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Food in Busan, South Korea

10/12/2020

My first weeks in Busan, I’d often take walks in the evenings to scout my new neighborhood, and to familiarize myself with it. Every block or so, I’d notice huge fish tanks, and would think to myself nonchalantly, “There are a lot of pet stores here.” Then one day, I looked past the fish tanks that were outside, into the building, noticed tables and chairs, and then it dawned on me that Koreans in Busan didn’t have a strange obsession with pet stores, rather they were seafood restaurants.

Busan is a large coastal city, so seafood, (in particular raw fish) is of course popular here. The largest seafood market in South Korea can be found here, and just about every neighborhood has at least one seafood restaurant. Seafood doesn’t agree well with my stomach, so I tend to stay away from it, however I couldn’t always escape eating it. There were staff dinners, group meetings, or being invited to dinner, where I didn’t have an option . I will say that I learned to love seafood in Busan, (well, my taste buds at least!) I appreciated how fresh the food was. I’d say there’s a very high probability of eating seafood that was caught that morning when you’re eating in Busan. As I’ve said before, I can’t eat seafood often, I’ve actually gotten a bit bougee about it since returning from Korea. The freshness level that I’ve seen at places I’ve gone to in America doesn’t compare to what I had in Korea. Hey, call me spoiled.

Hotteok, (호떡) is a sweet treat that is popular throughout Korea, but Busan is known to have some of the best! Hotteok is made from dough, (think pancake consistency), and can be filled with a variety of things. The ones I’ve had were mostly filled with brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, and different types of seeds. Hotteok is sold for about $1, and some of the most popular spots are street vendors in the Nampo area. When I went several years ago, there was a long line, but the vendors had a great system and the line moved quite quickly.

Milmyeon, (밀면) is a cold wheat noodle dish, that includes fine slices of meat, cold broth, boiled egg, vegetables, and red pepper sauce. As with hotteok, there are variations to this dish, but is probably most popular in Busan. Legend has it that milmyeon first appeared sometime during the Korean war, as North Korean refugees fled to the port city, and made a new creation from a similar North Korean dish. This dish can be sold for around $4.

I would be remiss to talk about food in Busan without dwaeji gukbap, (돼지국밥). Dwaeji gukbap is the staple food of Busan. It’s made with pork, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine, miso, green onions, and bone broth. The soup is served with rice, and other side dishes. I prefer dumping the rice into the soup, (as is my preference while eating most Korean soups). Customers can usually add in other ingredients as they see fit.

Pork soup restaurant close to where I lived.

Korea is known for its food, and each region has its own specialties. These are just a small snapshot of what you can expect from Korean cuisine.

Asia teaching-abroad travel

4 Things I Didn’t Know Before Moving To Korea

10/05/2020

1) Spitting is something that I witnessed every day while living in Korea. Spitting is not something that you think about before moving to another country, and in the grand scheme of things, let’s be honest, this is not a big deal. However, it can gross you out if it’s not something that you’re accustomed to. While I did my best to respect cultural differences while living in Korea, this was something that I kind of got used to, but never enjoyed. Every time I stepped outside of my apartment back into the real world, the sidewalks were littered with spit, and there would be numerous people hacking stuff up as I walked by. Early on, I’d try to avoid stepping in it, as there were variations of colors and thickness, but eventually gave up on that. What really grossed me out, was that the spit would freeze on the side walks during winter!

2) Crossing your legs in front of older people, or your superiors can be seen as rude in Korea. I didn’t learn about this until well into my time there, and I’m not sure as to why this is considered rude. I’ve heard stories of friends who witnessed older people getting upset at younger people who were sitting across from them on the subway, with crossed legs.

3) Having your hands inside of your pockets in front of older people/superiors can also be seen as rude. This is quite different to American culture, and we don’t think twice about doing it. However, doing this in formal situations, in front of elders, superiors, etc. can come off as having bad manners, and disrespectful.

4) The last cultural difference that I want to mention has to do with food! When having a meal with those who are older than you, or your superiors, it is rude to start eating before they do. Once they begin to eat, then everyone else may start eating. Unless he or she gives the okay to eat before they do. It’s polite to wait until they start eating. There is a high regard for elders and superiors, so this is just another way to be respectful while in their presence. I’ve witnessed this first hand on many occasions during staff dinners. There was even an order to where people sat. Those higher up on the hierarchy scale, like the principle, vice principle, etc., all sat at one table. I never sat at the principles table unless he invited me.

