I already posted about the most important thing that happened to me while I was in South Korea over Golden Week, my engagement! But here is all the other cool stuff I did!
When I first arrived in Busan, it was about 11am and I was hauling a huge suitcase which weighed about 80lbs. In preparation for my move to Korea, I knew it would be best to put heavy things like books and shoes and other trinkets that I didn’t need for a while in my big bag, leaving one suitcase for me to use when I go back to America this summer. When flying internationally, I’m allowed 50lbs or so per suitcase, and I figured going by ferry would loosen some of that restriction.
My arrival was smooth but at one point I had to try lugging my suitcase up a flight of stairs, but the Korean staff saw me struggling and did it for me. Then they pointed out the elevator I could use for the next part of my journey to customs. I got through security fine, but had to tell another guy that my suitcase was really heavy and that I couldn’t get it onto the x-ray machine. He was surprised that I could speak Korean.
Then I had to go up to more staff members and they asked to see the contents of my suitcase in case it was something I was trying to sell, and since a lot of my books look brand new, they had to double check with me. One of the ladies said something about how they heard me speak Korean, so I explained that all these were my own books that I was moving to Korea, not intending to sell. They were really impressed that I could speak Korean, which made it perhaps less embarrassing for me. They were really nice and let me go through the doors to see Junkyu.
We set off to find lunch and went to a popular cold noodle and dumplings joint in the center of town. Then we met up with his friends for strawberry shaved ice and watched a parade. Busan was incredibly crowded that weekend, but we tried to drive around and see some of the sites I had on my list. We made it to Taejeongdae, but just barely. So many people were there that we decided to skip the main parts and just walk to the closest beach.
After that, we slowly made our way to Gamcheon Cultural Village, which is known for its beautiful view of the colored houses. When we arrived, it was pretty dark so the lights on the houses lit up the whole hillside. We got hungry again and met his friends for dinner and of course we had chicken at their house afterwards, as well as chocolate cake. Korea is definitely going to make me fat…
The next day it was raining so we skipped our plans to see more of Busan and drove back to Daejeon. Most of the week was uneventful, since Junkyu had to work. I relaxed at home or rode with him and read my book on Korea and it was nice having a break from school. Each night we ate delicious Korean food like spicy dakgalbi, pork and kimchi stew, ginseng chicken soup, and samgyeopsal of course.
One night, we were shopping for clothes and went to a department store where Junkyu tried on some suits. The store we were at had two huge cut outs of Kim Woo Bin and Ok Taecyeon (from 2PM). I am a huge 2PM fan (I recently saw them in concert here in Japan) and Taecyeon is my favorite member. Back in college I was lucky enough to be able to go to their first U.S. tour with the Wonder Girls (thanks dad!) in Atlanta, and we took pictures with both of the groups. I even got to hug Taecyeon for my picture, and he thanked me!
When the shop manager found out I was a fan of Taecyeon, he gave me a small poster they didn’t need anymore but used for advertisements. Then he asked us if we had a car and went to the back and pulled out a huge cut out like the ones in the front. He told us we could take it home because it was an old one they couldn’t use anymore. Normally, my fiancé is a bit annoyed if I go on about Kpop singers for too long, but he was really excited and carried Taecyeon very carefully through the mall to our car. He told me when we get an apartment, I can display it so my friends can take pictures with him.
On Friday we went to Seoul, where Junkyu proposed in front of Seoul Metropolitan Library and Seoul City Hall after our high class meal at The Plaza. Saturday, we met up with his friends who live in Seoul and they took us to a traditional Korean restaurant in Bukchon. The restaurant was a refurbished hanok (traditional Korean style house) as is most of the neighborhood of Bukchon. After lunch, they let us explore by ourselves and we had a great time strolling through parks, getting stopped by security on our way to The Blue House (where the president lives), and eating ice cream and waffles. We also walked around Gyeongbokgung Palace, a place I’d been on my first trip to Seoul with my friends.
We were exhausted, so we KTXed back to Daejeon and ate dinner with his friends (again!) on my last night. I am so glad that I have gotten to know so many people all over Korea and I know that it will make my move there in August a lot smoother. I have about eight more weeks in Japan and it’s starting to hit me that my life here will be ending soon. I’ll have plenty to do here, though, until then, but before I know it, I will be back in Korea!