A Public Library in the Mall – Seoul

 

We got a chance to go south of the Han River to check out Coex Mall near Gangnam. We decided on taking a taxi for time’s sake and surprisingly it only cost $15 from Gwanghwamun to Gangnam.

Coex Mall is a haven from the elements, both hot and cold. I say that because it’s huge! It’s connected to other shopping centers, has it’s own aquarium, movie theater, and is next to the SMtown museum. It gets better. Inside Coex Mall is the Starfield library meant for public use. Definitely check the place out because there’s lots to do.

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Falling in Love With Seoul

 

It’s been an interesting few days here in Seoul. First trying to navigate through the city with Kakao Maps, learning how to ride their subway, and just experiencing large crowds. It was a bit of an adjustment but we’re figuring it out.

People are so nice though. We’ve been getting really nice service from restaurant owners, convenient store workers, and our hotel cleaning lady. It’s definitely not what we expected, which is why we have grown to love it in Seoul.

Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef And A Helicopter Tour

I’m so glad our friend convinced us to visit the Great Barrier reef.  When I told her of our plans to visit Sydney, Australia, she somehow got the idea in my head to see the reef.  I’m so glad we did because it’s a memory I’ll never forget!

There’s a bunch of tour companies to choose from, and we chose the one that included a helicopter tour, which was a package deal we found on Ozexperience.com.  The boat ride was a rough 45 minutes to the first snorkeling sight and lots of people weren’t prepared for it.  Should you decide to snorkel the great barrier reef, I suggest taking motion sickness pills so you don’t puke on the boat.  As for me, I was fortunate enough to make it through but only because I popped 2 Dramamine pills before leaving shore.

The idea of snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef may sound romantic, but it’s definitely not easy to do.  I mean we did it, but the waters can be somewhat choppy and did annoy my ears.  Let’s just say it’s not like snorkeling the calm waters of Hawaii or at least Shark’s Cove anyway.

There’s also things that you should look out for like sting rays or jellyfish.  We didn’t wear wetsuits, but if you want to take extra precautions when you visit during stinger season, they offer wetsuits for coverage.

So with the boat we chose, we had 2 opportunities to snorkel at different locations.  We snorkeled the first time, got out of the water, forgot our towels, ate lunch, and decided to just dry off instead of going back for a second snorkel.  We only had a 30 minute window after lunch before our helicopter tour so we both didn’t want to miss our chance, and because we didn’t want to be wet and cold on the ride, we just decided to skip the second snorkel all together.

So things to remember:

  1. Dramamine
  2. A towel
  3. Extra clothes to change into.
  4. Don’t bring anything expensive.  There are no lockers.
  5. There’s options other than snorkeling like going on their glass bottom boat.  I kind of wish we did the glass bottom boat, but there just wasn’t enough time.

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Visiting All 50 States – A Bucket List Goal

Does anyone else want to do this?  Visiting all 50 states with my husband is on my bucket list.  Below is a colored map of the states we’ve so far visited together, and hopefully next year we get to knock out a few more.  We’re thinking of visiting the northeast and driving up into Canada, but who really knows, our plans change so often we could be headed to Florida for all I know.

 

 

us map

 

When we visited each state:

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona – 2009
Arkansas
California – Home
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii – 2010
Idaho – 2016
Illinois – 2012
Indiana
Iowa – 2012
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana – 2016
Nebraska – 2012
Nevada – 2009
New Hampshire
New Jersey – 2011
New Mexico
New York – 2011
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon – 2015
Pennsylvania – 2011
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas – 2017
Utah – 2016
Vermont
Virginia
Washington – 2018
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming – 2016

Our 2 Day Stay in New York City

Below are just a few photos from our short trip to NYC back in 2011.  We stayed with my aunt in the Bronx so we saved a little money on accommodations.  Obviously, we had to prioritize our time so we made it a point to visit the Guggenheim, Central Park, and Top of the Rock.  We did just that plus a trip to Serendipity for their cold ‘hot chocolate’ and an unexpected musical to see Priscilla Queen of the Dessert courtesy of my aunt.  It was a fun filled 2 days in New York City for us newly weds.  Just a few months prior, we got married and this was our first trip together as husband and wife.

I could definitely do New York City all over again, but for an extended period of time.  I’d like to at least stay for 4 days just to soak everything in, and I’d want to go shopping, see a better musical on Broadway, and eat at Peter Luger’s because our friends told us so much about the place.  If we ever go back, I’d kind of want to go for New Year’s eve just for the experience.  I definitely wouldn’t want to be out in the frigid cold, but instead, I’d want to be in one of the hosted parties waiting for the ball to drop.

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Roof of the Guggenheim
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Had to get this because of the movie, Serendipity. #fomo

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From Top of the Rock overlooking Central Park
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From Top of the Rock
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Times Square

Day Trip to Washington D.C.

Below are photos from our day trip to Washington D.C. in 2011.  At the time we were staying in Atlantic City and the drive down took 3 hours.  We didn’t mind the drive since it was our first time visiting the northeast.  In fact, it was rather an adventure for us although somewhat of a rude awakening because of the amount of toll roads crossed.  Over here in California we take our freeways for granted, and that was when I figured out where the name ‘freeway’ is from.

I’d definitely like to visit Washington D.C. again and spend a little more time in their museums since they’re free.  I’d also like to tour the White House because who wouldn’t right?  Historical buildings are just amazing to see!

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Lincoln Memorial
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The scale of the Lincoln Memorial is amazing.  I think seeing this in person blew me away.

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Vietnam Memorial
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Vietnam Memorial
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U.S. State capitol building
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U.S. State capital buildings

When We Went to Chicago

Chicago is a beautiful city.  We had the opportunity to visit in 2012 when our friends got married in Omaha, Nebraska.  And since we were in the mid-west, we made it a point to see downtown Chicago.  We purchased the CityPass because it gained us entry into the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Skydeck, Willis Tower, and the Art Institute of Chicago.  It was definitely a packed itinerary with a visit to Millennium Park, Lincoln Park Zoo, and gorging ourselves on deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati’s and Giordano’s.  It was a fun trip and we could definitely visit Chicago again.

Below are some of my favorite pictures from our trip.  Hope you enjoy!

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View from the Shedd Aquarium balcony overlooking the city
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Sue inside the Field Museum
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Looking down from the Willis Tower
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Cloud Gate in Millennium Park
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Buckingham Fountain