Tag Archives: Travel

After the Lecture: In the View of the Korean Mountains

After experiencing the hustle and bustle of Korean cities—it was now time for country-side travels. My husband and I first decided to venture to the Southwest part of South Korea. We took a surprisingly comfortable five-hour bus ride through the mountain-cradled picturesque country-side towards Haenam County, Jeonnam Province. Beside the natural beauty of the destination—we had made arrangements for a week-end “temple stay” at Daeheungsa Temple – a Buddhist Temple nestled within a remote national park. Daeheungsa is located on Duryun Mountain, in the southernmost area of Korea, and is the head temple for the 22nd District of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. The exact date that the temple was founded is unknown, but historians are certain that the temple has stood since the Three-Kingdom period of ancient Korea (4th-9th centuries CE). The Temple Stay program is an educational and a cultural experience program designed to enhance the understanding of Korean spirituality and Korean culture. A typical temple stay program entails overnight stays at a Buddhist temple, and experiential participation in such Buddhist rituals as yebul (ceremonial service), chamseon (meditation), and barugongyang (monastic meal). We were given very comfortable living quarters (with traditional floor beddings) as well as traditional clothing. We had very welcoming and helpful guides, including much individual attention from the Head Education Monk. He provided many formal and informal discussions of Korean Buddhists’ life, culture, and spirituality. Possible future collaboration of Korean to English text translations even discussed.

After the temple stay, we also made arrangements to stay nearby at what has been described as one of the “first” Korean “Inns”. This “Inn” was nothing like what we think of in America as an Inn. In Korea, these overnight places are called a “Yeogwan”.  Yeogwans are a traditional Korean housing structure, with heated floors and in this case a stunning natural view. Traditional Korean meals are also served for a low fee. We enjoyed a delicious dinner of fresh fish and vegetables with a scenic view of the mountains. Nothing could have been a more perfect way to end this country side-trip.

Later, after returning to Seoul, we also did a day tour to the DMZ in the Northern-most part of South Korea.  The DMZ area is near the border of North Korea and is a place of great contradictions. It is a very peaceful and an exquisite natural area of a renewed nature preserve. Since no large structures–urban or military are allowed there—it has abundant natural and wild life. Many animal and plant species– once nearly extinct —have returned in this quiet undisturbed setting. But in this beautiful stillness there are also signs of great tensions. There are many Army checkpoints, restrictions, and watchful armed observations by military soldiers. As we ventured our glances into the vast distance mountains of North Korea—one can’t help but feel the pain of past losses and pray for a future peace.

The blog post was written by DoHee Kim-Appel, Ph.D. Associate Professor for Art Therapy and Counseling at Ursuline College.

After the Lecture: The City Life in Korea

Given that my family lives in Seoul, South Korea—we had much time to explore the city. Seoul is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of more than 10 million, it is one of the largest cities in the developed world.  The Seoul Capital Area, which includes the surrounding Incheon metropolis and Gyeonggi province, is the world’s second largest metropolitan area with over 25.6 million people, and is home to over half of South Koreans along with 632,000 international residents [1].  Situated on the Han River, Seoul’s history stretches back more than 2,000 years when it was founded in 18 BC by Baekje, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. It continued as the capital of South Korea under the Joseon Dynasty and the Korean Empire. The Seoul metropolitan area contains four UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Changdeok Palace, Hwaseong Fortress, Jongmyo Shrine and the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty. Seoul is surrounded by mountains, the tallest being Mt. Bukhan, the world’s most visited national park [2].

We were able to venture many of my old haunts as well as some new corners of this extensive (and continually updated) immense city. One of the highlights was an evening boat tour along the Han River—which flows through the center of the city. The view offered from the river was a stunning and shimmering panorama of one of the world’s most vibrant cities. The experience was animated with the sights of colors, the sounds of laughter, and the smells of Korean barbecues. No city seems more alive than Seoul in the summer.

