First Impressions of Korea

So my little sister Diana and I landed in Seoul just a few days ago. We landed at 3:15 pm, but it took us a whole 2 more hours to get OUT of the airport, we were running through customs, getting directions to our reserved hostel, and find the cell phone booth we reserved from as well. It was a bit shocking to look around and realize the only language I can entirely rely on is body language….wish I took the chance to brush up my Korean before! Being thrifty (cheap) young Americans, we navigated our way onto an airport bus, it only cost 9,000 won, so much cheaper than taking a taxi for the hour ride…..Of course we missed our stop though. Sidenote, did you know Korea is over 70 percent mountains? A hard fact to learn while luggin two suitcases around for an hour trying to find our hostel. Which leads to another discovery, Korea does not have street names, we have to locate ourselves in comparison to chicken restaurants, Family Marts, and various stores, lol. Diana was dying after the first lost half hour, from both embarrassment and pain I’m sure. I then stopped us at a cafe and asked the workers in broken Korean if they knew english, when that yielded no responses, I switched to Chinese….again nothing, so we went back to handy-dandy body language. The manager was really nice and actually walked us halfway to our destination. The hostel, Mr. Kim’s Guesthouse is something I will save for another post, this one I think I will reserve for our first day touring around. 

We got up pretty early, got a map and bravely headed out. Our first destination was Ehwa Woman’s University campus, to get there we had to navigate through the subway station. Wondering underground, Diana and I ran into another lost American (from Atlanta) and we all stumbled through getting a rechargeable subway/bus card and got on the line #2 train. Unfortunately, I realized we were heading in the wrong direction, to save ourselves some “face” we waited until the next stop and got off calmly, as if it was our destination the entire time haha. Then hustled to a train heading the opposite direction. Outside of the Ehwa station is where my Chinese finally helped us. Most korean names for schools and places are derived from Chinese characters, when we asked Koreans for Ehwa university they would point us in the correct direction but what we needed was the school’s main gates. Then I thought, if main entrance is DaMen in chinese, it must be DaeMun in Korean…Jackpot! Lol, after we arrived we met my best Korean friend, Boram, to eat. She was an exchange student at my university when I was a Freshman, thankfully we kept in touch and she is the most awesome and helpful person. Half of our trip will be spent living with her, we are going on a day-trip to Gyeongju (which her dad is paying for-he is soo nice), and she actually got us tickets to see Music Bank (as we are K-Pop fiends). Lunch was delicious and it was great to see an old friend, but she had to leave and go back to studying. Diana and I then spent the whole afternoon getting lost and stumbling upon festivals and a palace! Over all it was a great way to kick off this trip =D


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