2022 was an eventful year filled with gains and losses. I finally got settled on the East Coast, bonded with a few people, rekindled a couple of friendships, changed jobs, and got to know my extended family better. My family and I traveled to Rhode Island for a conference and Canada (Toronto and Montreal) for a family reunion and wedding. With my significant other, I traveled to Connecticut and Massachusetts for a 3-day trip and wedding.
While the Covid-19 pandemic eased, turmoil increased in several countries, leading to increasing prices of goods, supply shortages, and human suffering. It is hopeful that 2023 will mean a gradual improvement in the stock market and hopefully the state of the world.
In 2022, I got to know my surroundings better and discovered new games, books, films, and Anime series through the influence of people I have met. As a result, I ended up purchasing more rather than finishing what I have. I did, however, completed some of my goals, including the following:
Complete a sudoku book. [Completed]
Complete CEs. [Completed – about 50% done before upcoming renewal date in April 2023and 81% done with BCGP renewal]
Complete a crafting or personal project every month using the materials I already have. [Completed 13 projects]
Complete 5 video games over the course of year. Cannot buy until 5 are completed. [Completed]
Finish 5 books in “to be read” pile. [Completed 80% (4 out of 5)]
Practiced Chinese daily [Completed 11 of 12 monthly badges on Duolingo]
Developed a new skill [Learned how to play mahjong]
For 2023, I hope to continue…
Complete CEs for license renewal in April 2023.
Complete CEs for BCGP renewal.
Finish 5 books in “to be read” pile.
Complete 5 video games over the course of the year.
Practice Chinese daily.
Complete a crafting or personal project every month using the materials I already have.
Write or sketch once a week.
Bond closer with friends.
January 3rd just passed! Happy 1 year birthday to Xinglong!
“Yay! I celebrated with a relaxing day all to myself, until Tianlong decided to bother me!”
During 2022, I have completed artwork during 7 out of the 12 months (58%). All art is done traditionally using Sakura micron pens, Copic markers, and colored pencils. The majority of the characters depicted in these images are from Japanese animation or manga series, except for the animals and the dragon girl in the November entry. I plan on continuing to create art during 2023.
In 2022, I have been to a few places in New York (NYC, Albany, Staten Island, and Brooklyn), Gillette Castle in Connecticut, and Montreal, Canada. However, I have been lazy and used my Samsung S21 Ultra+ to take the majority of the photos. I plan on going back to using my Sony camera to take photos for 2023.
The following day we headed to Jeonju (전주시), the capital of North Jeolla province located in the southwestern part of the Korean peninsula.
In the past, the area that included Jeonju was part of the Baekje kingdom and founded in 57 B.C. Our tour guide took us to the Jeonju Hanok Village (전주한옥마을), where Yi Seok, the last prince of the Joseon dynasty resided. The village itself is comprised of 800 traditional Korean houses and blends well with the modern buildings in the background. One can easily wander around the alleyways and discover various sights and delights, including a museum about the production of rice wine and rice cakes as well as the history of the village; and beautiful mural art.
Ancient Tombs in Songsan-ri – Royal Tomb of King Muryeong (무령왕릉)
Gongju National Museum (국립공주박물관)
Gongsanseong Fortress (공산성)
After enjoying the splendors of Seoul, we joined the next tour that explored the western part of Korea, starting in Gongju (공주시) city located in the eastern part of Chungcheongnam-do (South Chungcheong) Province. Gongju (previously named Ungjin) was the ancient capital of the Baekje kingdom during 475-538 A.D. The city lies on the banks of the Geumgang River and is surrounded by two beautiful mountain ranges: Charyeongsan Mountain Range in the north and Gyeryongsan Mountain in the southeast.
Huddled in the mountains are various historical sites related to the Baekje kingdom. Our first stop was Magoksa Temple (마곡사), the main temple of the 6th diocese of the Jogye order of Buddhism in Korea. Founded in 643 by Precepts Master Jajang under the patronage of Queen Seondeok, the temple is a charming sight, especially in the spring and autumn.
The Taehwacheon Stream flows in front of the temple, giving the temple grounds a peaceful atmosphere. It is speculated that the name of this temple was dedicated to the preceptor monk, Magok Bocheol, who had attracted crowds of visitors to this temple in ancient times.
During the Joseon (조선) dynasty (1392-1910), Yi Seong-gye established his capital in Hanyang (modern-day Seoul서울) and brought forth a dynasty that would last more than 500 years; this led to many cultural, scientific, and technological achievements that would define Korean history.
Seoul, today, is home to one-fifth of the country’s population (about 9.8 million) and has remained South Korea’s capital since its founding. Its sprawling metropolis is divided into 25 districts, but it can be visualized as two halves: north and south of the Han River (Hangang). Our guided tour primarily focused on the districts north of the Han River.
We arrived in Seoul on October 5th from Tokyo, Japan. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by a Hanatour driver, who took us to the Center Mark hotel. After refreshing ourselves, we explored the city on our own that same evening.
Our guided tour began on October 6th at Gwanghwamun Square (광화문광장) that enshrines a statue of King Sejong the Great, the fourth ruler of the Joseon dynasty and founder of Hangul—the Korean writing system. The Square was the center of the tumultuous history of South Korea; from the March 1st Independence Movement to civil revolution against the Japanese annexation of Korea to celebration of the Candlelight Culture Festival, the Square withstood these changes and represents the Korean spirit of democracy.
During my visit to South Korea on October 5 to 13, 2017, I had the pleasure of going with my family on a guided tour from Hanatour. We explored Seoul, and then traveled to the western part of Korea and to Jeju Island.
Since the last update in January, most things have been settled. Returning to the East Coast did mean that I had to adjust to the weather and the work culture. While it was not much different at work (since I just transferred within the same company), it just took me a bit of time to get used to the people and the environment. I connected with people and explored the area, getting to know what is out there. It helped that I had been in this part of the East Coast during my visits to my paternal family in the past, so it was not entirely a new experience.
These past few months I have worked on mini creative projects, including making a pin banner to display my pin collection and drawing personal cards for family and friends. Please see Gallery » Traditional Art » Card Designs for the most recent designs. In addition, I have been continuing to build upon healthy habits while finding time for myself in between work and family matters.
In the upcoming month of May, I will be posting my travel journals for South Korea (2017) on a semi-regular schedule (once to twice a week). Just in time for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! If progress is satisfactory, I will also work on finishing up the remaining travel journals for my trips to China in 2018 and 2019; and Singapore 2019.
Also, in the works, is a major project! After almost three years since the end of the web series, A Gathering of Heroes: Anhu, Taki and I have decided to return with a new story set in the same setting but with xianxia elements and some returning characters. The story will be special in that I had– on whim– commissioned an artist to help with designing two of the major characters; both of whom have been around in a story concept that I had from my younger days. We are currently in the story development phase, so it will probably not be debuted until Winter 2022/Early 2023 (should things go well!).
That is all for now! Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy!