2012 was one of my personal favorite years. Sure, most of it we as spent slaving away in the South Korean Education mines, but it managed to be mostly wonderful anyway. Some of the photos are a bit dodgy, as a result of my camera breaking in May and not being replaced until October. Nonetheless, each month had some real highlights.
Without further ado:
A frozen trip to a frozen satellite city in frozen January. There wasn’t much going on, but the park was beautiful and the subway there drove itself.
February saw my sister’s first trip to Asia in general and Korea specifically. I have to say it wasn’t her favorite country, but despite the coldest temps of the winter we walked around and really explored the big city. This was taken on one of my favorite urban hikes, to a pagoda that overlooks a posh neighborhood.
March was my birthday, and I celebrated with a big party in the park. It was still cold, but we played kickball and soccer, petted wild bunnies, ate strawberries, and drank beer. Best of all, it kickstarted a weekly tradition of fun activities on weekends.
April was such a relief from the cold winter winds. Flowers bloomed, ice thawed, and people dropped down to only two layers. This picture, like the last, was taken in Olympic Park.
May witnessed the long-awaited trip to South Korea’s second city–Busan. Forever known among us as “Busanity,” this weekend entailed beach games galore, fireworks, a Viking, and lots o’ convenience store beers.
June was hot and wet as Seoul famously transitioned from horrible winter to awful summer. But there was a free homebrew fest, with really good beers, and I met a homebrewer there who ended up being a great writer and a good friend.
July meant summer break, and instead of exotic locales like Cambodia, Laos, or Sri Lanka we explored Korea, tourist style. We headed up north to Sokcho, cruised over say goodbye to Seoraksan, and then found a river town where we stayed along a cool blue river. This picture, though, is the fulfillment of a long-awaited dream: swimming in the pools of Seoraksan.
August saw some goodbyes to good friends–this picture from a night out in Hongdae sums it up. (And I’ll never be able to hear “Another One Bites the Dust” without laughing again.)
September was the culmination of months of fun, as a group of 16 English teachers descended upon the small isle of Deokjeokdo for Chuseok. The entire 3 days were a blast, but if anyone says the tribal party wasn’t the highlight, they’re lying.
October = New Zealand! So many pictures (I had a camera again) and this is one of the hardest months to chose from. But what struck me the most was how all of New Zealand’s North Island are rolling green hills (somewhat a pity, as it took mass uprooting of the native flora). This view from Te Mata (outside Napier) is indicative of the entire island.
We didn’t see much of Taranaki while hiking around it, but it sure looks nice from New Plymouth.
And the highlight of the year: A trip to New Zealand’s first National Park. And, of course, Mt. Doom!