Well, the last two weeks have flown by quite quickly. We haven’t done a lot in the last few days, but we have tried to get out a bit.
Thursday, after wishing y’all a Happy Lunar New Year, P and I met up with his sponsor for dinner. Turns out his wife is actually my old spin instructor from Bama. Pretty cool, huh? It was really nice getting some girl time (much as I love him, P is still a stinky boy), while the boys did their thing. Their home is also very beautiful. I am still amazed by the beauty of the apartments here.
Friday, Day 10, we made another trip to the capitol. Honestly, I wish we could do it like P did when he studied abroad: explore the city during the week, and spend every weekend outside it. Unfortunately, the city is an hour away (by bus — we’ll let you know how far away it is by subway soon. We just found out the easiest way to access it from here today. Woo!) and there just aren’t enough hours in the day, especially once P goes back to the real world. Anyways, back to my story:
Well, we were waiting for the bus when we ran into one of P’s school buddies (let’s call him ‘M’ – yep. I know, super original. I don’t know what I’m going to do when we have more friends than letters) who will be living in this area as well. M and his sponsor were also on their way to the capitol, and offered us a ride. It was great because M’s sponsor has been in the area for over 2 years now and has a LOT of knowledge and information on this area/country.
P and I ended up making our way to one of the big shopping markets: Namdaemun. We were even able to practice our subway skills, which was awesome. P is getting really good at getting us from point A to B around here. This place has been around since 1414 (according to wikipedia), and it is HUGE. Only a third or so was actually open (due to the holiday, most businesses are actually closed Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday). But even with the majority of it shut down, there was still so much hustle and bustle. I can’t imagine how big this area must be on a regular day (we will find out soon, because I think I found the dishes I want there! Woohoo!). We actually completely lost the entrance where we came in and could not find our way back to the subway station. Because of this little blunder, however, I did learn how the cabs calculate price around here: The first 1000 seconds are 2400won, and every 200 seconds after that, the cost increases by 100 won. Still quite cheap, but at least now I know how the system works around here!
We hopped on a bus back to our area, and planned to just stay in for the night playing Scrabble and watching How I Met Your Mother (we’re so exciting!). We almost didn’t hear the knock over the washing machine, but thank goodness we did! M came to see if we wanted to join him and some other folks for dinner. P didn’t have a coat (it was in the wash, due to a little spill at the market — we had bought a hoddeock, that turned out to be exceptionally juicy. Basically this awesome pastry decided it didn’t like P’s jacket at all), but we try not to turn down group outings. And it was quite a good outing. We hopped on a bus to one of the trendier areas of town, and had a traditional Korean BBQ dinner. They bring you pork and kimchi and you grill your own meats. It was delicious. After dinner, and our first experience with soju (Korean liquor, very dangerous), we ended up at a bar called Woodstock. It is an ex-pat only bar, and ironically they did not play any music from the Woodstock time frame. The boys even put in requests, and they were denied. The more popular current music requests, however, were not. Overall it was a pretty neat place. Oh, and me being the cold lame-o that I am, I ordered a cup of tea. Lemon tea, to be specific. That was probably one of the best things I have ever tasted. Just thought I’d share that Korean lemon tea pretty much rocks.
Saturday, Day 11, I cannot remember for the life of me, but I really don’t think we did anything too exciting. Wait… Yes we did. We looked at more apartments.
At 9AM, we met with a different realtor, and she showed us a few places. Nothing too exciting, and we ended up walking across the street to our original realtor right after that meeting. We asked for a second look at an apartment we were shown on Wednesday. I will let everyone know where we stand on the apartment front soon.
That night, we checked out a local Korean place (literally across the street) with M. The dumplings and soup left a little to be desired, but the spicy pork was fantastic. Oh and they had jalapeno kimichi, which was definitely a first for me. I am not a kimchi fan, but I had to try that, just for the uniqueness of it. The cool thing about this place was that we had to sit on the floor, and in Korea, the floors are heated.
Sunday, Day 12, P and I went to Seodaemun Prison. This prison was built in the early 1900s by the Japanese. It was a very sad and depressing place, but we learned so much about Korea’s fight for independence. Neither of us realized that Korea was occupied by Japan for so long (until the end of WWII). The prison was built to hold 300 prisoners and eventually held THOUSANDS. Even after they were given their freedom, this prison continued to be a place of darkness and torture. In ’88, the prison was turned into a museum. You know what’s really scary, though? There were portions of the prison, such as tunnel to smuggle bodies out of the compound and an underground female-only dormitory, that were not even discovered until 1992. Four YEARS after they opened the doors of the prison to the public.
After we finished our tour, we headed back to Itaewon for a late dinner (btw, Indian buffet is never a good idea, just don’t do it, please). We did find an amazing bakery however. I got the best lemon square I have ever had in my life, and P got a berry blend fruit pie. Deliciousness I tell you. Yum. Ok, I’m drooling now just thinking about it.
Yesterday, Monday, Day 13, was our Super Bowl Sunday. Kick off was at 8:30 AM and there was a little party in the community area. We even had Houston Texan cheerleaders here (woohoo? Two were gorgeous, the others were a little scary).
Today has been a pretty slow day. P and I are thinking of doing a little exploring, but who knows. Sorry I don’t have any pictures to share but I forgot to bring my camera cord when I set out on my quest for internet. I will upload them soon though.
I am off. It is going to be dark soon, and I did not bring a coat. I have no desire to freeze, so I think it is probably my time to go. Have a great week everyone, see you next time!