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Author: daniellemharms

The Best of Budapest: The View from Hostel Hill

View from Hostel Hill
Another look out our window shows the Turkish style domes of the historic Gellert Hotel and Baths.

Some cities are easy to love. Budapest is one such example. With Korea still lingering in my mind, I’ve unsuccessfully resisted the temptation to compare my last home with my new one, and the differences are many. Seoul is like an intimidating jigsaw puzzle that you stare at for weeks before finding a corner piece, but the evolving image is striking. No need to toil over a card table, Budapest’s puzzle comes put together and all visitors are left to do is enjoy it, which is exactly what we’ve done. Continue reading “The Best of Budapest: The View from Hostel Hill”

Seoul, Hope, and Mustard Seeds: A Short Film on Philanthropy

You don’t have to be in South Korea long to notice two things: there is a large population of foreign English teachers and it does not have the best reputation. Truth be told, it is no struggle to find examples of ex-pats who show more interest in late-night drinking than day-time teaching. When you look a little deeper, though, there are plenty more examples of appreciatively respectful foreigners engaging with the people and culture in all sorts of meaningful ways. This short film made by Bodeene Amyot, a Canadian teacher and filmmaker, is a testament to the positive influence foreigners can have in South Korea. Seoul, Hope, and Mustard Seeds is a short glimpse into the many philanthropic organizations that foreigners give their free time to. Continue reading “Seoul, Hope, and Mustard Seeds: A Short Film on Philanthropy”

Gyeongbok Palace: A worthwhile stop

Kayagum players
The sound of the Kayagum, a traditional stringed Korean instrument apparently invented 1,400 years ago, played at Gyeongbokgung Palace. They were part of a large group reenacting a ceremony for court elders.

Home Again

Having recently returned to the land of parking lots and fast food, bread and cheese, and friends and family, I find myself in the United States with an an abundance of both sentimentality for all things Korean and newfound time. This blend lends itself perfectly to reminiscence about the last few month’s with the time to write about it. Continue reading “Gyeongbok Palace: A worthwhile stop”

Boseong’s Green Tea Plantations

Bamboo Fences
The green tea leaves of the Camelliea sinensis plant peak through bamboo fences, the bush that gives the world oolong tea, black tea, and of course, green tea.

Traveling from place to place, I often marvel at the luckiness of creatures who call some of the best places the world has to offer their humble homes. A mere human couldn’t scrounge up enough of anything to land themselves the right to set up shop in Spain’s Alhambra. Yet a number of pigeons air their morning coos  over the Sierra Nevada Mountains everyday, nestled among the bright mosaics of that ancient palace. And just imagine the view those plump marmots enjoy each morning, hunkered down like carpet across the alpine terrain of the Rocky Mountain’s higher elevations. Continue reading “Boseong’s Green Tea Plantations”

Biking among the cherry blossoms

Gyeongju's tree-lined streets
After a record-setting winter proved just how cold the month of April can be in Korea, there’s nothing better than seeing a tree, or a street brimming with them, blooming with the signs of spring. If a passerby wasn’t approaching a walk on this street with enough grandeur, the speakers blaring melodramatic classical music were sure to push anyone in that direction.

The timing of our trip to Gyeongju couldn’t have been better. We left on the tail end of the first week of April and a cycling challenge I am participating in called 30 Days of Biking. It was also smack in the middle of cherry blossom season. Continue reading “Biking among the cherry blossoms”