We also had a chance to spend a day in the Southern Port city of Busan.  Busan is South Korea’s second largest metropolis after Seoul, with a population of approximately 3.6 million [3]. The Metropolitan area (includes adjacent cities of Gimhae and Yangsan) has a population of over 4.5 million, and when including nearby Ulsan, and the South Gyeongsang region—the area has over 8 million population in the metropolitan area [4]. The area also has Korea’s largest beach and Korea’s longest river, the Nakdong River. Busan is the largest port city in South Korea and the world’s fifth busiest seaports.  Busan also offers one the world’s best seafood markets, and includes many Korean fish favorites of all types. We also got to experience the ocean shoreline vistas from atop an open air bus, and we sampled the Korean street sweet treats in the bustling shopping district. From Busan we able to rapidly travel back to Seoul via one of the world’s fastest “bullet trains.” City Life is Korea holds many charms.

  1. http://kosis.kr/abroad/abroad_01List.jsp?parentId=A
  2. http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=264309
  3. http://english.busan.go.kr/01_about/03_02.jsp
  4. http://www.busan.go.kr/library/03statistics/01_01.jsp?pageNo=1&search_type=02&groupid=00080_/00001&year=2013&category_gubun=%ED%86%B5%EA%B3%84%EC%9E%90%EB%A3%8C%EC%8B%A4&command=view&strSN=116

The blog post was written by DoHee Kim-Appel, Ph.D. Associate Professor for Art Therapy and Counseling at Ursuline College.

After the Lecture: Traveling Across Korea

After the IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics Conference in Seoul ended– it was now time to spend some time traveling across Korea. With my family in tow, we were off to visit Jeju Island—which is off the South Coast of the Korean peninsula. Jeju Island, while little known to Westerners, is a celebrated vacation spot for Asians.

Jeju is often referred to as “little Hawaii”. Jeju Island is a tropical volcanic island, towered over by Halla-san (Halla Mountain) — a volcano and the highest mountain in South Korea. Jeju Island is now known as one of the 7 new natural wonders of the world. The island has both stunning mountain views as well as beautiful seascapes.

The only thing that rivals its physical beauty is the freshness and the abundance of specialty food dishes. The Jeju cuisine includes porridges made with fish, seafood, seaweeds, or mushrooms. Jeonbokjuk is an abalone porridge that many enjoy. Gamgyul is harvested on the island, which is a type of orange similar to the Mandarin orange or tangerine. Black pig is a delicacy on the island as well.

In between very scenic sightseeing—we made sure we were well fed! Our activities included hiking Seongsan Ilchulbong or “Sunrise Peak”. On the hike towards the top there are many picturesque points to capture the city, and water with vistas of wonderful shades of green and blue. The top of the cliff forms a natural green “bowl”.

We also spent much time in lush green island forests—complete with stunning waterfalls. The trip was well-rounded with a Tea Museum visit and an educational Tour of a Traditional Folk-Village recreation. While Jeju is an island I visited as a young scuba driver—it was fantastic to see with renewed eyes.

The blog post was written by DoHee Kim-Appel, Ph.D. Associate Professor for Art Therapy and Counseling at Ursuline College.

A Renewed Spirit of Possibilities

The conference is proving to be very successful. We met, Jung-Ae Ko, who is the Director of Korean Spirit and Culture Project. She gave an outstanding presentation on Korean History and Culture and was even kind enough to donate to Ursuline College a set of books on Korean History and Culture. Our presentations of research went very well (I co-presented with my husband Dr. Jonathan Appel as well).

It was very nice to meet and talk with researchers from all over the world. We attended many research presentations and we had much time for cultural and professional exchanges. We also went on a tour of community centers geared towards serving Korean olders (which is a term I learned here).

I met a Korean Art Therapist, who works with the elderly—and got to see an Art Therapy program in action. Possibilities for cross-cultural exchanges discussed! Sights of Seoul demonstrate juxtaposition of ancient culture and emerging technological future—which was also highlighted in the theme of the World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics (Digital Ageing: A New Horizon for Health Care and Active Ageing).

Feeling a renewed spirit for the possibilities glimpsed here.

This blog post was written by DoHee Kim-Appel, Ph.D. Associate Professor for Art Therapy and Counseling at Ursuline College.

