Korea-Two days down and the whole summer to get it right!

Wow. Wow. Wow. That’s all I can say to express the feelings I have of this place. It is absolutely amazing. Well at least the area that I was in on Tuesday was. I was so happy to have my friend Soonho come and take me around town. He helped me become more comfortable crossing the road, getting on the subway, and going to restaurants. Even though my Korean is not great and I’m worried I will say the wrong thing, I did try to use it yesterday and realized that I still had some pronunciation issues. HA, but at least I tried. 

We took a long journey on Tuesday and it was quite fun. I saw so many shops I thought my head would explode. There was a wholesale shop where I found a gift for my niece, but it turns out that I was supposed to buy them in bulk, but the lady was kind enough to sell one to me individually. There is a plethora of restaurants which is great for me! I love love love love love love LOOOOOOOOVEEEE food! Funny thing is that I really haven’t eaten too much since I have been here. Not because I can’t order food, but because I can’t decide what to eat most of the time. There are many dessert places, coffee shops, little deli’s, and a ton of street food, which I have yet to try. 

What was the most interesting thing I saw on Day 1? 

I would have to say it was the performances by Seoul Art College. I had viewed a Youtube video prior to coming here and it was of that college performing to Psy’s Gentleman so I was shocked when I saw that it was them. I think the best part was when they started performing a song from the musical “Hairspray” and I could sing along. 

Did I have any major issues Tuesday?

I think the only issue I had was my legs! They felt like they were going to fall off by the time we made it back to my Guest House! They were definitely right in saying to bring comfortable shoes here. You will definitely need them. 

Day 2:

Well…hmm…this day was quite…interesting. I spent the morning doing some paperwork stuff for my family and then I realized that my plug was not working. I am lucky to have come to this Guest House because their English is very good! The young lady at the desk (Jen) was very helpful in helping me to find the plug I needed. The manager is also very kind, but since this is his first time owning a guest house it is sometimes funny because he is not completely organized yet. After the plug situation I told the owner that I was hungry and he took me to a restaurant that he said was one of the best in the area. I laughed so hard when the owner asked to take a picture with me. I was surprised that she knew as much English as she did because the side of town that I am on now seems to be a business area and kind of country compared to the Myeondong area (This area is called Jongno-3(sa)ga (종로3가)). One of the employees there spoke English, but some of her words were difficult to understand, which reminded me that I should practice my Korean too. After I was done eating they asked me if I could please return before I left the area and I agreed to because that food was good (kimchi jjigae).  I ended up going to some little shop on the way to find the subway station and it was quite amazing. Everything was hand painted and if you know me, you know I love artsy things. I bought three things there. Rose earrings, a stamp of my name written in Korean, and a letter opener for my mother. They are all really pretty and neat, but I can’t show you two of them since they wrapped it in this really nice paper. Now the rest of my day was spent getting lost on the Subway. I wanted to go to an area with shopping, but I forgot that I don’t have wifi out on the streets (actually in the other area there was a ton of wifi available) so I could not search for a place to go. I ended up hungry in an area that looked kind of deserted and since it was getting late I wanted to hurry and get back. I believe it was around 8pm at the time. Knowing that I had not had anything to eat except for the meal earlier I decided to grab a frozen kiwi drink at a coffee shop. Then I asked her if she could tell me how to get back to my place. Sadly I told her the wrong one and it ended up causing me a 15 minute walk instead of the 5 minutes that it should have taken from the subway. When I returned back I was going to shower and then go hangout with a friend, but he canceled on me 5 minutes after calling me. HA, I’m actually glad he did because I needed that rest. 

Plans for today:

Go to Dongdaemun Market? I’m not sure what I want to do, but I really need to buy some shoes and a backpack. I forgot why I wanted a backpack, but I will probably remember later. 

Tips:

1. Keep a subway map handy! I know it’s only my second day and that it’s normal to not know a new area…even with the subway map I am still lost. I am going to suggest that you get someone to explain how to know which exit you are at, how to transfer lines, and where not to sit on the train. 

2. Keep a Seoul map handy! HAHA I had one of these and forgot that I did so when I was lost I could have looked at the signs and figured it out, but I was so hungry that I could not think straight.

3. Stay hydrated! Most important part! It’s worse then not eating, just keep yourself full of water and if you get lost and can’t find food (which I think is impossible in Korea) you can still survive. 

4. Comfy shoes!! In Korea you will notice that mostly all the women are in high heels. I used to be able to walk around for hours on end in heels, but I don’t know if I still can. I did walk in sandals my first day. I was fine until the last hour and then things got painful, which didn’t make sense to me. Yesterday I walked around in boots and today I will try out my heels. O.O 

5. Don’t be afraid to practice your Korean! I did it yesterday and it wasn’t so bad. Just a few corrections and I felt good about it. I will definitely try to use more so that I can get used to certain words they say back too. Remember that I only took Korean level one so I am a super beginner. I brought a Korean Phrasebook with me and I also wrote down the phrases I need the most and ones that are said the most for purchases. I keep those with me. 

6. Have a plan! I actually have things I wrote down, but I have yet to actually do it. I just kind of want to get on the subway and go, but you really need to know a destination since there is so much here. 

I am supposed to be meeting with a friend today so hopefully that doesn’t fall through. It’s a work holiday so it might be quite busy in the town. First thing is first though, FOOD!! 

And I’m off!! 

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