Hello Everyone!! Happy Chuseok! (Korean Thanksgiving) and I hope everyone has a nice Thanksgiving weekend coming up.
I left for Daegu on Saturday morning to see my friend that I used to work with at the Keg when I first started. She’s been here for 4 years now, almost 5, teaching English. So I left my house at 9:30 in the morning…and I got there at 9:00 at night (Daegu is really only 3-4 hrs away). Here is the story:
Chuseok is pretty much Korea’s largest holiday (that and their Lunar New Year in February). When we knew we were going to have the Monday and Tuesday off from school, our fellow teachers told us to take advantage of it and go somewhere. They also said however, to book in advance, because tickets sell out fast! Of course, with very little money in the beginning I didn’t think I could really afford to go anywhere. I got in touch with Priya (my friend in Daegu) and by the time we had decided to get together, train tickets were already completely sold out. So then I tried getting bus tickets, but Korea doesn’t have many websites for foreigners. (I travelled 11 different countries in Europe and finding information online there was much easier than it is here). Thankfully, another staff member at the school who is Korean was able to find the bus site where you could make reservations. So, the night before wanting to leave (we only found the website then) we tried reserving but they would not let me reserve (I think it might be because I am considered an alien). Anyways, Jun (the staff member who was helping me) offered to meet me at the subway/bus station and he would bring me to the bus station and help me get a bus, if possible. If not we would just have lunch, and I would hang out here for the weekend, get a massage, go see a movie, etc.
Unfortunately, Jun never showed up (apparently he did, but either we were at the wrong place or he showed up way late). We were supposed to meet at 11:00. I had been there since 10:30 wanting to be on time, and by 11:15 I just figured he had slept in or couldn’t make it (we couldn’t communicate because I still didn’t have a phone at this time). So I just asked someone where the bus station was, walked there, got in line for a ticket to Daegu and voila, had a ticket for a bus that was leaving in an hour and a half. It was pretty easy, everyone made it seem like it would be impossible, but it was not.
So I toured the area, got something to eat, bought a new purse because my other one had croaked (literally) and then caught the bus at 13:00. Now it is supposed to be a 4 hr drive, but seeing as it was the busy weekend, we were stuck in about 2 hrs of traffic at first on an 8lane highway. Crazy! But we made two pit stops for food and pee (one had reg toilets, the other squatty potties) and we made it into Deagu at 7:00.
Now thank God for a man on the bus, there are two stops in Daegu: West Daegu and East Deagu. So we stopped at 7 and a few people started getting off. The bus driver had told me we would get there at 7. So I asked the guy beside me if I should be getting off, but he’s English wasn’t that great. Thankfully another man overheard and and asked me where I was headed. After telling him, he told me yes, I should get off here, it would be closer. Unfortunately the bus and already started to leave but he called to the bus driver and the driver was nice enough to stop and let me off.
Great! So I was now off the bus. But the terminal was very small. I asked someone where the subway station. He didn’t seem to know (I later found out he wasn’t from there, he was actually from Seoul). He called his friend though he spoke English and he said we would come pick us both up and drop me off downtown to catch the subway! They were super nice, and I greatly appreciated the help. So I made it to the subway, got to her subway station, got out. Then from the directions I had about a 15 minute walk to her place.
Now by this time it was like 8-8:30. I’ve eaten but not much. My legs are killlliing me because I did a lunge workout on the Thursday (and the second day after is always the most painful) and I’m not entirely sure im heading in the right direction. My spirits lifted though when I walked into the dep and bought a bottle of wine, Yellowtail Shiraz (which I knew I would need when I got to Priya’s) and it was much cheaper than it is in Suji.
Of course, the story is not over yet. I eventually got to Priya’s, but I couldn’t get in. They have door codes unlike here, and I couldn’t figure it out. Now where I was now, I did not think id be able to find any payphones. So there I was in daegu, hungry, in pain and in need of a drink, right outside her door but unable to get in. The restaurant owners around the corner shooed me away, they didn’t want to have to deal with a foreigner. So I stopped at a coffe shop nearby to ask where a payphone would be. He had no idea. At this point, I was ready to cry haha. Thankfully I asked if I could use his phone and he said yes. Priya answered and then she came to get me! Yay!!!
Then she fed me, I had some wine, we watched some Sex and the City and then got ready to hit the town. They took me to downtown Daegu where we jumped from bar to club (back and forth) all night. And at the end, we ate a Kebab! I wasn’t sure they would be as good as the ones in Europe but they were! Yum Yum. We went out for breakfast the next morning and just took it easy. That night we made a Chuseok feast with potatoes, carrots, lasagna, mushroom chicken, and some type of Korean dish with a bunch of friends. And we topped it off with a chocolate cake. Um Um good! J It was really nice.
Priya and I only knew each other for 3 months at the Keg and only recently started talking via facebook, but I feel like I’ve known her my whole life. Her friends were really great too, I felt like I was back home with my gang and family, I was that comfortable. So although it took awhile to get there, I am glad I went.
I took the KTX (high speed) train home on the Monday morning (it took less than 2 hrs) and on my way home stopped to pick up a used phone that’s pay as you go. So I am now connected in Korea.
AND today I had a great day! Just took it easy, skyped with the family and got a bunch of groceries for free! (we got a gift card from our boss for the fancy department/grocery store nearby). Not only that, but I found a store which sells chickpeas and feta and lots of other good stuff that I couldn’t find at Lotte Mart nor E-mart!!!! Haha. I know it’s just food, but I thought I would be without and it was so exciting to know that I can get it if I want. Woo hoo! And I made myself a yummy bean salad for the week as well as my delicious cream of carrot soup. So good. And I am about to go for a run.
I have to work this Saturday as we didn’t have class on Monday or Tuesday, but I only have to work form 10-13:00 on Saturday which is nice. Hoping to go biking along the Han river (it runs through Seoul) and hoping to watch fireworks in Seoul Saturday night. Hope everyone has a good week! And a great weekend! Wish I could have turkey with you guys! Lots of love! xoxo