Well what a lovely day! I awoke feeling like rubbish still, but it was time to put the big girl panties on and get out and about. And out and about we got. My girls are on Spring break this week and today was a great start to it (other than my rubbish cold that is)! Our neighbor and newfound friend, Rachel put out last week that she wanted to go and check out this place called Anmyeondo island. I love the beach, I love water, I love the peaceful feeling I get when I’m near it and I needed to feel some of that. So I jumped at the chance to join in and travel there. We cancelled our dentist appointments and changed some other stuff around just so we could go. That’s how important it was to me.
This past year has felt like a very long winter. We moved from Hawaii to Colorado in July, 2013 and although Colorado was in Summer at the time, it doesn’t really ever get over 80F in the Springs and that doesn’t qualify as Summer for me, just like Hawaii never got over 80 nor did it ever really get under 70F. So the weather suited me just fine because it was always semi-warm, whereas when it gets cold, I need it to get hot, just to balance me out. My friend Trine (Norwegian) doesn’t think it gets really cold in Colorado and perhaps compared to Norway it doesn’t, but it got down to -32C once (That’s -25.6F) aka bloody cold, too bloody cold for my liking! No one told me hair can freeze when it gets that cold, my hair was damp when I left the house and it froze almost immediately and a giant chunk snapped off, literally snapped. Goodbye hair, it was nice knowing you. No, thank you very much. I like my hair and I like my warmth and though she is one of my dearest friends, we shall always agree to disagree when it comes to Winter. It just doesn’t work for me. Off point, I know. 2015 was a year that seemed to me like perpetual cold. No, it wasn’t the coldest winter on record in Colorado, in fact it was a fairly warm winter, but it was still winter, then we went to Australia in July, my first time home in 5 years, almost to the day, and it’s winter, again. Yay (sarcasm) It hadn’t even gotten up to 80 in Colorado yet! The Sunshine Coast was ok, though I still desperately missed Summer, but Melbourne was absolutely freezing. By the time I get back to Colorado at the end of August, they have pretty much had 5 weeks straight of 80+F temps that all came to an end the week we arrived back, no I’m not kidding! We booked a cruise in January to try and locate some warmth, but even that only gave us one day of nice, warm, laying in the sun, weather and that was on our second last day.
We get to South Korea and it’s bleak and miserable and cold and we arrive in Seoul to -30C weather where we have to go and take our dog to play every day, at least twice a day and where the son does nothing but cry as soon as we head outside. It was truly miserable. The one thing about Colorado’s winter is that it is truly beautiful, picturesque probably better describes it. It may be cold and snowing but at least the sun comes out a lot and there’s beautiful mountains and scenery to look at, even on the coldest days. Not South Korea. The trees seem to all be deciduous, so everything looks dead in Winter. It’s cold and bleak with high rises and buildings and junk everywhere. The Koreans are extremely technologically advanced but they still don’t care about litter. I drove back from the beach today and watched car after car roll down their windows and throw stuff out. The beach was covered in trash in parts, just like the streets here. I hate it. I want to stop people in the street and say “what are you doing?” There are also no public rubbish bins (garbage bins) so what are people supposed to do with their garbage? I had two bags of garbage just after our picnic today, the first I left in the restrooms inside the garbage bin in there because I didn’t want to leave a bag of garbage in my car, the second, I took with us.
Back to today; I would have liked to crawl back into bed, but my need for beach and fresh air was more important, even with an almost 2 hour drive each way! I get out of bed and get cracking early enough to get an esky (cooler) packed as well as our picnic, but not early enough to work out. I do my Rodan and Fields regimen and lavish my face with Reverse #4 sunscreen (my fave sunscreen ever) then have to get breakfast for all children whilst also getting the youngest two ready. I take lots of vitamin C and some medicine that will stop my nose from running. Then it’s time to drop hubby off at work before feeding the cats we are looking after and picking up hubby’s colleague’s teenage daughter whom I have asked to join us, then meeting with Rachel at 9am (0900 in military speak). Crazy start to the day, yes.
We are off. It was a fairly easy drive given the Korean driving skills, no great drama on the roads, a couple of weird GPS turns, but I expect nothing less, and all goes smoothly. Rachel is leading the minivan convoy and does a great job. I’m a terrible driver/leader, I don’t know why but I always sit there and think the person behind me wants me to go faster or something, and here, all I want to do is go faster but apparently, the Korean speeding ticket is an absolute fortune and there are speed cameras everywhere, so I don’t take any chances. I actually led on the way back and my phone and my car GPS were going crazy with camera locations so it was really a matter of using my cruise control, but I probably also braked a lot and poor Rachel was probably like, “What are you doing?” But I’m not sure how anal they are with speeding tickets and I don’t want to take a chance, so if I thought there was a speed camera, I slowed down to the exact speed limit if not less. And it helped that my GPS lady shuts up when I slow down too!
