Just wanted to send a quick hello - I CANNOT believe a) it's been 3 plus weeks since I last posted and b) that I've almost been here for 2 months!! Time flies when you're having fun. I always wondered why people never kept up with blogs and now I know!
So I spent Chuseok holiday in Seoul! Which for those who aren't familiar with South Korea geography (like I wasn't before I lived here) Seoul has a population of almost 11 million and is the capital of South Korea, about 4 hours northwest of where I live. What a GREAT experience - such a cultural immersion for my mind AND for my taste buds. I finally got a taste of something other than Korean food (kimchi, white rice, noodles, etc) and Lotteria (a Korean McDonald's chain).
We stayed in a hostel called The Yellow Submarine. I'm not sure if you're familiar with hostels or not, but they're basically economical accomodations for travelers/backpackers. It's like a dorm style place to stay for cheap. Our hostel was 2 floors had about 6 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. In the bedrooms, there were bunk beds - ours happened to be a 6 person co-ed room. In that room, there were Virgina and Jarrod the 2 folks I was traveling with. Virginia is from Seattle and Jarrod is from Australia. The other 3 were from Germany. We met folks from the States, more from Germany, one from Taiwan, 2 from Ireland, the UK, everywhere! It was such a great experience to meet all the people AND there is something about travelers that makes them THE most laid back and friendly people in the world. So refreshing to hear their stories. Ruth, from Ireland just re-signed for a 2nd year to teach in Osaka, Japan. Another girl in our room is Korean, but was adopted by a German family and actually just met her biological family for the first time over Thanksgiving. One of the hostel workers was a 20 old named Zander from the Nederlands (I think) - haha :) we laughed b/c I shared with him that I'm dutch too! but such a blast and that was just the sleeping quarters! p.s. it was only $17.00 a night complete with breakfast, warm showers, comfy bed, and internet!!
Our first night in Seoul we ate at a Korean restaurant that served Sam Kip Sa (which is like a fondu type/grill in the middle of the table - cook your own meat and wrap it in sesame leaves) then we went to TGIFriday's for desert and drinks!! I read in the paper yesterday that Seoul had THE most rain it's had in a day in 102 years the day we arrived.Korea Times News Article about Floods haha :) what are the chances? The subways were actually flooded in Seoul - on our stop too, so that was interesting. I was walking around bare footed b/c my flip flops were TOO slippery to walk on AND I hadn't brought an umbrella :) But it was an adventure and we got more than a few good laughs. :)
Dongdaemun for some Western stores - including H&M, Forever 21, etc! I didn't buy too much - but I did find a really cute outfit for Sadie (the world's cutest dog)
that night we went out for Mexican food in Itaewon which is the Western part of Seoul - complete with a Nashville style pub. The next full day we dove back into Korean culture with a trip to a palace,
the artsy area of Seoul,
One thing I've noticed about the pace of my traveling - it's such a relaxed pace. Even though we were on vacation, it wasn't like we were visiting for only a week. I'm here for a year and even though I've already been here for 7 weeks - it's such a nice feeling to live close by and not feel rushed to jam pack everything into one trip. There's plenty of time - we saw a lot of things in Seoul, but I also know, that I can come back anytime I want over the next year. I came back home (Pohang) on Friday and have relaxed the whole weekend.
Amazed daily :)
xoxo from the ROK