Although I did as much research as I could before going to Korea, nothing trumps going somewhere and experiencing it for yourself. There were other things that I was unaware of before moving, but these were some lesser known things. As a foreigner, Koreans did not expect me to know all of their cultural customs, however, once I became aware of various customs, I did my best to follow them.

Below is a video I did a few years ago on the spitting in Korea, because it really did bother me that much ya’ll!

Asia opinion teaching-abroad travel

Reverse Culture Shock- Returning Home

09/28/2020

Most people who are looking to live abroad are familiar with culture shock, however the act of returning home from living abroad- reverse culture shock- is not talked about as much. So, what exactly is reverse culture shock? According to Julia Kagan:

“Reverse culture shock is the emotional and psychological distress suffered by some people when they return home after a number of years overseas. This can result in unexpected difficulty in readjusting to the culture and values of the home country, now that the previously familiar has become unfamiliar” (Investopedia.com).

Everyone experiences reverse culture shock differently. There are similarities, but everyone’s experience is different. Most of you probably already know that I spent two and a half years teaching English in Busan, South Korea. I’m going to tell you a bit about the experience of I, and two other friends I met in Korea experienced reverse culture shock.

While I was in Korea, there were some issues back home, and my family moved to another part of the state. One of my uncle’s owned a house in central Florida, so my mom and sister moved there for a while, before getting their own place. I’ve spent most of my life in Miami, FL. That’s where I was born and raised, and lived until I left to teach in Korea. So unlike some people, I was unable to return to the life, and familiarity I had known once I came back. In addition to this, my dad passed away 3 weeks after I arrived in America, and I had no permanent place to stay. I was bouncing back and forth between my mom’s place, and my brother’s house in Orlando when I first returned. Needless to say, readjusting to America was a unique experience that not many can relate to.

The first thing I noticed after landing in Chicago for a layover flight on my way home, was that everyone was speaking English, (duh!)) and it sounded really loud. My flight ended up being delayed a bit, and after awhile, I got really annoyed at being able to understand all of the conversation’s around me. I remember sitting as far away as one can in a crowded airport, and listening to music until it was finally time for me to board the plane. While I do know some Korean, and could get around alright with what I knew, I was far from being fluent. I had gotten used to being in public spaces, and not understanding the conversations going on around me. Being able to understand all of he conversations around me after years of not being able to was weird.

During the first few weeks at home, I was extremely jet lagged, (Korea was 14 hours ahead of EST), and struggled to focus when people were having a conversation with me. English was coming at me fast, hard, and at a higher level than I’d had to use for over two years! I could no longer use Konglish, (Korean+ English) when speaking with friends, it was full on sentences from here on out. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but a few years being out of an English speaking country, and it becomes a big deal!

Outside of being jet lagged for weeks, and re-learning how to not mentally clock out during conversations, other things that have been difficult to this day, are being in crowds, and having to speak to strangers. Personal space as we know it in the States, does not exist in Korea. I was in close contact with people I did not know every time I left my apartment, so I think that’s why I’m not into crowds as much. Also, being a brown foreigner in Korea was like being a unicorn, so I attracted the attention of a lot of people, and was constantly gawked at while in public. I’m much better now with crowds, and talking to strangers, but if both can be avoided, I’ll take that option.

I’ve been back in the States for 3 and a half years now, and there are still a few things that I adopted in Korea and still do: when handing something to someone or receiving something, I’ll often use two hands, especially if they are older. I use chopsticks more frequently now, and even bought a set of them. Lastly, some friends say that I do more aegyo, (Korean term for “acting cute”) than I did before.

There’s more to my reverse culture shock story that I may share later on. To give you different perspectives, I reached out to Lee-Anne, and Claire, two friends I met in Korea, and who have also returned to their home countries. This is what they had to say about their experiences thus far with reverse culture shock.

Lee-Anne’s Story: The Initial shock

Landing in the UK, everything seemed like how I last left it – gloomy weather, sarcastic people, rich tasting good chocolate, I could slip right into the UK life as if I had never left.

That lasted the entire journey from the airport to my house an hour away. When I started interacting with people I quickly learned that hearing English continually was going to be an adjustment. British English is a much lower pitch and Korean is in the clouds in comparison. I definitely could not understand when people spoke to me because I was used to the latter. It did make me look silly whenever I would ask people to repeat themselves and I’d spend a few moments trying to figure out how to answer. 

Honestly, reaccumulating to the UK took well over six months where customs I had unlearned to adjust to Korea (and China) were now priority but I couldn’t remember how to do them. Take for instance, critical thinking. Over and over again, you hear “that’s just how we do things” in as many variations as you can think of so you begin to lose the ability to challenge things because you’ve been constantly discouraged from doing so. Doesn’t work like that in the UK. Not that everyone is a critical thinker but there is space to question things and not be shut down immediately or seen as weird. 

I unlearned my fashion style in Korea. Wearing bright colours and showing your shoulders took a moment to readjust when I reached the UK. Asian cultures prohibit showing your shoulders as female and so returning home where that rule doesn’t exist takes a moment because I literally had to buy new clothes – ones that reflected me and not earthy tones/colours that suited the Korean population’s skin complexion and values – white meaning purity for example. 

Things I have adopted:

I still give with two hands.

If there are chopsticks available, I will eat with them instead of a knife and fork

Due to people always being in my personal space in Asia, I think I had grown anxious of crowds – lockdown did not help that matter either. 

Claire’s Story:

I lived in Taiwan for 2 and a half years, then Korea for 5 years. There was about an 8 month break between the two back in the States. I just recently came home from Korea in March, in the beginnings of a pandemic (great timing! lol). Part of what drove me to move home after so long was wanting to be a part of a culture I felt more at home in. Korea was very easy, for me at least, to get along in and find a rhythm. But, it was never my home. Little things, like knowing which store I could go to to buy certain items, were not second nature to me like they are in the States. Not a big deal, but still, after 5 years I wanted at least a break.

Since moving home, there have been some ups and downs for sure. Some positives to moving back to Texas, and my small hometown at that, was all the space. My hometown is surrounded by the countryside. I could go to my cousins house to hang out and all I could see around her house were cows, horses, and beautiful green fields. Not a neighbor in sight. All the nature and space I definitely missed. And the clean air 🙂 Other small town charms were also nice, like when I’d go on walks with my dog it happened more than once that someone would shout from their car as they passed, “Hey Claire!” And now that I am in a bigger city, I realize how much I missed the diversity of people here.

Now I had already planned my initial few months at home to be more low key and family focused, so the pandemic didn’t necessarily mess with that too much. But, trying to figure out what job to do and where, it definitely made those big questions in my life more complicated. When these kinds of things come up, I have close friends and a counselor that I have been able to talk things through with and lean on. BUT, they are all scattered around the world. The hardest part of this transition period is the lack of immediate, close-to-me community. I had it in Korea, but they are all still in Korea. Friends, church, etc. It’s simply a result of moving from one place to another, but it’s still hard at times. And with my new job and the pandemic, it will be a while before I can physically go out places to meet new people.

Side note: there was also kind of an annoyance that came up with this whole not knowing what I’ll be doing next thing, cause most people’s first question to me when they saw me was “So what are you doing next?” I get that it’s out of genuine concern/interest, or even just a logical question to ask, but if there is advice I could give people is to not ask this question to someone who has just moved home. Maybe that’s just me 🙂

Other little things that still blow my mind are portion sizes lol! Everything is bigger in Texas indeed…:-P I’ve had to adjust back to how big the portion sizes are.
When crossing the street, cars are much more courteous than in Korea. Some stop to let me walk, and I’m like “Oh wow, that is so nice!”

And yes, like Lee-Anne, I also still hand things to people with two hands, and even sometimes do a little bow of the head 🙂

Asia jobs teaching-abroad

Schools Linked to a Murder

09/21/2020

During my time in Korea I worked at two middle schools. For the first year and a half I taught at an all boys’ middle school, and for my last year, an all girls’ middle school in the area was added. Monday-Wednesday I was at the girls’ school, and Thursday-Friday I was at the boys’ school.

I was having lunch in the teacher’s dining area one day with my co-teachers. What often happens to foreign teachers is that when having a meal with your co-teachers, they’ll speak to each other in Korean, and you’ll just kind of sit there in your own little world, (unless you know Korean of course). In the midst of their discussion, the eldest co-teachers asks me if I understood what they were talking about, which of course I did not. She then proceeds to tell me a story of how in the 90’s there was a man who kidnapped a female student in the area, raped her, and put her body in a water tower.

Local police in conjunction with Seoul detectives lead a massive manhunt for the guy, which lasted several days, and made national news. This guy was an adult when he committed this crime, but had attended the school I was teaching at as a middle schooler. For that reason, the school had had a bit of a bad reputation ever since.

