Jirisan

Jirisan. Claims the second highest peak in South Korea. The highest on the mainland. With my newfound love for hiking, it was a must. This would be my first overnight/sunrise hike. Food list checked. Bags packed again. Hiking boots on. Along with some great company and we were off. A few highlights from the trip:

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snackin’ in the shade
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smiling, but actually really struggling
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#truestory #struggleisreal
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napping with this surrounding us
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dinner at sunset
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the hiking culture is awesome, the people included. got to meet the head kahuna of jirisan national park and his buddies. shared some good conversations about hiking, career goals and just life in general. good times.
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mmm catching that sunset.
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never fails.
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up early to catch the sunrise.
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mandatory photoshoot session: aaron
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mandatory photoshoot session: katherine
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mandatory photoshoot session: me
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yes, it was freezing. sleeping bag was clutch
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another selfie on the top for keeps
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get that jump shot
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zipping down to catch our bus to busan
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the meals after hikes are seriously the best

Hands-down one of the most difficult hikes I’ve done thus far. It was a very intense uphill battle nearly the entire way with almost no reprieve. Still, it’s that feeling of overcoming a struggle that makes it so worth it. Seoraksan, we coming for you next.

A Day at Seorak

Beautiful weather. Sun was shining. Breeze was breezin’. Bags were packed. Hiking shoes were on and it was game on like Donkey Kong. Came ready for a 12-hour all day hike, but due to some rotten luck, entrance to the peak was prohibited. Instead, we hiked up Ulsanbawi, which was also challenging and hiked over to the waterfalls afterwards. Places like this make me enjoy this country just a little bit more ๐Ÿ™‚

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31

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31. My first year in my thirties is already over. What a year it’s been walking the line of both struggle and joy. Coming to realize that every year of life isย too special to miss out on.

To commemorate turning 30 last year, I jumped out of a plane. Overcame a fear. To commemorate turning 31, I got a tattoo. (No, I probably won’t do something big every year, or maybe I will). I’ve been wanting one for many years now. 8 to be exact. When, I first had the desire, I actually waited. I waited two years to see if it was just a phase. It wasn’t. Still, I waited, this time much longer for many reasons. Fear of pain. Sin or not sin? But really, I wanted to make sure I knew what I wanted considering it was kind of permanent. At first, I wanted a word. The word ‘fearless’ for the longest time. Slowly, the word evolved into an image of a boat on the sea. Here’s the behind the scenes look.

When I was young, I nearly drowned in the ocean. Since then, I was always afraid of the ocean. By how easily it could take my life. I was enthralled by its beauty but only from afar.ย It wasn’t until 2009 when a love and fascination for the sea awakened on a backpacking venture. I was able to overcome my fear of the ocean, kind of. I did more than just dip my feet, I immersed myself into it. I swam in it. I sailed on it. I even snorkeled in it. It was one of the scariest thing I ever did at that time.

Love grew for the sea. I longed for the sounds of waves. Thirsted after the waters on my skin. Sounds extreme, but it was pretty serious. Watching One Piece didn’t help either. I wanted to change my career path and become a pirate in my early 20s and follow Captain Luffy. We’ll call it a quarter-life crisis. A strange yet strong desire to be out at sea frequented my thoughts throughout the years. I wanted to sail to the ends of the earth, but of course, never mustered up the time or courage or skills to do so. Still, daydreams are allowed, no?

The sea continued to be a place of fear, wonder and love. A reflection of my God. Him, this endless ocean. I, a little boat, within that vastness floating and sailing along. Some days, the waters of life were gentle and kind. And other days, it seemed as if they would swallow me alive. There were days where I would find incredible joy in the journey and days I wanted out of the mundane routine. Days I felt I could endlessly gaze in awe of his incredible majesty, and again days not. Times where I’d be encouraged by the company of other boats and times where I just wanted to drift away. Days where I allowed the winds of change to navigate me, and others where I would take control of these winds in my favor. I could go on.

