Thursday, April 26, 2012

Belize and Guatemala

In between getting to visit with friends and family who I haven’t seen all year we took a family vacation to Belize. Life’s short, right? Might as well keep traveling! J Anyway, we took a trip to see the Mayan ruins along with the rainforest of Belize. The Mayans think it’s ending this year so figured we should check out where they called home.
We arrived in Belize City and then took a tour of the Belize Zoo. Unfortunately the weather was very rainy. We then took Belize’s terrible roads into the jungle where we stayed in a cute bungalow. I only had one experience of sharing the shower with a lizard.

The next day we went to our first Mayan ruins, Xunantunich, which is the second tallest ruin in Belize. The next day we took a day trip over to Guatemala, no big deal. Here, in Northern Guatemala we saw one of the largest archeological sites of the Mayans, Tikal.

After that we went caving through the Actun Tunichil Muknal or ATM (which is much easier to say and read for that matter!). We hiked to the entrance of the cave wading through the river three times decked out in helmets with headlamps. Once inside the cave we took off our shoes and walked through ancient ceramics and skeletal remains in our socks, as to not crush any artifacts, before swimming back out of the cave.

We finished off the trip bird watching and zip lining through the jungles!

One year in Korea

Well, this marks one year of my time in Korea. I had the most amazing experience. I couldn’t even have imagined enjoying myself more. What wonderful memories I will have for a lifetime! I seriously couldn’t have asked for a more incredible experience!  I did, however, decide that I couldn’t give up my amazing job quite yet and decided to renew my contract for an additional year. I have too many more places to see and memories to make to leave amazing Korea behind just yet! My school was thrilled with my decision and negotiation was pretty simple. They even decided to let Cortney renew her contract just enough to finish up next March with mine. (We have big future plans so stay tuned for those adventures J ) My school also paid for me to get a ticket home to see my family for just about 2.5 weeks. Although, My class graduated and let me tell you that was a sad day in kindergarten, I will be getting a new class upon my return. So, here goes one more year!

Our sweet pictures in the yearbook. They forgot to mention it was picture day to the poor foreigner teachers...

 Check out how much these babies grew over the year!! :)
love these kids so much!

Hong Kong

So, a lot has happened since my last post, but I’ve been far too lazy to write anything down. Lunar New Year started on January 23rd, 2012 and Andi, Cortney and I took a trip to Hong Kong to ring in the year of the Dragon. We stayed in a hostel in Mong Kok across from the famous Ladies Market, yes, more shopping. We spent the first night at the night market shopping and eating Chinese food. The next day we took the subway to Hong Kong Disney Land to spend the day. Hong Kong Disney Land is much like Disney World, but much smaller. They have a lot of similar rides and attractions all with Chinese writing. They had a lot of things set up for Lunar New Year and everything was covered with dragons. We all enjoyed bringing out the kid in ourselves well into the night when they had a fireworks show over sleeping beauty’s castle.
Hong Kong Dollars
 By the harbor

 Bringing in the year of the dragon.

The next day we spent making out way to Hong Kong Island to enjoy the number 1 skyline in the world. We took a cable car up the side of the mountain to check out the amazing views of the city. We ate dinner before going back down and checking out some nightlife on the island. Since it was a holiday weekend the subway trains were running all night long and we had no problem getting back to Mong Kok and our hostel.

The following day we rode the gondola to the Tian Tan Buddha or Giant Buddha statue. This is a 112 foot tall bronze Buddha with 240 steps leading up to it. Unfortunately the weather was unseasonable cold and it was incredibly foggy so the views weren’t nearly as spectacular as I assume they often are. After coming back down from the gondola we got some snacks to go and watch the first parade of what would start a two week long Lunar New Year celebration. There were floats, representatives and performers from every country around the world in the parade and the streets were lined with people.
 High five for Buddha