In the midst of me being atrociously sick with an unknown sickness (friday morning) and going through my usual rounds of insomnia on my empty bed ( in reference to my empty bed syndrome ) i woke up after barely 3 hours of restless sleep (ie: full of more weird dreams) and thought immediately of Seoul Corea (i went through a phase and the C kinda stuck with me and K looks weird and hostile to me now so bear with it).
I love holidays in general but after much consideration i’ve come to the conclusion that so far Seoul had been more of a self reflective and life changing thing for me. It made me come to realise a lot of things and appreciate a whole lot more so i decided to dig up some old photos many of which most of you have seen if you’ve been following my blog for all these years. The only difference is instead of my usual rubbish captions, i’m going to go a little deeper into them and how each compilation changed that little part of me. Oh! And i made the pics slightly bigger for your benefit. wtf.
This is going to be a ridiculously long post so don’t bother reading if you’re in a hurry =X
In 2006, i made my first trip ever to Seoul with my school where we partook in a cultural exchange programme and spent a lot of time with students from different corean schools and universities. It was sort of like a community project thing to apparently strengthen the ties and bonds between the 2 countries but honestly i think we were all just bored and kaypoh and wanted to do something.
Through this whole occasion, i had a pretty hard time trying to connect with the coreans my age. For some reason or another they got really shy around me and would go into bouts of giggling or silence despite the amount of attempts i made in trying to converse. I was finally saved by little kids that were around and they made me smile a lot with their playful pranks and how attached to me they got. My favourite was this cheeky little monster in the bottom right pic who would get jealous everytime i played with someone else and he was so funny because he actually made his parents buy me a gift but ran away after giving it to me and started blushing. I got a lot of presents from the little ones during that trip. From a dictionary to hair clips and random wooden figurines; all of which i still keep to this day =)
It was after this trip i randomly told my parents that i wanted to own a kindergarden and i guess it takes a childish person like me to feel comfortable around kids and to finally stop pretending that i still love cartoons and all things cute. Since then, besides wanting to own a kindergarden, I’ve also always wanted to teach art or something to that extent in pre schools and stuff. One day =)
This set of pictures is not particularly of any importance i guess but i remember the amount of fun i had wondering around the empty roads of this somewhat suburban area of Seoul where our youth hostel was located. I remember we did a lot of stupid things like waste money on the claw machines we found at the side of the road (i managed to win a lot of really cool lighters that have all been stolen now =( wuwuwu ) and the attempts we took to take pictures of ourselves in the middle of the empty streets. Yes, the first picture really was some sort of a main road and we just plopped outselves down with an instant timer ignoring the risk that a car could pop out anytime.
The pic of the top right is the random view from the airplane when we were either about to arrive or leave Seoul. I really can’t remember but its just a reminder of the place while the library is found in some university which i really cannot recall anymore. Everyone started running around and camwhoring with the place but i remember standing absolutely transfixed on this spot staring at the rows and rows of books all around me. I have no idea what the significance of it was but i remember very vividly the feeling of walking slowly down the aisles and just drawing the scent of the books into my lungs, feeling completely at ease with everything.
Now this set of pictures is a very strong reminder of me knowing i am very much loved and how it doesn’t matter that i was the outcast among the girls and that I fit in much better with the boys. We were devided into 2 rooms, one for the boys and one for the girls. I felt all forms of discomfort being placed in a room full of girls i didn’t particularly connect with and ignoring all the whispers and rumours stayed with the boys instead. I was given the biggest space and first dips in anything in the room and felt incredibly protected for some reason. A lot of the girls still shake their heads at me to this day but i will always remember the laughter i shared in that room; one girl and all her boys (not to be misunderstood as something else yah “=_= ). After that trip i stopped looking jealously at cliques of girls that i never really fit into and finally accepted that maybe just maybe i do better as one of the guys.
The 3 in the pic also spoilt me to no ends the entire trip. They carried my bags around all over the city and through the subways (including a luggage bag i randomly decided to buy) , paid for my share in meals and accompanied me on my random cravings for that frozen yogurt you see in the middle. They never once said no to anything i wanted to do and even gave in to my demands of wanting that monkey hanging on my neck. The only way to get it was to win in those carnival games and i swear the amount of money and time they spent trying to get it for me, we could have bought at least 5 of those things. They just never gave up and i was princess for 5 days.
Seoul 2006 taught me a lot about rediscovering lost friendships that at one point in my life no longer meant much to me. This brought new light to the terms friends forever and at the same time brought back important flashbacks of a childhood friendship that i now know will last a lifetime and hopefully never again be taken for granted.
