338. Around Busan with a Kickass Soulmate.

I recently got sucked into the rabbit hole by the ridiculous (and I say that with a lot of affection) Korean drama that swept the region by storm. For someone who doesn’t like to watch tv series because the commitment is too much to deal with, I’d say I finally found one worthy of my attention. (Well, at least there’s development in that department.) Prior to this, I have chosen to be blissfully unaware of Korean pop culture.

Therefore, safe to say my trip to South Korea was driven not by any desire to walk in the footsteps of pop culture but by a need to be reunited with my soulmate who’s travelled halfway across the globe to teach in Busan.

IMG_1344-0See, Allison and I go way back.

We stayed across each other in hall while doing our exchange semester in Manchester. She was there when I broke up with my ex and witnessed all the drama. We did crazy stuff like dangle on the edge of a cliff together (and a whole bunch of other things that shall forever be kept within the walls of our friendship).

She’s my first ever travel buddy (we did Oxford, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Barcelona and Ireland together, to name a few) and we’re still friends and not tearing each other apart, so I guess you can say we’re pretty much soulmates. 😛

It made a whole lot of sense for us to be reunited when she took a leap of faith and moved to Busan from Missouri. That was how I found myself in Korea in early spring, late summer last year.

I went with no expectations nor inkling of Korean culture sans a couple of minor readings pre-trip. I was prepared to be pleasantly surprised.

The trip spanned from Seoul – Jeju – Busan, of which I’ve written some stuff on my time in Seoul. (I know I’ve been terrible in updating the blog trips-wise, but I’m working on it!). I’ll get back to my time in Jeju soon enough, but today, today I’d like to dedicate this to my time in Busan.

IMG_1350-0Needless to say, Busan was a pleasant surprise.

We explored Busan’s very own Santorini – the Gamcheon Cultural Village.

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I was just appreciating the opportunity to be reunited with Allison and discovering a new place together. IMG_1414-2 IMG_1434-1 IMG_1423-1 IMG_1431-1 IMG_1409-1

And goofing around, cos Allison is cool like that. IMG_1415-1 Being the second largest city in South Korea after Seoul, and the country’s largest port city, seafood was abundant and I had a great time eating!

IMG_1358-0 IMG_1356-0 IMG_1363-0 IMG_1364-0 IMG_1361-0 IMG_1365-0 IMG_1366-0One of the highlights has got to be visiting Jagalchi Market together with Allison, and being completely enamoured and amused by the variety of sea creatures!

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On my last night in Busan – which happened to be the 2nd night of Ramadhan and first day for breaking of fast – we even came back to eat eels, which I’ve got to say, was an experience in itself.

11406495_10152977201862081_752738585748523127_nYup, 10 minutes before our meal, the eels were still alive and wriggling on the hotplate. We had no idea what to do, and was clearly clueless, before one of the wait staff came to our table, wrapped the aluminium foil, hit it a couple of times, and increased the fire.

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Allison’s teaching English in an elementary school for EPIK (English Programme in Korea) so I took the opportunity to visit her school – because hey, educators unite. Plus I really do like to see how schools are like all over the world!

IMG_1711 IMG_1718 IMG_1719Yup, teachers guide – everyone uses them. 😛
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She not only introduced me to her school, but also her friends, and more importantly, bingsu. 😛

Now everytime I eat bingsu, I am affectionately reminded of a cold night in Busan and awesome conversations with people who are crazy enough to take a leap of faith out of their comfort zones.

I went to Busan Al-Fatah mosque for taraweeh prayers, and being the beautiful soul that she is, Allison came along to experience the Ramadhan night prayers with me as well. 

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Being away for Ramadhan was an experience I actively sought last year, and it’s something I’ll share in due time!

Two weeks ago, my school had our English Fortnight week and we decided to try to have Skype sessions for our students for the first time. The whole idea was to open students’ worldview and to allow them the chance to speak English with other people outside of Singapore. Naturally, the first person I wanted to introduce my students to was Allison.
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When asked what words of wisdom she had for my students at the end of our Skype session, Allison said, “Travel and experience cultures. There might be things you don’t like but it’s okay. There will be things you’d like. Go, travel and experience the world.” My heart was beaming so bright. Such a beautiful example for my kids. They were especially amazed by the fact that she travelled halfway around the world to start a new life.

No question that this lady is my soulmate. Thank you for going along with my crazy ideas! Thank you for choosing love. Thank you for being you. Still one of the greatest things to have happened to me.

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I love you, babe. Come to Singapore soon!

Warm Love,

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