Monday, March 30, 2009

Back from Seoul...

Seoul was lots of things wrapped up into one. I had an amazing time, but it was also rough at the same time. Just a warning, long post ahead.

Friday we had breakfast at our hosts house at 820am and then left for the bus at 840am where we made it with 2 minutes to spare. The bus took us to Mokpo where we then had to take a taxi from the bus station to the train station (unfortunately not within walking distance). We were about an hour early, but there was no way for us to get there any later without missing the 1110am train. We walked around Mokpo a bit to an area I had never been to before, where there were lots of little shops that we walked into. 

During the train ride into Seoul, Yi Sul recommended that I not come with her to the hospital, but I just hang out myself and then we can meet up after her blood test, and I asked her where her hospital was, it turns out its far away from the center of Seoul and close to where her apartment is, so I just suggested that I explore Seoul for the day while she goes to the hospital instead of having to figure out a meeting place, and that way i wouldnt be stressed about getting somewhere at a certain time and knowing where to go, etc, etc, so she at that point seemed fine with this. 

I had a great time on Friday by myself. I went to City Hall (nothing really around there but it was a beautiful day) and then to Seoul Station which are two pretty big stations in the area. From Seoul Station I could see the Seoul Tower which is near to where my hostel was, so I decided that since I had nothing better to do, that I would try to make my way walking to the hostel. I was much farther away than I thought, but once again it was a fantastic day outside, and I made it to the hostel at like 515pm. I went to my room, put my bag into the locker, and read for a bit, before deciding to figure out what to do for dinner. At first I was going to just find something in the area of the hostel, but then I figured out why not go to Itaewon, this street that is completely international, with food and clothing from areas all over the world, and the people that go there outnumber the Koreans by a landslide. I went to Itaewon and was not disappointed. It was really nice to be around completely English speakers. All the food signs were in English, everyone was speaking English or other languages that were not Korean, it was just a very nice place. I finally settled on this place called Krazee Burgers which is apparently a chain where I ordered a chicken caesar salad...something that I cannot find anywhere near where i am staying. it was probably the best chicken caesar salad i have ever had...but a part of that was probably because i had not had one in so long and was craving it. 

I went back to the hostel, and met this woman staying in my room (i stayed in a dorm style room, which is only about $16 a night!) who is from Singapore. We talked for a while about Singapore and Boston, and then I talked about how the last time I was in the room there was a girl from Thailand there that I got along with really well and the woman told me that she was going to be there that night! She had been in another part of Korea but came back for a few days before going back home and she was staying at the hostel again!

I ended up going to sleep around 11pm without seeing her, but I woke up at around 3:30am, sneezing a lot, really congested, and unable to fall back asleep. I finally fell asleep at like 4:30am, and woke up at 830am. The girl (i still dont know her name!) was awake and she was really happy to see me so we talked for a bit and then said our goodbyes.

Checked out of the hostel, got my key deposit back (15000 won in cash that you have to pay that you get back when you turn in your key) and took the subway to Kira's friends' hotel. I walked into the Renaissance Hotel and was scared because I had never met the people I would be going to the Korean Demilitarized zone with, but when I walked in a guy walked up to me and asked if I was looking for him and said his name was Patrick. We went up to his hotel room where I met his wife Jessica, a girl my sister had gone to one of her many schools with. I left my tote bag in their room, and we took a cab from the hotel to where the tour was picking us up. It turned out we were the only 3 people on the tour which was really nice. Our guide spoke English really well which was nice. It turned out once we got to the DMZ we would be leaving our bus and getting onto a big bus as sanctioned by the UN where others would be joining us. 

Okay you know what ill just save the talk about the DMZ for my next post. But everything was great and I had a lot of fun with Jessica and Patrick! we ended up going to dinner at this korean BBQ place and had lots of beef and fun times. It was one of the best meals i have had in a long time! During the tour we found out that the cherry blossom festival is in mid april in seoul and Jessica will be back from Hong Kong then so she invited me to come back out to Seoul april 18th and stay in her hotel room since her husband left yesterday and we could go see the festival to which i readily agreed. We got along really well and I had a great time with them! I am excited to have another chance to go back up to Seoul. 

After grabbing my tote bag from their hotel room at 8pm, I got my phone which I had by accident left in the tote and saw I had missed calls and texts from Yi Sul. I had told her i would call her between 8 and 9 when we were done but apparently she decided to call me a lot anyways. We met up at a subway station, and immediately started talking about how the weekend had been. this somehow ended up turning into a fight between us that lasted the next 2 days. Apparently by me trying not to inconvenience her on Friday, she took that as an insult or something and was angry at me for "only thinking about yourself, and never about me." Never mind that because of her i had to stay in a hostel last minute and was trying to save her money by not making her come back into the city and then back out to her apartment.... 

Apparently my snoring caused her to only get 1-2 hours of sleep that night and so she was really crabby the next day (she lives in literally a 1 room apartment ... they cook and eat and sleep in the same room...only a bathroom is separate). We walked around to these different areas of Seoul that were beautiful, and I took lots of pictures, but the tension was palpable between us. She was angry at me for lots of reasons, and I was angry at her which I was trying to understand as cultural differences. For the entire week we had been saying we would eat dinner at a pasta restaurant since I wanted it so badly, and then at around 515pm Sunday we were walking towards the restaurant and 10 minutes before she had said "we're going to the spaghetti restaurant, right?" and to which i had said yes. but 10 minutes later as we are walking she goes "actually my friends wanted to meet me for dinner later..." to which i was completely stunned. she had not been talking on the phone or texting...and it had been discussed a LOT that sundays dinner was gonna be spaghetti...and then i made a comment about how i was really looking forward to the spaghetti dinner to which she once again said how i was only thinking about myself never about her since she hadn't seen her friends in like 2 months...and she called someone and talked for a couple minutes to them during which i was trying to tell her that if she would point me in the direction of the restaurant she could go meet with her friends and we would meet back up later..but she said no...she had already cancelled with her friends. 

I really do not understand her and i am trying to...I really am. It's not like we were together the entire weekend. she had all saturday and then all friday as well...but shes mad at me for not wanting to cancel dinner AS WE WERE WALKING TO THE RESTAURANT??? i don't know sometimes i wonder if its a cultural thing or just an Yi Sul thing. I have found everyone else in the country to be very kind and considerate and helpful. 

I hope things get better between the two of us, but she keeps lying to me about stuff (i will explain in a different post) and cancelling plans last minute and making me pay for hotel rooms when she says i can stay at her apartment for free... ugh its just all hard. 

I gotta go prepare my lesson plan for todays classes even though i am completely exhausted oh and still sick...i have been taking sudafed but i think tonight before sleep ill try benadryl. 

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