Yesenia!! Thanks about my pictures :) I took them with my little camera that I got when you were here! Its nice to hear that everything is going good at school. I was thinking about you today and how I wish you were still here.
Korea wanted me to tell you that it misses you too.
I’ve been home for a little over a week. My welcome home was full of tears of joy and lots of hugs at the airport. Exhausted from my long trip back home, laying my head on my pillow, in my home, was a great feeling.
I realized many things upon my return, so far:
I love having my parents and siblings there to see everyday.
having food in the fridge 24/7
having home cooked meals
the feeling of driving with music in the background is awesome
coming back to work with such warm and happy welcomes
realizing that what I experienced in Korea is something that I will always have with me
It’s been kind of a rush trying to get back to work, getting used to some changes that they implemented, getting things ready for the next semester, and trying to input the valuable things I learned in Korea into my daily things.
Traveling is such a beautiful, and exhausting thing, and the feeling of coming back home is indescribable.
I leave exactly one week from tomorrow. I have been busy and stressing over finals this week, but the thought of being home for the holidays cheers me up! It feels surreal how fast my stay here went by and how close I am to going back home. I can remember exactly how it was when I departed for Seoul.
I am excited to go back home. Being away from my loved ones really made me appreciate all of their love, attention, help, and support they have given me. Going back, I can’t wait to spend time with them, share my experiences, and tackle what’s to come next year. I feel refreshed, and with an open mind and heart.
I arrived from the airport, exhausted, yet excited, for having visited Hong Kong this past weekend. This is my last trip I made before I head back home, and it was probably one of the best ones I took during my stay in South Korea.
My friend opened up the doors to her home, and got to meet all of her lovely family. My friend from back home is studying in HK and she helped me navigate and show me the beautiful city of Hong Kong as well!
Ladies Market, the Peak, 1881 Heritage, Temple Street Night Market, Repulse Bay, are some of the places I visited. I love open air street markets.
With over 7 million people living here, it was no doubt I would feel overwhelmed! HK is vibrant, energetic, fast paced, glamorous even. Beautiful place where old meets new in this densely populated place.
Saturday afternoon, and the metro is packed. I try to grab on to something to avoid falling as the metro slowly gains speed. I’m with my Korean university friend and we’re softly speaking in English. We get off at the station and I breath I felt relief in breathing fresh air. The metro was hot and stuffy.
We walk outside and immediately overwhelmed by the smell, people and chatter. We had arrived at the Seoul Herbal Medicine Market. Stands spill onto the sidewalk creating an endless path of herbs and fresh produce.
We walk into an alleyway that leads to another street and the commotion seems to stop, and suddenly we are welcomed by a peacefulness that you can’t help but admire. You see herbal shops here too, but minus the hectic environment.
We go into a shop. Herbs and other natural remedies decorate the entire little shop, from the walls to herbs hanging from the ceiling.
It’s difficult to explain what I felt when I was there. My eyes are trying to look at everything, the people the herbs, the shops, the textures. There is a distinct smell of mixed herbs that lingers in the air.
This past weekend, some friends and I took a trip to Jeju Island. We took a 50 minute plane ride to the island. The itinerary was packed!!
Jeju is absolutely beautiful. We climbed Mt. Hallasan, something I couldn’t believe after we finished the 8.4 km trail. Koreans love hiking and I was so impressed by their hiking attire and energy to climb the mountain! Unfortunately, I didn’t wear proper shoes, so now I am suffering the consequences. I can say that all of us were exhausted after that. My calves are still sore!! But nonetheless, it was amazing to look out into the ocean from atop the mountain.
We also took a ferry ride to another small island called Udo. We rented golf carts and rode along the coast, stopping every 10 minutes or so to take pictures.
I made some wonderful memories on this trip, just more to add to this experience here in South Korea.
This weekend, my friend Christine and I took a bus down to Gwangju, where it all started for me. This past January, Christine and I spent 10 days in Gwangju as participants in a Korean Culture Experience Program. This trip was my first exposure to Korean culture, and was the main reason why I decided to come back and study abroad in South Korea.
I walked down some of the same streets as I did in January and being back again made me feel a bit of nostalgia. Some of our friends were able to meet up with us and they made us feel so welcomed. It was great to see familiar faces.
This made me realize the people we encounter in life all make an impact somehow, and the friends we made here are one of the nicest, kindest, and caring people I have met.
Gwangju is very dear to me, as Seoul has come to be also…