August 16, 2017
Jeff’s Korean Excursions Part 5: Saying Goodbye
To wrap-up my description of my time in Korea, I will start with the two restaurants I visited in Suncheon. As you may recall, Suncheon is Mr. Lee’s hometown and the location of Oeseo Elementary School where I worked. I went to a Vietnamese spring roll restaurant on Wednesday with the whole Lee family and a few of their friends.
The spring roll place was great! The following night the Lee’s and I went to a sashimi restaurant (see featured photo). I am not a fish person so I didn’t enjoy the second restaurant we went to. The sashimi consisted of four different fish and was wrapped up in our choice of dried seaweed or white kimchi. There were many side dishes too- such as squid and clams. It may be surprising, but I tried everything on the table (the mini jalapeno was the hardest to eat and VERY spicy). At the sashimi place, Mr. Lee, Sangah, her father, and I enjoyed somec, which is a mixture of beer and soju-a very common drink in Korea. After dinner, we headed to a café. Going to a café after dinner is a big part of the drinking culture in Korea. Koreans go there to drink coffee and chat before heading home.
I have eaten many things I would never try back home, and it has further validated the importance of trying things. If the food’s bad, I won’t eat more. If the activity isn’t enjoyable, I won’t do it again. If something is good, I can enjoy it for my whole life. I plan to implement this method in my life, but it is important to realize that tastes change, and something can be bad one time and be good another. Take all the opportunities you can get and continue to grow as a person.
I had an amazing time everywhere I stayed in South Korea, but a month away from my own bed was long enough. I took a bullet train to Seoul Monday morning, and spent the remainder of my time there. I revisited the people I had met in the capital previously, and got to go up Namsan Tower. Namsan a huge tower overlooking Seoul. The view was superb besides the fog covering half of the city.
I’m very grateful for the opportunity to experience such a trip that few people have done. I can already see that this trip has impacted me significantly; my thoughts about many topics have been further explored, and the variety of food I am willing to eat has grown. I’m sure that my time in Korea has strongly impacted me for the better, and it all stemmed from escaping my comfort zone. Going to Korea independently made me nervous, but because Korea has many similarities with the United States (I was not aware of this when I left), I could adapt much easier. If this trip was to another less-developed country, I would have had a much tougher time becoming comfortable. My time in Korea has given me the opportunity to grow; my initial discomfort and nervousness with being in a new country (and continent!) was transformed into a relaxed and exciting experience soon after I arrived.
One of the most surprising parts of this journey was the incredible network of friends I gathered throughout the trip. I have a whole new set of friends I can catch up with and meet when they come to the states or vice-versa. It comes down to meeting new people and taking the risk to put yourself out there to begin a conversation.
I have attempted to capture a most of my trip in this five part series, and I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience in Korea. Thank you for taking the time to read about my trip! If you’d like to read the previous four parts of my Korea trip, just type “Jeff” in the search bar above.