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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Pondering the Next Move

One thing about living abroad that can be frustrating. Despite being abroad for almost 14 years, my family never seems to ask real questions about what I'm doing here. I never get questions about the specifics of my job. There's very little curiosity in what I do. For example, they never ask me about what students I teach, what my academy is like, if I like my job, or even my travel experiences. The attitude with my dad seems like "I don't really care what you do in Korea. Just come back home." So to add to that frustration, I think I felt like the closeness with my dad and brothers will never be there until I go back to L.A.

There is one exception however. I am thankful that my brother Jon came out to Korea TWICE. He came once to see what my life was like and the second time for my wedding. I'm very happy that he was here to understand why I've stayed in Korea for such a long time and we got closer during that time. I'll always treasure both of his visits to Korea and I'll be eternally grateful for that.

The second thing that is frustrating is not seeing my nephews and niece grow up which is tough. But then my dad would just tell me to come home as if it was that easy to do. While living in L.A., I had a hard time finding my dream job. First, I majored in Political Science. That was a mistake and totally didn't match my character. Then after getting a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science, I went back to school to become an elementary school teacher. Actually it was interesting, but I really wanted to work full time and teach at the same time. That brought me to Korea. I was able to teach kids and got free rent. But teaching elementary and middle school students was tough, so I started teaching adults. Since then, I've really enjoyed my job and find it rewarding. I found my niche since I've been teaching adults since 2005. I really want to continue doing that.

Lately, my wife and I have been burned out with Korea. My wife has a busy church life at her Korean service and her Chinese service. She's one of the leaders for her Chinese service and she's constantly busy helping to serve her Chinese members. By the time she gets home on Sunday evening, she's exhausted. Then she goes back to Daejeon on Tuesday to study until Thursday before making the trip back to Seoul on Thursday night. She's really experiencing a busy life. My burnout comes from my split shift (commuting 10 times a week to and from work) and barely making enough money to support both of us. The novelty of living in Korea has also worn out and I get frustrated over the cultural difference that I used to embrace.

I'm asking the Lord for guidance and whether or not he wants us to stay or go. I would love to go back to the U.S. for awhile while she gets her PhD and if I could get a job in L.A., then I would be there in a heartbeat. The ultimate goal is for her to be a missionary in China. But we would love to live in the U.S. for 4-5 years before we leave for China. We're just not sure if that will be a good option financially since I don't know if I can get a job that pays enough for both of us while we're there.

Please keep my wife and I in prayer as we ponder our next step!

Scott Worden (The L.A./Seoul Guy)
Instagram: laseoulguy
Twitter: laseoulguy

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Ulsan Harbor Bridge Observatory in Ulsan, South Korea

One of the most recent places to sightsee is the Ulsan Harbor Bridge in Ulsan, South Korea. Ulsan, which is Ulsan's 7th largest city in South Korea needed a long-span suspension bridge to counter the continuing population growth of the city. They then came up with the decision to construct the Ulsan Harbor Bridge.  The construction of the bridge began in 2010 and finished in June 2015. It crosses the Tae-Hwa River and connects the western and eastern metropolis areas of Ulsan. It is now the 22nd longest bridge in the world. See this list to see where the Ulsan Harbor Bridge is ranked among other famous suspension bridges in the world.

The goal of this bridge was to reduce traffic congestion in Downtown Ulsan and to help drive the development of Ulsan as it continues to gain more popularity. It also allows two-way barge traffic. The bridge has four lanes of traffic and a 300-meter navigation clearance of at least 60 meters of height.

If you happen to being doing business in the industrial section of Ulsan, you can visit the Ulsan Bridge Observatory. You can go here along with Daewangam Park and Ilsan Beach, which are all great places to check out and very close to each other. You can also stay at the Hyundai Hotel Ulsan, which is about a 5-7 minute taxi ride from all of them.

The best way to see this bridge is to either take a taxi while you're staying in the Jung-gu area of Ulsan or take the Ulsan city tour bus which can be found here.

Scott Worden (The L.A./Seoul Guy)
Instagram: laseoulguy
Twitter: laseoulguy

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Hotel Hyundai in Ulsan, South Korea

I had a great experience at the Hyundai Hotel Ulsan. I went there two weeks ago with my wife, my wife's sister, and her brother-in-law as a Global Supporter and we were treated very nicely. From the outside, the hotel doesn't stand out like The Hyatt or The Intercontinental Hotel. It's a hotel that is especially designed for people on business trips. However, once you're inside, you're greeted with professional and friendly staff. The lobby of the hotel is very clean and spacious as well. I was impressed with how organized Hotel Hundai looked as we looked around the lobby.

Once my wife and I got to our room, we noticed how clean the room was, how comfortable the bed felt, and the great view of the Hyundai Art Park from the room.  The park is right across the street from the hotel. When my wife and I checked it out, we saw how quiet and relaxing it was.