I was so shocked because Korea rates pretty low on the murder scale, and this was the first instance of something like that happening that I had heard of, (I was about 6 months into my time there at this point). Later on, the principal had my main co-teacher translate to me that the area I was living in wasn’t the safest in Busan, that there had been some assault cases, and to be careful. Again, I was pretty alerted. I lived in the same apartment during my entire time in Korea and felt safe, however in comparison to other areas of Busan, mine overall wasn’t the safest.

The girls’ school I worked at. It wasn’t too far from the boys’ school.

Fast forward to about a year and a half later. My main co-teacher at the girls’ school I worked at and I were walking through the neighborhood to get to an E-mart, for supplies for summer camp. (E-mart is like Korea’s version of Walmart, but better. These stores and others like them even have food courts inside!) The school was a few minutes walk from the main street, with only one way roads, and was littered with alleyways. I’d noticed that there were always older people who stood outside of the school gates and into the alleyways, before and after school. They’d wear something like crossing guard vests. So I asked her why they were there.

She starts to tell me the story of how there was once a student at the school who was kidnapped, raped, murdered, and her body put in a water tower. As she were telling me this, I realized that I was teaching at both schools connected to this murder. It was definitely a, “this can not be happening” moment. All I could think of, was what were the chances of this happening to me? I’d come literally across the world to teach in Korea, to find out that something horrible was connected to the two schools. As we walked on, she then goes on to tell me that we were currently walking in the alleyway where the girl was kidnapped. It definitely felt as if I were in a weird Lifetime movie or something! She goes on to say that teachers who work late, and don’t have a car, can call the police station and an officer will escort them to the bus/subway station.

Despite this really unusual story, if you read my blog about being a singe woman in Korea, then you know that I actually felt quite safe during my stay there regardless of what the statistics in the area were. I did see detectives searching for someone once a few subway stops from my apartment, but that was it. Of course I appreciated the heads up from the principal on the area I was living in, maybe others would have felt more in danger there, I don’t know. I was born and raised in inner city Miami, so honestly no place in Korea ever felt quite as dangerous as that! Nevertheless, heinous crimes such as this one are rare, and were even more so in the 90’s.

For those of you questioning what a bunch of old retirees would really be able to do in the face of danger, you have clearly never come in contact with a Korean 아줌마, (ajumma) or 아저씨, (ajussi) (older women and men).

If you’re interested in more, I did a video on this story while I was still in Korea some time after I had found out. Check it out here:

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My Dream Job

09/17/2020

Throughout high school and college, I loved watching the Travel Channel, (I mostly stream what I want to watch now, and rarely watch TV). I was probably 19 or 20 the first time I saw Samantha Brown’s travel show on TV. Passport to Europe, and Passport to Latin America, were the two shows that I adored the most. She would travel to various countries, visit landmarks, eat great food, mingle with locals, lodge in incredible hotels. I first learned of Patagonia from watching her show, and have wanted to go there ever since, (Patagonia is on my blog about my top 10 lesser known travel destinations).

If I were to pick a dream job, this would definitely be it! Who wouldn’t want a job where they can travel around the food, eat delicious food, and get paid? I’m also a lover of history, so I think it would be interesting to visit museums in each place visited. Yes, I am that nerd who visits museums when I travel. Knowing more about the history, and culture of a place, helps me to understand things more. I’m not one to travel, and not dive deeper into what a particular place is about.

I’m sure having a travel job like Samantha Brown did has its downsides. Constantly on the go, meeting deadlines, eating something that may make you sick while on the road, etc. Even still, it would be nice to try it, if even for a little while.

What would your dream job be?

Asia opinion teaching-abroad travel

My Experience Living as a Single Woman in Korea

09/14/2020

I taught English in Busan, South Korea for two and a half years. Living abroad as a single woman can be daunting to some, so I wanted to tell you a bit about my experience. I’ve had many female friends tell me that I am brave for having lived outside of the country alone, but honestly I was not too worried about it. You can chalk it up to bravery, or naivety, but once I’d made up my mind to start looking to teach abroad, I never had second thoughts. South Korea stands as one of the safest countries on earth. Civilians are not allowed to have guns, and there’s an overall lower crime rate. I had done the research, spoke to folks I knew who had lived in Korea, and felt that I’d be safe living there as a single woman. Mind you, I’m not saying that there is zero crime in Korea, and that women are always safe, (I wish!) Overall, Korea has a much lower crime rate than many other countries.

