(Almost) Back in the habit

It used to be so easy to update this blog but I’m a bit out of practice now, my apologies!!!

Where to begin… I’m in Seoul!!!!

I didn’t have much time to blog in Italy and now it feels a bit late to really get anything interesting in writing, but to sum up: i worked for an amazing family, so I was really quite fortunate. In a short 4 weeks, they took me to many lakes, mountains and valleys in Trentino, as well as introduced me to their friends who were all so nice too! (High demand for more au pairs in Sant’Orsola next summer for anyone that is interested in living in a beautiful region of Italy)

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There were also farms and gardens everywhere and inspired me to want a countryside life someday – or at least raise some bees! What else… Delicious food, improving my Italian, and learning fun facts about trees were more bonuses! Pictures to come soon in the links. I was sad to leave – and now i have another place I need to find a way to go back to some day for a visit!

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So now I have been in Korea for a week! After a long series of trains, flights and buses, I made it to my first Couchsurfing host’s apartment. Jihee picked me up from the bus stop and it was a short walk to her home. She was a great host for my first days in Korea – I always find locals help you ease into a place. Lots of help with where to go for some errands I had to do, and we did a bit of language exchange – She helped me with learning to read Korean and I helped her with her Spanish.

On Saturday, I managed to get myself a SIM card for a Korean number. Korea and their technology… The guy in the phone shop told me my internet wouldn’t be so fast since my phone from Spain only goes up to 3G, but at least I could use the free wifi access points that they have all over the city (seriously, everywhere) for their mobile service users. Nice!

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Later, Jihee and I went around Gangnam (like the song), which is known as the more trendy and fashionable area of Seoul…. So we got coffee, no designer brands! In fact, when I went back around one of the main shopping streets on my own, coffee was again my only purchase but I did make it into one shop, to take this photo:

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An interesting thing I am getting more used to now is that they have various subway stations that are also underground shopping centers! It makes sense since the streets are so hot (even now at the end of summer, so I can only imagine in July and August) with the sun and traffic (10-lane streets sometimes!). Underground it’s a nice and cool break. And thwarts all the plans of the commuters that mighthave otherwise  avoided shopping.

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After that, we met Dante, an English teacher in a city south of Seoul originally from South Africa, and we went for a long walk along the Han River – Banpo Hangang Park. There were tons of people down along the river, flying kites, having picnics, watching the sunset, using the outdoor exercise equipment, and cycling along the bike paths. I am finding that Koreans of all ages are very active. There is so much to do outside for free in the city, and they are everywhere! It’s a healthy lifestyle if you ignore the long work hours.

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Finally, for dinner we went back to Gangnum and had some Dakgalbi (spicy chicken stir-fry). They bring out a pan and cook the dish right on the table over a burner in the center. The waiter alternating between our table and the others stirring and adding more ingredients like noodles and more spicy pepper at the end. Delicious! More on food later.

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On Sunday, we decided to go to the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the SOMA Museum near Olympic Park, where the leftover stadiums, flags, and other monuments from the 1988 Olympics remain. The park around it is pretty large and full of people having picnics, going for walks, and couples doing photo shoots! There were two wedding photo sessions, but what I liked the most were the couples wearing matching outfits! I had heard about this but it’s so much more fun to see.

So that about sums up last weekend! More to write but my fingers hurt from typing – mountains in the city,language challenges, more food, and dun dun dun…. My first K-Pop experience!!!

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