And so it ends…
Day 10-11 9/25-09/26
The past two days have been so great.
We got to the airport with some time to spare and waited in the international terminal. We got a bite to eat, and as we sat down, the table next to us filled up with a large Korean family, which included a baby (2 year old) boy. The boy was rocking back and forth, standing on his chair, and in the pit of my stomach, I had a feeling that he was going to fall backwards off of the chair.
And it happened. But because I was expecting it, my arm was there to catch him before he hit the ground.
It was so crazy, but I am grateful that God allowed me to be where I was when I was. I also gained a mini-fan that day, as the little boy consistently wandered away from his family to come up to me and smile coyly. He was ADORABLE. Little Asian dumpling of a boy, with a cute little ascot.
The flight was thankfully uneventful. And after we landed, just as we hit a huge line through customs, they opened up a brand new lane and all three of us were filtered in with no wait. What favorable timing, eh?
Pastor Noel Park came to pick us up , and he graciously drove us over an hour’s worth the entire time he hosted us. He took us to a delicious traditional Korean dinner with several varieties of kimchi, dwenjang chigae (bean curd stew), jellyfish, snail, vegetables, pork, and tons of other banchan (side dishes). To my relief and joy, my co-workers ate and savored all of it.
The hotel’s accommodations were fantastic (my room even has a walk-in-closet and one of those scary high tech toilets). After getting settled in, I watched 2 Indiana Jones movies that were playing on TV and fell asleep.
On Sunday, I got up and quickly got ready to find Jubilee Church’s new location. Fortunately, I found it with no drama. The service was fantastic and the prayer, worship, and message were all exactly what I needed to experience.
After church, I took my co-workers to Insadong, where we had a fantastic time. The weather was great, and the shopping was fruitful. It was Sunday Open Food Market AND an Arts Festival Day, so we got to see the town bustling. The ahjummahs (old ladies) at the food carts even let us sample the food for free. We split boong-oh-bbang (fish-shaped breaded treats), fish cakes, and something that tasted like the filling of a dumpling (sans the dumpling skin).
I did have several hilarious things happen at the market place. The three of us walked up to this one food cart where they were making a snack made of fine, cotton-candy-like wisps of honey skein (called “Kkultarae”). The three guys working at the cart made it an entire show, singing and chanting the steps it took to make the snack.
During a singing/chanting break, one of the guys looked at me, told me that I was pretty and asked (in Korean) if my boss (who was behind me) was my boyfriend. I shook my head and responded that he was not. The guy next to him then asked (embarrassingly loudly) if I had a boyfriend. I said that I did not. He then burst into the same sing-songy chant…singing me his phone number and asking me to “please give [him] a call sometime.”
I ended up buying a box. Haha. It was delicious but the most unique thing I have ever tasted. It was really really interesting. I can’t even explain it.
Then came the amusing situation when we were walking down the street and a 40-some-year-old ahjushee (old man) was meandering past us…
…and he let a huge wet one rip. The sound of that fart was soooooo…moist. I died.
Immature, I know, but if you only heard…
After 8 hours of straight walking, we went to go get Korean Fried Chicken and found TwoTwo Chicken, where we ordered the sesame and garlic kinds of wings.
The garlic one was literally COVERED in garlic. But it was soooooo good. Food coma time. Good night!
Day 12-13 9/27-09/28
It’s been really crazy during my last two days in Seoul, so I’ll have to keep these brief.
On Tuesday, we had a good time just relaxing. I met up with Pastor Park again, who introduced me to several leaders of his church and denomination in Seoul. They were lovely people, and incredibly nice. They treated me to a fantastic buffet lunch at the Grand Hilton Hotel outside of Seoul. Super fancy, and I was so grateful for their generosity.
After lunch, I met up with the others and we wandered around COEX mall, got a manicure, and finished up last-minute-shopping before hitting a Korean BBQ Bacon place. Once dinner was over, we grabbed a cab over to Pierrot Strike, where I got to see my friends from back home in Jersey.
Got to bowl a couple of rounds at the trendy club/bowling alley/game room/bar, catch up with my friends (the awesome sibling duo, Joon and Sarah), and simply enjoy playing the night away.
The last day was a blur as well. It started off as a business meeting that transformed quickly into a whirlwind tour of Seoul. Thanks to an incredible amount of grace and favor from God (are you tired of hearing about this yet?), our meeting contact went so far beyond what we had expected by connecting us with the Chairman of one of the only architectural lighting firms in Korea. This Chairman took us to a fancy Bulgogi lunch, and hired a driver and tour escort from his firm to show us every interesting hotel in Seoul.
By the time the night was over, all of us reeled at what had just happened to us.
Tomorrow I return to the States. It’s been an intense ride, during the past two weeks, but I am leaving better for it. Thank You, Lord for everything. Everything.
FOR PHOTOS OF DAYS 10-13: SEOUL, GO HERE.