The Traveling Kimchi

*Korean Culture: The Good, The Bad, &The Ugly*

Before The Traveling Kimchi was The Traveling Kimchi, she was just a girl named Jessica that I met in my first Korean class back in 2011. Little did I know that she would become a great friend AND fellow blogger years later.

We met again in 2013– when I went to Korea last winter. We had an amazing time at my favorite bar– Bunker, my last night there.

Recently, I found out that she’s been blogging about her adventures in South Korea, too, so I knew that I had to introduce her to you and share her adventures with you, too!^^

The Traveling Kimchi

The Traveling Kimchi~

Jessica~

“Who is the Traveling Kimchi?”

“Why, she’s a tiny half Korean-Irish American currently living in Seoul, South Korea! After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin the Traveling Kimchi decided it was time to explore her roots! Since her arrival in 2012 she has been blogging about her experiences not only in Korea but all of her adventures abroad. She hopes you will enjoy traveling along with her and are inspired to pick up your own passport and see a culture and world beyond your own.”

– From The Traveling Kimchi’s Facebook Page

In addition, The Traveling Kimchi and westerngirleasternboy might be two very different blogs by two very different people, but we share the same exact mission:

“… to encourage thinking openly, meeting new people, having lifetime experiences, and traveling abroad.”

The Traveling Kimchi is on Youtube, and I wanted to share this cover she did with you all since it IS Sunday morning!

By now, we probably all need a little pick me up before the week starts, so here it is:

She has a lot of other great videos on everything from her adventures in Korea and Thailand to her favorite beauty products to what to do BEFORE you come to Korea, so be sure to check them out!

Sunday morning…

For some of us, “rain is falling.”

For some of us, it’s Easter, and we’re with our families– celebrating what should be a day that is less about hunting for eggs and more about hunting for something else.

For some of us, though, it’s just another Sunday– the Sunday before our last week of school… ever.

(That would be me!)

So, I’ll be watching Korean dramas and trying to write and edit my final papers! My last year of law school is coming to a close, and I can’t wait to start working, traveling, and living. I might even get to see The Traveling Kimchi again sooner than either of us thought…

The Traveling Kimchi, take me with you!~

The Traveling Kimchi, please take me with you!~

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Last(?) Goodbyes, Lost Luggage, and… Law School

*The “My Winter in Korea” Series*

Day 12:

I woke up somewhat early. After all, it was my last day in Seoul, South Korea. And, it snowed– although just a little. So, I definitely got the “white winter” that I was hoping for!^^

My last ootd-- jk, I changed later~

My last ootd– JK, I changed later before going out!~

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet my “little sister” and go to ANY entertainment companies, but I did get to go back to Myeongdong for a little shopping with unni; and, on the way to pick up unni from her hotel, I met another funny and friendly taxi driver who started singing trot songs to me and talking about his past as a musical actor.

After some light serious shopping, I met my best friend for dinner at my favorite restaurant, The Flying Pan Blue, in Itaewon. We had some DELICIOUS food, and I already can’t wait to go back!

Chicken Avocado Panini~

Chicken Avocado Panini~

Then, I met Mr. Kang for (another) dinner– this time in Yoido. We chatted, and before I left I gave him some more chin chin, a Nigerian snack that my mom made. 

(His family had fallen in love with it!)

Finally, I was on my way to Bunker in Apgujeong where I met up with unni and one of my friends. No, I didn’t take a picture with my crush, but I did talk to him. I also let the bartender who always gave me free drinks know that I would be back “next time.” The girls and I drank and danced– drama free, and I got home at 5:00 in the morning as planned.

I slept for three hours, and then I showered, got ready, and packed my bags before meeting up with my best friend at 10:00 in the morning. We took the subway together before saying our goodbyes at the airport.

I ended up having a wonderful trip and a cozy flight. I slept the ENTIRE time. However, when I arrived to San Francisco almost 12 hours later, my luggage did not arrive with me…

Thankfully, it only took two (agonizing) days for them to find it, and I should get it today or tomorrow.

Anticlimactic, but “The End”!^^

… So, “two weeks” in Seoul was too short, but this short and sweet winter vacation made me fall in love with Seoul, South Korea all over again, and it also gave the the strength I need to keep dreaming, to keep living a life where I wake up everyday with the determination to make my dreams a reality.

There was just something different about this trip– maybe because I went for different reasons, with a different heart and a different mind, but I met so many wonderful people and made so many wonderful memories that I will never forget.

But, I realized that I don’t want Seoul to be just a memory.

I have a lot of work to do and a long way to go, but someday I will call Seoul “home.”

For now, I started my last semester of law school on Monday. Looking back, I am amazed at how far I’ve come– there truly is a light at the end of the tunnel, but you have to open your eyes and your heart to see it. Although this is my last semester of law school, after this amazing, blessed trip I am considering applying for my Master of Law in Business if I don’t find a job at a law firm in Seoul

There is an indescribable feeling that the city gives me– the often crowded but sometimes quiet streets, the bright neon lights and even brighter morning sun, the view of the Han River as I stand on the subway or sit in a taxi, staring out…

When I’m in Seoul, I don’t want to be anywhere else, so I know that I have to go back.

