Latin Flavor’s First Latin Party!

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As they say, “No pain, no gain”. We got our butts kicked with this dance. Matt and I especially, who were newbies in a way, started off in such a rough spot. I was absolutely amazed how in a few short weeks Matt, who had never taken salsa before, pushed himself and ended up looking the way he did. Dave, who didn’t know NY style salsa but was good at picking things up quickly, was a life saver who we depended on to help us practice off the salsa floor. 

Throwing a party as Latin Flavor was awesome. These people are passionate about the group, and the party was so beyond our expectations. Around 120 showed up, I think the biggest foreign based salsa party. 

The best was having people from my church come and volunteer to help with the fundraising that we were doing for Not for Sale. Read the previous post to learn a bit more about this anti-human trafficking group. 

The first dance is the salsa song I’m in and the second is the awesome sexy bachata song the others in our team did. Enjoy! ^_^

Sonora Carruseles – El Gato Boogaloo

Toby Love – Tengo Un Amor

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A Week in Photos #3

My bus ride was made so much better when I spotted this little boy “helping” take weight off her hands. He is so adorable! 

I got a nice surprise in the package my mom was sending me. As I opened it I thought, “What the…????” and had to laugh. My poor mother knew I had been so sick and decided to send me some tea. How that went through customs with no inspection is beyond me hahaha. 
 For three days I interviewed my freaked out students for a summer program where they have a change to be volunteer translators. They were so cute!

Had some of the best Thai so far in Korea. Drool … they make an excellent non-alcoholic mojito. Funny thing is, they double checked that we understood it had no alcohol. “Yes, I am aware most foreigners like to drink a lot. But yes, I will still enjoy this mocktail.” 

Matt always meets interesting people. This time it was a random grandmother sitting next to him who proceeded to tutor him on our train to Seoul once she saw him take out his Korean Language books. See what happens when a foreigner looks like they really want to immerse themselves in a culture? People reach out and connections are made. 

We went to Nami Island, near Seoul. A magical island.. promoted as a fairy tale of a place. ^_^

Play practice was extra awesome this week because I got to meet Koda. Rach and Simon adopted him the day prior. He is so freaken cute!
 See?

Jinhae – Cherry Blossom Heaven

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Cherry Blossoms

While some Koreans were out voting for the National Assemblies election, Matt, Dave and I decided to visited the beautiful little city of Jinhae. It was a bit past peak season, but Jinhae is the place to go if you want to fall in love with cherry blossom trees, or bott kkott namu (벚꽃 나무) they are called. Watching of cherry blossom was introduced to Korea during Japanese rule. While Japan has been known to present countries with cherry blossom trees as gifts, it was also used as a means to claim occupied territory (source).

Jinhae History

Jinhae (진해구), located a 2 hour’s drive from Daegu, in a bay on Korea’s south coast. It’s a small city, of roughly around 170,000 people. The Japanese planted many cherry trees to beautify the city following their occupation of Korea as they simultaneously transformed Jinhae into a naval port. The port is still a famous spot in Jinhae, and hosts the Jinhae Gunhangjae (군항제), or Naval Port Festival. The festival has been commemorating Admiral Yi Sun-si (이순신) since 1952, a navy admiral who fought against the Japanese back in the 1500’s.  

Yeojwa Stream

Yeojwa Stream (여좌천) was by far my favorite spot! It is a popular couple’s place (::snort:: what isn’t in Korea?). It is also called “Romance Bridge”, which has been used as a shooting location for “Romance,” a drama starring Kim Ha-nul and Kim Jae-won.

Yeojwa Stream was number #17 in CNN’s 50 Beautiful places to Visit in Korea. It’s just beautiful, for a long stretch, a small stream is surrounded on both sides by cherry blossom trees. It encases the stream, and you feel like it’s snowing petals. So so romantic. At night, they apparently turn lights on and the blossoms glow agains the dark sky. Maybe next year, I’ll have to stop by and check it out ^_^ 

Jinhae Tower

Jinhae Tower is built on top of the small mountain called Je-Hwang Mountain (90m elevation) near the city center of Jinhae. There are 365 steps, called “year stairway”. We were brave enough to walk to the top. And it was sooooo worth it! We stopped at one point to sit and breathe in the pine trees and look at the cherry blossoms. Perfection!