Thursday, April 11, 2013

Korea Memory: Our Arrival.

I have been thinking a lot about my travels to S. Korea almost 2 years ago... maybe it's because of the current events going on over there, or maybe it was my recent guest blog post here.

While I was in Korea, I tried my best to document my memories and take video.  But, the whole process what just so overwhelming and I really wanted to be in the moment while I was there.  So, every week, I want to try to recall a memory or two from the trip.

Our first moments in Korea were... humid.  From the moment we stepped off the plane and looked outside, I just knew that the rainy weather + heat would not be a joke!  I was so nervous going through customs because it was my first time entering a foreign country.  But, seriously- they didn't even ask me anything!  My passport was stamped and I was sent on my way to the luggage area.  Now let me tell you... I may have over packed.  FYI- a 5 week trip to Korea does not call for two medium suitcases, a massive duffle bag, a purse AND a backpack.  I think I forgot that I was the one who would be responsible for carrying it all on my own.  So, I found my bags, strapped them on/dragged them behind me and my new friends and I headed to the currency exchange booth.  This was confusing, because even after all of my research I still did not quite understand the rate of USD vs. WON.  But, I exchanged all of my cash and saved my American change because I thought it might be nifty while I was there.

We had no idea who would be meeting us and were just hopeful that once we got out of the baggage area, someone would recognize the herd of American kids and come fetch us.  And they did!  Of course they simply recognized us from the photos we had sent over previously (we just looked about 10x frizzier and really tired in person).

Loading up in the bus was an adventure for me in and of itself.  I didn't really want to put my bags under the bus because I knew they would get soaked from the water on the roads splashing up... and getting them into the bus was rough simply because I'm a weakling!  Lol.  The whole bus ride was an uncomfortable and strange exchange of broken English and gestures.  I think we knew we were heading to a hotel for the night, but we didn't know what to expect.

When we got to the hotel, the bus parked at the top of a street and we discovered that we had to walk about 1/4 mile up the road, in the pouring rain to our hotel!  Looking back, it's funny.  But, in the moment I'm pretty sure I was irritable about it all from exhaustion.  We found out that we were going to be bunking in pairs for the night and in that moment of choosing, a brand new best friendship began to bud (very poetic, I know).  Ariella and I headed into the unknown territory of our Korean hotel room.  Check it out...

Things I remember from that night...
  • When we met with the people from the city of Dobong all I could think about was how hot it was in that room and how disappointed I was that nobody spoke fluent English.  I was being ignorant of course in assuming that even though everyone learns English in school in S. Korea that they would be comfortable talking to people who speak it as a native tongue.
  • I was desperate to get the internet working on my laptop so I could talk to Nick.  Just thinking of that feeling is actually gut wrenching right now because I know that in two months, I will probably be going through it all again except I will be the one left at home...
Here is a video from Days 1 and 2 of the trip to wrap things up for this post!


lost in travels said...

thanks so much for linking up! i remember our first few days in korea as well. it's so confusing and disorienting! i'm glad to hear you had a great stay despite the rough start!

Bonnie Rose said...

I love seeing your photos and videos from Korea because I have yet to go. Its interesting how some of the best trips start with rough beginnings. :) Found your post through the Expat Diaries Link up.

Bonnie Rose | a Compass Rose

Rachel said...

I would love to go to Korea! Loved reading about your experience. Overpacking is the worst. When we moved to Scotland for a year we had three suitcases each (not counting carry-ons) and didn't touch half of our clothes.

Thank you for linking up!

The Nomad said...

The humidity in Korea is no joke! I almost drowned walking home day. There was no air to breathe. I hope you had a good time. Why did you visit Korea?

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i'm angelica. a twenty something, newly engaged, lover of literature and coffee.
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