Finally, thanks for your excitement and patience as I spent (almost) two weeks in Seoul!

And, stay tuned for more blog posts on the following: What Not to Do in Seoul, South KoreaPreparing for Life in Korea, My Favorite Korean Boys, and more.

VIP

*The “My Winter in Korea” Series*

Day 5:

I met up with two girls last night, although I wasn’t sure if either of them would actually be able to make it, because they both had last minute emergencies…

In the end, an 8:00 P.M. meeting happened at 9:00 P.M., which wasn’t too bad– or so I told myself, comfortingly; but, at the time, I had no idea that things were about to get worse.

Another crazy ootd~

Another crazy ootd~

We caught a taxi and went to Bunker, and I got to see my old crush again. We had two buckets and some free tequila shots.

(I always get free drinks when I go out, but just because people working at bars and clubs tend to remember my face the second time they see me. It also helps to smile and be polite, girls!)

It was our first time meeting each other, and as we drank everyone really got along. We were having too much fun, I guess, and some Korean-American boys from Boston asked if we would like to join their table. I said no, but that they could join ours instead; and, they did. One was 19, and one was 2o, but they were both super sweet and harmless. After a few shots and a very short, stilted conversation, “19 year old” asked for my number.

I told him that I would give him my Kakao since my phone doesn’t work here, but he said that his phone wasn’t charged! So, I said, you did good coming over to talk to us, but next time charge your phone. He just smiled really shyly and said okay.

(Lesson learned!)

We left quickly after that and caught a taxi to Ellui. I actually yelled at the taxi driver in Korean, because he tried to stop somewhere like two blocks away, and I did NOT want to walk.

(Poor guy. I was a little drunk and obnoxious, but he listened well. Sometimes, you have to be firm with taxi drivers in Korea. They will take longer routes just to raise the price of the fare, and then they will stop in strange places!)

So, we made it to Ellui– right in front of it, which was where I wanted to be! There was no line, and cover was 30,000 won, or 27 to 28 dollars– it went up 10,000 won, ugh. We put up our things, which took us awhile to figure out. The lockers were super high-tech, but maybe we were just… stupid.

(Sorry, I put up my phone, so no pictures, but I might end up being on the Facebook page– and you can check it out HERE along with more on clubbing in Korea HERE, because a photographer kept taking pictures of me!)

Anyway, we danced on the first floor for awhile, and we even got some more free drinks– Lemon Drops! Then, a host came and took us to the VIP Lounge on the second floor.

There, Girl 1 met a Korean guy. Girl 2 also met a Korean guy, but Girl 2′s Korean guy was much cuter, so Girl 1 tried to take him away.

Repeatedly.

All through the night.

Girl 1 kept telling me how cute Girl 2′s guy was (very true), and Girl 2 kept telling me what a back-stabbing bitch Girl 1 was (also very true). I just wanted everyone to get along and have fun, but instead a host grabbed my arm and pulled me to a table full of five Korean guys. Yes, I had been “booked,” but I definitely didn’t stay long!

Anyway, I did my best to separate Girl 1 and Girl 2, so I took Girl 1 back to the first floor where we were having fun dancing when Girl 2 said that it was time for her to go.

(She almost didn’t even make it out, because she was feeling very sick.)

I had already spent 5 dollars putting our stuff in the locker. I had to spend another 5 when Girl 1 wanted to get her stuff out– she was going to leave with her guy, but I guess he decided to just go home instead. So, by then I was just about done dealing with those crazy lockers, so I got my stuff and helped the girls catch taxis and get home– separately of course.

Look, girls, when you go out, don’t try to take what someone else already has. In a club FULL of guys, is it really necessary to “fight” over the same one?

*Sigh*

Well, on the bright side: The host, who was really good-looking, got my Kakao, and he messaged me to make sure that I made it home safely.

I guess next time I go to Ellui I’ll be VIP again.

Anyway, today– Day 6, I am meeting Mr. Kang for lunch and classier things like art exhibits and sightseeing; but, tonight I will go out in Itaewon.

In other news, more than a few Korean including the taxi driver that took me home last night have told me to stay in Korea. I want to, too, driver– I want to, too.

I feel like time is slipping through my fingers like sand, and I definitely can’t hold on to it, so I hope that I can enjoy my vacation without having to deal with anymore drama!

Let’s Eat!

*The “My Winter in Korea” Series*

Day 3:

zZzZz…

Day 4:

I woke up after sleeping for 13 or 14 hours, and I was finally well-rested but– of course, starving!

>.<

So, I went and bought some “groceries” at a local convenient store just down the street.

Squid seafood ramen and crunchy kimchi~

Squid seafood ramen and crunchy kimchi~

I “cooked” and stayed home during the day, just watching shows and texting friends to 1) see what they were up to and 2) make plans for that night and the weekend as I ate.

Yum~

Yum~

Thankfully, J- was free for dinner, so I got ready around 6:00 P.M. and went out to see him!

