Winter in Russia

Winter in Russia is cold. This is a truth as universal as ‘The sky is blue’ or ‘Fire is hot’ or ‘A single man in possession of a large fortune must be in want of a wife’. Given how widely known it is that winter in Russia is cold and how much I dislike the cold, you might be wondering why in the world did I move to Russia for the winter? Honestly, I have no idea. Temporary insanity is my only plea. Continue reading “Winter in Russia”

Nightcap – A day in Seoul

Finally finishing my blog posts about my New Years trip. Thank you to the magic of WordPress for allowing me to pretend I posted this in January and not almost three months later!

I had always thought it would be romantic living on an out-of-the-way island where life isn’t as affected by the outside world. But it turns out there is a massive drawback: trying to get off that island. I guess I’ve been spoiled living so close to DFW where there are tonnes of regular flights that go all over the world. A fairly remote airport in the Far East of Russia, however, is not so blessed. Apart from flights to Moscow which are subsidised by the government, flights in and out of Sakhalin are few and on the pricey side. Because of the high population of ethnic Koreans, there are multiple flights to Seoul each week but not every day. Since I wanted to maximise my time in Okinawa, I couldn’t get a direct flight back from Seoul on the day I wanted. This meant that I was going to have to take a long journey back. Continue reading “Nightcap – A day in Seoul”

Finding my roots in Okinawa

My great grandfather, Pepo, was born in Okinawa just around the turn of the 20th century. It was about 20 years after the king of the Ryukyu Kingdom was overthrown by the Japanese government and the Ryukyus were fully incorporated in Japan as the prefecture of Okinawa. Contrary to most people’s belief, Okinawa has its own culture, people, and language distinct from Japan. Pepo left Okinawa in the 1920s to work as a farmer in Cuba. Since I’m interested in genealogy, I’ve tried for years to find out more about Pepo including his parents’ names and more, but out of all my great grandparents, he had eluded me. So when I was in Okinawa, I was determined to hunt more. I only imagined that I’d be able to see the general area Pepo was born in and maybe some details about Okinawan culture, but I was able to find so much more. Continue reading “Finding my roots in Okinawa”

Okinawa

I’ve always wanted to go to Okinawa as it’s where my great grandfather was from. As a child it always seemed like a magical far away place that I would never know. So since I’m living in this hemisphere, I had to come visit. And as a bonus, it was a wonderfully needed reprieve from the Russian winter. It was only a five day trip but I made the most out of it. Continue reading “Okinawa”

Busan – Part Two

The next morning in Busan, my sleep schedule was still WAY off, so I woke up around 6am. I was supposed to meet Sunny at 10, so I had quite a bit of time to kill. First things first, I was in need of coffee. I’ve often thought before a trip that I should ween myself off of caffeine so that I wouldn’t have to worry about headaches or worse from not being able to get my fix, but to be honest, my desperation for coffee often is a good motivator for exploring. An impending headache is a good incentive for getting out of the hotel in the morning and wandering around looking for a cafe has definitely led to some interesting places in my life. Continue reading “Busan – Part Two”

New Years in Korea

Since Russia doesn’t celebrate Christmas at the same time as us, I had to work until the 31st of December. So as soon as I was able, I flew off to South Korea. I left my house at 8:00am when it was -20°C (-4°F) and walked to the bus stop. Since I was headed to warmer weather, I opted to leave my thick winter coat and winter boots and instead wore tennis shoes and an autumn coat. That made for a particularly cold wait at the bus stop. It seemed like an eternity waiting but it was probably more like ten minutes. The bus ride was only about 15 minutes so I got there pretty quickly. Continue reading “New Years in Korea”

Autumn in Sakhalin

I’ve been meaning to write a post about autumn since the end of September. Now since there is currently snow blanketing the ground and I’ve been wearing my winter coat for a couple weeks now, I guess I’m past due for it. Autumn came and went very quickly here.

When I arrived in Sakhalin, it was still clearly summer. Sure it was a bit chillier than Texas, but overall sunshine-y and decently warm. But right after the equinox, the days started to get noticeably shorter. Getting off from work at 7:20 started to mean walking home just as the sun had set. That same week, I suddenly noticed that the leaves had changed colour, seemingly over night. Continue reading “Autumn in Sakhalin”