Sorry I’ve been MIA!! I’ve got a whole bunch of pictures piling up and not enough time to write enough about my experiences in each place to give them justice. However, I’m going to try to give brief summaries about everywhere my first semester working at my high school is almost over (wow!!!)
Jindo holds a very special place in my heart. This might be my favorite place that I’ve visited in Korea. The thing about Jindo is that it’s extremely rural. There’s nothing completely spectacular about Jindo. It’s a sleepy island near the bottom tip of Korea and it’s very close to Jeju. I went here with my host family and we were able to drive everywhere. My favorite parts were driving through farmland and looking out at the ocean the whole time. Everything seemed slower, more relaxed. Buildings weren’t on top of each other. Driving at night was incredible because it was the first time I was in Korea and saw the stars clearly at night without ridiculous amounts of light pollution. It reminded me of driving through upstate New York in the middle of the night.
I went to Gyeongju for the Fall Fulbright Conference, where I also presented my Classroom Management 101 presentation! Although I spent the whole weekend there, we only had one day to really look around the area. I opted to do a tour on that day! I’d describe Gyeongju as a clean, picturesque Korean town brimming with traditional architecture and a multitude of deep historical landmarks and monuments. The days we visited were absolutely perfect and we got to have clear, blue skies. One of my favorite parts of the tour was riding the bus up a very very steep and narrow mountain. When you looked out the window, you could see the clouds beneath you and over the towns below us. It was totally beautiful, and really reminded me of the Korean Buddhist art style I’ve been seeing at temples. I got to see some of Korea’s beautiful fall foliage beginning and the infamous pink muhly plant!
Jinju was super lovely and I’d love to go back! We went to the lantern festival and it took HOURS to go through and see all the lanterns. Even now, I’m not so sure that we were even able to see all of them. It was breathtaking. There were tons of vendors as well selling crafts and Korean street food. Gabby and I were able to make our own lanterns, write our wish on them, and send them down the river in hopes that they’ll come true.
It feels like I’ve been visiting Seoul almost every other weekend. I definitely see Seoul in a completely different light than how I did when I first studied abroad here in 2017. For my tri-state area readers, going to Ewha was almost the equivalent to going to NYU or Columbia with majority Upper East Side-ers. At least that’s how it feels now after being to other parts of Korea. I’ve become a lot more familiar with the different bus terminals there and I finally visited Itaewon, which is a part of the city that’s swarming with foreigners! Here there’s a huge diversity of restaurants and shops. I spent Halloween here and had a blast!! In the future, I plan to visit more of Eastern Seoul since that’s not really an area I frequented while I was at Ewha. Once it gets warmer I’d like to start going to the Han River on a picnic mat with a few of my friends. I really cherish my moments alone on the bus to Seoul, which is about an hour and a half from my city (Cheongju). Looking out the window to and from the city really helps me remember why I came to Korea in the first place.
I’m not sure if you guys remember from my other post, but I visited Sokcho again! This time when there was no typhoon and it was a completely different city. It was a completely gorgeous beach town up north. We lit floating lanterns and sent them up over the ocean at night. We also visited Seoraksan, one of Korea most breathtaking mountains. It was absolutely gorgeous. Once you get up the mountain, there’s a temple as well as small cafe’s you can sit at while looking up at Seoraksan’s beautiful peaks.
Where am I going next?
Next Sunday I’ll be heading down to Busan for about 5 or 6 days. After that, I’m leaving for Phu Quoc, Vietnam on January 13th!