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Maestro's Travel Blog
Maestro's Travel Blog
Maestro's Travel Blog
From Montreal to Incheon

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Once an education student, now JET applicant ready to start a new adventure!

All in all...

Montreal, Canada

Happy New Year everyone! (Assuming anyone still reads this)

So, incase you haven't known, I've been back in Canada for about two weeks now. The last few days in Korea were great, but the flight back was hell and a half, with the exception of riding business class from Seoul to Tokyo. That was pretty sweet. And meeting two really cool people. Other than that, it was very long, uncomfortable with a lot of security.

Why can't crazy people leave their craziness at home? I'm expecting in the not too distance future, we'll all be flying naked. Not even a plastic bag, because you can probably suffocate someone with it.

So, now that I'm back in the homeland, I'm settling back into my routine. It's nice to be back in my apartment (with a new T.V), see mounds of snow (and complain about it), and hang out with all of my old friends again. I've started up classes again at Concordia and they seem to be pretty interesting. I've also gotten caught up with gaming (Silent Hill and Dragon Age). Life back in Montreal is nice. With the exception of a work issue, it's nice to be back.

Yet, there's a part of me that still wants to be back in Korea. I really liked it there, in all it's highs and lows. It feels like I was just settling down right before I had to pack up my stuff and leave again. I met some great people that I won't forget, visited some amazing places, joined in exciting activities, and of course, had amazing adventures. It's something that I know I'll never forget. I don't know if I've 'grown' from this experience like a lot of people say they have when they've lived abroad, but I know that I've gotten at least something from all of this.

There's no doubt in my mind that I'll go back there someday. It may not be tomorrow or next year, but someday, I will.

Thanks to everyone who's been keeping up with this blog, and thanks to all the friends I made at Inha University. You guys are the best and I'll miss you all! Don't forget me!

permalink written by  Maestro on January 9, 2010 from Montreal, Canada
from the travel blog: From Montreal to Incheon
tagged Study, Abroad, Korea and Sad

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Jejudo Vacation and other things

Cheju, South Korea

Wow! Sorry I haven't been on for awhile. Been busy with finals, packing, and of course, the Jeju vacataion. This entry will be Split into two posts, one being my vacation/mom coming on over, and the second being my thoughts on my thoughts before leaving the country I've lived in these past four months. Alright, so let's get the show on the road (or road on the show as I sometimes like to say).

As most (if not all) students know, December is the time for both exams/projects and vacations. Exams unfortunately didn't go nearly as well as I thought, but I assume that I still passed with good enough grades (with the exception of Korean. I unfortunately suck at it). I unfortunately don't find out until January.

On a positive note, my mom is here and she's been loving it. I showed her around my campus, then she spent a few days in Seoul, and then finally of course, we took a few days to spend in the sub-Tropic island of Jeju.

Whilst it's not as hot as Hawaii or Jamaica at this time of year, it's still incredibly beautiful. Palm trees, sunny days, beaches, and many, many oranges/tangerines. We stayed in a nice little hostel on the southern side of the island which was very convinient. There were so many wonderful sites to see! Waterfalls, lava caves, museums, and so on and so forth. You will see them in the photos of course~The plane ride over was very nice too (only an hour). Honestly, I would've loved to stay there longer. Alas, our adventures had to end.

Upon coming back to Seoul, mom and I decided to stay at a fancy hotel (which is where we are currently). Gotta say, makes me feel special. Nice way to spend my last day in the country.

Last days... I have to admit, I really hate saying that.

Check out the photos on Facebook.

permalink written by  Maestro on December 26, 2009 from Cheju, South Korea
from the travel blog: From Montreal to Incheon
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OMG You Guys

Seoul, South Korea

Yep. Me and two friends went to go see Legally Blonde: The Musical here in Korea. I gotta say, it was great. I'm sure for that do know, it comes at a bit of a shocker that I would go to something so girly, but in these past few years, I've been slowly embrassing my feminine pink side, as my other pals can tell ya. Other than my purse though, I didn't wear anything pink. It was far too cold and rainy for that as you can see by the jackets we're all wearing.

Anyway, the actors and actresses potrayed their characters wonderfully (Especially Elle, Emmett and Warner), the music adaptations were catchy, and the dancing was amazing. The people that they got to play the parts are pretty well known here in Korea according to Hye Chi and Dahae. Quite a few of them were in Dramas before. (For those who've watched Coffee Prince, one of the actors from there is in it). Of course, we couldn't take pictures of the actual musical, but we managed some with the posters (as you can see). Go ahead and check them out either here or on Facebook.

