I clung to safety, connected through the plane seat, down through the wheels to the SFO runway. Familiar land was fleeting as I watched us take off through a small corner of a window across the plane from my uncomfortable center seat. It was light out, 11:30 am on Saturday, and I was sandwiched between a quiet lady, and a coughing guy. 13 hours of luckily infrequent coughing, and the worry I'd get sick with each of his spasams. I'm bad with this stuff. The movie selection wasn't bad, and I watched four inbetween iterations of trying to learn Korean phrases with some podcasts I downloaded as I walked onto the airplane. It is tough to digest a new language without speaking since I refrained from screaming words out loud, as the podcasts suggested. The windows were closed for the duration of the flight, but people peaking revealed the continuous daylight. We were chasing the light across the globe.
Self Reliace, 2/27
It feels a silly to use such a trite title, but 3 days of not speaking a word of English to a native speaker has gotten me feeling contemplative through the comfortable isolation. I was surprised that I could actually be comfortable with isolation, but Seoul makes that easy with the most accessible subway system I've ever seen. I started out Monday fearful of leaving my room, and uncomfortable with making a concrete plan. I crave being spontaneous, but usually want to just nail down a plan. I couldn't since much of what I wanted to do was closed on Mondays. Screw it...I'll actually wing it. I must have gone up and down the stairs 3 times before getting the courage to leave. Then, I had an additional two or three trips from the Chungmuro Station to the hostel. I (think?) I have a bad sense of direction, so I had to burn this one into my head. I burned it in. There was no way I could forget the three turns from the Metro station to where I am staying. I felt safe, and I took the step I needed, and just started walking.
|Korea Hanuk Folk Village|
|Views from Namsan|
|More meaty than I'm used to, but tasty!|
We parted ways, both citing exhausting after a days worth of walking. I went back to the hostel, gettiing some fried street food goodness on the way, and crashed for a few hours. I woke up disoriented, but headed out to the Honik University area, bleary eyed and somewhat hungry dispite a mild stomach ache. It was a wild college area, with bar after bar with thumping tunes pouring out onto the streets. Throngs of young and excited Korean college students lined the streets, eating food and shopping at the countless stores. I stopped and ducked under the hood of a food cart where seval young people stood eating various identifiable fried things. I decided to order some that looked like things I knew: potatoes and shrimp. I fumbled my way through ordering, and tried to leave, but got a flurry of "no, no no!". Apparently, you need to eat under the hood, but luckily it was warm and oddly inviting, after the college girl next to me put a toothpick in one of my shrimp.
|Fried shrimp washes away embarrassment|