I Did All the Things (No, Seriously)

Well—hot dog—guess who’s posting again in less than two weeks! Put on your party hats, people! No, seriously. Put them on and read about my glorious four-day weekend during which I did All. The. Things.

I had a really wonderful four-day weekend May 3rd to the 6th. It started off with a staff dinner on Friday evening. When we were all done with our last lessons, all of the teachers and our boss went out for a popular Korean meal called Samgyeopsal. It’s really delicious—they basically cook pieces of uncured pork (it looks like thick bacon, but it’s not) on a hot plate in the middle of your table, along with kimchi (spicy fermented cabbage—massively popular here) and then you cut it into little pieces and put it on a piece of lettuce along with whatever else you want from the other dishes, and basically roll the lettuce like a taco and eat it. It’s kind of overwhelming (especially since my chopstick skills are still pretty sub-par), but it’s absolutely delicious! IMG_2797 On Saturday afternoon I met up with a few people to do some cultural stuff. We stopped briefly by Gyongbokgung or Gyongbok Palace where they had some festive re-enactments of assorted stuff going on (unfortunately I have no idea of the significance of the events). It was really crowded due to the holiday, so my companions didn’t want to actually go into the palace so we didn’t stay long. IMG_2809 IMG_2813 IMG_2815 IMG_2818 We had some really good Indian food for dinner, and then I went off to do some more wandering in my own. I actually got super lost for a while, and stumbled onto Cheonggyecheon Stream which was lit up with the most amazing lanterns I’ve ever seen. IMG_2826 The stream is probably one of my favorite places I’ve been so far. I guess it was covered up by a massive highway for a long time, but in recent years Seoul has been doing a huge urban renewal project to make the city beautiful again (there’s a ton of history to explain this, and I’ve only just dipped my toes into that pool. It’s super fascinating, but it’s way too much for me to explain at 1:09am as I write this). The stream was uncovered, made beautiful, and reopened again just in 2006. IMG_2831 IMG_2836 IMG_2842 IMG_2843 IMG_2846IMG_2849 On Sunday I went to called Bongenusa Temple. It took about an hour to get there on the subway, but it was so beautiful. The lanterns were (once again) amazing, but what was even cooler was the hiking trails in the woods behind the temple. They weren’t extensive, but it was enough to block out the city for a little bit. It felt so good to just be surround by nature again for a little bit. I stayed in the woods wandering around for a couple hours. IMG_2877 IMG_2881 IMG_2887 IMG_2888 IMG_2895 IMG_2907 IMG_2914 IMG_2917 IMG_2920 IMG_2921IMG_2900 IMG_2902 IMG_2916 On my way home (and by on the way home I mean completely not at all on the way home) I went to check out a bookstore that I heard had big English books section, called Kyobo bookstore inside Gwanghwamun Station. I walked into this bookstore and, you guys, Oh. My. God. I made an actual, involuntary, and audible sound that I’m pretty sure consisted entirely of vowels. It is the biggest bookstore I have ever seen. Because of the holiday there were approximately 7-billion Koreans there, so I didn’t couldn’t peruse as much as I wanted to, but I picked up a guidebook because (shockingly) I didn’t have one, and made a mental note to go back (about a million times).

On Monday I was craving sunshine and relaxation, so I flipped open my handy new guidebook to find a park. About an hour later I found myself at Yeouido Park where I promptly stretched out in the sun and just hung out for about an hour. Yeouido Park is another part of the urban renewal project—the stretch of land was turned into a park in 1999, before that it was basically an asphalt plaza that doubled as an emergency airstrip. It’s got some amazing walking/biking paths, and a huge area for kids to ride bikes and rollerblade, etc. The walking paths are—get this—squishy. Not like really squishy, just squishy enough that you could walk on them forever and your feet wouldn’t get tired. In case that’s a problem. IMG_2929 After the park, I decided to go back to Gyeongbokgung (where we’d been so briefly on Saturday) because I really wanted to actually buy a ticket ($3) and go into the palace. It was still crowded, but not too bad, and was absolutely amazing. I was there for about four hours, and probably only so about half of the palace. I’ll have to go back again, for sure. IMG_2940IMG_2936 IMG_2938 IMG_2939 IMG_2946 IMG_2948 IMG_2951 IMG_2952 IMG_2958 And a few pictures from the plaza in front of the palace. IMG_2930 IMG_2932 IMG_2965IMG_2931 And Tuesday I met up with my friends again and we all just recounted our weekends and relaxed. Wednesday-Friday we had a short week at work, I spent most of it administering speaking tests to my elementary students (I sat with each student individually and asked them some basic conversational questions and graded their responses) and grading their writing tests. Some were good, some were bad, and some were hilariously bad.

This last weekend I just relaxed. And it was glorious.

That’s all for now. It’s  now 2:07am, so I have a very important appointment with my pillows.

As always, love from Seoul!

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About reallyholly

I'm really quite fantastic.
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10 Responses to I Did All the Things (No, Seriously)

  1. Ashley says:

    I’m obsessed with the title of this post! Haha. I got to do a few of these same things when I visited Korea. Great post!

  2. cornishkylie says:

    I love the lit up lanterns, especially all the crazy shapes – only in Asia!

  3. heatherinde says:

    Wahoo for more pictures! And I very much like the random guidebook selection method. Bring on more posts and lanterns!

  4. Brilliant article. You are right, the Cheonggycheon looked amazing when you were there. Makes me want to return myself! http://backpackerlee.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/searching-for-my-seoul/

  5. Wow! You really did ALL. The. Things. I’ve been here for 5 years, and never managed to pack as much into 1 weekend as you did. 🙂

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