EDIT: The delivery man, Kyle? Jesus, he was more sexual than the American one. And this comes from a country that says they're more conservative than the west. :P

permalink written by  Maestro on November 22, 2009 from Seoul, South Korea
from the travel blog: From Montreal to Incheon
tagged Blonde, Seoul, Korea, Musical and Legally

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Tournament and Stuffs!

Pusan, South Korea

Well, I went to the tournament in Busan over the weekend, and boy it was great! So worth it! I came in the top 12 out of 50 in my category, so I can't complain to much (I will though because you know how I am with losing a fight).

Though it was a great experience, I'm not crazy about the rules and what counts and a point and what doesn't in the sport (who would've thought that a twist kick wouldn't count!?) However, being able to do spin kicks and twist kicks to the face is still pretty awesome. Mind you, I got a twist kick to the nose, which still hurts a bit, but that's mainly because I did it to the girl in the first place. So you know... I deserved it.

I didn't know this, but Inha's TKD team is pretty well known, so needless to say I felt really lucky to go with them. They were all just great too. There's just so much to talk about. I guess I will have to explain through... INTERPRETIVE DANCE.

Or just pictures. Go check them out at Facebook (Now that it's working again). Remember, you don't need an account with the link (though these days, who doesn't have Facebook?)


permalink written by  Maestro on November 18, 2009 from Pusan, South Korea
from the travel blog: From Montreal to Incheon
tagged Busan, Study, Abroad, Korea, Inha and Taekwondo

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Busy Busy, But awesome

Inch'on, South Korea

Forgive the lacking of the posting. I haven't forgotten, I've just been exhausted and lazy with with TKD going on five times a week. As I've mentioned, we're training for a tournament in Busan, so it's been pretty intense. I currently sitting down in slight pain. I hate jogging, but it works the legs.

Other than that, I've haven't been anywhere new mainly because of the amount of stuff I've been doing here. However, that's cool, because I still have managed to see new things. And people.

To be more specific, saw a famous Korean actor two weeks ago whilst I was in Myeong Dong. His name? Kwon Sang Woo. Now, whilst I didn't know who it was then, I didn't really care. Why? Because it's a famous person, and he must've been hot due to the amount of girls waiting in the area.

Kwon Sang Woo is most famous for the drama 'My Tutor Friend'. Now whilst I haven't seen it, I took a look at a few of this guy's pictures, and he's a looker. He's also very popular in Japan, which is why he opened up a coffee shop in Myeong Dong (an area in Seoul where there are many Japanese tourists and trendy shopping). At the coffee shop on that day, he was apparently signing autographs. So, for fun, two of my friends and I decided to wait around, see if we could get a glimpse of this star.

In the front of the cafe, there was a bodyguard. Score. I took a shot with my camera (I'll upload those later). We waited a bit more. Soon enough, girls started to scream. Another bodyguard came out along with Mr. Kwon. Now, I've never been in a moshpit, nor have I ever surfed on top of a crowd, but I imagine it's a bit similar to what I experienced. Seeing as I got my pictures (not of the guy, since there was too much moving), I want to go the opposite way of the girls, however, you try doing that when Kwonny boy is walking into another shop. Nope. You're following that crowd until they disperse. I didn't need to walk for that minute. I'm sure I could've just stood there and I would've been dragged along.

Either way, it was a fabulous experience. Whilst I'm sure it happens in Montreal, I'm never in the vicinity. I was actually told that Snoop Dogg was at Concordia the beginning of this year. If I was there, I would've gone to see him. Not because I'm a fan of Snoop Dogg, but I enjoy just experience the crowd and snapping photos. And then reciting my exciting tales about seeing a celebrity that I had no apparent interest in before.

Whilst I don't have any images to upload this week, I do have videos for those who like Break Dancing and Music! Oh and a few things from the Korean Folk Village.










permalink written by  Maestro on November 3, 2009 from Inch'on, South Korea
from the travel blog: From Montreal to Incheon
tagged Study, Abroad, Korea and Inha

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Other than exams...

Inch'on, South Korea

I've still be having a great time. But you know, exams are never fun anywhere.

I forgot to mention that last week, other than the folk village, I visited another one of the Palaces, Gwanghamun as well as a Buddhist Temple (I stumbled upon it by accident). It was yet another solo mission. Yeah, I'm extremely touristy and will visit traditional grounds whenever I can. Either way, it was pretty nice, though I regret doing the walk after Tae Kwon Do (will tell you more about that below). My legs were extremely sore for two days, and walking was so painful. But! It was beautiful, to say the least. A hot spot for foreigners as well as couples.

