Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Yellow Paperclip Goes to Seoul

It was a cross between Amazing Race and Lost in Translation as I made my way to Seoul on a solo adventure on a rainy Wednesday morning. A kind Rotarian brought me to the bus station in Cheongju City, helped me buy my ticket, waited until I boarded the bus... and even waved goodbye from the terminal!

I spent the afternoon checking out hotels for upcoming events in Seoul and shopping in the famous Nam Dae Mun market... all alone except for the essentials: some Won, an umbrella, my trusty Crocs, and a Lonely Planet Korean phrasebook! That evening, I met up with Jeda Kim, an old friend from AdMU, and my colleague Stephanie Nam for a delicious dinner in Yoido, in the heart of Korea's Manhattan-like district.

The rest of the evening was spent walking around the University Belt. Stephanie and I went to Cafe Eros, her favorite fortune teller cafe (my destiny is exciting... ;-) I can't wait for the rest of my life!), and three other cafes before we called it quits at nearly 5 in the morning! By the time I got into a cab, sleepy and tipsy, the sky was fast changing color. I crashed on the hotel bed with the sunrise on my face... What a memorable Sleepless in Seoul adventure! Kamsa hamnida!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Yellow and Purple Flowers in Korea

As promised, here are a few of my favorite photos of yellow and purple flowers. There will be more as the days and weeks go by...

I made sure I placed my "wishing rocks" near a bunch of yellow wildflowers. We were told that wishes come true when rocks are stacked up and placed along the riverbank. I tried to find the most heart-shaped rock I could find. Hee-hee.

I love it how Mama Mary looks Korean! I took this photo after our first Sunday Mass in Okcheong City. And of course I love it how the flowers in the pots are yellow and purple!

This is one of my favorite macro-shots. There are so many purple flowers here in Korea but somehow, they all still draw me in.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Purple/Pora Hanbok Just for Me

Greetings from Jincheon City! I got to wear a pora (or purple) hanbok, the traditional Korean dress in Cheongju City last week. Isn't it pretty? I saw it in the hanbok store when we walked in and fell in love with the hand-embroidered butterflies and the purple ribbon. I mentioned that my favorite color is purple and I got to wear it! I think I could pass for a Korean girl?

There are so many beautiful yellow and purple flowers here that I've been taking close-up shots left and right. With all the flowers, food and sights, I have a total of over 700 photos in just six days. Will my 2GB memory card be enough? Will I be able to choose a few as my favorite shots? Will I ever tire of taking shots of yellow and purple flowers? (Wait for the flowers in my next post... or should I start another blog just for my Korean adventures?)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A Month in the Life

In less than ten hours, I'll be on a plane heading to South Korea for a four-week exchange program with the Rotary Foundation. Together with two others, I was chosen to be a member of the Group Study Exchange (GSE) Outbound Team to Chungcheongbuk-do (approximately two hours south of Seoul). I look forward to being some kind of ambassador for RI District 3830, the Rotary Club of Makati North, DDI and the Philippines itself.

I'll have intermittent access to email but should be able to check messages at least every other day (... I wonder if I'll ever have time to blog?). I'll also be getting a Korean mobile phone so don't fret if I don't reply to messages you send to my Smart account. As Bing bid me farewell last Friday, she exclaimed: "You'll be a changed woman by June!" We'll see just how big a purple spot the GSE will turn out to be... Until then, annyonghi kyeseyo!

A Picture Book for Papa

Thanks to iPhoto, I was able to make a picture book for my dad's 60th birthday. It's my first print-on-demand book (courtesy of Picture Books) and I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. My dad has been taking photographs ever since I can remember and one of his favorite subjects is the humble (and often lonely) bicycle. One of the earliest shots is this bicycle in Amsterdam in 1981. I collected several photos (I love it how he has a hard drive just for his photos... and even a folder specifically for all of his bicycle shots!) and counted exactly sixty bikes (some photos had more than one in them!), worked on the layout on iPhoto (I love how Macs are so intuitive and foolproof!), and sent them over for printing. Best of all, Papa is well pleased with the book.

Remember how I said it's now my personal mission to help others realize their dreams? Papa has always wanted to have his own photo exhibit, and a portfolio is a first step. This book 60 Bicycles can serve as his portfolio. Other possible book projects: 60 Doors, 60 Patterns, 60 Shots of Nikki... Happy 60th birthday, Papa! I love you very mucho!

PS. While I'm happy with the quality of the printing and binding, I was so upset with the delay, considering I gave my photos in two weeks in advance. It was unnecessary stress! So if you want to make picture book through them, just make sure you don't have a super tight deadline. (But, plus points for them though: they replied to my I'm-an-unhappy-customer email and gave me a 15% discount.)