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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

One year, six countries, 1000s of memories

Examiner.com: The world's biggest and best New Year's parties

2009 began in Seoul, South Korea, with a full day of work... but just a few days later, it was time for a 2-week vacation to Thailand:

Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand (women were required to borrow long skirts)

Things I love: sunset, warm weather, fresh curry, beach
Samui, Thailand

Tiger Kingdom, Chiang Mai, Thailand

It was a shock returning from steamy Samui to shivering in Seoul but luckily, another warm weather trip, this time to Cebu, Philippines, was just around the corner:

Filipino food wasn't the most exciting... but fresh fish!
Cebu, Philippines

Mactan Island, Philippines

Cebu, Philippines

Back to work, back to Seoul, where spring finally sprung

Olympic Park, Seoul, South Korea

and an old rivalry was amped up.

North Korea vs. South Korea soccer game - the DPK accused the ROK of giving its players food poisoning. ROK won.

Just before hitting the 9-month mark, it was time to swap seasons and experience winter in Sydney. Conclusion: it's fabulously unwintery.

Hyde Park, Sydney, Australia

Blue Mountains National Park, Australia

Good times galore in Australia, including meeting up with good friends and childhood idols:

Dawn French

Jennifer Saunders

Loving Australia, loving life
Manly Beach

The last few months in Korea were spent trying to cram in as much as possible and explore the peninsula

Ganghwado, South Korea - rice fields
Demilitarized Zone (North-South Korea border)

to bottom

Busan, South Korea

After a year in Seoul

Proof I did SOME teaching and not just fun!

it was time to say annyeong Korea and hello America.
Of course, that travel bug can't rest for long. Two months of being home prepared me for a long weekend in Costa Rica: beaches, rainforests and monkeys abound.
Manuel Antonio Beach, Costa Rica

Quepos, Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica

So now we've come full circle. From ringing in 2009 in Seoul with friends from around the world, to ringing in 2010 in Washington with my best friends from college... well, it's a pretty darn good life.

Back home in Washington: the Capitol (top) and National Cathedral

What were your 2009 highlights?