So yes, I've also been busy with Tae Kwon Do. Yep, I ended up joining the school's team here in the end along with two Chinese exchange students. They're in my Korean Tutoring classes and are super nice! Their names are Ying and Wei-Wei.

Tae Kwon Do has been a lot of fun so far. Lots of training, and lots of energy. I've learnt how to 'cheer' in Korean. It's used at games, or if you're training/studying for a big exam. Essentially, someone says something and you reply...


For those who don't know what that means, it's Koreans and Foreigners alike like to call "Konglish". Koreans take an English word and Koreanize it. And it might not always mean the same thing.

For instance, Hwaiting, is the Koreanized word for "Fighting!". I assume you've all seen one bar brawl or highschool fight where people are going 'Fight, fight, fight'! Well, that's where it originally came from. Except for Koreans thought that it was just a cheer to give people energy. Not encouraging someone to beat the crap out of each other.

Speaking of beating up people, me and Wei-Wei are also joining the amateur competition being held in Busan on November 13th, 14th, and 15th, so that'll be awesome. Essentially, I couldn't say no. Captain wanted me on the team once he found out about my Karate background. Wei-Wei, though having no prior martial arts experience, really wants to fight nonetheless. She's a real firecracker! I think that she can be ready in a month actually.

Of course, I'd love to win, but even if I don't, it's a trip to Busan (the second biggest city, apparently know for it's beautiful port), so it all works out.

The rest of the TKD team has been super kind and helpful. Hopefully, it'll help me pick up Korean a bit faster.

Check out Facebook and this album for more photos!

permalink written by  Maestro on October 16, 2009 from Inch'on, South Korea
from the travel blog: From Montreal to Incheon
tagged University, Palace, Korea, Inha, Gwanghamun, Tae, Kwon and Do

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Global Fair and Folk Village

Inch'on, South Korea

Sorry I haven't updated in awhile. Been busy and midterms are up and about and I've now joined the TKD club at my school (2-3 times a week). So I'll be pretty busy.

But look! Aren't I such a good girl? I'm surprised I'm still actually updating and writing. :P

Anyway, these past two weeks have been, exciting! Then again, they always are. Last weekend was Chuseok, which is essentially Korean Thanksgiving. It was good. I certainly can't complain. Thursday to Sunday were off. So I relaxed, travelled and did a bunch of stuff.

Friday, I went to Yongsan Electronics with Francois, which is essentially the largest electronics store in Korea. And you get to haggle prices. I didn't buy anything there, but I will. There were... games. >.> Games of the import variety.

Saturday, a bunch of the exchange students went on a fieldtrip to the Incheon Global Fair. It actually wasn't half bad. A lot of it is companies showing off their 'green and futurshttp://www.blogabond.com/TripReportComment_Edit.aspxtics plans', but since a bunch of it was interactive, I didn't care. It was fun. Besides, there was a really amazing Digital Art Exhibition, which offered, contemporary, interactive, meangingul, meanginless, and just plain fun art. They also had an area for Claymation! (I forgot to tell you Marie-An! :3) Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed, but still. Great stuff.

There was also a robot area. Which is where I met Astro Boy. Sad that I haven't actually seen the series yet, but you fellow nerds will understand.

All in all the only thing that was a dissapointment at that festival was the 3D animation that was shown. Honestly, other than 'Journey to the Centre of the Universe', I've found most movies that have had that 3D stuff pretty gimmicky. On top of that, I can't believe I'm saying this- but the master of cheeiness herself has to admit, though that the movie was cheesy and really typical.

Thanks a lot, Concordia Animation. You're now making me critique movies like Simon on American Idol.

Other than that though, it was a lot of fun. Not enough time to visit everything I have to say.

This Friday, I decided to go to the Traditional Folk Village out in Suwon, which is near a city known as Suwon. I have to say, I really enjoyed this. I'm a sucker for old buildings and ways of life, no matter what culture. Plus, I met an old adjossi there whom I did the tour with. Nice old man. Was a teacher for 30 years (like you mom!) Beautiful place overall and there were two performances. One was a traditional music/dance performance and the other was a man of about 70 walking on a tightrope. Good stuff.

Check out the photos on Facebook and here! (Facebook is having problems with uploading though). Until later!

permalink written by  Maestro on October 9, 2009 from Inch'on, South Korea
from the travel blog: From Montreal to Incheon
tagged University, Global, Incheon, Korea, Inha, Fair, Folk, Suwon and Vilage

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Still Keeping Busy!

Yongin, South Korea

Been meaning to put this up for awhile, just been a bit lazy about it. Sorry folks!

So, last week was very busy. There was a song festival on campus for two days, a concert at another university, and of course Everland. I will be talking about the concerts another time just becauseI haven't uploaded the videos for any of them yet. And I took a lot of videos. I may save those for last.

