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An exploration of love, travel & nomz
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melhattie:

Hi Everyone! I’m doing some fundraising for my trip to South Korea that’s happening in a couple of weeks, and I’d like to offer this super awesome deal: only $15 for a 13” x 19” print! (oh so big!). Signed by the artist and mailed (for a few dollars, in Canada) or hand-delivered (if you live in HRM). You can choose: ANY PHOTO I’VE EVER DONE, EVER. Whether it’s from my website (http://melhattie.com), my tumblr (http://melhattie.tumblr.com), my Flickr account (http://www.flickr.com/photos/melhattie/), my Society6 site (http://society6.com/melhadtea) or literally any photo of mine you can come across. Have we done a photoshoot together? Yup, anything from that. Have I ever shot a play you were in? Yup, anything from that. And AS MANY AS YOU LIKE. I will be printing up until I leave for Korea on the 29th, and I will be accepting orders THIS WEEK ONLY, until Sunday, March 23. If you’ve ever wanted a print from me, this is definitely a “best bang for your buck”-type situation. Plus, you’d also be doing me a solid, because with your help, I get to go back to Asia and take more awesome photos, which is really my favourite thing, ever. Please let me know if you have any questions, and feel free to share with any friends you think might be interested!  And for logistics: Payment can be made either with cash (in person), or by Interac e-Transfer.

melhattie:

Hi Everyone! I’m doing some fundraising for my trip to South Korea that’s happening in a couple of weeks, and I’d like to offer this super awesome deal: only $15 for a 13” x 19” print! (oh so big!). Signed by the artist and mailed (for a few dollars, in Canada) or hand-delivered (if you live in HRM).

You can choose: ANY PHOTO I’VE EVER DONE, EVER. Whether it’s from my website (http://melhattie.com), my tumblr (http://melhattie.tumblr.com), my Flickr account (http://www.flickr.com/photos/melhattie/), my Society6 site (http://society6.com/melhadtea) or literally any photo of mine you can come across. Have we done a photoshoot together? Yup, anything from that. Have I ever shot a play you were in? Yup, anything from that. And AS MANY AS YOU LIKE. I will be printing up until I leave for Korea on the 29th, and I will be accepting orders THIS WEEK ONLY, until Sunday, March 23. If you’ve ever wanted a print from me, this is definitely a “best bang for your buck”-type situation.

Plus, you’d also be doing me a solid, because with your help, I get to go back to Asia and take more awesome photos, which is really my favourite thing, ever.

Please let me know if you have any questions, and feel free to share with any friends you think might be interested!

And for logistics: Payment can be made either with cash (in person), or by Interac e-Transfer.

In South Korea, teachers are required to transfer to a new school every four years and unfortunately for me, one of my favorite co-teachers, Ms. Kang, has been transferred. So in an attempt to keep in touch, we decided to create a “Girl’s Day” group which will meet once a month!

So for the first Girl’s Day, my lovely co-teacher, Ms. Kim suggested we go to Gumohdo Island off the coast of Yeosu and so off we went. It truly was a great day and it started bright and early at 8:00am. We drove to the ferry terminal and caught a small ferry to the island. It only took about an hour by boat and I didn’t really know what to expect. Once we got there it was absolutely breath-taking—hands down the best hike I’ve had in Korea. Picture a cliff-side hike with jagged rocks and turquoise waters below and then bamboo shoots and camellia trees lining the path mixed with ever-greens. It felt so good to be hiking at this spot and it wasn’t too difficult either which was nice. The only tough part was near the end when we did a pretty big trek up the highest part of the mountain. I made sure to take a picture of Ms. Kang’s celebratory pose! We ended up finishing the hike and watched the sunset and we also tried out a traditional Korean restaurant on the way home which had some pretty decent food! I ended up getting home around 8:30 so it was a long day but totally worth it! The last photo is our obligatory “we made it!” selfie taken on my phone. <3

Our Puppy Adoption Story

In light of recent (unexpected) events I wanted to take a moment to share our puppy adoption story in South Korea. It has been a big week for us and one we will never forget.

When we moved to South Korea we never in a million years imagined we’d end up with one dog, let alone two. In fact, I don’t really like animals (shocking, I know) so when I found myself falling deeply in love with two puppies it was a miracle! 

