Tuesday, 3 January 2012

How Do You Bring in the New Year

... when you're in another country? Celebrate with friends from back in the USA, of course!
Unfortunately, for most of our winter break, Ryan was incredibly sick. It was only just yesterday that we took him to a clinic and found out he had bronchitis. On our first day of break, our friends flew in from Shanghai and we met them around the Hong-Ik University subway station in Hongdae if I remember correctly. We just had BBQ and some soju for the first night and then went home. The next day, we took them to MyeongDong and Dongdaemun for shopping since that's what they wanted to do. That same day, we saw Nanta, which is a very well-known cooking show with music incorporated amidst the slicing and dicing of real organic food. It was my second time seeing it albeit a different theatre. It was still very funny, and I'm glad Ryan and I thought of it to entertain our guests. (I feel weird saying guests since we're not exactly host material if you catch my drift.)

Anyway, on their third day here, we took a 3 hour bus ride to Mokpo, which is south of Seoul. From there, we took a 20 minute bus ride to the International Ferry Terminal to catch our ferry to Jeju. That took another 3 hours, but since Ryan and I took some herbal medicine along with motion sickness pills it was easy for us to get through it all. That night, we ended up eating some classic Korean fried chicken (minus the beer it usually goes with). Ryan retired at our hostel for the night since he was really sick even with all the pills he was popping, and I stayed up with our friends having a good fun conversation late into the night. The next morning, we took a 50 minute bus ride to the Jeju Tourist Complex where we went to the Teddy Bear Museum (again, my second time), Chocolate Land, and a famous waterfall that I'd seen with my parents. This time around, however, I was prepared; I wore a recently purchased teddy bear sweater from Dongdaemun for ~$10 and my bear paw mittens. We didn't go to the third waterfall as our time was getting cut short, but it would have been great to see it since it was my favorite when I was there 2 years ago. Before heading back to our hostel, we went to a tiny store off the side of street selling things Jeju is best known for: chocolate, honey, tea, and oranges. The only thing they were missing? Ice cream. I bought around $35 worth of stuff for my family back at home. I wish I had gotten some of it for myself, but maybe I'll be back in Jeju to get it. So off we went back to our hostel and to the airport. I made it a must that Ryan and my friends try the Jeju ice cream so I got one for my friends to share and one for myself. Although there were 3 flavours--chocolate, citrus, and cactus-- I had them all try cactus since I remember that one being my favourite.

That reminds me, earlier that day, we all wanted to get green tea ice cream near the museums. Well, Ryan (usually being the unlucky one) got in line, got his green tea ice cream and the rest of us were told, "No more." It was hilarious because we all immediately turned our heads in the same direction and glared furiously at Ryan, haha. It was so disappointing that it was funny and even the cashier was laughing. [**Also, side note: most of the pictures that I post here will be of Jeju. The ladder picture required lots of patience on my end to catch this amazing shot. Although my camera is no Nikon or Canon, I have this ability to wait for a great shot and that picture of the rocks was the product. Ryan and I love that photo.]

I digress :P Ryan and I ended up getting back into our city at around 11 and we slept like babies. Our friends decided to do some shopping the next day so Ryan got lots of sleep while I relaxed watching TV shows on my laptop. Relaxing was needed since it was New Year's Eve and we were all meeting up at Seoul City Hall later that night for the countdown. We met up with our friends and also an old roommate, had dinner, did out-door ice skating, went to the countdown, went to Hongdae for some drinks, met some funny drunk people and left with some new experiences/memories I will never forget. I seemed to be the most sober, so I'll get to laugh with myself about that night.

All in all, it was a wonderful winter break. Too short but definitely well spent in good company.

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