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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Surprise Trip to Seoul!

I called Jessica on Saturday morning and found out she was going to Seoul to see Kristen and Maria! As soon as I said, "How fun!" She said, "Come!! We can have a girl weekend!" And the rest was history!

So, Sunday morning, I caught the 7:00am KTX train to Seoul! When I got there, I went straight to Kristens and found the girls all in their PJs, and Maria was cooking breakfast! It was the perfect way to start my Seoul vacation! Here's Maria in front of one of her neighbor's front doors!

Later in the afternoon, Stella (who we met at our orientation in 2009 - and who works for EPIK) met up with us for lunch! We spent most of the day on sunday, just walking, talking, eating, and shopping! I mean, really, what else did you expect 5 girls to do together!

We had heard of an art university that holds an art market on the weekends, so we ventured over to check it out! This was the most interestingly artistic thing I found! haha! I did end up purchasing a beautiful hand made silver necklace with a small and dainty dove. (Mom and dad, this was part of my b-day present - so thank you!)

We all had dinner at an amazing Mexican - Italian - Korean fushion restaurant, and Kristen and Maria's friend Natalie met up with us and brought along her brand new yorkie (sp?) puppy! It made me miss my sweet Togi, who was being "bunnysat" by Aaron, who I like to call "bunny daddy!" :)

After dinner, we all headed back to Kristen and Jess's, and while we were on my way, I got a phone call from my old friend Eugene Yang who has been living in Seoul, off and on, for the past 4 years! It was so fun to hear his voice on the other end! He said, "I'm in a taxi! Where are you? I'll meet you wherever!" and so, when I got off the subway, he was there to meet me! It was such a fun surprise! We went and had a drink and some disgusting appetizer that looked like soggy sun chips soaked in oil at this little bar near Kristen's place! While the food was a bit crazy, the conversation was wonderful, and there ws PLENTY to catch up on! Here we are, reunited after 10 years! Eugene and I went to Sadie Hawkins together our Senior year, and I practically turned my apartment upside down, trying to find the picture of us there to post along with this one... But my searching was in vain... :( So sad!

Monday morning, we all got up bright and early, said goodbye to Kristen (who had to work!) had breakfast at the kimbap restaurant, and then parted ways for a couple hours! I was dying to see a temple with lanterns strung for Buddha's birthday, and Jess was set on doing some famous Seoul shopping!

I ventured over to Jogyesa Temple, a famous buddhist temple which was first established in 1395! This was the entrance to the temple grounds...

The modern temple in this picture was founded in 1910. Since we're nearing Buddha's birthday, there were thousands of colorful lanterns hanging around it and at least 100 worshipers inside! It's not often that you hear a monk actually chanting within a temple, but I happened to be there at just the right time! I sat on a bench outside, enjoying the rythmic sound of the monk's calming chant while eating the rest of my kimbap from breakfast!

As I was sitting on the bench, I glanced over towards the temple and noticed seven 5-6 year old boys, walking in a straight line, wearing gray monk outfits! I had heard of child monks, but had yet to actually see any. I was a bit startled to be honest and quickly jumped up to snap some pictures of the moment. Before entering the temple, they each took of their matching shoes and lined them up on the outside step.

Here they are, inside, behind their elder monks. I talked with Lee today, one of the teachers at my school who is a Buddhist and she said that these young monks are either orphans, or their parents did not have the means to support them, and so they probably dropped them off at the temple and asked the monks to raise them... Crazy huh?!

After leaving the temple, I walked down the street and spotted this huge white flower! I really loved it!

I'm sorry there aren't more pictures of the weekend! I think I got side tracked when I was with the girls and completely forgot my camera was in my bag!

We all had lunch together and did a little more shopping before we parted ways to go home! 6 dresses later, I was ready to hop on the train back to Busan! (By the way, thanks mom and dad for the 6 dresses too!) Gotta love birthdays!

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