There are 9 of us hitting the beach including 2 adults, two teens, one tween, and 4 kids all under 8. In our car, we are excited. I can tell you that we all looked at the scenery as we were driving through these regions and finally saw ‘beautiful’ South Korea. It was wonderful to see only green for a change, or green intermingled with flowering cherry blossoms. I wish I could share a photo of it with you, but unfortunately as the driver, there were no good photos. It didn’t help that I didn’t take my camera either! We crossed a number of large bridges to get to the island and it was truly magnificent. I go excited the minute I saw water! We had no idea which beach we should have chosen though, so it was a matter of guess work and between us, we ended up at a bit of a rocky cove, but it meant we found amazing shells! I have never seen so many shells in my life! It was truly amazing. And we collected a lot. Thank goodness Rachel had a spare ziplock bag for us to throw some cool shells in.
Leaving my eldest on the beach with her teenage friend (because neither of them really felt like going for a walk) the rest of us did a short hike over to the next beach where we discovered some cool shells, tide pools and a big rock stack. A gorgeous scenic viewing area claimed some space at the top of a fairly steep (for my 3 yo) staircase, there were also bunkers (we think) in between. That was my guess anyway, perhaps dating back to the Korean War where sentries kept an eye out for invasion? If anyone can enlighten me further, I would appreciate it.
It was a very easy hike even with young kids and well worth it for what awaited us at beach number 3, Sambong. A real life beach, with sand, and few rocks but lots of shells and tide pools. My phone decided a good time to die was right before I got a great photo of the entire beach! What I did get a photo of and what excited me the most was when Rachel’s kids found starfish! Starfish! They were beautiful and they were everywhere. It was so exciting, possibly even more so for me than for the kids, I love starfish! I grew up next to the wate but starfish were something I remember from a kid in New Guinea, I saw some in Tahiti, I think, and some in Malaysia or Thailand (or both) and a couple snorkeling in Hawaii, but that was it. This was literally hundreds of starfish hanging out on the beach in tide pools. We spent a long time just rescuing some who were looking like they had been beached, were starting to curl up, that sort of stuff. I have tried to do some research on starfish rescue (or ‘sea stars’ as they are now known – Ally kept saying this all afternoon but I didn’t give her credit and yet she was 100% correct) but no one seems to know too much about them. Apparently many are committing suicide on the west coast of the United States??? Seriously! Who knew? But no one knows why! Maybe real estate prices? Very strange though considering they have no brain according to scientists. Anyway, the kids and I thought it better safe than sorry given sometimes starfish just have to roll with the surf and have no control over where they end up, better to end up in small tidal pools with access to mussels than not, I say. So that’s what we did. Between us, we must have rescued 50 starfish. And yes, we are sticking with rescued! My kids are heroes! Even Hunter who hates anything stick or gooey on his hands, was very happy to pick these babies up and deliver them to the nearest tidal pool – Hero! 😊
These following two photos are credited to Rachel White:
We eventually decided, given the next beach was 10km away, to end the hike there and return to our original location, find my eldest, and let the kids just play for a while before making our way back. On the way back, it seemed like what was an empty path became filled with Korean tourists from a bus tour, all on the steep steps. After many ‘hello’s’ though we go to the lookout to see the last group trying to take a photo. I asked if I could help by taking a photo for them and they were very happy. Having no idea, I mean none whatsoever, what Koreans use to say smile in a photo, I used the go-to for any English speaking person, “Cheese!” But this one dude in the back row cracked me up when his response was: “Kim Cheeeeeese!” Kimchee, or kimchi is a well known Korean dish and this seriously made me laugh, just because I guess I was expecting something like it, but I wasn’t. Brilliant! Next time, that shall be my go-to line, not Kimchee, but kimcheeeese!
Back to the beach we go where the kids get to play for a while and the weather has warmed up enough for us to remove sweaters for a short while. It was fun. Needing to use the toilet wasn’t mind you, given the barnacle/rock extravaganza that awaited us, but it was fun nonetheless. I took the lead as I previously mentioned, to drive home when Rachel’s app didn’t want to cooperate, and it was all good except for my speeding up/slowing down maneuvers of course. We got home at a more decent hour than I expected and hubby was actually in between (meaning he came home to change before going out again) so it all worked out as the kids got to tell him all about their awesome, amazing, wonderful day at the beach.
Unfortunately, the minute I got home, it was like all the congestion that spent most of the day leaving my body, came back in full force, perhaps the ocean air was a big contributor, anyway, rubbish was how I felt! It was time to check on the kitties again and I was supposed to start T25 beta round but at 7pm (the time we were back in the house) all this body wanted to do was relax, instead, I had to get my kids the extremely gourmet meal of ramen (2minute) noodles – thank you noodle Monday and for the fact that sometimes I don’t have to be elaborate! I had leftover pasta, got everyone in respective showers, including myself. Did the night regimen, no AMP MD tonight either, and sat down to write this. There may have been some trashy Korean TV in between, a first for our family as we searched for something suitable for the kids to watch with us, and it may have involved ‘little people’, a video of my dog intently watching the show ‘Little People, Big World’ and I may have also let my girls watch that crazy show ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’ just to give them an idea about how I am a very normal mummy! But otherwise, a relatively quiet night!
I hope your day and or night are magnificent, no matter where you are. For me, I just want to wake up without a sore, runny nose in the morning and be able to do a double Tuesday workout, given I didn’t do this one today!
Happy trails! 😊