When crazy patterns clash, just drape~

When crazy patterns clash, just drape~

I haven’t seen him since we met in February of last year, so I definitely went for something over the top!^^

I took a taxi to Gangnam Station Exit 11 and made it there on time– just at 7:30. It was nice to be out after being home all day, and we were really happy to see each other again.

(He also loved my outfit!^^)

We walked around and finally found a place to eat– he picked it: Seoga Cook, which was in my old neighborhood Nonhyundong.

Lemon drafts~

Lemon drafts– he copied me and got the same thing~

Pork Pilaf~

His pork pilaf~

He took this one of my tenderloin salad and the rest of the table~

He took this one of my tenderloin salad and the rest of the table~

He ate almost ALL of the rice and at least 1/2 of the salad. Each dish is really for two people, but he eats a lot so he ordered two dishes instead.

It was nice to talk and catch up. I totally forgot how funny he is, and even though he was born in 1987 his real age is JUST 7…

LOL

Anyway, he walked me home and kissed me (on the cheek since he’s sick) good night. He also told a lot of his friends about me, and they want to meet me.

I might see them tonight, but I might not since it’s girls night out!

(Every night is girl’s night out.)

Day 5:

I went out and bought some more FOOD this morning. I was actually on my way to Krispy Kreme, but the smell from a local and much closer bread house pulled me in. The pastries in Korea are so freaking delicious– almost always made fresh! 

Breakfast~

Breakfast~

Anyway, tonight is girl’s night out, and I will finally be meeting a few new girls, so I am excited! We will be getting dinner around 7 or 8 then going to Bunker in Apgujeong– a bar, and Ellui in Cheongdamdong– a club.

Before then, though, I’m going to take a nap, because I know it’s going to be another long night…

Happy New Year

*The “My Winter in Korea” Series*

Day Two:

My best friend and I met up for dinner at night. We decided on fusion TexMex at Coreanos on Apgujeong Rodeo Drive. It was SO good, and I even felt like I was back in Texas for a second!

Kimchicheese Nachos~

Kimchicheese Nachos~

Tacos~

Tacos~

But, we were both pretty tired and didn’t have any special plans other than forcing ourselves to do something since it was New Year’s Eve– my best friend was tired because of work, and I was tired because I walked around Seoul all day! But, it was still early– just 9:00, so after dinner we walked around Rodeo looking for a place for Round 2 before I decided that it was too cold and that we should just head to Bunker, one of my favorite bars which was just down the street.

An old but accurate picture of Bunker~

I had the biggest crush on The Door Guy two summers ago when I first went, so I was sad as I walked down the stairs thinking he would definitely be gone by now…

But, he wasn’t!

He was still there, and he actually remembered me. We even talked a little bit, too. He said with a smile as he poured me a free drink– everyone got free drinks since it was New Year’s:

“Long time.”

(Girls, beware of Korean men with really cute broken English, broad shoulders, and dimples!)

Anyway, at first my best friend and I just sat down at our table and drank, wondering when to leave since we were both pretty tired, but a few hours later after we moved to the other side of the room we met these AMAZING Korean girls– and a few crazy foreigners from Ireland and Canada, but we all got together, just drinking and dancing.

Then, it was New Year’s!

A New Year's selca with my best friend~

A New Year’s selca with my best friend~

I love Love LOVE Bunker, and I was a regular there two summers ago, but it was the best it has  ever been last night. I was expecting it to be empty and quiet– after all, it’s still just a Tuesday in Seoul, but what I got instead was a wonderful New Year’s Eve party!

I’ll be going back to Bunker again on Friday. I always go there to pre-game, which is what we in Texas call drinking BEFORE you go out. Bunker is just one of the best places to drink, because it has these amazing $13.00 pitchers buckets, really good music, and a great atmosphere since it’s easy to mingle and actually meet people as you drink, dance, and even play games.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Our buckets of Sex on The Beach and Peach Crush~

My best friend had to leave early so that she could make it to work on time, but I had met at least six or seven people by then, so I was okay staying with them.

In the end, The Door Guy put on some really good music, and I danced with my new girls. We ended up leaving at 5, which was when it closed! Thankfully, I was able to walk home (again) since Apgujeong is so close to Cheongdamdong.

Since it’s Wednesday, I don’t really have anything planned except to relax!^^

My friend who also teaches English here will be coming back from Japan, so I might see her if she isn’t busy, but I will definitely be going out for dinner, drinks, and dancing on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday… and probably the rest of the week, too!

Apart from restaurants, bars, and clubs, I also want to go to Namsan Tower, the UN Village in Hannam-dong, the entertainment companies in Gangnam, and Busan. I’m just taking everything day by day for now, although I do have my weekend planned as far as where I’m going to go out at night and who I’m going to go out with, but that’s just a habit.

Finally, from Korea with love, I am wishing you all a Happy New Year!

I hope you all get to explore the world around you and get to know the people in it in new, more exciting and enriching ways this year! As you journey down your own path– wherever it takes you, keep an open mind and an open heart, because you never know who or what is waiting right in front of you– be it a wild adventure or a wonderful romance…

Cheers to both of those, and let’s all find them THIS year!