falling deeper in love with korea

4:46 AM Sian Mei Yeoh 0 Comments

she waited at the airport lounge,with a heavy heart and feeling sad. 

it was the last call to board. she reminisce the last time she was here which was also her first time being in korea -- during the cold months of february.

it was like déjà vu except...

...she doesn't recall it being this difficult to leave.

probably, she has become more attached to the country she has grown to love -- in fact, falling deeper in love with since her love affair with south korea started even before she set foot onto korean soil.

the country, its culture and its friendly people has left a lasting impression in her mind.

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my second visit to seoul was two weeks long, late august to early september -- just as summer bade its warm goodbye and autumn (i typically call it fall) knocked on the door. my first week involved being on a travel tour with my sister and her family and the second week was FIT and a homestay with a lovely korean family.

at the beginning we weren't even sure if the trip was happening since hurricane bolaven decided to make its appearance in korea just the day before. the night when we were supposed to fly out to seoul, our flights were delayed multiple times and we almost decided to call it off completely since the weather was so uncertain. but after postponing several hours and a forfeited first airport limousine later, we boarded our plane apprehensively, praying that we would arrive safely.

thank goodness we got there safely 8 hours later. and our itinerary had to be rearranged to accommodate the one whole day we lost... there were a couple of places the tour guide had to discard a couple of the attractions to make up for lost time. a quick rundown of what we did on the first week of tour.

it was great to be back in seoul... when i arrived at incheon international airport, all the memories from my first trip flooded back to my mind and i was so happy to be back in korea. and this time i tried to be more prepared with the camera to capture more pictures of our one hour bus journey to the city of seoul.

first item on the tour itinerary was dinner at insadong {인사동} then a quick sneak preview of korean street shopping at itaewon {이태원} for about an hour and a half. funny thing was that i was watching on the korean channel and that was the first time i heard of itaewon. things are a tad expensive and i could not really find anything i wanted to buy -- perhaps i was rather tired too.

the next day was mostly of heavy rain and visits to main attractions in seoul. latte was a much needed companion since i was so exhausted from the flying, lack of sleep and well, the early morning call.

rain it did but it did not hinder us and our plans which included: gyeongbokgung and kimchi making class. we were excited to have gotten a few hours of shopping at dongdaemun {동대문} where i found a couple of great deals on clothes and a mini messenger bag :)

the next morning was such a beautiful change from the day before where the weather was just wonderfully warm and an awesome view of the city.

the warm, fuzzy weather  reflected my mood as we headed to our destination which was one that i've only heard a ton of great things about and been wanting to go...and finally it's gonna happen! jeju island! :D the views were breathtaking and i will be writing more about this location in a separate entry.

the awesome warm weather (almost too warm) from seoul was mimicked in jeju and the warm streak lasted as such for the next two days we were there.  i just had to ninja in a couple of beautiful photos from our jeju island experience because i just can't resist. :)

unfortunately, too much warm sun caused me to have a slight fever the second evening since i couldn't tell i was under the sun for too long since the air wasn't humid. luckily for me, i managed to recover just as we were returning to seoul that day -- with medicine and a ton of fluids.

as soon as we got to seoul, lotte world was next on the list.. i've also read about it (and well, super junior endorses lotte world too) but have never been and that was the only thing we did that day since we lost half the day due to travel from jeju island back to seoul. i'd say it was mostly for my niece but there were also theme park rides that might interest the adults as well. 

the last few days involved myeongdong {명동} shopping for 1.5 hours which was not nearly enough time, a visit to nami island (the filming location of winter sonata) and finally some free time for our own shopping therapy where some of us decided to return to dongdaemun for a second time. 

it was almost a week up in a blink of an eye. can't believe how quickly the time passed while i was having so much fun in one of my favorite countries. i especially loved listening to the locals speak korean language -- it's quite interesting as i tried to decipher what they were saying with my limited knowledge of 한국어.

in fact, i've used this phrase quite often in korean which i think is quite useful and important :: "how much is this?" {이것 얼마여요?} in which the shop person would respond the price in korean...

only to have me standing there for several seconds trying to decipher the number as quickly as i can in my head. sometimes so much so that they would usually finally punch the numbers onto their calculator to show it to me. but it definitely got better over time :)

i was particularly happy when i was trying to buy some magazines from the kiosk at the nambu bus terminal station {남부터미날} and i managed to hold a quick short conversation in korean with the old lady at the kiosk, who couldn't speak any english. ^^ it's kinda a motivation for me to learn more korean since i had so much fun trying to converse with the locals. confused and challenging mostly, but fun!

second week, as i mentioned earlier was with homestay experience and traveling solo that i'll be covering in another entry soon. but i can tell you this, first day on my own didn't start too well since it was raining as i was making my way to seocho-gu where my homestay home is at. and the bus dropped me at a location which was foreign to me that i had difficulty finding my homestay mom + being drenched in the rain.

fast forward seven days later, and it was as depicted at the start of this entry - bittersweet departure.

i can't wait to share the rest of my adventures in south korea soon :) be excited! :D