As we sneak into the holidays, the girls and I decided to make this DELICIOUS apple crisp recipe at girl's night. And let me just tell you...after we put that with some vanilla ice cream...I think we all about died and went to heaven. It was so easy and yummy that I will for sure be adding that to my recipe stash. We ate our homemade apple crisp and ice cream while I introduced them to Sandra Bullock in "Practical Magic". It definitely got us in the Halloween spirit.(P.S. Wasn't the same without you, Selestia!)
For Halloween weekend, we all went to Seoul and stayed in Itaewon, the most culturally diverse city in Korea. Its quite a bit different visiting this city because nowhere else in Korea can you find a Turkish restaurant right next to an On The Border and across the street from an Outback Steakhouse. The headquarters for the U.S. military forces is also located in Itaewon so it's no surprise that most things there are covered in English.
While there for the weekend, Luke and I hiked Gwanaksan (Gwanak Mountain) on the south end of Seoul, and it was such a perfect hike! The fall foliage was gorgeous and it was nice and relaxing that didn't require many breaks. We made it up to the peak and back in roughly 3-4 hours. Just before the top, we saw a temple sitting out on the edge of a cliff which made for some beautiful pictures.
Once we were finished, we headed back to our hotel, which was actually a Jjimjilbang. A jjimjilbang is a 24 hour bathhouse that is popular among many Koreans. People often go for massages, steam rooms, and a cheap night's stay, but it was definitely an experience for us! When we checked in to the "hotel", the girls all went to the left up a few floors to the rooms, and the boys met us there but walking up the staircase on the right. There is also a women's side and a men's side that are kept very separate and cannot be reached unless you go up to the shared floor and back down. In order to use their sauna's, steam rooms and various baths, you must shower. But full nudity is required so many women are walking around in the buff just gettin' clean. There are many different variations to these bathhouses, and the one we stayed in actually had individual rooms with double beds, so we were able to all get our own room. But there was an area on our floor that was dedicated to sleeping. You just grab a sleeping pad (similar to a yoga mat) and just knock yourself out. There could be nobody else in there, or there could be 30 other people and someone likely snoring very loudly. You can check out this short 3-minute video for more details.
On Saturday night, we all went out and literally spent the majority of the night just walking around the street with no destination in mind. I've never been a huge fan of Halloween, but Korea (more specifically, Itaewon) does it right! Koreans being known for their skin care and makeup, there were tons of people setup on the street doing people's makeup in all sorts of ways. The talent was incredible and so much more creative than I've ever seen in the U.S.
On the following Tuesday, the new teachers, Eric and Carley, arrived in the morning. I'm sure they were overwhelmed as a million of us were out front waiting for them and giving them so much information in their first ten minutes. They had a very busy first day which had all of us sympathizing for them since we had been there just less than a year ago. Between the jet lag, the immediate culture shock and the overwhelming burst of rules and information, we tried to ease them into life here as a "Villager" as best as we could. Of course last weekend, we had to introduce them to our classic samgyupsal dinner followed by a rousing night of Noraebang. They haven't quit yet so I think they'll do just fine!