Packing part 2 and arriving in Seoul

Finishing packing was very daunting as the suitcases were emptied and rearranged an additional two or three times. In the end I was able to cram my life into two fifty pound suitcases, a carry on bag, a backpack, and a small purse. All of it was heavy as hell.

My mom dropped me off at the airport and it was a brief goodbye as the line for the security check was extremely long and slow moving. I slept for a bit on my first flight and met up with my fellow Epik teachers J and S at San Francisco. It was pretty cool as we recognized each other almost instantly and we were able to all sit together on the plane to Seoul. The plane ride was long as usual but we met up with two other Epikers at the airport. I checked my luggage at the airport for five days for 90,000 won which wasn’t bad. It was awesome not lugging the extra bags around with me.

The five of us took a taxi from the airport to the guesthouse in Dongdaemoon (동대문). Check in was on the fifth floor and our room was on the third floor. Unfortunately, there is no elevator in this hostel so my legs have been getting a lot of exercise. After dropping our stuff off we decided to head out with the others who have arrived and went to Itaewon (이태원). We went to a sports bar which and had drinks for awhile. I grabbed street food with some of the girls as we had not had dinner yet. It was delicious. The area is known for having a lot of expats. I got home with a small group around 3:30am after we tried getting a taxi for 45 minutes in the cold. I was so grateful to climb into a warm bed.

On Tuesday, we went to find breakfast in the area around the hostel but not much was open so we found a shop that served soup and ramyun. We explored the area after and ate hide ok (호떡) for a snack. Its a fried pastry like thing with sugar and nuts inside. Later in the day we went to Insadong(인사동) the traditional Korean market area in Seoul. No one really bought souvenirs but we did buy face stuff and B.B. cream. After a nap, a large group. Of us went to dinner across the street for Korean BBQ. We all headed together as a group to Hongdae(홍대) an are near Hongik university which is known for clubs, a younger crowd and indie music scene. We took five taxi cabs over and I was in charge of one of them since I know how to speak a little Korean. We had to stop and ask directions, and one girl practiced asking while I listened.

The first thing we did was to get cocktails in a bag and drink it on the street. Drinking on the street is legal in Korea. We then went to a club promoter who offered free drinks for everyone but the group was split up inside the crowded space so we all didn’t get that free drink. The bartenders blew whistles to the music and danced at the same time. So sometimes the drinks were a bit slow coming out. Our next stop was a place called Suzie q’s and it is a chill bar with a DJ that plays records the whole night. He had an extensive collection and a lot of oldies were played that we all sung along too. Deciding to switch to a faster pace scene we headed over to gogo’s which played a mix of hip hop and pop. The bucket drinks were great and everyone had a good time. We left the club at 5:45am and grabbed a burrito from a street cart. We were able to take the subway back when it opened at 6am(it closes at midnight).

I didn’t sleep well but I decided to head out with a group to chunggyechun (청계천) it’s a man made river in Seoul and it was nice to stroll through it. We ended up near gwanghwamoon (광화문) and went to kyobo books to show the extensive book selection. We did get a bit separated as I wanted a coffee and a few others wanted a cigarette so to avoid stares of the girls smoking in the street we went off. It was nice to sit and relax we later had BBQ again in Insadong and then made our way back to the hostel. I was in bed by 9:30 pm…felt like an old lady . A large group went out again and were out until early morning so I’m glad I decided to stay in.

Packing Part 1…

I dread packing. I hate it. I always over-pack and wish I had under-packed. With that being said trying to whittle myself down to two suitcases, a small carry on, and a backpack is daunting. I give credit to those who can only have one suitcase. I don’t know how you did it. This will be the third attempt to try and pack my suitcases. The carry on needs a little shuffling work but is mostly planned out.

I was thinking about this while I was driving earlier…packing is a metaphor for life.  The hardest thing about packing is letting go. What to let go of and why. Will I miss it? Do I need it? Do I just want to take it with me? And if so, why? My shit (as I lovingly call it) really has a life of its own. I think it embodies how I view myself. Why am I clinging on to shorts that are 4 sizes too small with only a glimmer of hope that I will once again fit into them? I do not know the answer to that and they have been placed back in my closet for safekeeping. A shirt I like but do not particular wear but I just might wear it because you never know…never know what? Ah…you mean going places and envisioning yourself somewhere that you probably might not be or go to. Yeah, probably shouldn’t pack that.

Packing is frustrating. It shows that I cling on to material things for silly reasons. One day I will fit into this, oh I wore that when, oh I really like this, I wish I could bring that…the excuses not to part with anything. But in reality, I have to make choices and whittle down my clothing choices in order to fit my life into two suitcases and at the end of the day I have never been a fashionista.

Nope. I’m a yoga pants and sweatshirt kind of girl. Mostly because I used to work 6 days a week and all I did was live in work clothes and never really went out anywhere. I just wanted to relax on my one day off, occasionally I would go out in yoga pants maybe jeans. The yoga pants were easier since I will be damned buying a size up at this point. My own stubbornness has gotten the best of me. Moving to Korea is hard in the sense that I don’t particularly care what I look like. In Korea, fashion and looking presentable is important. I want to roll out of bed with my hair a mess, pajama pants on, a tank top, and flip flops and run down the corner of the street to buy a coffee. Yes, just like that. It might even happen while I am in Korea as old habits die hard.

So as I cast my clothing aside piece by piece, the weight on my shoulders becomes less and less. There is no reason to cling to things that hold no meaning. Time to get crackin’ at that packing again. I plan to be finished by Sunday. I figure the coming blizzard will give me quality time with my suitcases.

Once,  I finish packing I plan on making a list and taking photos so that it can help others in the future.


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