Weekend Adventures: Temple Stay/Seoul

This post is going to be exceptionally long. And for that I apologize. However, I said last time that I would write about my temple stay "in a little bit." Well, I don't like to disappoint so here we go.

There are only two things that really stick out about my temple stay: waking up really early and eating really fresh food.

When we first got to the temple it was raining cats and dogs. We started with an introductory/instructional meditation session/ceremony. I'm really lacking the right words to describe everything. I hope you all will cut me some slack because this was two weekends ago. The whole weekend was really just arrive, meditate, eat, meditate, sleep, wake up, meditate, eat, meditate. That's an exaggeration, but we did do a lot of meditation. We also got a tour once it stopped raining.

If you're a future ETA, I would suggest the temple stay if you've never done one before. However, be aware that you're awake for like 20 hours that day and you possibly will fall asleep in front of the monks. Not that I know from experience.

So that was the temple stay in a nutshell.

This past weekend I was in Seoul. Man. Seoul was some kind of ride.

We left Jungwon University at 5am on Friday for our graduation ceremony at Korea University. There was a slight estimation error in travel time, so we got to Korea University around 7:45~ish. And we didn't have anything on our schedules until 9:30~ish.

Just three Midwestern girls waiting to graduate.
After waiting around some, we go into the building and listened to a medical presentation which was a bit more centered on diarrhea than I would have liked. Once the medical talk was done, each language class practiced their skit, or parts of their skit, on stage.... I went to sleep. My group did a video, so we didn't have to practice and that's how I validated sleeping for an hour or so.
S/O to Abhik for the eye mask and Robert for the pic. True friendship <3
We did this graduation thing, right? I'm talking announcing names and awarding awards. Korea University really did it up for us! I did not win an award (story of my life, but also I did not put in as much effort as some of my classmates). Please enjoy these pictures:
Me getting my fancy velvet Korea University diploma thing.
Look ma! I did it!
Fulbright Korea ETAs, Director Shim, KAEC Staff, OCT, and Korea University teachers!
Me with one of my Korean language teachers.
We shared a beautiful moment together.
Just after this photo was taken she held me hands
and told me to practice my Korean so that
next time we see each other we can speak only
Korean together.

 After graduation we got on a bus and went to our hotel, Seoul Garden Hotel. We quickly changed into more comfortable clothes then walked over the the Fulbright offices (KAEC). We then reviewed our contracts with an Orientation Coordinator and Director Shim.

Then we got back into the buses and bused over to the Ambassadors residence for an American cookout/pool party. I did not partake in the pool party, but I did eat a Chicago hot dog (or as close as I could make one).
Me outside the Ambassador's residency.
I then left the pool party to go to free KPop concert. I would love to tell you who performed, but my knowledge on KPop is pretty limited. I can tell you that Sistar performed. Here are some pictures that I snagged:

At first I was at the back.
And then I was towards the front! Like the 25th row!
The screens on either side were amazing!
And the performances blew me away!
I'd like to tell you that that's where my night ended, but it wasn't. And I'm starting to get a hand cramp from this post so I'm going to breeze over my Friday night, all of Saturday, and Sunday/my trip back to Goesan.

Friday night I went to a bar in Hongdae (Bar Da), a restaurant in Sinchon, listened to a college kid sing some American songs on his guitar, and walked down to the Han river.

Late night/early morning eatings in Sinchon!

Saturday I went to Itaewon. We walked around for a while and ate at Vatos Urban Tacos. It was a bit pricey and touristy, but it hit the spot!

Kimchi fries! Quite good! However,
Alicia is still fond of the the Green Spoon's
and I'd have to say bonNgrill is my favorite!
On Saturday night we walked around Hongdae eating food and drinking drinks. We topped of our night by sitting in this grassy area in Hongdae listening to music that a nearby couple was playing off speakers. It was a beautifully chill night.

On Sunday we woke up, ate toast at the hostel, and moved our way to Myeongdong. We met up with my friend's friend, ate lunch, and then shopped. (I should note that making our way to Myeongdong from Hongdae was a bit of a hike, but worth it! For future travelers of Korea, Seoul is super easy to navigate! Don't worry!) After shopping around a bit, we got back on the subway to connect to a bus to take us back to Goesan. (Also really easy to navigate outside of Seoul!)

WHEW! That was a really long post. Towards the end I started skipping over a lot because this post was getting really long. It's sorta crazy how much I did in just two days and two nights in Seoul.

It's even crazier that in just two days I'll be leaving for my home stay and a year of teaching in Gwangju! I don't know anything about my home stay, or even I definitely have one, but I'll clue you in when I know!

Until then, if you're in Minnesota, head on out to the State Fair and eat me some cheese curds. If you've just moved back on campus for fall sports (S/O Augsburg Women's Soccer), drink lots of water, get lots of rest, and enjoy the time with your teammates. If you're working a 9-5, go out and have a margarita for me!

Stay excellent, readers!

(Also if there were typos, I'm sorry. I didn't check for errors because this post is soooooo long!)


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