So what's in this weeks blog? The trip to Everland!

For those who don't know about Everland, it essentially a mashup of Laronde and Disney World. Personally, I enjoyed it. I'm also a big kid, so that probably helps. The guys were so-so about it. Except for the rollercoaster. Oh God, the roller coaster...

For those who have been to Laronde, I'm sure you're all familiar with 'The Monster' or 'La Monstre' for you French folk. The Monster is the world's tallest two-track wooden roller coaster, as well as biggest overall roller coaster in all of Canada.

The T Express at Everland is similar. It is the largest roller coaster in Korea, as well as the deepest incline/decline at 77 degrees on a wooden roller coaster. Needless to say it was freakishly awesome. If it wasn't so crowded, I would've rode it again.

Another really good one was The Twist. Which essentially was a think that spun every which way. I'm surprised I didn't get sick. I should've.

Yeah, the rides were pretty cool. Though the one thing that was really bizzarre there were the staff. Sure they were nice, but in like... a doll like way. Essentially, everytime they had to greet ANYONE, they couldn't do it with just one hand or anything. Oh no. They had to pull out the jazz hands/spirit fingers. With. Every. Single. Person. And all the staff had to do that. It was creepy.

And then there was the music which was a bit annoying. Mainly because it's very childlike (Not in a fun Disney way). But other than all of that, I really enjoyed myself.

Well, that's enough procrastinating. Best get to homework. Blaaaah.

Be sure to check out the photos!

permalink written by  Maestro on September 24, 2009 from Yongin, South Korea
from the travel blog: From Montreal to Incheon
tagged South, Korea and Everland

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Last Week on Princess Hours: The Yeti Spinoff...

Inch'on, South Korea

For those who don't know the reference need to watch Goong (a.k.a Princess Hours) and the spin off. It's quite possible that the only person who will get it is probably my mom. Why? Because we marathoned that series hardcore. Well, not three days hardcore, but still hardcore enough for us.

So, this Friday evening, I went on an adventure with Jackie as well as three crazy, but fun Europeans. Jonathan from Sweden and Martin and Rene from Austria. We went to Incheon's very own Chinatown! Yes, there is a Chinatown in Korea. In fact, I don't know if there's a country that doesn't have a Chinatown. Please let me know if you find out. And no, Antarctica does not count.

Anyway, I have to say, it's quite beautiful during the evening. The streets are lit up with many lovely lanterns. It gives the area a wonderful charm. After eating a good Chinese meal (to which we owe Jackie thanks to her Mandarin and Cantonese skills), we decided to explore a park/garden in the upper areas of the town. It was high, but thankfully no stairs, meaning no pain. A very nice place to walk around, I have to say.

There was a nice pit stop at the top, to which of course the guys bought a bit of beer and enjoyed themselves as we all tried to hula hoop with this ridulously large hula hoops. And I mean ridiculously large. The guys could manage a bit of it, but Jackie and I, despite being female, could not manage it. It's not like women couldn't either. We saw not only a Korean woman work it like it was no problem, but children as well. To that I have to say, just what the hell?

Perhaps Koreans and Europeans have extraordinary hulahoop powers that us Canadians lack. Much look into this further.

After that, we went up to a statue of General MacArthur. For those who need a history lesson (I needed on because I'm retarded when it comes to war history), he was a very prominant American soldier during the Korea War as well as WWI and II. It was quite the sight, I have to say.

So, after some more walking, we finally decided to head back down. To our dismay, it began to rain and poor like mad. Luckily for Jackie and I, we had our umbrellas, but alas, the guys didn't. Mainly because they didn't believe us when we told them about the forecast. However, even with those, we still ended up pretty much soaked once we got back to the dorms.

The next day, the five of us decided to make our way down to Seoul and visit the mega trendy district of Myeongdong and the Namsan Seoul Tower. Myeongdong made me realize just how populated Seoul was, because holy crap, was it packed. Packed with everyone. Mainly with girls (it's a shopping area) but packed nonetheless. Me and Jackie managed to get free samples from a kind of Body Shop store, so I can't complain too much. I am quite glad I don't live in the heart of Seoul though.

So after a bit of Myeongdong madness, we decided to work are way up to Seoul Tower... by cable car. For now. The rest of that tale will come later. But lets start with part one.

Seoul Tower is situated in the middle of Seoul's Namsan's Park, which is is quite beautiful. Actually, I loved it there because the air was very clean, compared to the usual city smell.

We checked out the area around Seoul Tower as well as the Teddy Bear Museum. I enjoyed it, but it was pretty obvious that the guys didn't (which makes sense. They're guys.)