During my stay there, I lived in a studio apartment alone, and had no problems coming home late at night. There was a safety that I felt in Korea that I did not have in America. After I broke a bone in my foot, I would even take a shortcut to my place down a dark alley. Taking alleyways in Korea is pretty commonplace, and I found myself doing things in Korea safety wise that I’d never do back home! Personally, there were few experiences that stand out as having made me feel unsafe/ uncomfortable.

Since I’m sure many of you are now curious, as to which experiences made me feel unsafe, I’ll gladly share them. One night I was stressed, and decided to take a late night walk. I’d done it before, and like to take walks to clear my mind. As I was walking, a drunk older man stepped in front of me slurring something in Korean. I sidestepped him, and quickly walked away. There was another time I took a walk at night, (I know, I know), and two women walking a bit in front of me kept turning around and smiling at me. This isn’t too unusual being a foreigner in Korea. Long story short, they turned around, blocking my way, and tried to convert me to a mother god cult. They had a video with English subtitles using Biblical scriptures to support their claims of their being a mother god. They then invited me upstairs to their church for tea. Having grown up hearing stories of what happened in Jonestown during the late 70’s, (Google it) I politely declined, sidestepped them, and rapidly walked to my apartment, all while frequently looking over my shoulder to make sure I wasn’t being followed.

That particular incident freaked me out more than the previous one because a friend had told me just a few days earlier of how people from that same cult approached her. Another friend of mine also had a creepy experience with people from this cult, so I was a bit shaken up because it had happened right in my neighborhood. I got approached a year later or so by another group of mother god people who were handing out flyers right outside of one of the schools I worked at. Since this was during the day on a busy street, I was more annoyed than creeped out. The woman speaking to me spoke fluent English as she was from the Philippines, and insisted I take a flyer. Afterwards, she literally followed me for almost the entire 10 minutes it took to walk to the bus stop, trying to convince me to join their church. This was one of the few instances where I was straight up rude to a person in Korea, because “No ,thank you” was not registering.

The last case where I felt weirded out by someone happened on the subway. As I mentioned earlier, I had broken a bone in my foot during my first year in Korea, and wasn’t out of the cast for too long before I took a subway ride. I don’t remember where I was going or why, but on the way back, a middle aged man sat next to me, and decided to sit with his legs wide. This was in August, and it was hot out, so I had on shorts, and he did as well. So his leg was rubbed up next to mine. I was sitting in the coveted end seat, so I kept inching over and away from him, only from him to continue to widen his legs. After doing this a few times, I was highly irritated. I noticed that there was a young woman sitting on the other side of him, so I looked to see if he were doing the same thing to her, which he was not. I didn’t immediately want to get up when he kept rubbing his leg onto mine, because my ankle was still not completely healed, and I didn’t want to have to stand, as the subway was pretty full at that time. Disgust outweighed the discomfort in my ankle, and I decided to get up, walk to another car, and had to stand up until it was time to get off.

I want to reiterate that these are some of my experiences in Korea, and I do understand that this isn’t the case for other women. When it came to safety, I was definitely able to let my guard down much more than in America, however it is important to always keep your wits about you. Play it smart wherever you are. No matter how safe a country may be, you still need to take precautions. Go with your gut reaction. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not right for you.

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Lesser Known Travel Destinations

09/07/2020

Like many people, I love traveling and exploring new places! 2020 has grounded the travel plans of many, so I wanted to get lost researching some lesser known destinations that I’d love to visit. Some of these places may be more familiar to you than others.

Patagonia- Located on the southern end of South America, Patagonia is split between Chile, and Argentina, and is made up of the southern part of the Andes mountains. This is not a heavily populated area, but has attracted tourists in recent decades. Back packers, cruise ship passengers, or those looking for picturesque scenes, all find themselves visiting this part of the world.

Samoan Islands- The Samoan Islands are an archipelago group, also in the South Pacific. The islands have a population of about 250,000, and Samoan and English are the most spoken languages here. Samoans are also one of the largest Polynesian populations in the world. Some things that travelers can enjoy are the beaches, and water activities, cultural shows, museums, and lava fields. Coconut is an important part of many dishes here.

Iguazu Falls- Located on the Argentina/Brazil border, and divides the Iguazu River between upper and lower parts. Iguazu boasts of at least 275 waterfalls and islands. With 275 waterfalls, you can imagine why I’d want to go here!

