Sunday, March 23, 2014


The 'official' status of this blog is: It's semi-retired. Despite not posting much these days, I still change my blog banner regularly. It's probably the only sign to say I have not abandoned it yet. Looking back at the banners I put up last year, here are some which I like and my thought about them.

Snow field, Daegwalleong - It started to snow as the bus left Gangneung for Hoenggye. I was soon caught in a jam caused by heavy snowfall. Slippery road and low visibility slowed traffic to a crawl. What was supposed to be a half hour journey became two and a half hours. By the time I reached Hoenggye, there was only an hour of daylight before sunset. But it was enough to have some fun in the snow field of Daegwalleong. I waded through knee-deep snow like I was on my way to Lapland. I lied on the soft snow like it was the most comfortable bed in the world. I did what I always wanted to do with snow. I made up for the regret I had in winter 2008. Back then, it did not snow a lot.

Hyeri Art Valley, Paju - I am Zakka ( is a lifestyle store and this store is located in Hyeri Art Valley. It was a freezing cold winter day with plenty of sunlight. The glass wall of the store threw off a vivid reflection of the gloomy winter landscape, naked trees and hazy sky, a direct contrast to the lovely items displayed indoor. I enjoy roaming in Hyeri, an open space where arts and leisure come together. There is always something new to see and experience. Sip a cup of coffee, read a book, visit a museum, do some handicraft and watch the pace of life slows down. A great getaway from the crowded Seoul.

Azalea, Kyunghee University - Sunshine duirng springtime is most comfortable and anything that soaks in it looks miraculously beautiful. It is a season worth waiting for even if it means to endure the harshness of deep winter cold. The feeling of seeing sea of flowers right before my eyes was surreal. That's nearly heaven to me. I could not stop taking picture of them in fear they would fade away tomorrow. Beautiful time is short but it can always live in memory and photos. That was spring 2009, when I discover how lucky I am.

Frankfurt Train Station - Every year during summer, our suppliers from Europe would send us notice of their summer vacation period so that we can plan our order in advance. Sigh, they go for vacation while we continue to work despite everyday is summer in Singapore. Last June, I have the chance to visit Frankfurt for product training. Travelling on the autobahn, I saw many cars with trailer in tow, carrying bicycles, motobikes and even powerboat, probably on their way to camping site or resort. At city central, food and beer festival was in full swing. There is excuse to stay out late everyday because summer night only arrives after 10. That's summer holiday alright. It was my first trip to Europe and it has piqued my interest to explore more of the continent in future. 

Yeongdo, Busan - The sea was calm but the day was breezy. Every now and then, a strong gust of wind sent ripples spreading across the sea surface. Fleet of weather-beaten fishing boats berthed at Yeongdo, swayed gently as they caught the wind. No busy traffic and no one was in a rush. Pace of life came to a standstill. A peaceful fishery port and a scene of tranquility when seen from far. It was a worthwhile stop-over even if it was just to savour a moment of serenity. There is a part of me that is always connected to the sea which makes every encounter joyful.

Autumn hue, Baekyangsa - I first came across the 의태어 (擬態語) 울긋불긋 while preparing for my KLPT in 2006. I gave back everything I learned after the test, except maybe 울긋불긋. Someday, I thought I would see for myself the "autumn hue" in the word. My 9-month stay in Seoul in 2009 excluded autumn which became one of  my regrets. But I made it up in 2010 with my autumn trip to Mt. Naejang and Baekyangsa. Walking on road covered by fallen red and yellow leaves, I saw more than colours; there was sorrow, pain, relief and peace interspersed among them. Pain because it ends and relief because it ends. If there is one thing I wish I can learn from nature is to make each ending beautiful.

Donghae, Jeongdongjin - I like this banner most as it evokes a sense of direction amid turbulence. The original words on the sign are "정동진역" (Jeongdongjin Train Station). Except the word change, the picture is authentic. I travelled 14 hours by air and land to reach Jeongdongjin on the final day of 2012. I have a simple objective and that is to witness the first sunrise of 2013 and wish for stability in the coming year. There were too much ups and downs that I yearned for a firm ground to land on. I didn't see any sunrise the following day, as it started with an overcast sky. But I do believe my wish was somehow registered. 2013 was a year of peace and stability just like what I wished for.

Ice crystals, Taebaek Station - The morning I left Taebaek city, the city was deeply frozen at -20°C. Passsengers inside Taebaek Train Station would not wander outdoor because of the freezing cold but I didn't care. Outside the station, the sun was shining brightly but the delicate ice crystals on the station's window were in no risk of melting away. I stayed 3 days 2 nights at Taebaek city for the sole purpose of climbing snow-covered Mt. Taebaek. It was a challenge that I was not too sure I could complete. But like all previous challenges, I just put out my first step and move ahead. I must say, it was awesome standing on top of Mt.Taebaek. I now beg for more challenges.   

Frozen North Han River, Chuncheon - "I want to visit Nami Island when its snows", I told myself. I missed the winter window in 2008 as I was busy settling down in Seoul, or maybe, I was too settled down that I did not feel like travelling anywhere far. I did not forget I have an unfulfilled wish when I left Seoul after my study. Four years later, I set foot in Nami Island on a light snowing day. The island was covered in snow alright but there was nothing romantic about it. Too many people I guess. Looking out from the island, away from the crowd, the frozen North Han River, offered a moment of peace, which is what I like about it when I first visited it in 2006. With this trip, I have one less regret. 


  1. In Korea Croatia is a popular European destination these days ... the are other great places to see if you'd like to explore more, I'll single out a few coordinates

    1. Croatia is nice, thanks. What other great places do you recommend?

  2. I'd suggest to see one country at a time, starting with France going from the capital to the south is a possibility:

    48.843516, 2.356174 (the round bench at the libanese cider tree, a quite spot in Paris)

    47.021953, 4.836573 (a good place to explore the Burgundy)

    44.853728, 5.520271 (a place to stay to watch the sunrise from the Vercors)

    43.744222, 4.795054 (simply, the Provence)

    43.454813, 4.570344 (a nice circuit to see the Camargue)

    All points can be reached through a combination of public + mechanical (foot, bike) transportation. Ideally, to explore the surrounding regions one should at least calculate 2 weeks.

    1. I didn't expect you would actually give me the exact coordinates, wow. I have a preview of the places using google map. Will put a few of the destinations in my future itinerary. Thank you for your recommendation.

  3. Whenever I feel like the world doesn't understand what I'm saying, I come to your blog. It makes me feel like at least someone else appears to leave in the world I live in, where falling autumn leaves is not only seen but felt. Thank you for making me feel better tonight. =)


  4. Sorry, I made mistakes: It makes me feel like at least someone else appears to live in the world I live in, where falling autumn leaves are not only seen but also felt.