Kruising Korea

I can’t believe I actually have a moment to sit down and write a blog post – I’ve done so much in the last 48 hours its amazing. Saturday morning I woke up at 6am, thanks to my jet-lag, and decided to climb the hill that I have been waking up to every morning. It turns out that I live across the street from a serene park, with ceramics sculptures, war memorials, and an ancient Korean pavilion. I also got to watch the sunrise, which was incredible. The park also contains the Yeongwol Pavilion, a beautiful structure that sits atop the hill and was purposefully placed there because of the scenic view. It was perfect.

I love these. Yeoju is known for its ceramics. In a few weeks there is a ceramics festival here. Get excited.

Yeongwol Pavilion. Korean pavilions were always built in the location of great views. Those are actually Chinese characters, Jeong told me, because Korea used to have strong ties to Chinese culture..

Gorgeous sunrise.

Downtown Yeoju.

I spent the rest of the morning walking around Yeoju – the town was still waking up so none of the stores were really open, but I am starting to get a better feel for the area. The Han River runs through Yeoju, which is the same river that divides the city of Seoul, and I live right next to it. It’s pretty cool that I’ve always gotten to live by bodies of water…Hudson River, Lake Mendota, and now the Han!

More downtown Yeoju.

The Han River. This is a block away from my apartment.

View of Yeoju and the Han from the Yoengwol Pavilion. My apartment is the smaller building, my school is the tall blue and the long brick building.

Later that day, I got my health exam at a hospital in Icheon, a nearby city that is a little bigger than Yeoju. My co-teacher drove me and it was a nice little adventure. An interesting experience, some minor differences to check-ups in America, especially the fact that I needed a translator with me the entire time. No band-aid when they took my blood! Sanitary? Who cares, really. Went out for delicious noodles with Jeoung. I can’t remember what they were called, but you are given a scissor to cut the noodles in your bowl before eating! So cool. Right after the exam, I headed into Seoul for my first time. The bus ride was a little over an hour, took me directly to a stop on the metro, and I then navigated my way to meet up with my Wisconsin friends. Such a great feeling to see familiar faces. And of course, Seoul completely lived up to its reputation. I know, I know. I was only in the city for a total of about 8 hours…maybe it’s the city girl in me that was craving some congestion, busy streets, and pushy people–but I absolutely loved the energy of the city.

Gangnam district in Seoul. Missing NYC just a bit.

Wisconsin does Seoul! Soju for everyone. Learned some new drinking games :) Do I look a little Korean here or is it just me?

Hello Kitty is my T-Money card - when I swipe it lets me into the metro in Seoul. How cool?

We spent the night eating dinner and bar-hopping around Gangnam, which is a newer/younger area. Planning to spend all of next weekend in Seoul, and maybe a few more days. Next week is Chusok, Korean Thanksgiving, so I have Monday-Wednesday off from school! Woohoo! I’m adjusting to life in Korea really well, missing certain things from home but am easily distracted by all the new things to see, hear, and do. Julia

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