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Erin and Jon's Excellent Adventure

Welcome to our travel blog page. Thank you for everyones love and encouragement along the way. We look forward to sharing more "Excellent Adventures" with everyone.

Diary Entries

Friday, 28 May 2010

Jon writes,

Election time - It's happening, people bowing in the middle of street intersections wearing their election colors and wearing their numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, or 5), big trucks blaring music with an empty stage on the back driving around the city, and people dancing at intersections with music playing in the background. It has been very interesting to watch.

Last weekend we had a great weekend on Andy and Jane's island, called Do-cho and Bigum-do. 13 friends made it out for the long weekend (Buddha's birthday was the Friday). Some of the highlights from the weekend were beersbee ( http://www.beersbee.org/ ), basic rules are like horseshoes but you have a frisbee and try and knock the bottle off the bamboo stick that sticks about 5 feet above the ground, camping (using our $10 tent from G-market) and it actually kept out the rain!, camp fires, camp fire sing alongs, and the ridiculous amounts of beer and soju that was consumed in the three days. I guess it doesn't help when it just rains on a long weekend. The beach was lined with garbage but we quickly realized that it wasn't just garbage but treasures to be discovered. In our finding we had enough materials to make a volleyball net, tiki torches, ample supply of wood for our camp fires, we found a small Styrofoam boat that could carry two people, and a pair of rubber boats. Real treasures!

There has been a huge response to starting the Tuesday night soccer up again. About 21 people showed up last week and we even have long time soccer sensation Erin "the unstoppable" Winter playing. Although Erin hasn't played soccer since being in grade 7, she is doing great! I'm not sure if she feels the same way though.

Things are great here. We have less than 3 months here and then home. I'm getting anxious to get back. We have seen everything we wanted to see and also school will be finished in 7 weeks. All that's left to do is get paid and enjoy all the free time we have.

Can't wait to see everyone!

Friday, 23 April 2010

Jon writes:

Funny moments:
Today walking into the boys washroom (teachers and students use the same washroom) hearing two older ladies just chatting having a good time in the two stalls. Afterwards, walking out laughing at me as I carried on what I needed to do.

Also today biking to the bank, Hercules (our newest addition) pedal and arm fell off. He is falling apart one piece at a time. The bike shop owner and I see each other weekly! Never costing more than $5.

Elections are going on right now for provincial governments which brings hilarious people into the middle of intersections bowing at traffic as people swerve in vehicles trying to avoid hitting the human pylons. It\'s quite brave of them to stand most of the day in front of traffic, especially in Korea!

We have 4 months left here in Korea. Tough to believe our adventure is going to be heading in new directions soon. Are flights are booked and we will be arriving back to Canada on Saturday August 21st. Our flight takes approximately 5 minutes in time which is really cool! We leave at 9:20pm here in Korea and arrive at 9:25pm that same day. We will have a few days hopefully of down time before hitting the road running with the long list of things we need to do before our wedding on the 25th of September. Erin has been accepted at the Lakehead Orillia teachers college program so we will be moving up in the Muskoka region when we return. We are both very excited about that, already mapping out how long it will take us to drive to all of our friends and families houses to visit.

The stag and doe will be 6 days after returning home at the Ilderton Community Complex (Just north of London 15 minutes). The date will be August 27th. We both look forward to the second best party of our lives!

Erin has a good friend coming down, Katie McClure, from Seoul this weekend along with her boyfriend Nilan. Katie and Erin went to public school together and university and they continue to end up in the same places even though it has been a coincidence landing both in South Korea for the year.

Well I better get back to things. My students demand my full attention.

Please feel free to leave us a message and say hello.




Tuesday, 06 April 2010

Jon writes:

We are having our first week of spring weather. The cherry blossoms are starting to blossom, people are putting away their hand warmers on their scooters and my students are finally walking circles again around the track at break time (this in itself is a blessing as the school is quite for 20 minutes)!

Two weeks ago now we said goodbye to Jenna. What a great visit we had. Who knew someone from Canada could love soju so much! The second night that Jenna was in Mokpo we had a welcome dinner (Korean BBQ which is our favorite!) for her to meet all our friends. The night ended with Jenna singing Noribong on her back with her arms and feet dancing as she felt the effects of a bottle and a half of soju!

