Recently, I got to watch a Korean drama (Because This Is My First life) that checked a lot of my boxes since it was probably one of the best “slice of life” dramas that I have ever gotten around to watching. My teenage self would have scoffed at the drama and found a lot of the characters’ choices a bit unrealistic, but ‘adult’ me can totally relate to the choices (and mistakes) they made with their life. While growing older (though I’m still at the young age of 26 now) comes with gaining experiences to arm you for the future, it’s also a lot of “when can I finally consider myself an actual adult” type of questions. They say your 20s is when you get to make your mistakes and be selfish, but if I’m being completely honest, I haven’t really had the chance to do so. The past few years have been a blur of practical decisions and sacrifices that although I was happy to make, I sometimes wish I didn’t have to. While I’m sure this wasn’t how my mom envisioned my 20s would turn out, I hope that she’s proud at my work as a stand-in parent now that she’s unavailable.
So let’s kick off this post with this ad we saw of VIP matchmaking in South Korea, where we realize that one of the more popular drama plots of having to choose between (what some would call, selfishly) living your life and serving your family (by marrying someone your parents chose for you) is an actual thing. I wouldn’t know how this works though, I’m just assuming from all the chaebol-drama I’ve binge watched over the years. Haha!
With everything that has happened the past few years (that almost felt like it belonged in a drama and not real life, my life), I wanted to prolong both my siblings’ “youth” and gave my sister one of the best graduation gifts ever when I told her we could go to all the KPOP places she wanted to go to. I should probably have been careful with that and not let her get crazy because, on the morning of our third day in Seoul, we found ourselves walking around the Gangnam District to search for an entertainment company, of all places.
I’m not gonna lie while writing this post, all I could think about it how this is documentation for when my sister needs a testament to how much we care for her. We haven’t had breakfast yet and assumed that with the abundance of convenience stores in Korea, we’d drop by in one when we get hungry. We ended up getting lost due to my sister’s faulty in-built navigation system in a hilly part of Seoul with our empty stomachs. It was not a fun hour until she started squealing when we reached this nondescript brick building. The things we do for this girl. Haha!
We never realized that the only reason we went through all this trouble is that BTS is managed by Big Hit Entertainment. I’d understand if we would have done a stakeout until we saw BTS, but no, my sister brought us here just so she could vandalize the building. It was apparently a popular thing to among other fans because we were obviously far from the first people to have gone here to doodle something on the wall.
We finally saw a convenience store afterward, and I immediately headed for the ice cream freezer since I needed the sugar rush to keep going. For some reason, the brother and I forgot to raid the snacks section and settled on buying some of the ice cream on sale (Buy 1 Take 1 and similar deals are popular everywhere here).
The vibe here was completely different than all the places I would usually go to whenever I was in Seoul. The area reeks of opulence and exclusivity. There weren’t a lot of people walking around, and we chanced upon so many guys looking like chaebols being dropped off at luxury stores from their luxury cars.
The sister had the brilliant deduction that Apgujeong’s K-Star Road was within the Gangnam district, so we can easily walk there. At this point, I already know that the blame is on us that we trusted her gut and let her lead us on an 8 km walk (I checked my “Walking Distance” app to measure while we were in Big Hit and when we finally got to the BTS bear status so I have facts to back up my claims against my sister lol). I’m just glad to have bought a bottle of soda, and that the temperature was not too cold and not too warm to have walked that much.
But I’m not gonna lie, it is during this times when I feel like the sacrifices I made in life has been worth it. Seeing my siblings be carefree at a time in their life where they should be and knowing that they have things they can be interested in and be passionate about (to walk 8 km in, no less), made up for all the late nights I’ve spent wondering whether I am where I want to be in my life. My sister lit up as she took photos of and with the bears of idol groups.
While the sister fangirled, the brother decided that it would be the best time to take candid photos of us. The lighting in Seoul is the Instagram filter we all need in our lives. For some crazy reason, my skin never fails to clear up and look like glass whenever I go for a visit. Someone pay me to live here, and I won’t leave. Haha! Although unfortunately, 90% of the candid photos my brother takes are unflattering. Ugh.
Our next stop is Ewha Womans University which was one of my personal requests. Tons of my friends who enjoy shopping while traveling mentioned that it’s here where she got her cheap finds, and that there were so many stores to choose from. She wasn’t wrong, too!
We also paid a visit to the actual university grounds. Outsiders are free to enter part of the campus, and it was truly picturesque. It looked so much better than a lot of the universities that they use for dramas.
A lot of the consecutive subway stations in Seoul can be reached by foot, and while I was checking the subway map (which I took responsibility from lest we got lost again), I noticed that Hongik Univ. Station is just two stations away from Ewha Womans Univ. Station and urged the siblings to walk there.
It turned out to be a great idea to walk because we found a lot of fun sights along the way. Whoever is in charge of rehabilitating unused train tracks (and other similar things) in South Korea should be applauded because they turned it into a park!
They then reused what seems to be old train carriages into stores and exhibits. It was such a great way to recycle and reuse what would have been otherwise large junk. It also turned what could have been a waste of space, into this lively quirky area for all ages. Just brilliant.
Since we couldn’t find our way back to the apartment, we went down the subway station to check out the vicinity map. All stations have vicinity maps which locals and tourists could check out.
There was a Michelin-starred restaurant with one of the smallest menus I’ve ever seen. The past two days we passed by the place, it was packed and it wasn’t even near the shopping street nor and at least a couple block away from the station. When we chanced upon the place nearly empty, we went and had dinner there. They served bossam and jokbal, which was pig belly and pig trotters. We initially thought it wouldn’t be as appetizing, but we found ourselves finishing the massive serving we ordered. While it seemed slightly icky, you don’t even realize you’re eating pig feet because it was just so good!
Anyway, truly sorry for anyone who checks back regularly for new posts. I’ve been drowning with items on my To Do list that I haven’t really had the chance to sit down and compose my thoughts into actual sentences. But right now that I’ve gotten around to doing it, I’m drooling over all the Korean food I miss! 🙂
TEESH || PHILIPPINES