It’s been a while! Life has been a zoo…and while I can’t say I loved every minute of it, it’s definitely got it’s moments.
I spent 2 weeks in April in Korea this year. It was my first ever trip there, and my first ever trip where I went not knowing what to expect. It was sort of a spur of the moment sort of trip, mainly because my friend would be there and could take me around, and partially from the curiousity that korean pop culture has instilled in me.
The flight there was fantastic. My ever faithful travel partner (a stuffed monkey by the name of Bobo) and I jumped on to our Korean Air flight heading to Seoul, and landed to much excitement and more than a little nervousness. My friend would be spending three days with me at my hotel, then I’ll be off on my own for a bit before joining up with her again for a side trip to Jejudo. It was great that her sister was able to join us, and in the end it was her sister who booked everything!
Long story short, Korea met every expectation I had and more. I visited the old palaces, old shrines, the Royal Tombs, ate everywhere, and shopped even more. I loved that the people of Korea carried with them so much pride in their culture and history, but at the same time they are so…modern. The fact that I could look out the front gates of their Gyeongbokgong straight out into the busy streets of Seoul…or walk from in between rows upon rows of high rises into Insadong and have tea at a traditional teahouse… or how different the scenery is if I took an hour’s bus ride out to the royal tombs, then bus back and end up at one of the trendiest shopping areas before walking back to my hotel. It was such a thrill….
Of course, I did a whole bunch of crazy tourist things: took sticker pictures while wearing a hanbok, had bbq til I sweated bacon, ate mile high ice cream cones, had much street food, went to Namsan tower at night to look at the lights….etcetc. Oh yeah and I shopped of course. Surprisingly, I didn’t buy much! I think I was more interested in visiting the places and living the culture….and visiting JYP Entertainment in Gangnam. Hahaha. Yup….I’m crazy =p
My friends all asked if I enjoyed my trip there…and I honestly replied that it would be a place I can see myself living in. I’m not sure how I would find working there because I haven’t tried…but in the city, there is so much activity and so many people – not unlike Hong Kong. But unlike Hong Kong, there’s so much space, and so much CLEAN space in Korea – which is not unlike Vancouver. So in my mind it is best of the two places that my heart is stretched over.
Then there’s Jejudo…if you go to Korea, you must spend a couple of days there. This place was spectacular….so many things to see…I want to go back and climb Hallasan…I want to go back and watch the sunset again..I want to go back and just sit at the cliffs and just be. It’s hard to find a place where you can just BE. And maybe while i’m being, I’m going to eat oranges and drink makguli 😉
In my two weeks there, I felt the warmth that was reserved for foreigners as people stopped to help me when I got lost….or helped me find someone who could help. It really opened my eyes and made me reflect on how I should treat people who just need a hand, and how much a simple smile could make someone’s day.
Thank you Korea for a wonderful time. My theme song for the entire time I was there was “I’ll Be Back” by 2PM (of course)….and I will be…I promise 🙂