After down time during the week and the regular routine of school Erin and I went to Jeju with Jenna. Some of the highlights were the amazing boat rides to and from the island. They included being dragged into big Korean dance circles on top of the ship, drinking, singing, clapping and carrying on with everyone. No one younger than 50 was dancing and no one with less than a half bottle of soju in their bellies was participating except of course us. The dance party that happened on top of the boat on the way back, as the sun was setting, was really a cultural experience. Nothing was properly organized, just a few people with drums and excited people that wanted to sing, dance and clap along to the rhythm. The rhythm increased as the sun fell closer to the horizon. After the music stopped everyone came around and shook our hands and said thank you. I think they were honored that we participated.

Erin and I now have bikes to cruise Mokpo with. One has a lot of character with squeeky breaks, front basket and a bell to get people out of your way on the sidewalks (which really never does what it's suppose to - move people out of the way). We call her Hercules!

Have made really good friends with a couple from Thunderbay, Andy and Jane. They live and teach on a neighboring island. The first night we went out with them Jane and Erin started dancing and I couldn't believe how similar the girls were dancing. Of course neither one of them paying any attention to how similar they were dancing, which was very wild and free. Unique to most dance styles! I'm glad Erin has found such a great friend who she can relate to. Andy and I have great chats and enjoy the competition that comes along with any sport we get into. It is refreshing to hang out with these two and will post pictures when we go to their island. We really feel that we will have a life long friendship with them.

After this week we only have 14 more weeks of school and then we are finished teaching! We then have summer vacation and will be flying into Toronto late on the 21st of August. Time is flying by and we have to take advantage of all the time we have left here. On the list to do still is a temple stay, get to the DMZ in Seoul and travel to Japan during the summer.

This week one of my students was telling the other students that I had 5 snakes in my forehead as they didn't know the word for wrinkles. I just turned 26 and now kids are noticing my "laughter lines" or so I like to call them.

Until next time, leave us a message and say hello.

Thanks for staying connected.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Jon writes:

After weeks of cold rainy weather we were surprised last week with a day of snow and ice! They say this is normal for South Korea but we were told before we came we wouldn't have much of a cold winter. It's been pretty close to a southern Ontario winter here in Mokpo, without of course the indoor heating here (so it's been worse!). In February the toilet bowl water was frozen and well you know what they say if your poop floats you are eating enough fiber. What do they say if your poop skates?

Ridiculous things up and coming: Erin has an over night teacher dinner/weekend excursion with all her teachers from her school.
Mud festival is almost here: a festival full of Koreans covering themselves to absorb the minerals from the mud. Weekend festival of mud events.

Jenna (Erin's sister) is arriving in Korea on March the 18th, after 3 months of traveling around South East Asia, China, Australia, Korea and then after visiting us will be heading to Japan. A very exciting adventure for her.

The Olympics were big here. Korean Cable had one Olympic channel always showing Korean sensation speed skaters (even if it was for the 1000th time watching it) and the figure skating champion Kim Yu Na. The best of course was the Men's hockey final. Waking up at 4:30 in the morning, keeping up the American owner of our local foreigner bar where we always go, getting him to set up the projection screen and projector, followed by cramming many ecstatic Canadians into one room to celebrate the win! The beer surprisingly tasted good at 5:30 in the morning and after the party cleared out, we went to Dunkin Donuts had breakfast and were ready for another sleep.

Erin finds out in two weeks what will be happening in terms of teachers colleges for next year. She has applied to the amazing but very difficult program to get into at Queens (in Kingston - they only except 20 people a year into this outdoor teachers education program) and also the new Orilla campus for Lakehead University teachers college. We will keep everyone posted.

Hope everyone is well and enjoying the March Mud puddles!

Friday, 05 February 2010

Erin Writes:


Well I apologize as I haven’t written on here in quite some time but now I have a week back at school with no classes! So here is my summary of the trip!

So we had a wonderful month long vacation through Thailand and Vietnam. We just had so much fun together, with the people we met along the way and the family and friends we met up with. Its amazing that after spending 24 hrs together for a whole month We still couldn’t get enough of each other and never fought! Its so nice to travel with someone who shares all of the same interests and philosophies towards life (and towards happy hour!). I’ve found my travel buddy for life!

