Seoul Bound


I made it to Seoul Monday evening after taking the very smooth and fast KTX train. The travel time was about 3 hours, which I spent finishing the book Never Let Me Go. I recommend it, although it is pretty dark and somber most of the time. But the narrative is creative and the thematic elements are genius. Now I'm reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which has great reviews and has been turned into a movie. We shall see...

Anywho, Jamie met me at the train station at around 6 p.m., so we went back to her place to drop off my stuff and meet up with Mark for dinner. Reuniting with one of my best friends after a long month and a half proved to be dramatic: filled with tears, hugs and laughs. After saying, "I can't believe we're finally together" about 98345 times, we finally made it back to her place. We then bought a few blankets for me to sleep on at the nearby Home Plus store. Shortly after, we met up with Mark at the Hongik University subway stop, which is a pretty lively area. Any area with a university has streets packed with young people and there's always good shops, cafes and restaurants too.

[Look at how clean the subway station is!]

We chose a busy-looking Korean BBQ restaurant, which turned out to be delicious. The entire time, the three of us stared at each other in disbelief as excitement exuded from our pores. To have friends in a foreign place makes a world of difference. We talked about future plans to travel (including a trip to Malaysia in January!), work, shopping, food, going out, the language barrier, everything!

[This year will be defined by me stuffing my face with delicious food]

At around 10 p.m. or so, Mark's jet lag started to kick in so we walked him back to the metro station so that he could get to bed early. Jamie and I then went to a waffle house, which they have everywhere in Seoul. We sat upstairs, overlooking the neon-lit streets and 20-somethings flooding the sidewalks.


[Evidence of my mad blogging skills ;)]

After we were done, we headed back to her place. Almost immediately, I crashed but Jamie stayed up, writing down places for me to visit the following day while everyone else was at work. When I woke up the next morning, I found a piece of paper detailing exactly where I should go, what metro lines to take and how to get back. SO sweet of her :)

[Jamie's place]

The day was particularly beautiful--the air was so crisp, the sun was out and there was a cool breeze--so I decided to take advantage of it by exploring outside. I went back to Hongik University for some coffee. Then, I went to Ewha University for most of the day. I just spent the day's hours going in and out of various shops, people watching and enjoying my new surroundings. Almost everyone here does things in pairs, so I got some odd looks shopping and eating by myself...but I found it really therapeutic. I took my precious time and stopped at a couple cafes here and there to read a few chapters in my book, write in my journal or take some photos.

[Ewha University]

[Stationary galore!]

[I also had no idea that the shopping would be so amazing here]

[Yes, I had an omellette for lunch]

I met up with everyone for dinner again and spent the remainder of the evening settling in with my stuff. I can't wait until I find my own place, but I have a feeling that won't be for another week or two. I have plans to meet with the L.A. Times writer sometime this week to discuss possible publications to write for. So please keep your fingers crossed :)

Tomorrow, I'm going to Incheon to visit my friend Jessica. It only takes about 40 minutes to an hour by subway, so I plan on just being there for the day. I'm excited to see her and the town that she lives in...she seems to really like it, so I'd love to see how it differs from Seoul.

Thank you to everyone for your prayers and words of encouragement. It's surreal that I'm finally here, but I'm more determined than ever to make this year one of the best. I love you all!



1 comment :

Susan said...

Isn't Seoul just so "alive"? Anywhere there are universities nearby, it's lively and so much to experience.