Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Long Overdue Update

It has been a long time since I have updated this blog. I settled down in Seoul for so long that I became less inclined to blog, however, I am planning to leave soon on a new adventure. I like having the blog and pictures to help remind myself of my travel experiences. I'll start out with a travel update from the last few years.


Three years ago I went to Taipei Taiwan for a Magic the Gathering Tournament. I didn't do well in the tournament and didn't do nearly enough tourist stuff. I'd love to go back someday and eat more food and explore the city more.

Two years ago I went to Hanoi Vietnam. Vietnamese food has never been my favorite food, however, Vietnam is now my top spot for food. The flavors blew me away. Each street-food stop we had was better than the previous place. The least amazing meal was the most expensive, at something like $8, and had been written up by many world famous chefs. Not only was the food shockingly good, Hanoi overwhelmed the senses in every way. Another country I'd love to spend more time in.

A little over a year ago I went to Osaka for another tournament.  Osaka was cool.  Again, didn't do well but redeemed myself in Seattle.

More recently, in 2015, I made a long trip from Seoul to Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Portland, Mexico and back to Seoul.

The first stop was Irkutsk Russia. I'm pretty sure I was the only foreigner in the whole city. It was one of the few places alongside Morocco where I felt very out of place walking around. It felt dystopic and everything looked grey. Grey with the random brightly colored wood shutters on the windows of traditional Siberian houses. I met some cool people and had a good time overall. I saw Lake Baikal from the airplane but wasn't able to make it out there during my stay. You can ask me in person why I didn't make it to the only tourist destination in the area.

Next stop was Kiev Ukraine. Ukraine surprised me. It had the beauty of any of the top western European cities and the rugged yet charming characteristics you expect to see in eastern Europe. It also had the cost of living of the most poverty stricken parts of Africa or Asia. I honestly feel like I will move here some day, it was amazing. While in Kiev a took a day trip to the infamous Chernobyl. It is a difficult experience to describe. I actually don't really like the pictures I have of the visit because they create a sense of disaster porn/travel that they are meant to. This doesn't describe how it felt to be there. The noteworthy aspects of the experience can't be seen in pictures. There are people who work there to create a new cover for the power plant. There are fish swimming in the rivers. Everything just looks like an underpopulated countryside till you get to the abandoned buildings and cold-war era propaganda that looks untouched. It was very strange and nothing I say can really describe how it felt.


 After Ukraine I went to visit my friend in Hannover. A do-over from 2011 when I was dying of food poising in Jacob's Hannover apartment. This time I didn't get sick. Junie, a friend from Seoul who met me in Ukraine, came to Hannover too. It was a relaxing week in Hannover. Germany looks very German. The weather was nice. The french fries and sausage tasted like french fries and sausage. Maybe next time I'll go to Berlin?

Next stop was Portland. It had been two years since I had been to see my family and friends in Portland. This time I had an extended 6 week visit. 

I took an 8 week detour from Portland to Guadalajara Mexico with another friend, Jared, for Day of the Dead. That was very cool. Mexican food is amazing. Big fan of Mexico. They have great people, really great people, I love the people and food. 

Another big update is... I managed to graduate with an MA in TESOL (Teaching English as a Second or Other Language) from The New School.  I graduated with a 3.91, which a young Eric would never believe.  

I have some big travel plans coming up that I will wait to reveal till they begin. 

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