It also proved to be an interesting trip where we got to ride in a cop car because we wondered too far off and couldnt find our way back to our hostel. Talk about abusing our rights. LOL
A trip where meeting random people on the plane or at roadside bars was neither a threat nor of any danger but as an insightful look at the world through someone elses eyes. In a way it’s sad really because lately i try to avoid being caught in situations of chatting with a stranger unlike my past self that would probably run up to one and ask for a hug just for the sake of being retarded. A lot of people used to ask if i knew the random people i talked to because apparently I talk to them like i’ve known them forever. I’ve kind of lost that touch and find it too much an effort to make new friends now or even bother socialising anymore so in a way i miss those days in Seoul full of talkative random strangers. Good times.
And in 2006, i cried in mid air because i am chicken shit scared of heights but wanted to go up on that freefall thing anyway. I really really cried on the way up and turned pale. HUHUHU. Another weird thing about 2006 is the fact that it technically marked the end of my do first think later days. I am now afraid of most theme park rides including rollercoasters but in Lotte World, I had no trouble and enjoyed them imensely. I guess because of the whole fear thing, I will always remember Lotte World 06 as the last time i really enjoyed going to a theme park and screaming myself senseless.
Other pictures just represent the simply joys i found in the 5 days i was there. Empty subway trains that i could run around in, the sweet taste of soju, the beers with good friends on night time walks along empty streets, the really yummy frozen strawberry drink from dunking doughnuts and playing on nice clean happy coloured swings. I was a very happy child that reveled in the simplest of things in a country pretty far away.
2 years down the road i logged onto msn one day and sent a random msg to natalie whom i literally almost stopped talking to stating that i would be coming to Seoul and she has to house me. I’m not sure what her initial reaction really was. She may have told me once but i can’t remember anymore but ask her to leave a comment if you’re curious. The whole trip to Seoul thing wasn’t entirely true of course because it was just an out of the blue thing but i told my mother and surprisingly she said okay. What meant to be a short 5 day trip initially turned into 10 days because the mother said i was being ridiculous by wasting her money and flying so far only to stay there for such a short while.
10 days flew by and a big part of me wished i had stayed longer.
2 years gap and nothing was the same.
Seoul felt like a completely different place to me and it made me wonder if it was the city that had changed or if it was me. Seoul 08 would be the more life defining moment for me of the 2 and i really don’t know how exactly to put it into words but it was one of those things that would change your life forever and for the record, in a good way.
I arrived in Seoul this time apparently bringing the rain for me. Seoul had apparently been going through a drought and the moment my plane touched down it started raining. The best thing was, I initially had no travel arrangements to get to Natalie. I was suppose to take the bus, the subway and then walk according to the map she sent me lugging my luggage because she was having some exam or presentation or something that day and also because i brought exceptionally little money with me. Trust me when i say exceptionally little for 10 days in Seoul. If u had read my past entries, i almost didn’t have enough money to make it back to the airport on the last day.
But good things do happen and good people do exist. A friend of hers heard about me making my way there alone and came to the airport to wait for me so i wouldn’t get lost! She even insisted on carrying my bags for me because she said i looked so tiny against my bag and that she was stronger. This girl was a real blessing in disguise but that will be talked about in another picture.
So my first day in the city and the rain was crazy. The winds were blowing like it was a storm and in the middle of summer the temperature dropped so much i had to use a jacket in the streets and caught a flu almost instantly. I had fun walking in the rain though and i think the whole sharing an unbrella experience was a whole new starting point for the tension in our almost lost friendship.
Plus, due to the rain we stayed in and made really a dumb video which i’ve posted before and that was my first cameo appearance with natalie online =D
This is my room and the view from my room. This may be the most epic thing about my trip because i paid RM250 for 10 fucking days (somewhere around that amt. cant remember exactly). I had airconditioning, fans, desks, hot water, refrigerator and technically 2 floors. Just technically. And even better still, i was 10 minutes walking distance from the subway! And this was another major blessing in disguise because i was almost homeless and had no money to pay for a proper hotel.
At the last possible minute, nats landlord decided that i couldn’t stay with them due to some undefined reasons and because i told my mum i was staying with her there was no extra cash for accommodation. Nat searched high and low for me and by chance came upon an ad on her college boards for this room. The landlord had asked for a lot more and was actually looking for a more permanant resident who could teach his daughter english but when nat told him the situation i was in he finally agreed to this sum + an english lesson for his daughter. IT WAS THE BEST FUCKING DEAL EVER! and the best part, he even gave me a corean hp with a line to use (but top up myself la. although i didnt know he had credit in it so i overused his =X but i think we paid it back correctly T_T) . Nice people exist in the world T_T they really really do and this trip will be a reminder to me for the rest of my life.
The first night i was really scared of the place so Nat stayed with me but after that i got used to it and now i really miss that musky smell it had =( it was a nice musky smell okay not a yucky moldy one.
