Archive | September, 2012
September 23, 2012

Asan Pet Shelter

 

I have been living in Korea now for a little over a year and I have been looking for a nice place to donate my time and energy for a while. Having a minimum of 3 jobs at all times back home in the U.S., I have never had so much free time (and energy) as I do now that I have adopted a minimalist lifestyle in earnest. It seems odd, yet deeply satisfying that having less has had a direct connection to a richer, more fully enjoyed life.

As I prepared for my initial yearlong (now longer) “sojourn” to Korea back in the Winter of 2011, I began the cathartic and transformative process of jettisoning over 75% of my worldly possessions, including my beloved car. I began small enough – with little trips to the trash bin and the Goodwill and Lutheran Social Services drop off. Once I got rolling, and decided what I truly needed and what I could legitimately live without, the whole process became a fun, liberating, and enlightening exercise. I likened it to my own personal version of the popular cable TV show, Clean Sweep, on TLC – only with no cameras or annoying presenters.

After selling 25% of my electronics, books, music and videos, giving away another 25% of furniture and odds and ends, and donating the rest, I was left with a much smaller and much more manageable pile of what really matters to me. Other than personal pictures and some keepsakes, the rest is still easily replaceable. What I was left with before I left was a stronger sense of my true identity and a removal of the attachment to “stuff” that has permeated and polluted the so-called American dream. I am now much more confident and outwardly focused as a result, and much more discriminating as to what I accept into my life and to how I spend my time.

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To that end, I happily came across a wonderful event on Facebook organized by pet-lover Allison Young, an English teacher from Canada, now living in Seoul. Allison and other volunteers from throughout Korea travel to Asan in the South Chungcheong Province to spend time with the pets at the animal shelter there. Mr. Park, a retired race car driver, owns multiple acres in the hills outside town which he generously uses to house and care for over 100 animals. As a part of Animal Rescue Korea, Mr. Park’s shelter has over 70 abandoned dogs of all ages and sizes and 30-40 cats, all looking for foster care or permanent homes.

This past weekend, I traveled north via the KTX (just a quick 20 minutes) to the Cheonun/Asan Korail station to meet the volunteer group. Nearly 20 folks, in Korea from all over the world, rallied at the Dunkin’ Donuts in the terminal before departing for the shelter – another 15 minutes by cab.  Once there, the energy was immediate and infectious. After a quick tour of the dogs main kennels with Allison, I was joined by Clare, from South Africa, Kate, from New Zealand, and Dania, from Colombia, who all got to work walking, cleaning, feeding and generally loving on these amazing animals. It was a day filled with challenges, adventure, exploration, and ultimately making a lot of great new friends both human and otherwise. It was one of the most humbling and rewarding things I have ever done, and the natural high was so strong I can’t wait to get back. I ended the wonderful day with a long, hot shower and a big bowl of Pho from the Vietnam Market (review coming soon) near Daejeon Station.

There are so many pets there looking for a new chance to love and be loved – all they need is a second chance with the right person, couple, or family and to get the word out throughout South Korea!

 

To find out more, adopt a pet, or simply to volunteer, please check out Animal Rescue Korea (ARK) online at: www.animalrescuekorea.org, or feel free to contact me at rocktraveler@gmail.com.

To learn more about embracing a minimalist lifestyle, I highly recommend the essays of Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus at: www.theminimalists.com.as well as the book

Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long Term World Travel, by Rolf Potts, available at www.rolfpotts.com

 

 

September 23, 2012

Brunch at Moru

Eggs Benedict with Salmon

 

Moru is a terrific little joint for breakfast and brunch. Having been a few times over the past year, I figured it was time to give them the props they deserve here at The Rock Traveler.

First found by my co-worker, Susan, this cozy restaurant is located just a block south of the main Timeworld/Galleria intersection in Daejeon. It is in the alley right behind the SK service station and it is generally packed on the weekends. Your best bet is to get there early (Moru opens on the weekend at 10:30) or after the church crowd rush. Don’t wait too long, however, because everything is served market fresh and once it is gone, it’s gone.

I went this weekend with Joshua, Native teacher at the JLS Noeun branch, who is also a big fan of the western-styled breakfast menu here. We got there just after opening and the place was already hopping. After taking a number at the register (essential) we only waited about 20 minutes for a great table out on the patio.

Josh is a big fan of the terrific omelets but opted this morning for Almond French Toast and a huge, hot cup of hazelnut coffee. I recommend both the scrambled eggs and sausage platter or my choice today – the Eggs Benedict with Salmon and a fresh mug of Cafe Vienna. Most dishes are served with a small side salad and I highly recommend the Peach Iced Tea if you are not into the whole caffeinated bean thing!

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If you are in the area and are hungry for a great meal in the Timeworld area, I highly recommend Moru on the basis of their fresh, hot food, patient and attentive service, and a friendly, welcoming environment. Josh and I really enjoyed the background music, too! Just remember to get there early, take a number, and be very patient. The always smiling staff will make your meal memorable, but make no mistake – this is not a fast food breakfast. It is a not-so-secret place for a slow and lazy Sunday morning nosh.

September 5, 2012

Student Art at JLS

As I travel the halls of Jeongsang Language Academy here in Dunsan Dong, I am consistently amazed by the student writing and artwork on display. There is nothing quite like the imagination and creativity of kids anywhere, so I thought it would be fun to share it!

 

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