One day, a song came along. It was one of those songs you want on your own personal life soundtrack believing it was written just for you. One that will play when you’re reflecting on life and making important life decisions on top of a beautiful cliff with wind blowing in your hair in an epic manner. “Captain,” it’s called. It almost too perfectly illustratesย the life I’ve chosen to live and want to continue to live. To venture into the unknowns and uncertainties of this uncharted life with one simple and true certainty …

Jesus, my captain, my soul’s trusted Lord, all my allegiance is rightfully yours.

Moana

Moana

This movie really surprised me. God speaks to me a lot in movies. He spoke heaps in this one. From the beginning when as a little girl, the ocean chose her. No sailing experience. No experience in defeating bad guys. No experience in convincing a demi-god to man up and return the heart of te fiti. No true merit to have qualified her. Just chosen. Though she was unaware as she grew up, she continued to stay chosen. The ocean didn’t just change its mind. It waited for her to realize the truth about herself.

As she started accepting the truth, she became bold and fearless. She was willing to risk everything to finish the race that was before her despite the obstacles. She made mistakes. She learned from them. She grew more confident. That zeal seemed unstoppable. Like it does for us when we first start to believe in God. We feel unstoppable. Until we start to doubt in the face of defeat, which is what happened with Moana. When confronted with a battle unwon, she begins to doubt and question why the sea would choose someone like her. I do this often.

To prove that a journey should never be done alone, in comes grandma ray. With a little help from her, courage returns. One of those ridiculous kinds. The kind that makes you throw yourself back into the battle you just lost. The kind that makes you rethink the situation and tackle it differently. The kind that begins to believe that you were chosen for a reason.

When I grow up I want to be like Moana. She is brave. She is adventurous. Willing to take risks. Thoroughly enjoyed watching her journey of courage as she sailed into the unknown waters. She’s my imaginary hero. Man, she’s so cool!

Where Does It End?

Though I can never agree with 100% with things people say on media, I would have to agree with this lady on this one. I am a conservative by definition in many ways. The general stereotype is that a conservative is quite hard and closed-minded. As such, interacting and conversing with certain liberals has been one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever done. Why? I’d like to argue that liberals are some of the most close-minded people. As a conservative, I am open to discussion, debate and tolerance much like liberals (as most would assume). Though I may not accept their values as my own or agree with them, I can show respect for one’s opinion. I feel that’s being open-minded. However, whenever I find myself speaking against gay marriages or say that I’m pro-life, the liberals I’ve spoken with call me closed-minded. It made me think. Wait, I was just willing to listen to you and say to each their own, but you made a judgment call on me for my own personal beliefs and opinions.

Seeing things like what’s happening in this video makes me upset. The fact that you “feel” a certain way doesn’t change the truth that you are not. There are things in this life that you cannot “fake it till you make it.” I feel that gender, age, and race are some of those things. I’m sorry, but as a 30-year old, 5 foot Korean-American woman, I cannot just claim that I’m a 4 year-old 6 foot Dutch half boy/dog with one leg because “I feel like it” and expect to be viewed as such. It’s unrealistic and not true. Watching this really does beg the question, “Where does it end?”

There is truth and order in this world that’s been established by God. Without God, there would be no truth. People begin to create their own truths. Very dangerous waters. People are trying too hard in pushing the boundaries of the freedoms we’ve been given. This does not bring more “freedom.” Instead, it ushers in greaterย disarray and chaos in this world. The answer to that question is simple. There will be no end. One day,ย we might beย expected to tolerate a 40-year old saying they feel like they’re supposed to be with a 6-year old romantically. Something to think about as this world continues to unfold.

Anna’s 3-0

Spending time with friends is no easy task. It’s gotten harder, or at least for me. This year, it’s been the distance. Still, I’m glad my friends still involve me and invite to things. For Anna’s big 3-0, we headed out for Gangneung and it was a great decision. Really enjoyed reconnecting and just learning more from my friends. Enjoyed the times of laughter. Most of all, I simply enjoyed being there with them.