DoHee also recently blogged for The Huffington Post’s “Ted Weekends.” To read her post, click here.

Art Therapy & Counseling Faculty travels to South Korea

dohee_1 dohee_2My heart was pounding as soon as we landed in Korea. I knew we were in Korea because of the familiar smells of spices, sounds, as well as the kindness of people at the airport. We were greeted by my family and exchanged lots of hugs. My favorite black noodle dish was my first choice of meal and it was delicious.

The next day was my husband’s 50th birthday, so my family took us to a restaurant in the Korean countryside via a fun fast train ride. The next day attended the grand opening of the 20th IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics in Downtown Seoul. The conference has over 5,000 attendees from countries all over the world, including the prime minister of Korea, Jung Hong-won, who gave the opening speech.Airport in South Korea

The conference thus far has been an all-sense stimulating event. From the sights, sounds, and tastes of Korea culture to the stimulating presentations and discussions—it has been a deeply enriching experience—one that has made me very proud to be of Korean Heritage!

The blog post was written by DoHee Kim-Appel, Ph.D. Associate Professor for Art Therapy and Counseling at Ursuline College.

Traveling Belize Style

My husband and I left Miami, taking the morning flight directly to Belize City.

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From there we needed to get to San Ignacio (locally referred to as Cayo), our base for traveling to the Caracol Mayan ruins.  Although we are clearly tourists, I like to travel through Belize like most Belizeans – via the bus.  The school buses, owned by private and collective groups, shuttle people all over the country off their main 4 highways.  So we took a 2.5 hour bus from Belize City to San Ignacio.  I love travelling this way, as you get to have conversations with Belizeans (as well as other tourists) and can become more familiar with local culture and customs.

 

Bus ride in Belize

Bus travel in Belize

It isn’t the most glamorous or even the fastest way to travel in the country, but it is what I prefer.  In fact when I am in Belize (I think this is my 15th trip!) I can’t help but take on the Belizean perspective.  I find that they are very easy going and live life at a peaceful pace.  Things aren’t hectic and frenetic here.

Belize can be very budget friendly or unfriendly, depending on how luxe you want to your experience (i.e. hotels can go for $8 to over $500/night).  I once traveled across the country for a week for under $400, including all food, lodging, travel, guided tours, and gifts for loved ones.  While we are not traveling on this low of a budget now, we are still traveling modestly and are not staying in resorts.

For our stay in San Ignacio, we settled on the Casa Blanca Guesthouse, situated in a slightly more quiet end of the city.  Although the rooms are modest, they are clean, and the hotel has lovely common areas.

Common areas in our hotel

Common areas in our hotel

I am actually writing this from the breezy veranda while listening to reggae from the restaurant a few streets away and drinking a Belikan.  Not a bad first day in Belize!

View from our hotel in San Ignacio

View from our hotel in San Ignacio

Up next… touring Caracol!

Tending to family and footsies

My second day in Miami, I had a few errands to run, like buying flip flops (seriously, I forgot these????), some cat supplies, and some food for my upcoming Belize adventure.

Snacks that aren't easily available (or crazy expensive) on tiny tropical island.

Snacks and essentials that aren’t easily available (or crazy expensive) on tiny tropical island.

Hmmm, I never really explained the whole cat traveling thing.  Well, I am not the only ecologist in the family that is traveling the whole summer.  My husband is too.  My kitty (named Gaia) is staying with me rather than my husband, as he has more legs on his trips than me.  While I am in Belize, however, Gaia has stay in Miami with my parents.

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Gaia, my rescue Bengal kitty

I digress…. the rest of my second day in Miami I hung out with my family (with the exception of one, they all live in South Florida).  We got group manicures and pedicures.  I guess that a family that grooms together stays together!  We dined further north in Broward County at a place called Big Bear Brewing Company.  The food was great (ribs and a beer-cheese soup).  But in my humble opinion, their beer didn’t hold a candle to our great Cleveland breweries (shout out to Great Lakes Brewing).  CLE +1.

