It’s been a busy, busy, busy Week 7.
Earlier in the week, I had to do a presentation for a Japanese society module that I am taking this semester. That presentation took a lot out of me because 1) It was based on a content which was entirely new to me so I had to read beyond the prescribed article and 2) I realized that my perfectionist tendencies caused me to be obsessed with so many details (like the way certain sentences were phrased, the placement of the photos, the flow of the presentation from one slide to the next, the things to say) that it considerably slowed down my progress!
Besides school, there were other things that made up my week which caused the time to just zoom by.
Cherry blossoms at Yeoido Park
Last Wednesday was a public holiday here in South Korea. It was a legislative election day for South Korea (pretty similar to the ones in Singapore where we cast votes for the ministers representing our GRCs/SMCs who will later form one of the members of parliament). Since my housemate was not working, she asked me to accompany her to Yeoido Park after my class (yes, I had a class on a public holiday but no complains. I kinda liked the class and teacher!) ended.
Her purpose in going there was only one: to get me to take proper photos of her which she intends to use for publicity materials.
My purpose even though I have a gazillion readings to do: Actually I had no plans to go there at all but because I’m there anyway, I told myself to use the time to check out the last bits of cherry blossoms left.
The Yeoido Park is located very near the National Assembly (South Korea’s version of the Parliament House). I’m not too sure whether the area sees throngs of reporters on other days but definitely on that day (and perhaps due to the fact that it was election day), there were many of them walking around the perimeters of the National Assembly.
When we finally reached Yeoido Park itself, I saw that the place was littered with petals from the cherry blossoms. It has been raining these past few days and that could have contributed to it. Also, the colours on the trees were already fading. The cherry blossoms, while still a pretty sight to behold, were not as resplendent as before.
Fun English lesson at Chungmuro and thereafter, shopping at Ewha
Last Thursday, we decided to take our weekly English lessons outside. We made arrangements to meet at Chungmuro Station since I was keen to check out the paper and printing shop that the Korean lady whom I’m teaching has been raving about.
Entering the paper and printing shop, I felt like I’m a little girl being brought to a candy store. I was so, so, so, impressed by the efficiency of the place, how proper everything is and importantly, the quality of its printing! I’ve never seen printing shops of this scale and quality anywhere in Singapore or Malaysia which is opened to anyone regardless of the quantity of items they seek to print. This shop prints almost anything that can be printed on paper. Packaging boxes, leaflets, book covers, bookmarks, photo printouts, etc. Anything.
Best of all, the prices are so affordable given its quality! They were only a few cents per piece and for a fee, they will deliver the finished product right to our doorstep by trackable shipment.
The shop, Sungwonadpia, has a website but in order to get information on its full range of services, access the member site to make orders or to get a rough estimate of the costs of your printing, you will have to access the Korean version.
So after the high of visiting such an exciting place (What? Don’t judge me. It IS exciting. Hahah), we settled down for a drink at a nearby cafe for a proper English lesson. However, we veered off tangent and ended up talking about weddings. She was keen to know how the weddings are conducted in Singapore, its costs, and the married life in the Singaporean society. Obviously, I’m the last person one should be asking when it comes to these so it was pretty hilarious that I was even able to convey some information pertaining to it.
I proceeded to Ewha Women’s University as soon as we parted. All the shopping I did over there that makes me question whether I am sane or not. The sensible mind tells me I should not be shopping unless I start earning some money soon but that insensible side is always so, so, so, convincing in telling me that I’m “just spending a small amount for only this time“. I always tell myself that “it is only for this time” but looking back, my version of “this time” somehow happens all the time!
2D1N in Tongyeung
The professor for one of my modules decided to take us on a fieldtrip to Tongyeung. This city is about 4.5hours bus ride away from Seoul and located along the coast. I’ve been to South Korea for a few times but this was the first time that I visited a place outside Seoul!
We visited quite a number of places when we’re there but probably, one of the highlights for the trip was when we managed to get a view of Tongyeung City from atop Mt Mireuksan. Absolutely love the view from that vantage point. The air in Tongyeung was also much, much fresher and cleaner than in Seoul. Love that as well!
We also visited Dongpirang. I found the place fascinating for its wall murals which were so nicely drawn.
Since Tongyeung is located along the coast, seafood is one of the specialties of this area. All sorts of fresh catch – fish, oyster, eel, sea cucumber, etc – are sold at the market. One only has to just buy the fish from the shops in the market and then take it to one of the shops behind to have it cooked. Noryangjin in Seoul has a similar system but based on what the Koreans in my class said, it seems like the seafood in Tongyeung is way fresher and tastier than the one in Seoul.
Last photo to share before I end off the entry. Here’s a view of one of the cabins on the ferry while in Tongyeung. It is an open area with heated flooring made for winter!
Seeing this reminded me that different countries have their infrastructure set up to accommodate its physical environment. We never see such heated floorings onboard the ferries in Singapore or Malaysia. I feel that this is one of the beauties of travelling which I sometimes forget – the opportunity for a glimpse into aspects of a society that makes it unique. Sometimes, there are things one just never get to see in photos or whose novelty is lost just by looking at photos. It is only through experiencing it firsthand that one can recognise how unique certain features seen in the country are.