying Away

So I just got back from a short trip to Taiwan. We had a short summer break from class so I headed off to explore Taiwan. As soon as my last class was finished I hopped on a bus to head to the Gwangju bus terminal. I had bought my ticket ahead of time as I was afraid they might sell out, I was also concerned I might not make the bus. I actually had about 20 minutes before my bus arrived so I grabbed an early dinner at Lotteria, which is a fast food chain.

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But it ended up that my bus did not even arrive until after the time it normally would have left. Buses and trains are normally very prompt and if it says it’s leaving at 9:35 you better be on it before then as it’s probably leaving at 9:35. It’s only the second time since I’ve been here where a bus has arrived after the time it was supposed to have left.

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About three and a half hours later I arrived at the Busan Sassang bus terminal. From here I had a short walk and then needed to get onto the Busan Metro to the Gimhae airport. The cicadas were so loud in this area, I wish I had ear plugs. The metro stops right at the airport and then I headed inside to the airport. I got in line for Jeju Air. Several minutes later an employee asked me where I was going. When I said Taiwan he then directed me to a different line on the other side of this terminal building. Other people also followed me as they were at the wrong place. They needed better signs. Even at this end there was a line for Taiwan and a different line for Guam both on Jeju Air.

I was glad I had chosen the earlier bus as this line was pretty long and I still had to go through customs and security but luckily both of those lines were pretty short. I had a short wait and it should have been time to board my plane but well they didn’t start boarding until after the flight was supposed to leave.

It was very confusing as there were three flights leaving from the same game within 20 minutes of each other. Well you would think this isn’t possible but they have you get on a bus from the gate which takes you to your plane. But eventually we were all loaded up and on our way to Taiwan. I enjoyed the leg room on this flight.

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We get to Taiwan and there is no gate available so we have to wait. We finally get to a gate and I head through customs. I didn’t check a bag so I get some cash from an ATM, then get a SIM card for my phone, and then get a ticket for a bus to head to Taipei as the airport is about an hour away. Get to the bus terminal, I hop in a cab and head to Space Inn. It’s after 2 am and I’m tired. So I quickly head to bed.

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Greetings from South Korea!

A year ago I had just quit my job of eight years at the Girl Scouts! I was dealing with all sorts of paperwork to apply for a visa and was trying to figure out how to pack my life into two suitcases, a carry on and a personal item . I had no idea what day I was getting on a plane to move to Korea as it all depended on when I got my visa. I was moving to a place I had never heard of before Gwangju, South Korea to teach English. Three flights half way around the world and a 4 hour bus ride and I was finally arriving at the bus terminal in Gwangju.

At this time I had intended to start a blog but it never happened. Well actually I had picked out the name but never did anything with it. So this is finally my first post.

A year later and I have almost completed my year long contract teaching English at a private Kindergarten. Currently my students are Korean age 4-8 years old but in the fall I had students who were up to age 11. You are probably asking yourself what is Korean age? In Korea when you are born you are one year old, and you get one year older on the New Year. So if you are born in December you are one year old, and then when it is the New Year you turn two, even though if you were in the US you would only be a few months old. This explains Korean age further.

So if I was teaching in the US my students currently would be from 2 to maybe 7 years old. They amaze me everyday with what they know and are able to do. It has been an interesting experience teaching children who in some cases had no English exposure to seeing them quickly learning and using English. Children’s brains are like sponges and it has been amazing to watch them learn and grow.

I have had a great time in Korea and have enjoyed teaching and living here but I want to see and explore more of the world. In early September I will be unemployed by choice so that I can travel. I have thought about doing this for awhile but it is exciting and scary to think about.

As of now I have travel plans from September until the end of October. After this point I’m not sure what I’m doing. I will probably be back in Pennsylvania for Christmas. After that I don’t know what I’m doing.

My plans are:

  • Japan
  • Hawaii
  • Thailand
  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Cambodia

After this we’ll see what comes next. There are many more places I want to see and visit beyond this list. I haven’t decided yet if I’m flying back to the US through Asia or going through Europe and stopping in Iceland. The world is a great big place and I want to see and explore as much as I can.