Preparing to leave Seoul

It was an incredible six weeks that I was able to spend in Seoul. Every day was a new adventure. The classes definitely kept me busy, but I still was able to invest all of my free time into seeing as much of the city as humanly possible. People often asked me near the end of the trip if I had seen everything that I wanted to see in Seoul. The answer was complicated, yes and no. Seoul is a mind bogglingly large city. I got to see everything I planned on seeing before getting there, but every day that passes you discover something else in the city you want to see, and your list just keeps growing. I could spend a lifetime there and still leave the city thinking I missed something. And that’s what made finally having to leave such a somber moment.

The last day of my trip, I remembered a quote from Edward Higgins White (first American to walk in space) that stuck with me for the rest of the day. As he began his return to Earth, he said “I’m coming back in… and it’s the saddest moment of my life.” My whole life my goal had been to travel to Asia. It was such an odd feeling achieving this dream, and reaching the point in my trip where I realized it had to come to an end. I had to return to my normal life. Never before had I been able to relate so clearly to this sentiment from Mr. White than in that moment.

Regardless of how regretful I was to leave Seoul, I know that it will not be the last time I will have the opportunity to explore another part of the world. And until that day comes, when I can have new exciting adventures, I will always have the memories of the past six weeks I spent in Seoul.

Adventures in Seoul

I have entered my third week abroad in Seoul, and can’t believe that I’m already nearing the halfway point of my journey. Six weeks will be far too short of a time to explore a city as massive as this. Luckily with the aid of the subway system, every week I’m able to travel to each end of the city to see as much as possible. I’ve gotten to see massive and dense shopping districts like Myeong dong. The colossal World Cup Stadium here in Seoul. I’ve explored the endless Yongsan Electronics Market. And atop the giant Namsan Mountain I was able to go into Seoul Tower, with a view so incredible that I’m sure if I looked carefully, I could find all of the sights I just listed.
One thing that has stood out to me while I’ve been here is how kind everyone has been to me. You might be surprised to learn that despite choosing to travel across the entire world to get here, Korean is not the Asian language that I studied at UofL. I actually studied Mandarin, which as you can imagine has not been remotely helpful. As a result I have relied heavily on the help of others. Sometimes it was a restaurant employee who had to be incredibly patient as I tried to communicate, praying for a picture on a menu that I could point at. Sometimes the help came from a friend of mine who actually lives here, who was kind enough to translate between me and his friends so I wouldn’t feel so out of the loop during their conversations. I feel very fortunate to be in a city full of such hospitable people, not unlike Louisville. I can’t wait for the coming adventures I’ll have here, and I’ll update you soon with stories of them.