Friday, June 22, 2012

Count your blessings, not your worries

I am supposed to blog about WWOOF Korea again but I am so lazy to edit the pictures. So since I really wanted to jot down my blessings, here are some light updates but it is going to be very wordy!

Just ended third week of internship! Doing quite well despite my supervisor went missing for the past 3 days without any news, I guess he is busy with his project. Started my internship with the Petroleum Engineering Geoscience department and eventhough I was initially anxious on how working environment would be, it was much better than expected!

Hearing complains from friends who said they are asked to do paper works, key in data, do Minutes of meeting, filing documents, photocopying and all those office works...I am glad I never need to do any of those. In fact nobody ever asked us to do anything. From the first day at work, we were already learning. For first 2 weeks, we had talks, lectures, core lab visit, tutorial etc. Felt so lucky! From day one we were already gaining knowledge and had known much more about the industry. 

Colleagues are amazing! You can ask anyone to how you, to teach you, and all of them are willing. And if they do not have the knowledge on that particular subject, they will bring you the expert, not just mention a name and want you to roam around the office looking for people. When doing my project at the workstation, you can just stop anyone who walk past and they could be so helpful! And they are also willing to teach more than what you want to know :)

And the good thing when you work with PETRONAS is probably there is always free food :) After every talks and you will just possibly have a trolley of food passing in front of you at anytime of the day, for free. But, another reason why eating free food all the time will not be a big problem access to Twin Towers Fitness Centre. It is in fact one of the best equipped gyms in Kuala Lumpur. Great thing is they have classes twice a day and you can just join the excitement! I have yet to try the sauna! :D

In fact yesterday was a pretty amazing day. Early in the morning I was very pissed at these few people in the train. They entered the train, just sat there and took nap. And right in front of them were 2 old ladies. Really old okay, not only all grey hair but also hunched back. I sort of stared at them the whole time with my burning eyes, God will punish them better. After that we went to Citibank to meet our project team, the senior there was so friendly he taught us and gave us much knowledge. In the evening I helped an uncle and his little daughter to reload his touch and go cause he can't read well. It's an amazing day to know that me myself, that I still care. And there are still helpful people around.

The day before, I was walking back alone. One the way a lady stopped me! I was surprised but she asked me where did I got my "Teach for Malaysia" bag that I always used. I was in fact interested in the program but had to reconsider due to my loan and bonding. She was super friendly and she turned out to be the Training and support director of the program from America. She was so enthusiastic and fully support me if I want to join. She is currently doing her doctoral (well actually I got all these from the website to confirm but she did talked to me like 10mins). Friendly people, I like!

2 days ago I wanted to borrow money from my brother because I was low on cash. However he was in India and wire-line transfer alone cost $30. Just before I wanted to text my Dad about it, a friend told me that my allowance is in! And soon after that, my brother Wassup me and told me he can't lend me because he needs to pay for something. God is great ain't He? ^___^

My accommodation is great too!! Very convenient to find food and near to the LRT station :) Though quite pricey, the strict security, cleanliness and swimming pool are totally worthy! :) What I am most excited and feel blessed of, my parents and youngest brother will be coming to KL this coming Thursday! I won't be going home till next year so visit from family is really something I look forward to!

With love,
and truly blessed,
Mei Lin

Saturday, June 16, 2012

South Korea Day 16: Mt. Seoraksan National Park

안녕하세요! Here is the next post about trip to Korea! There are just so many thing to blog about I had to divide them into parts. Here was the post on Day 7 with links from Day 1 to Day 6. This post will be about our trip to Mt. Seoraksan National Park 설악산국립공원. How to get there and what to do there! :) Seoraksan National park was designated the 5th national park in Korea in 1970 and chosen as a nature preservation area on November 5, 1965 (Korea National Park Service)

One thing which is a must-do and really famous in Korea is definitely hiking! You will see shops selling hiking clothes and equipments all over Korea. So here is what I got from Wiki about Mount Seoraksan: Seoraksan is the highest mountain in the Taebaek mountain range (태백산맥) in the Gangwon 강원도 province in eastern South Korea. It is located in a national park near the city of Sokcho. After the Hallasan volcano on Jeju Island and Jirisan in the south, Seoraksan is the third highest mountain in South Korea. The Daechongbong Peak (대청봉) of Seoraksan reaches 1,708 metres (5,603 feet). The Taebaek mountain chain is often considered the backbone of the Korean peninsula.

So since the first WWOOF farm (read here) was in Gangwon 강원도 province, we decided to take a few days break to do the must-do before we move on to the second farm which is located all the way South at Jeollanam-do 전라남도 province, near Jangheung-gun 장흥군.

