This weekend, I made my second trip to Seoul. Perhaps the only downfall of my teaching location is that I am in the city farthest from the capital city. I love Seoul; it’s one of my all-time favorite cities. When Fulbright announced the yearly Thanksgiving dinner hosted for ETAs, I immediately reserved my spot and a plane ticket.
The Thanksgiving dinner was excellent and was held at the Folk Museum of Korea. Ambassador Sung Kim (Ambassador to Korea from the United States) joined us, along with other U.S. Embassy officials. I was able to speak with an English Language Regional Officer (RELO) about the Embassy’s English language programs, which is an area of interest for me.
The dinner was fantastic and rivaled a traditional American Thanksgiving. I was so pleased that baked ziti was on the menu, alongside turkey, salad (WITH RANCH DRESSING), and other Thanksgiving deliciousness. There was also what seemed to be an unlimited supply of Coca-Cola. If I’ve said this once, I’ll say it again: The Coca-Cola here in Korea is so good. I have to idea why, but it is. Overall, I was very happy to make the cross-country trek for the sake of turkey, ranch dressing, and Coca-Cola in cans.
Though Thanksgiving dinner was my main objective for going to Seoul, it certainly wasn’t the only activity I participated in. On Saturday night, I stayed in a hostel for my very first time in Hongdae (Seoul’s lively party district). Unlike the United States, where the only accommodations are hotels, hostels provide basic needs at a low price. Usually, you get a bed in a shared room and shared bathroom. Some places may provide a small breakfast, but many do not. I shared a room with four other strangers, but it was a great experience. If you’re ever in Seoul, be sure to check out one of hundreds of hostels in the city.
On Sunday, I was able to once again attend English services at the Seoul Anglican Cathedral’s English Mission (Seoul Metro Line 2, City Hall, Exit 3). I was able to get my liturgy on and get all the genuflections out of my system for the next few months. If you are an English-speaking expat living in Seoul, the English Mission is a great place to worship and is full of both Koreans and foreigners alike.
After church, I headed back to Hongdae to check out of my hostel. I then did what any self-respecting Kentuckian in Korea would do: I went to the 24-hour KFC. Unlike KFC in the States, KFC Korea does not offer popular side dishes like macaroni and cheese, green beans, and cole slaw. Rather, there are fries. KFC in Korea tastes just like American KFC, if you were wondering. When I’m stateside though, I will always hail Lee’s Famous Recipe as the best fried chicken on Earth.
My escapades of the day included a visit to the famous Kyobo Bookstore, where I caved under temptation and purchased almost 60,000 won in English books. I regret nothing.
Just as me weekend started on the AREX (Airport Express), I soon found myself on the train back to Gimpo International Airport. This weekend was a near perfect weekend. I ate good food, saw good people, rode on a few good subway lines, rode on a good train, and bought a few good books. There was a lot of good this weekend.
I hope that one day, too, you’ll experience fabulous Seoul, South Korea.