We went back down for a bit to eat (we decided we wanted to see the sight from the tower when it was dark), and when we came back to take the bus or cable car... well... it was rather um... packed.

So what did we do? We climbed to the top of that damn hill. Steep stairs in all. I gotta say, a half an hour of stairs? Kinda makes me look back at Fighting class and think that maybe the 'stair drill' wasn't so bad. But still, excuse me for my language but...

Fuck stairs. Several times.

Now that that's out of my system, once we made it back to the actual top of the tower, it was quite the sight. Seoul is big. Very big. If it was in a locker room with Canadian cities and it whipped off it's towel, it would make the others mumble with embaressment.

But of course, it's not how big the city is, it's what you do with it. ;)

Anyway, after all was said and done, we headed back, quite exhausted. Good day though, I gotta say.

This week, it's lotsa homework. But! Jackie and Jonathan just invited me to go check out the festival. So that'll come after.

Laters! Check out the new photos here and on Facebook!

permalink written by  Maestro on September 13, 2009 from Inch'on, South Korea
from the travel blog: From Montreal to Incheon
tagged University, Tower, Seoul, Incheon, Korea, Inha and Namsan

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New Michael Buble CD!?

Inch'on, South Korea

Yes, I'm in Korea and I'm talking about Michael Buble. Can I help it if I'm a fangirl? So yes, Oct. is the month that his new CD comes out. They already have the single which I'm quite addicted to. It's upbeat and lovey-dovey, but in a different way. Mom said she'd get it for me when it comes out. I certainly hope so! If not, I have some searching around in Korea to do.

Alright, so a lot has happened in my first full week at Inha University. I've now had all my classes, which are actually quite interesting. My first is Theories in TEFL, then I have Southeast Asian History (It's actually named Special Topics In History, but this is what happens to be the special topic), Theories of Instruction and of course, Basic Korean. So far, it's the opposite of what I do back at Concordia, which means... a lot of reading! :/ I'm not crazy about reading homework. I'd prefer writing or assignments, but I'll make due since the stuff is actually all pretty interesting.

I'm also quite happy to say that even though I'm in Basic Korean, I'm not at the bottom! :) Since I know my Hangul, I am at a slightly higher base. Not by much, but it's a start I'd say. Our teacher is really nice and really funny actually. I think I'm gonna enjoy her for the semester.

Compared to the rest of the exchange students, I actually have a bit more homework this week because I have a group presentation tomorrow that is supposed to last an hour. AN HOUR! That'll certainly be something. My teammates are super nice and cool though, so I'm happy about that. Hopefully all will go well tomorrow.

Friday was certainly something. There was a party for all the international students in which we had games, met new people and registered for Korean tutors. I was also interviewed by the english newspaper on campus, so I'll be in the paper in the next few weeks! Exciting stuff, eh?

After the party, a bunch of people went out and we had a couple of drinks and then Noraebang. For those who don't know what Noraebang is, it's basically Karaoke. And yes. I sang. Horribly, but I did sing.

The one thing I do have to get used to in Korea is that the smoking laws aren't as strict as in Quebec, so a lot of bars you're still allowed to smoke, and there are no smoking/non-smoking areas. But hey, for now, I'll put up with it.

Saturday was also very exciting. It was the first time I went to Seoul. I went with Jackie, Francois (two Concordia students) and two of Francois' Korean friends and visited Deoksugung, which is one of the smaller palaces, as well as an area known as Sinchon. It's a popular place for young people (especially girls) to go shopping and hang out. Jackie was feeling ill though, so we didn't stay for long. There's still a lot of places to visit in Seoul, so I'll have to go again and again for awhile. I think the next place I'd like to check out would be Seoul Tower (which is essentially the CN tower).

Sunday was half busy, half study. Me and my three other roomates went out to try a paticular chicken meal who's name I can't remember. It was good though. You have a tiny chicken, stuffed with rice, ginseng, dates and a few other things, boiled in a sort of soup. Obviously not for the vegetarians out there (sorry Zeph!), but it certainly was tasty.

After that we did a bit of shopping in the Juan train station, and then finally *sigh* we all went back home to do our homework. Yes, reality did set in for all of us. It was a bit of a pain in the butt, but the big stuff is done now.

Tonight I have a final meeting with my group for the presentation. We're gonna have a dry run of our presentation and then tomorrow is the real thing. Wish me luck!

Check the Album and Facebook for new photos.

permalink written by  Maestro on September 7, 2009 from Inch'on, South Korea
from the travel blog: From Montreal to Incheon
tagged University, South, Seoul, Incheon, Korea and Inha

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