My third and final day in Miami was spent largely helping out my family.  Ever looking forward to the cuisine of my hometown, though, I had to first brunch at my favorite hole-in-the wall Cuban bakery.  I had a lovely sugar rush from a café con leche and sugar encrusted pastelitos con carne (with meat) and con guayaba (with guava and cheese).

My cafe con leche and pastelitos.

My cafe con leche and pastelitos.

Then I headed home to try and fix my father’s ailing 9 year old computer.  No such luck.  Needless to say, I spent the rest of the afternoon setting up a brand new computer for him.  From there I helped out my brother’s girlfriend with her dental school applications.  See the professor hat is usually not far off, even on vacation.

About 10pm I started packing for Belize.  Since I am traveling through the country like most Belizeans – via bus – I had to adjust my luggage.  Here is a travel tip: rolling luggage does not travel well on the streets and buses of Belize (and other Central American countries).  So I packed up my trusty backpack and prepared for the next leg of my adventure.

First trip in Belize - touring Mayan Ruins

First trip in Belize – touring Mayan Ruins

 

Nothing like the sun in Miami

I left Cleveland on an evening flight, after a long day of work.  It makes for efficient, yet exhausting travel.  Luckily I had a direct flight to Miami.

 

Crandon Park Beach - not a bad way to spend the first day of vacation!

Crandon Park Beach – not a bad way to spend the first day of vacation!

The next morning was my beach day.  My mom and I slathered on some sunscreen and headed out to the beaches.  We didn’t go to South Beach, like I originally planned because Memorial Day weekend is Urban Beach festival, which means the streets were shut down and set up with multiple police check point stations.  All in all, it was too much of a headache that I preferred to avoid.  So we went to Crandon Park instead, which was relatively empty.

Relaxing under the palms

Relaxing under the palms

 

We settled under a palm tree for some partial shade and then basked in the bathwater temperature Atlantic ocean.  The continental shelf is further out in this section of South Florida, so it is shallow for really a long stretch.  There are also lots of seagrass beds, which are home to bottom dwelling marine creatures, like crabs and clams, and juvenile fish.  Once the fish grow up they head out to the coral reefs.

Exposed sea grass beds during low tide

Exposed sea grass beds during low tide

 

When the tide rolled out, the beds were exposed, prompting seagulls, anhinga birds, and pelicans to feast on the exposed fish and invertebrates.  Some of the exposed creatures included pink marine worms that truthfully looked like pink condoms. Some teens were freaking out about them, thinking they were jellyfish they would be stung from.  I assured them that there weren’t.  They delighted in touching the worms.

 

Intrigued by the exposed marine life

Intrigued by the exposed marine life

Marine tube worm exposed during low tide

Marine tube worm exposed during low tide

I strolled out to check out the beach dunes, which highly protected ecosystems.  The plants have really deep roots that function to prevent the sand from eroding away into the water.  They also are home to sea turtle nests!  I really couldn’t have asked for a better lazy beach day!

 

Beach dune ecosystem

Beach dune ecosystem

I ended the day with an early dinner at Tarpon Bend in Coral Gables.  Their mojitos and calamari are to die for.  I also splurged on some oysters and a shrimp sandwich.  Let’s just say that I am happy I do not have a shellfish allergy.  I love them way too much. YUM!

My favorite: raw oysters on a half shell

My favorite: raw oysters on a half shell

Mojito!!!!

Mojito!!!!

Packing for 2.5 months (and with a cat!)

Packing for a 2.5 month multi-purpose trip to 2 US states and a developing country is a tad challenging.  And yes that cat is coming with me on my adventure (more on that soon).

Luggage for 2.5 months

I have been traveling for quite some time and have figured a few things out along the way.  So I thought I would share some of my top ten rules for packing.

10. Do NOT buy heavy and expensively pretty luggage.  It should be durable, and it WILL get dirty from being processed.

9.  Lay out all your clothes beforehand and choose outfits that are multipurpose and coordinate with each other.

8.  Choose a neutral makeup palette and bring just the essentials (mascara, powder, tinted lip balm, blush, and one eye palette is enough for me).