Vietnam was more of a traveling and exploring time and Thailand was more of a relaxing holiday. Overall Vietnam had great parts but a lot that we didn’t love as well. The great parts where Sapa (the hilltribe villages), Seeing Jenna (my sister), Getting my wedding dress made in Hoi An, and a night spent in a cute town on the Mekong Delta.
The parts we didn’t like so much were Hanoi (or Hanoisy or Hannoiying as we called it!) and just the generally mentality of people constantly trying to rip you off. We also didn’t love ho the tourism there- like you almost have to go on tours to a lot of the places (which I don’t like doing) because its just too much of a headache trying to barter for every little thing along the way!

Many people asked me to tell about getting my wedding dress made…
Getting my wedding dress made was such an amazing experience! It started out a bit rough but ended very well! I gave them pictures of the dress I wanted to get made, they brought in the seamstress right away and they told me they would finish the main part in 2 days! I also got all of the bridesmaid dresses made here too. I went back to try on the dress and the top was perfect but the bottom was like an ugly puffy cupcake. I was not impressed when I saw it and starting thinking-oh no what was I thinking getting this done. I was staring at it on me in the mirror and I moved my thumb- and a pin pricked me inbetween my thumbnail and it just put me over the edge and a few tears started to roll…! But I am SO thankful that my sister was there to save the day! We spent about 2 hours infront of the mirrors with Jenna telling them to take out this seam and undue this and put a pin here…and on it went until I had a beautiful dress that was perfect! I don’t know what I would have done without her she was awesome. I told her she should become a fashion designer! So I think she has definitely fulfilled her Maid of Honour duties..! Flying all of the way to Vietnam and then co-creating my dress! When I left the dress they just had to finish the detailing on it and then they were sending it to Korea. On my first day back to school in Korea, 2 hours into the day it arrived and its perfect!

Moving onto Thailand- our “pre-Honeymoon”! We called it that so we felt legit pampering ourselves and because we don’t know when we will get a honeymoon (as we don’t know where we are living or what we’re doing when we get home!) We loved Thailand and I can’t wait to return! Its such a beautiful country and there are so many friendly people. We only saw 4 places really- Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, Khao Sok National Park and Bangkok- and we breezed through Phuket and Krabi. There is so much more of Thailand to see! Koh Phi Phi was insanely touristy but once we escaped that and went to a quieter beach it was amazing. Despite the tourists its still worth going for the scenery and amazing water. Koh Lanta didn’t compare to Koh phi phi (beauty wise) as it didn’t really have the turquoise waters but it still had many beautiful beaches and we just loved the vibe on the island (much more than phi phi’s vibe). Its quite large (relative to koh phi phi) and all of the beaches have amazing chill out bars and hammocks everywhere. When we were here we met up with my roommate form Uni (Katie Thorpe) and her boyfriend Oskar. Katie and I also traveled to costa Rica Together for a month a few years back! It was great to see her and great to meet Oskar. We shared many cold ones and enjoyed the warm water!

We ended our trip at Khao Sok National Park which was gorgeous. And it was also amazing because there was probably less than 100 tourists in the whole area. It was very peaceful! We stayed in an actual treehouse one night (with an awesome outdoor jungle bathroom!). We went on long boats, we swam and kayaked and went on walks and saw lots of monkeys in the treetops and we rode an elephant named LuMuuu!

Finally Our last night was in Bangkok where we stayed on Khao San Rd- a very busy touristy part of the city. Our hotel room was right on the main street so VERY loud. We stayed out until about 2 and then slept until 6 and got up early to head to the weekend Jatujak market! This is one of the biggest markets in the world with over 15,000 stalls! It has maps because its so easy to get lost! We lasted for about 2 hours until Jono gave me this look that said“I can’t do this anymore can we gooo pleeeasseee?” haha! So off we went back to our hotel and then to the airport. When I went to book our flights before we left, all of the direct flights were sold out so we had a very very long way home. After 14 hours, 2 stopovers in Malaysia and then a 4hr bus ride from Seoul to Mokpo we made it home! Its funny because in Korea we don’t really consider Mokpo home but when we were away on our trip we were talking about home as it Korea. I guess its all relative to where you are! Don’t worry though we’re coming home to Canada in August!
Wow that was long…! So that was our trip in Summary! It was awesome and I am so grateful for the best travel buddy in the world! :D