A quiet room and very comfortable bed

Hyundai Art Park
 I especially loved the cherry blossoms surrounding it during the spring time. Early April is the best time to see the cherry blossoms in Ulsan.

The cherry blossoms surrounding the park just across from Hotel Hyundai

The Topaz buffet (for dinner) had a great selection of Korean food, sushi, grilled, meat, and vegetables. You won't be disappointed with their food. On top of that the breakfast is also outstanding. You can get Korean food or enjoy an array of  Western style food such as scrambled eggs, bacon, silver-dollar pancakes, potatoes, etc. The breakfast is open from 6:30-9:30am on weekdays. The hours may vary on weekends.

Coffee Shop Sara has a nice atmosphere about it. You can enjoy your coffee while reading a book in a very quiet environment. You can even use one of their Mac computers if you need to do some work for your business.

The Japanese restaurant Nami offers sushi, sashimi, fried food, and liquor. It's open from 12:00pm-3:00pm for lunch and 5:00pm-9:30pm for dinner during the week, but it's closed on Saturdays and Sundays. The Chinese restaurant Yewon is open from 12:30-3:00pm for lunch and from 5:30pm-9:30pm for dinner.

As a Global Supporter, I was given a cake for me and my wife and my wife's sister-and brother-in-law were given a cake as well. We chose the chocoate cake, which was absolutely delicious. Expect to pay about W32,000. It's a bit pricey, but you won't regret it!

A delicious chocolate cake

There's also a classy bar where you can have a drink and relax. You can see a very talented piano player that plays to the music of very famous and popular songs. She's fantastic.

The classy bar of Hyundai Hotel Ulsan

A pina colada, martini, strawberry mojito, and regular mojito

"Would you like something to drink?"

The best part about this hotel is that it's conveniently located near a few places in Ulsan. They include Daewangam Park (my favorite place in Ulsan), Ilsan Beach, and Ulsan Bridge Observatory. They're all within 5-7 minutes by taxi.

Ulsan Harbor Bridge

Daewangam Park with a view of Ilsan Beach in the distance

Daewangam Park with Ulgi Lighthouse on the hill

If you're interested in checking out Hotel Hyundai Ulsan, you can go to here. If you have any questions about this hotel or Ulsan in general, feel free to write a comment. Happy travels!

Scott Worden (The L.A./Seoul Guy)
Instagram: laseoulguy
Twitter: laseoulguy

Monday, April 10, 2017

Daewangam Park in Ulsan, South Korea

When I first came to South Korea in 2003, Ulsan was my first destination. At that time a Korean co-worker, who was ironically named Mr. Bin drove us to a few places in Ulsan to go sightseeing. One place that I went to and loved was Daewangam Park. However, I couldn't remember the name of it until I made a trip back to Ulsan last month.

Thankfully, as a "global supporter" of the Hotel Hyundai in Ulsan, I was able to return to where my career in Ulsan started and I was able to see Daewangam Park in all its glory. My wife, her sister, her brother-in-law and I took a five-minute taxi ride to Daewangam Park. Once we got there, we saw restaurants and cafes to the left and started walking down a 1-kilometer trail that leads to Ulgi Lighthouse.

We came at the perfect time (April). The cherry blossoms were in full bloom in the southern part of Korea and Ulsan was no different. I got a pretty good shot in the middle of the path with cherry blossoms on both sides:

You'll be able to see magnolias, camelias, and apricot trees on the left side. My wife even got a picture of a forsythia tree in the middle of the trail. Someone even made some hearts of forsythias next to the tree. I'll make an objective statement and say that my wife looks cute in this picture! :)

Towards the end of the path is the old Ulgi Lighthouse which was constructed in 1906 but deactivated in 1994:

The newer one is right next to it and is currently in operation and started to be lit in 1994:

But the best part of the park is when you continue walking to the ocean. You'll get some great views of the coastline and also the lighthouse as you walk across a bridge to Daewangam Island, which is a rock island. You can see a a view of Ulsan in a different way than most people would expect. Most people think of Ulsan as shipyards and factories since its the home of Hyundai. However, once you reach Daewangam Island, you'll get a different perspective of Ulsan.

The trail to Daewangam Island

One view from Daewangam Island
The area was very quiet even though many local people come here to visit. It reminded me of Fukuoka, Japan to some extent! My wife even got a picture with one of the locals. Haha!

You can even walk to Ilsan Beach, which is about 10-15 minutes away on foot. You can get a great view of it as you walk back to the Daewangam Park parking lot. Here's a shot that I took of it here:

A path that leads to Ilsan Beach
As of this moment, Daewangam Park is my favorite place to sightsee in Ulsan. It's about an hour away bus ride from the Ulsan KTX station, so keep that in mind. However, it's worth the trip because it's relaxing and you'll get some great pictures!

Scott Worden (The L.A./Seoul Guy)
Instagram: laseoulguy
Twitter: laseoulguy