Change of Summer Plans

Change of Summer Plans

For the past two years, I've been planning a trip to Russia and Mongolia with a friend. Our original plan was to take the Trans-Siberian Railway in the summer of 2015, but that was quickly scrapped for a trek up Kilimanjaro. Last summer, we again changed our minds when she decided she wasn't willing to quit her awesome job as a flight attendant quite yet. 

We've been talking about it all year, but yesterday she confirmed that she, once again, wasn't ready to quit her job. What now?

Postcards: Favourite Instagrams of 2016

Postcards: Favourite Instagrams of 2016

In January, I returned back to Vancouver after an amazing family Christmas/New Year's trip to Oahu. I was craving a bit of winter to contrast the Hawaiian sun and surf, and had to go up in the mountains to find it. I feel #blessed to have this as my backyard. 

A typical February in Vancouver. 

In March, the world was hurting from recent terrorist attacks (it still is). I love the beauty and symbolism of cherry blossoms, which seemed to bloom at just the right time. 

Postcards: Favourite Instagrams of 2015

Postcards: Favourite Instagrams of 2015

In January, I took a short trip to Kelowna, BC to ski at Big White Ski Resort. Coming from a city where it's more likely to rain than snow (#raincover), it was awesome to have a couple days of snowy trails and sunny skies. 

To celebrate my thirtieth birthday in February...

Korea's "Immortal" National Flower

The Mugunghwa (Rose of Sharon, or hibiscus syriacus) has been an important flower in Korea for thousands of years. The Silla Kingdom (which ruled for almost 1000 years, until 935 AD), called itself the "Mugunghwa Country."

Today, the flower is mentioned in Korea's national anthem ("Mugunghwa samcheolli hwaryeo gangsan" or "Rose of Sharon, thousand miles of beautiful mountain and river land") and is found in other national emblems, like the Coat of Arms.

The government adopted the Rose of Sharon as an official symbol of Korea after the country was liberated from Japan. The Rose of Sharon has many characteristics that make it the perfect national flower for Korea. The flower blooms for a long time (from early July through late October) and there are thousands of blooms on each plant. It's a tough plant that can bloom in difficult situations; cut and placed in a vase, the flower lasts longer than many others. Korean word mugung means "immortal".

The strength and beauty of the flower represents the Korean people and the many trials they have overcome.

How to Use an Umbrella in Seoul

Rainy season in Seoul is an adventure. From June to September, don’t leave home without an umbrella in your purse or bag, as heavy rains can erupt at any time. The maze of umbrellas on the sidewalks is a beautiful, colourful scene. But walking through them is a potentially dangerous task. You have to be attentive to your own umbrella’s whereabouts, as well as the whereabouts of the thousands of other umbrellas around you. For your safety and the safety of others, there are two good umbrella manoeuvres that can help keep the sidewalks injury-free during the rainy season: The Lift and The Tilt.

The Tilt is a popular technique because it’s simple and quick. A tilted umbrella takes up less space, creating a bigger path for a person to pass. Also, the pointy tips of the umbrella are further away from people’s faces, so there’s less potential for an accidental poking.

The Lift is my preferred method, simply because I’m in the taller half of the population. I just lift my umbrella above all the umbrellas around me, thus space is created yet I’m still fully covered by my umbrella. It works well if you’re one of the taller ones in the bunch because you don’t have to lift the umbrella very high. This method is not widely used, which is a good thing. Overuse will significantly lower its success rate.

But now it’s autumnmost Koreans favourite season. The skies are blue, the temperature is moderate, the leaves are colourful. I still carry my umbrella in my purse every day, just in case, but it’s rarely used. On my walks these days, I’m admiring the golden yellow and fiery red leaves on the trees all around me instead of watching for a wayward umbrella. Sometimes I miss the chaos of the rain, but I prefer the serenity of a sunny autumn day.