October 10, 2014. It was my flight to The Land of the Morning Calm. I booked the plane ticket last February. So, imagine my excitement when after eight months the dream of coming back to Korea has finally become a reality.
Note: This is going to be a very detailed story because I don't want to forget every moment of it. So please bear with me.
My flight was at 3:25pm and I left at 9am from my apartment. It was supposed to be a 2-hour bus ride but it was already 11:30 am and I am still stuck in traffic in Magallanes. At 12noon, I got off the bus and rode a taxi. The driver asked for a freakin' 400 pesos! It's way expensive but I had no choice. I needed to get to the airport as soon as possible. I'm really not comfortable riding taxis in Manila alone because of all the crimes that are happening there so I'm just thankful the driver was a good man. He told me so many stories about his life, so yeah, I got an expensive but safe ride plus a free story-telling session. Hmm not bad.
I arrived at the airport at 12:30pm and my friend was already there. We, then, paid the terminal fee (freakin' 1,620 pesos terminal fee...only in the Philippines) then check in at Cebu Pacific. One of my biggest concerns at that time was the immigration but good thing, all went well passing through it. Finally, both of us were ready to board. We had our lunch first and then, I bought some pasalubong for my professor and labmates (dried mangoes, choco-coated pulvoron, regular pulvoron, and tamarind candies).
The flight was delayed and it was almost 5 when the plane took off. We arrived at the Incheon International Airport around 9:30pm, went through the Korean immigration (they take your photo and thumb marks). We also had our money converted into Korean Won. I still had my Korean Won when I was a grad student so I only had to change my US Dollars. Went to 10C terminal for the buses going to Dongdaegu (ticket costs W35,000). We traveled another 4 hours and arrived in Daegu at 2:30am. Took the taxi (W22,000) to Ate Alice's place. When we arrived at 3:30 in the morning, she let us ate 불고기 which she cooked. Wow, my first morning in Korea was spent eating 불고기! Definitely, so Korean!
After a few hours of sleep, we prep up. Breakfast courtesy of Ate Alice! Then, we headed to the subway station with Soonim as our guide. After like 5 or 6 stations, I realized I forgot my pasalubong so we went back again to Ate Alice's house, took the subway again, then realized that instead of getting off at KNU, it was KNU medical campus. Huhu! We just got off at Banwoldang station and took the taxi going to KNU. We arrived at 12noon and I went directly into the laboratory. My professor wasn't there, only the MS student. So yeah, had to take a picture with him.
After that, my friend and I explored the campus. One thing that I can say about KNU grounds is that it's beautiful! Just strolling around leaves me feeling relaxed and stress free. Here you can see the trees changing it's colors to yellow. Such a lovely sight!
A group of students came to us and asked if it's okay to have an interview. Interview? It doesn't happen often so, of course, I said yes! They asked me about the things I am thankful for everyday. My answer revolves around these: the gift of life, family, and friends.
How about you? What are you thankful for everyday?
More KR travel posts to come! =)