Travel: We traveled from Wontong 원통 bus terminal, which was the nearest to our first farm to Sokcho 속초 bus terminal. From Sokcho 속초 we walked on foot to find for accommodation. It is very convenient because it is a tourist spot and you can find hotels or inns all around. Since we were travelling on budget, we decided to go for smaller inns. While walking by the beach, we had our attention on this inn managed by a couple. It was a cosy one with small bathroom. We also opt for Ondol 온돌 or the heated floor system because it was cheaper without bed. Getting to Mt. Seoraksan will be explained below :)

It is very easy to find accommodation especially if you are not particular about the view, facilities and etc. Just walk along the beach you can find really nice and budget places. With nice views of course!

We had a tiny balcony facing the sea!! ^^

And at the pathway out, they had a huge full length mirror!! Since it was by the sea, it was kinda chilly so I had my gloves on. And that supposing-ly bathroom slippers were our daily slippers LOL Cause we wanted something cheap! And they last very long! My mum still use them in the wet kitchen at home XD

Clear water!!!

And clear sky!!

Little mermaid?! LOL that bathroom slippers are such spoilers

I am not sure what is the name of that island but
we just took pictures with it anyways XD

Saw an Uncle the beach...
sitting like 5 meters away from the water...errrr

First day because we arrived in the afternoon, we just took a stroll around the area we stayed~ Thank God it was near the beach. And despite being so windy, the water was not that cold :)

Dinner! We walked around looking for cheap and nice food (and if you are wondering how this method hunters like us check for shop with many customers). Yes we didn't bother that we need to queue because we had all the time in the world :)

My Bibimbap 비빔밥! I miss 비빔밥~

The next day we went to Mt. Seoraksan National Park. This will take one day trip (including the hike) so make sure you have enough time. Starting your day early in the morning is the best, less sun means less heat and less sunburn. Lucky for us, we stayed near the bus station..and we bumped into a foreign guy just came back from Seoraksan. He told us where to wait :) You just need to ask around on which bus station should you go to get a bus up to the park.

Here is a direction from Visit Korea and also the admission fees:

1. From Sokcho or Sokcho Express Bus Terminal, take city bus No. 7 or 7-1 and get off at the entrance of Mt. Seoraksan (30 minute ride).
2. From Sokcho Intercity Bus Terminal, taxi takes 15-20 minute to the entrance of Mt. Seoraksan.

Admission Fees
Free for the National Park

Camping (peak season /off season)
Adults (ages 19 and over) – 2,000 won / 1,600 won
Youth (ages 13- 18) – 1,500 won / 1,200 won
Children (ages under 13) – 1,000 won /800 won

Auto camping (peak season /off season)
Small cars – 11,000 won / 9,000 won
Large cars – 17,000 won / 14,000 won

Accommodation called Daepiso (peak season /off season)
8,000 won / 7,000 won per person for one night

But because we wanted to go for hike rather than just walk around so we had to pay some amount. I forgotten the price because my friend paid in advance :)

The entrance!

It was almost Autumn when we went so check the maple leaves turning! If you go during Autumn, this park has among the best view with all the maple leaves around~ You will get to see different tones of the trees like what you see in paintings :)

You can go for cable cars if you can't hike. But our purpose was to hike and it is in fact much cheaper than using the cable cars.

Bronze Buddha of Sinheungsa (Buddhist Temple)
near the main entrance to Seoraksan National Park

Me love maple leaves!

Natural water from the mountain for drinking! :)

Ulsanbawi (peak) in Seoraksan National Park

Trying to shake Heundeulbawi (Rocking Rock) at Kyejo-am in Seoraksan National Park. There is a story behind. This rock is about 5 metres (16 feet) high and can be moved with some effort. Thousands of people have already tried to push down Heundeulbawi, but nobody gets further than waggling the rock. According to the legend Ulsanbawi comes from the city of Ulsan in the south east of Korea. As Kumgangsan (금강산) was built, Ulsanbawi walked to the north as the representative of the city. Unfortunately Ulsanbawi arrived too late and there was no more room. Ulsanbawi was ashamed and slowly trudged back to the south. One evening the rock went to sleep in the Seorak area. Ulsanbawi felt it was so beautiful around there that it decided to stay for good. (from Wiki)

Look at the steep stairs. If you have Acrophobia (fear of height) then this may not be your kind of thing. I do not have acrophobia but when I look down, I do feel my heart beats slower and understand why they say don't look down.

If you are a regular reader, this was my previous cover photo :D
Magnificent view!!

The stairs!! Little woobly but we had the time of our life!! :D

That's all! Next post about Korea trip will be about the 3rd farm for WWOOF which was located far South at Jeollanam-do 전라남도 province, near Jangheung-gun 장흥군! We stayed for a week there~ Till then, tata!

With love,
Mei Lin