Tag Archives: Winter

The Dating Years: Snowboarding in Southern California

I’m an island girl, born and raised on a Caribbean island. So as of my mid 20s, I had never gone skiing or snowboarding, nor did I really have any intention of ever doing so. Going down a mountain at high speeds? In the cold? No, thanks.

Of course, that changed when I met Will. In January 2010, we went snowboarding at Snow Summit, a mountain resort in Big Bear Lake, California, with our friend Ron.

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I don’t remember much about the trip, except:

  • I’m glad I took the beginner classes first. The hour or so really helped, I think.

Quick beginner's lesson on how to snowboard

Quick beginner's lesson on how to snowboard Continue reading The Dating Years: Snowboarding in Southern California

Ice fishing in Yangpyeong

Here’s one thing I never thought I’d do. Ice fishing!

While there are numerous ice fishing festivals across South Korea during the winter, we ended up going to the Mulmalgeun Yangpyeong Smelt Festival, which takes place in the Sumi village in Yangpyeong, about 1.5 hours east of Seoul.

We took a big tour bus out there (sweet) and were met by a tour guide. He showed us the fishing rods we’d be using and gave us our buckets and bait. Let’s be real. This is not professional ice fishing by any means. As you’ll see in our photos, the fishing rods are plastic, the hooks were tiny, the bait was tiny — well, then again, smelt are tiny fish! BUT the important thing is experiencing something new. Continue reading Ice fishing in Yangpyeong

Ringing in the New Year at Bosingak

Happy New Year!!!

After dinner and ice cream with some friends last night, we bundled up and made our way to the Bosingak Belfry (not far from the other NYE festivities at Seoul City Hall) to experience the New Year’s Eve bell-ringing ceremony. We got there around 10:30pm and it was already super crowded! As expected. Police everywhere, people pouring out from the subway station, from every block trying to grab a good viewing spot. I could barely see over people’s heads. We stood in one cramped spot across the street from the Belfry for almost an hour, and then suddenly, police opened up the street and let the crowds flow into the street, closer to the pavilion — which was awesome for us! Because now we were much closer to the action.

A live rock band took the stage around 11:30pm, followed by some traditional/folk dancing and the presentation of the people who had the honor of actually ringing the bell that night. I couldn’t understand a word they were saying, of course, so I’m not sure who they were, but I imagine various noteworthy figures from the community.

At exactly 10 seconds ’til midnight, the crowd started counting down in unison, until the first gong! of the bell was heard. Continue reading Ringing in the New Year at Bosingak

Vacation Fun

As I write this, I realize we’ve been eating so much good food lately — Korean, Japanese, today some Korean-Chinese — that I’m going to do a food-related blog soon. So, stay tuned for that.

Ah, Christmas vacation. It’s been wonderful. Lots of sleep, lots of delicious food, quality time with my husband, with friends, with our families back home. Been to the movies (I mostly enjoyed “Into the Woods”), discovered the amazing saunas and hot tubs in our apartment building, started re-watching the “Lord of the Rings” series, and in between all that, we went ice skating and today I took a nice walk through the Jeong-dong neighborhood. Ok one thing at a time.

If you want to go ice skating in Seoul over the holidays, I know of two options — at Seoul Plaza, or at the Grand Hyatt Seoul. We already knew that ice skating at Seoul Plaza was pretty cheap, just 1,000 won for the skates rental and an hour of skating, wow! Seriously. As in, that’s less than $1 USD. So we went there. They looked like brand new skates, too. They control the flow of people on the rink by assigning you an hour time slot, and they also clean the ice every hour, so you get to skate on fresh ice. Continue reading Vacation Fun

Christmastime in Seoul

Christmas shopping in Seoul, in my opinion, is a bit of a challenge. Yes, there are a lot of cute things! (I heart Artbox.) Scarves, stationery, printed socks, handbags, etc. But if you’re looking for nice clothes, shoes, or designer accessories like sunglasses or watches, I feel like you’re going to get ripped off. This is based on my very limited time here, but still. From what I’ve seen, things are overpriced. Way overpriced! It’s better to shop online, on Amazon or something, you’ll likely find the item for much less. The challenge for us, of course, is getting it shipped here in time.

The crowds have been insane. There are always crowds, and old ladies shoving you out of the way, but we only have a few days left until Christmas, and people are even more desperate to sift through the “sale” piles and racks and find what they want.

Regardless, I’m enjoying the season here. We’ve had days of snow and plain ol’ bitter cold. FREE-ZING. We’ve both finally bought proper, long winter coats, which has helped battle the single-digit temperatures and wind. I especially love the Christmas decorations in what seems like every plaza and shopping mall. Christmas trees everywhere, lights everywhere. Here are a few:

Continue reading Christmastime in Seoul

Chilly strolls through Seoul Forest, War Memorial

Winter has arrived in Seoul, and it seems like just overnight! The other morning we woke up and it was snowing flurries. Today the snow actually stuck to the ground. I say overnight because the temperatures suddenly dropped into the 20s and teens. B-R-U-T-A-L when you’re out and about on foot. The wind makes it feel like it’s in the single digits. I know, some of you are midwesterners and love this stuff (cough, Will, cough) but not this island girl! I guess it’s a good excuse to bundle up — let me tell you, vanity goes out the window when you’re walking those final blocks back home and the wind’s hitting your face and your fingers are about to lose all feeling — yesterday I wrapped my Irish wool scarf up to my cheeks. The other day I simply looked silly. (Mainly because I don’t have proper winter gear, yet.) Whatever it takes:

For whatever reason, that first really cold day I decided to visit Seoul Forest, maybe get to pet some of the “wild” deer they have roaming about. Continue reading Chilly strolls through Seoul Forest, War Memorial