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Recent Messages

From Britni
Hey you two!
The countdown is on! I can't wait to see you in august! Hope you're doing well! Miss ya lots!
Response: Britni thanks for the message. We are home in less than 30 days! So pumped!
From Lynita & Irnie
miss you guys.
Response: Less than 3 months left. Can't wait to get back home!
From Steve Shier
Hey Erin sounds like you're having a trip of a lifetime!! My only advice is don't drink from the coconuts ...i did that in El Salvador and it wasn't pretty...
Cheers
From Cheryl
Great photos! Looks like you had an amazing pre-honeymoon trip! I will have to give you a proper massage experience when you both get home. All the best & lots of love!!! Cher :)
Response: We look forward to that massage you keep promising. You must be getting really good! Thanks for the message Cher, say Hi to Jeff for us.
From Bobby
I would love to see your fishing rod bend like that with a big Muskoka bass on the end
of it!
Response: I can't wait for that moment to happen! Maybe we need Lauren to come along for good luck!
From Mom Jill
Missing you and hope you are enjoying the pre-honeymoon trip (but no grand babies yet please). I'm looking forward to you being back in the apt. and we can do visual skype once again.
Love you both, Mom XXOO
Response: Hey Mom.. Well the pre-honeymoon trip is over and no grandbabies! haha Glad to se you back on skype again too! xo
From Mike
Hey, when you go to get the suits made, don't forget that my legs are like 7 ft long. I would rather not wear the Urkel suit to your wedding lol. But I will if I have to!
Your vacation sounds amazing brother! Keep the updates posting.
Response: Don't worry. Your suit will fit you like a glove!
From Tammy & Justin
Hi guys, love hearing from you and seeing your adventures. Just wanted to say thank you again for the really neat Christmas gifts. Wasn't sure if you got my email or not. Have a great time on your vacation.
Response: Thanks for the post, we really enjoyed sending parcels off to some of friends this year for Christmas. We are really enjoying our travels. Though this trip confirms that Erin and I belong in the country, these south east asia cities are crazy! Today on our way into the city from the airport we got tailgated once and hit two people on scooters. Luckily we were bigger than all three things we hit!
From Aunt Fanny
Merry Xmas & Happy New Year to you both. Think of you often. You know everyone that knows you sends their love so feel the love you'll be home before you know it.
Hugs & kisses Aunt fanny
From Aunt Diane
Hi Jon and Erin
Nov. 25th in Ontario . We were behind on reading your blogs and are so glad to get caught again. LOVE reading about all (most) of your adventures. And the pics are fantastic. Sounds like you guys are really enjoying yourselves and experiencing the South Korean way of life. It is hard to believe that you have been there for more than 3 months already. We miss you guys and hope and pray that you are keeping healthy and safe.
Lots and lots of love from us both.
Aunt Diane and Uncle Ken
Response: It is so nice to hear from you. We are enjoying our experience here. It is hard to believe the time is getting away on us. Thanks so much for your message. We miss you guys too. Love you guys.
From Sean Klassen
Hi Jon,

When are you going to come back?
I miss you and want to see you again.