Faroe Islands- Located in the north Atlantic Ocean, the Faroe Islands are an archipelago, and is a self governing nation that is part of the kingdom of Denmark. These are some of the most remote parts of Europe, with breathtaking mountainous views. There is a population of about 52,000 people, and Faroese and Danish are spoken here. A traditional dish in this part of the world is called skerpikjøt, semi-fermented mutton meat that is wind dried, (I think I’ve gotten that right). Because of where the Faroe Islands are located, the average temperatures hover around the 40-50s F.

Seychelles- are archipelago islands, (apparently I have a thing for wanting to visit archipelago islands) located in the Indian Ocean, and is a part of Africa. Seychelles is a colorful place of beautiful beaches, and beautiful people. The islands were uninhabited until the Europeans arrived in the 16th century. Seychelles was a colony of both France, and Britain, and both countries brought enslaved Africans to the islands. As a result, many people on the islands are of mixed race heritage. Seychellois Creole, French, and English are all official languages, with Seychellois being the most widely spoken language. Fish, seafood, rice, and curry are some staple food withing Seychelles, and there are many beaches, coral reefs, and national reserves that can be explored.

Bhutan- The Kingdom of Bhutan, is located in South Asia in the Eastern Himalayas, with Tibet bordering it to the north. Tropical plains can be found in the south, and sub-alpine Himalayan mountains to the north. Dzongkha is the national language, although schools are taught in English. Rice, buckwheat, and corn are important foods here. One of the most beloved dishes here is called ema datshi, which is made with cheese, and hot chili peppers. Up until the 20th century, Bhutan had remained pretty untouched, so culture, and tradition are some of the main attractions to this nation. Deeply rooted in Buddhism, there are many structures to see, and you can even try your hand at archery, (the national sport.) Travel here however can be tricky due to certain requirements that tourists must follow to gain entry into the country. One interesting fact about Bhutan, is that it became the first country in the world to ban smoking in 2010.

Tuvalu- Tuvalu is made up of 9 small islands in the South Pacific Ocean, and is a part of the British commonwealth. The population is just over 11,000 as of 2017, and Tuvaluan, and English are spoken here. Coconut, and fish are staple food in the Tuvaluan diet. You can rent a motorbike to take a ride around the small island, check out nearby smaller islands, relax on beach, and meet locals who will gladly introduce you to their culture, and way of life. One interesting fact about Tuvalu, is that it is a sinking nation. Most attribute this to global warming, as every year it continues to sink beneath the ocean.

Nauru- Is small island nation in Micronesia, just south of the equator. It is also a member of the British commonwealth. Nauru is the world’s second smallest nation after the Vatican, with 12,704 people living there. The languages spoken here are Nauruan and English. Some tourist attractions in Nauru are fishing, scuba diving, visit lagoons and plateaus. Most of the food on Nauru is imported, but coconut, fish, and seafood are native to the island. One interesting fact about this island, is that it is surrounded by coral.

Liechtenstein– Bordered by Switzerland, and Austria, this German speaking country has a monarchy, and a population of 38,749. Liechtenstein’s national dish is “Käsknöpfle, which is dough made of eggs, water, salt, flour, and pepper. You can visit castles, museums, go hiking, or skiing while here. Pictures of Liechtenstein look like something out of a fairy tale. Fun fact: Liechtenstein is the world’s leading manufacturer for dentures.

Bolivia- A country in South America, with a population of just over 11 million people.There are plenty of gems within this country, however, I wanted to focus on two areas that intrigue me: the city of La Paz, and Salar de Uyuni.

La Paz is where the seat of the Bolivian government is, and sits 3,500 meters above sea level! It’s surrounded by mountains, and the peak travel time is during the dry winter months of May- October. November- April are the rainy summer months.This city boasts of beautiful architecture, delicious food, and cultural diversity. It is easy to get around the city using public transit, and a cable car system has recently opened in the past few years.

Salar de Uyuni is a natural wonder of Bolivia, and is the world’s largest salt flat. It is located in southwest Bolivia, and is 3,656 meters above sea level. It is known as the place where heaven meets earth, as during certain times of the year, the ground reflects the sky. The salt flats formed from several prehistoric lakes, and is a popular destination in Bolivia. Fun fact: during certain times of the year, Salar de Uyuni serves as a breeding ground for flamingos!

Now that I’ve shared some places that I’d like to visit, in the comments let me know some of the places you’d like to visit!