Living in South Korea is wonderful but sometimes it can get lonely. Yes, I have my partner who has kept me sane and yes, I have amazing friends who I see on the weekends but the day to day loneliness can sometimes seep in and having a puppy companion to walk and hang out with feels nice. A few months ago I noticed that there was a puppy tied up at the Buddhist temple on our street so I walked over to say hi and I can honestly say it was love at first sight. It was Ella in all her glory. She was sweet and kind, a little shy but still spunky and I spent over an hour hanging out with her. I started visiting her every couple days when I came home from school to check on her and I became concerned by her living conditions (she lived outside during the winter, she seemed skinny and she never left the confinements of her leash). After two weeks of visting I asked the monk if I could take her for a walk and he said yes! So off we went and she was SO happy! She played in the grass and chased the birds and basically it was the best walk ever. I began walking her every couple days and then we upgraded to hikes with Gordon and she loved every minute. 

Then, about 3 weeks after I discovered Ella we had a new friend at the temple! (There was actually two new puppies but the other one was adopted the day after I met her). So now we had another little puppy who was so damn cute that soon enough she was walking with us as well. I began to notice that the puppies were getting skinnier and mangier and I was becoming more upset about their living conditions so I asked Gordon nearly every night if we could help them but he said no. I also knew deep down that adopting two dogs is too much and that it would never work but I continued to walk them and visit them and bring treats etc…

Then, about two weeks ago I woke up, looked out the window and noticed that Dell was missing. I asked the monk about it and he told me (it’s surprising how much you can communicate with someone who doesn’t speak your language) that someone had adopted Dell. I was shocked because I had never seen anyone else with the puppies but I was glad that she had a loving home! So it was only Ella left at the temple and by now we were hiking with her every day and spending more time with her. Gordon was beginning to get attached but Ella was getting sicker with each passing day (she has skin problems, mites and poor nutrition) and so we decided that we could adopt one puppy! She was the last one left and we loved her so it felt like the right thing to do. I asked the monk if we could take her and he said yes so we took her to the vet and got her cleaned up, shaved and medicated. The first time we took Ella into the apartment she was so confused to be off of her leash but she got used to it quickly! She is the best puppy ever and so well behaved. She is already house broken and miraculously hasn’t had any “accidents” in the house. She never barks and I think she is just grateful to be indoors with a bone, good food and lots of love. Her first night with us was wonderful! On the first morning with Ella we ate some breakfast, got dressed and went out for a walk but we didn’t make it far because at the temple was none other then Dell. She had been taken back to the temple half dead. I’m not sure of the details during the two weeks that she was “adopted” but it couldn’t have been good. She was starved and half her fur fell out/ was scratched off and her eyes were like dark hallows. Ella was freaking out and I started crying. When Dell saw me she just locked her eyes on mine and wouldn’t let me leave. I was so overwhelmed by the situation and Gordon was angry and confused and he started to walk away with Ella. He had agreed to adopt one dog but two felt impossible. He kept walking and I needed a breather so I took a few steps away and the sounds that Dell made when I walked away was haunting. She was literally crying for her life and begging for us to help her. Gordon walked back to us and the monk came out of the temple and asked us to take her. I will never forget the moment when Gordon said “let’s take her to the vet” and he ran upstairs, grabbed a blanket and some money, put us in a taxi and told the driver to take us to the vet. Within a half hour of finding Dell we took her to the vet and she ended up having to stay the night to be rehabilitated. For the whole night Ella was distraught and upset about the whole situation so when I brought Dell home the next morning their reunion was beautiful. I cried again.

So that’s the story of how we have two puppies. The first night with Dell was difficult because I think she is trying to cope with her traumatic experiences. She doesn’t want to be left alone again so she’s very clingy and will try to crawl into my lap at all times. She is also starting to recover from starvation so she is constantly tired and needy. Ella has been a gem and we have no issues with her (except for her skin and itching) but I’ve been using coconut oil and oatmeal to help her out. The second night with Dell (last night) was a lot easier and she slept through most of the night and had no accidents!

In a few weeks time my goal is for them to grow back healthy, shiny coats and put on a couple pounds. I also want Dell to gain back some independence and I want to build trust with her.