7.  Choose clothes that travel well and do not wrinkle easily.

6.  Roll your clothes inside out to prevent wrinkles, pack tightly, and avoid getting dirty from inside your bag.

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5.  Bring multipurpose undergarments – I love convertible bras for this reason.

4. Wear your bulky clothes and shoes on the plane – always have a sweater/jacket, scarf, and/or socks in case the plane is freezing.

3. Use every nook of space in your luggage.  For example, I always put my socks or belts in my shoes.  I also keeps them from getting flattened.  If I have a fragile item, I wrap it in my clothes to pad it.

2.  Always leave space a little space in your luggage for gifts or mementos from your vacation.My carryons include a packable purse (Black Longchamp).   Included in my essentials are my dissertation field/data notebooks (yellow).  They never leave my possession!

1.  The following items belong only in your carryon/personal item!!!  Do not let them be away from you in case you get stranded without your checked luggage: prescription drugs, computer, camera, all chargers, jewelry, passport(!!!!), and anything else that is really delicate/valuable.

I am sure I am forgetting to pack something, but isn’t that part of the charm of traveling?

 

Ursuline Psychology takes you places!

Ursuline Psychology takes you places!

Research plays an important role within the field of psychology, and our department has done a wonderful job at providing exciting opportunities such as this to students who wish to pursue a career in psychology. The goal of the Midwestern Psychological Association is to promote the advancement of psychological science. This is done through holding an annual meeting at which papers, posters, and symposia research are presented.There are over 2000 members of MPA, which makes it one of the largest psychological associations in the world. Members hold positions in universities, colleges, hospitals, clinics, school systems, business and industry, government and private practice. They teach, conduct research in laboratories, do diagnosis, therapy, and counseling, and serve as administrators and consultants. Through attending this conference, we have had the opportunity to network with fellow psychology majors, professors from other intuitions, and attend lectures of some of the leading researchers in their field. Psi Chi, an international honors society in psychology, is also an important part of our path towards a career in psychology, and its goal is also to promote and encourage research from undergraduate and graduate students.

Becoming member of Psi Chi has given us the opportunity to win an award for our submission to the MPA conference. Of the 400 plus research projects that were presented this year, only 18, including ours, won an award in excellence from Psi Chi. This is a wonderful achievement for us, and shows the wonderful opportunities available when students join Psi Chi and attend conferences such as MPA. We could not have accomplished all of this without the help of our faculty advisors, Dr. Edmonds and Dr. Frazier, so for this, we thank you!

Ursuline Psychology takes you places!May 1st  Just landed in Chicago! The Palmer House is absolutely gorgeous; we are so excited to have this 19th century home for the next few days. Painted ceilings and gold leaf trimming-staying here makes life feel like a movie! Chicago is such a beautiful city, and the weather is wonderful so we headed out to go sight-seeing. We saw “the bean”, Millennium Park, the fountains with faces, as well as the Chicago Riverwalk. Headed to dinner now, maybe we will get a Chicago-style deep-dish pizza…

May 2nd  This is the day we present our poster and accept our award from Psi Chi!: Waiting for our names to be called to receive the award, inflicted reflection upon how far we have come and the amount of work we have put into our research. It is amazing to have this opportunity-not only to have the professors and programs to teach us how to do quality research, but the freedom to design our own experiment within our own interests, and then to share it and be recognized in a professional setting; amazing experience.poster sessions, sit in lectures of our choosing, and attend roundtable discussions. We learned a lot today, and really enjoyed meeting new people and networking. It was an awesome experience to speak to others who are interested about our research, as well as learn what our peers around the country are researching also. We saw posters on topics ranging from Autism and the basal ganglia to texting while driving, along with many diverse others. It was so nice to meet so many people in one place who share the same passion for psychology; definitely a sense of belonging! We even got to see Elizabeth Loftus in person… her work is Ursuline Psychology takes you places!groundbreaking! It was crazy to be able to see her lecture in person after learning about her in class. We

May 3rd  This is our last day at the conference, and today we are free to walk through absolutely enjoyed our trip and will remember it always. We genuinely enjoyed interacting with our academic peers and hope to come back again next year!