This was my first trip to the heart of Seoul. My first trip with as much anticipation as first arriving to South Korea: Excited, nervous, excited and way nervous! Why? Well, this city is THE city of the country. You haven’t seen South Korea and all it’s glory until you have been to Seoul. I know people that take a bus every weekend (often taking 3 hour trips ONE WAY) just to spend it in Seoul rather than the city where I live, Daejeon. People go out of their way just to have a reason to visit the city.
So a you can imagine, I had high high hopes and expectations for my weekend in Seoul a many few weeks ago.
Originally a friend and I decided to go to Seoul to watch the production of Chicago together. And while that was an interesting experience in itself and rather, it felt “normal” that I could part take in this event in another country. A musical all in English (although with subtitles in Korean).
Here’s a few things I learned while attending. South Koreans do not, I mean DO NOT dress up to go to the theater. And I’m talking about short shorts, flip flops, tanktops and sandals for some. The majority however, were in shorts, tennis shoes and sweaters, a casual outting for ice cream “casual wear”. Something entirely different from what I’ve experienced and seen in the past.
That weekend was an experience. I got to hang out in the hipster part of town with the locals and young adults in Hongdae (a place where many South Koreans labeled the Hollywood epicenter), ate some Asian fusion chipotle versions of Mexican food, rumchata, actually really close to back home ( I suppose you can’t really mess that up) hanger steak cooked to perfection and finally had some wine. A bottle to be exact. It honestly felt like a heavily populated Daejeon with Western influence. The subway lines were horrendous and one can and will get easily lost the first time there. Good experience but not life changing (not that I expected it to be).
I leave with this final thought and a picture of the gorgeous Marilyn Monroe: Wherever home may be, you can always find compromises in whatever country you are in. It won’t be the same, but good substitution. I suppose I thought I was missing out on something that Korea had to offer. From everything I have heard from coworkers and friends alike, how could a city have “more” in every sense? More men, entertainment, fashion, and more…But it wasn’t for me.