Response: Hey Seannie, I'm not going to be back until next summer. Until then we can email one another. Take care of your two brothers. I miss you guys too!
From Oz
Kimchi festival- love it! Great photos :-)
Response: You would have loved the Kimchi festival! I read journals from my students that went to visit NZ and their biggest complaint was that NZ didn't have Kimchi at the table during breakfast, lunch and dinner. They don't understand it is just a Korean thing. It may be even a bigger staple than marmite!
From Tammy
Jon and Erin, these pictures with Irnie and Lanita are awesome. I can see how much fun you all had together. I'm sure it was sad when they left. Already 2 months have passed, it won't be long before we're all together again. Thanks for sharing these fun memories with us. Cheers to good friends and good health.
Response: We absolutely loved hosting Irnie and Lynita. We don't seem so far away from home now that we have had friends from home come visit! It was definitely something both of us will always remember.
From Jill
Don't let it feel too much like home. We're waiting for Aug. 20 as I'm sure Evelyn & Ed are as well. Enjoy for now.
Response: Don't worry they don't have fresh peach pies here. We are excited for August 20th and all the excitement in the month to follow!
From virginia
thanks for shareing your experience at the night club sound like u guy's r haveing fun exploring Korea lol. take care we miss u guys around here:)
Response: I miss the country and all the goodness that comes along with it like neighbors, friends and family. I also miss grass!
From Blake
I'd like to thank the academy for teaching Jon his sweet dance moves, lol although I'm sure they have evolved and have become even more brilliant. Glad to see you guys are having a blast! All our love Blake, Erika and Gavin, or Gabbin as he would say lol
Response: I would have to say the dance moves have not evolved but rather the consequences of being sore the next day, from trying to do moves like the worm from the good old days, is more accurate! Thanks for your message guys!
From MoM
I absolutely LOVE the very last picture of the sunset on the beach. I'm sure you two had a great experience there. I'm really starting to miss you both. Is Christmas in Huntsville out of the question? Probably. I'd settle for New Year's though. Love you both lots. MoM XO
Response: Hey moma! I'm glad you are enjoying the pictures! I've got lots more up on facbook too to check out! I miss you lots too! The time is flying by though. In no time at all I'll be walking down the aisle! I don't think we'll be making it home for chirstmas or new years... but maybe look out for some cheap flights to somewhere over here..!?? love you! xo
From Oz
Jeju photos look awesome, i cant wait to come back again and go there, looks unreal! Hope you guys are having a good weekend
From Krohe home
You guys look fantastic there on honeymoon island. We love seeing the pics of you experiencing the best that S.Korea has to offer. Happy Thanksgiving !! We'll have a turkey dinner feast for you when you get back home. Love you both
XOXO Mom + Dad
Response: Can you just ship us some turkey? I look forward to that meal! Thanks for the message. Talk to you this weekend over skype. Lot's of love back at you.
From Dr. Tammy
Jon, we were so thankful to be home when you called Tuesday. It was so great to hear your voice again. We love the stories and all the updates, thanks for the emails on fb. Hope you two like your Holistic pkg coming.
Response: Tammy, thanks for helping us find holistic solutions to our health concerns and problems. You have been a true gift into our lives. Thanks for keeping so closely in touch with what has been going on. Enjoy thanksgiving with your family.
From Bev Lenz (your mom's
I really enjoy reading all your messages and the pictures are awesome too. It looks like you are having the time of your like lives. You are my hero Jon if you walked (or crawled) on that orange bridge. I would not even of been able to come down those stairs. Happy Thanksgiving and I am sure your mom will cook a big turkey feast for you as soon as you are home again.
P.S. I will give her a big hug for you when I see her at work next time. I am always there for her when she gets weepy from missing you with a shoulder and a tissue.
bev
Response: Bev,
Thanks for taking such good care of my mom. I can't wait for that big turkey meal when I get back home. As for crawling bridges I've only had to do that once!
From Jill
Jon: Very proud of you for doing all of these heights/mountain climbing adventures. I think I'd be crawling too!
Love you both, Jill
Response: Thanks Jill! Tell that to the Korean women that stood around, laughed and took my picture. Love to you and Bobby.
From Heather Rosehart
Hi guys!! It look like you are settling in well and having some great experiences so far!! We missed you last weekend at the wedding but now I'm starting to get excited for yours (is it too soon to be excited?? lol)
I hope you are both doing well :)
Response: It is a year away come Friday. All you need to do from now until then is practice your dance moves. I saw pictures of you and my dad busting it out at Melissas wedding. Looks like you need more crazy arm. I'll teach you when we get back!
Thanks for the message!
From Irnie and Lynita
Hey you two. We really got a kick out of your sept 12th story.
Response: Wait until you get here. Your eyes are going to be opened!
From Neil and Sara
Y'know Jon you must be really starting to look Korean because we're trying to find you on that website and just can't! lol Perhaps you could give us some guidance since we can't read anything on the site. :P Glad to hear your first week went so well. Poor Erin, eating live octopus tentacles! I don't think I'd be able to do it. :S

Bye for now.

P.S. The boys send their love.
Response: I'm glad Erin is eating the live octopus tentacles! She hasn't learned how to say no thank you yet! She is a good sport for sure! Thanks for the message.