Wish us luck! 

Breakfast for two&#8212;we treat oatmeal like gold here in South Korea.

Breakfast for two—we treat oatmeal like gold here in South Korea.

Tokyo, Japan 2014
This is the only picture worth posting from Tokyo. My camera was filled with many blurry pictures of billboards and people in black business suits. We went to that one famous crosswalk and walked across it with hundreds of people swarming around us. We also went to a digitized Sushi restaurant where you pick out your order on a computer and voila, in a few minutes it whizzes down a conveyor belt to be picked up and eaten. Oh yea, and we also went to the Harajuku district! That was seriously cool. 
Man, I love Japan. 

Tokyo, Japan 2014

This is the only picture worth posting from Tokyo. My camera was filled with many blurry pictures of billboards and people in black business suits. We went to that one famous crosswalk and walked across it with hundreds of people swarming around us. We also went to a digitized Sushi restaurant where you pick out your order on a computer and voila, in a few minutes it whizzes down a conveyor belt to be picked up and eaten. Oh yea, and we also went to the Harajuku district! That was seriously cool. 

Man, I love Japan. 

Kyoto, Japan 2014

These are the misfit pictures. That golden temple in the first picture is stunning in real life. We also went to the famous ‘Red Arches’ temple (as seen in the movie Memoirs of a Geisha). 

The mountain you see in the second to last picture is called Mount Fuji, one of the most famous mountains in the world. Gordon has always wanted to climb this mountain and when I saw it with my own eyes I felt drawn to it as well. We’re already talking about going back to Japan to climb it. We’ll see what the future holds!

Kyoto, Japan 2014

Easily my favorite place in Japan.

Osaka, Japan 2014 

These photos represent our time spent in Osaka, Japan. It was wonderful & weird as we swept through food markets, ate yakisoba noodles and ducked into tiny shrines. 

Steph’s Adventure- Part 1 (South Korea)

On Thursday morning my boyfriend and I woke up extra early to catch a bus to Seoul where we collected my sister from her 11 hour flight from Vancouver, Canada. This is the first time she has traveled to an Asian country so we definitely want to show her a good time. In the short amount of time she’s been here we’ve managed to hike almost every day, eat dinner with some monks, sing drunken tunes at a Noribang, attend a traditional baby shower, take a boat ride through some wetlands, play a couple rounds of Settlers of Catan and eat enough chocolate to fill Willy Wonka’s factory. So yea, it’s been a good trip thus far. Tomorrow we’re going to get on a 19 hour boat ride which will take us to Japan! I’m already feeling anxious about saying good bye to my sister but we’ll just have to take advantage of every second. I hope your life is filled with love and adventure, wherever you are.

This weekend our friend Tom brought us to Osan Mountain. It’s a 500ft mountain which might not seem like a tough climb for some experienced (and hell, even inexperienced) hikers but yesterday when we began our climb I felt like it was the toughest mountain in the world. I guess sitting on my ass for two months watching Friends re-runs isn’t conducive to a fit body. Oh well, it was an eye-opener to say the least. 

After much huffing and puffing we made it to the top where we were greeted by people literally jumping off the mountain with tiny parachutes. It was awesome! There were huge eagles soaring with them and it almost seemed as if they were flying together.  Part of me really wants to experience this—I’m not sure if I’m brave enough.

Once we finished watching the crazy people with the parachutes we hiked up to the peak. As you can see in the pictures, the temple was stunning. The rock face mountain, the chanting and candles everywhere— it seriously never gets old. At this temple there is a rock carving of Buddha which is from the 9th or 10th century. I think that makes it well over 1000 years old. I wasn’t allowed to photograph it but as you can imagine, it was pretty damn cool. 

Another favorite part of the mountain for me was the “birth” which is a beautiful crevice in the rocks that you can walk through to be “re-born”. Inside the “womb” there was a dozen candles all lit up with some women kneeling and praying beside them. I’m such a nerd for anything having to do with birth and woman-hood so I loved exploring this area. 

In the next few weeks my sister will be coming to visit me and I’m looking forward to showing her all of the great things about South Korea! We’re also going to Japan so I will be sure to post pictures of that trip! 

love & light