Tuesday, August 26, 2014

[Grandma and Jacki in Asia] Day 7: Train to Seoul (South Korea)

My sister and grandma came to visit me in Korea during my summer break. We were together from August 8 - 20, 2014. Here are the retellings of Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4Day 5, and Day 6.

The second night of sleep on the hard floor of the traditional Korean house was better than the first night, but nothing like sleeping on a real bed.

Soon Mi prepared another great breakfast for us this morning, and then had sliced up some fruit and packaged up three sweet potatoes for us to snack on during the train ride - how sweet!

She also gave Grandma a painted Korean fan before we said our goodbyes.

Art Street in Gwangju

We had some time before we needed to be at the train station, so we walked around the nearby Art Street for a bit. It began to rain, and although we had two umbrellas between the three of us, a woman across the street signaled for us to take shelter in her gallery.

They were displaying handmade Korean pots, which looked the same shape as the big pots used for fermenting kimchi.

The rain did not let up while we were inside, so after leaving we soon stopped a taxi and just decided to go to the train station early.

Gwangju Train Station

While waiting in the station I got to talking with two Mormons while Jacki went to the bathroom. When she came back, the conversation continued between the four of us for over a half an hour before Grandma joined, wondering where we were.

But soon it was time to get our tickets from the counter and pick up some lunch to eat on the train. This particular train had more stops (and was cheaper) than the train we had come on, so we wouldn't get back to Seoul until 5 p.m. even though it was just before 1 when we left Gwangju.

We were happy to see that we'd been given the same room as before when we re-checked into the hostel. After picking up our luggage from storage, we walked around the corner to find some dinner.

Rice Ball

We ended up eating at a place called Rice Ball, which looked like it could easily be a chain, though I've never been there before. The menu was in Korean and English, which never happens anywhere in my town.

And after dinner we got cocktails to go that had been advertised at this bar near our hostel every day whenever we walked by. We brought them back to our room to sip on while we packed, since tomorrow was the plane ride to Hong Kong, and we'd need to reorganize the Korean purchases and such to follow baggage requirements.

While writing in my journal that night I realized it had already been a week since we'd met up at my elementary school in Mohyeon. Those first 2-3 days had felt so surreal, so strange to be in Korea - a world I've lived in without any of my previous friends or family for almost a year - and now share it with my grandma and sister. Two separate worlds mixing together, it's a feeling that's difficult to describe. But now that a week had passed, we'd gotten into almost a "travel routine," and the days were going by faster.

I was glad we'd soon have new surroundings to slow things down again for our final five days together.

We slept extra happily on the beds and full pillows that night.

> > > Next: Day 8 - Flight to Hong Kong
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