Another encounter with over friendly people in this area known as pet central (ask nat to leave a comment for actual corean name. wtf). Although i think it was only because we were cuter than all the other people there. eh real wan okay! because apparently you are not allowed to play with the animals like that but the owner was there and started flirting and in the midst of his flirting he gave full access to the doggies and i was allowed to carry them out and snap pictures =D wahhahaha
and there was a picture of paris hilton with the doggies in the shop as well =D it looked authentic. wtf.
what so significant about this encounter you’re probably wondering. well, i don’t know either but the incredibly cute doggie pics were just staring at me waiting to appear in my blog AGAIN. WTF WTF. but hey, you have to admit one thing; I do look incredibly happy in this set and i was =)
i actually almost bought the puppies. they were so ridiculously cheap “=_= 300 ringgit??? i almost called my mum to ask her to buy the puppy an air ticket home. ALMOST but didnt u_u. HUR HUR HUR.
This is part of Nats uni. and this is one of my moving GIF pics that marked the start of the series! the discovery of my custom timer and the joy of laughing at the combination of it all =D
taking stupid continuous shots like this took up most of our time in corea but it was all very good fun and the weather was really nice as well in most occasions.
more happy joy joy mementos.
This on the other hand, may be one of the most significant reminders of my entire trip. I have always been a very spoilt child that got almost anything i wanted and a constant stream of money. I didnt get extravagant amounts but definitely much more than necessary to go through phases of ordering a dish and deciding i wanted to eat something else and leave it there. I spent without thinking and impulsive barely covered my personality.
When i went to Seoul in 08 however, it was a very different story. Due to rather private matters, my allowances were cut significantly short and i brought barely enough for my 10 day trip there. We spent a lot of time trying to budget my days, even eating in and sharing almost every meal we had because we were both rather short on cash.
i didn’t eat anywhere fancy my entire trip in corea and almost bought nothing as well, constantly counting how much i would suffer if i bought anything above 30 ringgit.
but it was from this i learnt to be a whole lot more frugal and discovered that from someone who would get upset when she had barely enough cash in her wallet, i found out that i could be happy without money.
i mean i did have money to spend la, very minimal amounts that trip but i was unbelievably happy for that 10 days despite having to continuously keep tabs on my spending and counting every single dollar and dime.
i found out there were a lot of things you could do without having much money. the discovery of wondering around a town you barely knew with a good friend by your side, the hours passed laughing in coffee shops sharing a meal, the sneaky glaces passed when waiting for fresh hot krispy kreme to be given out free and the discovery of simple joys in life and everything else.
being at this point, i was forced to finally take a good look around at my surroundings and appreciate every little whiff of floral scents and the blue sky up above my head. i walked a lot slower, and i became even more observant than i ever was.
arrogant, feisty and in your face ginny went a few tones down and created the more mellow version of the one many of you may know now. and believe me when i say i’ve changed a lot in this sense. i may have repeating tendencies of the past but my patience has grown ten folds and my level of understanding and compassion definitely surpasses that of my past self.
okay. absolutely nothing significant about this bunch of pictures but very cute and colourful lar. i like. makes me happy can or not??
i oso want big furry bunny like that one!!! T______T belongs to nat’s landlord. wuwuuw. its so big and fluffeh and soft all i cannot resist. i always must hug it when i go over.
This is the discovery of finding joy even in the most boring of places. Not that this temple/palace home thingie was that boring lar but when you’re not a big fan of history and you don’t own a nice camera to take nicer architectural pictures, this is what you do!
laugh, be merry and capture the moment forever.
Seoul is a city with a lot of it’s own quirks. Take a stroll along one of its many hidden streets and you come across lanes that you’ve only seen or read about in story books or seen somewhere on TV. Be deceived by descriptions that say a palace having a lovely garden and then deciding to take a visit all dolled up only to discover that the garden is really actually a walking trail in a forest taking almost 3 hours to complete
but in that forest the little perks of stumbling upon little pagodas in the middle of nowhere and getting completely lost in the scent of the fresh air and the imagination of riding along the paths next to prince charming one day.
Seoul is like a fairytale if you visit the right places or if you just take a little more time out of your busy schedule to look around and be a little more adventurous. Think dancing fairies in gardens or talking dogs along the streets or even strange little creatures lurking in every corner and that’s what Seoul 08 will always be a reminder to me of.
The girl in the center is Yui. A japanese that risked a lot going to corean just to study it’s language. She was the one that came to get me at the airport. And she had undeniably been one the highlights of my trip. Secrets shared on bus rides, girly giggles, and a friendship with a complete stranger that felt as comfortable as a hot shower on a cold winter day.
Seoul, i miss you long time.