Sunday, February 19, 2017

Take a Hike

Here is a lesson for you all, in a "Give a cat a cupcake" sort of way.  If you give an art teacher a primary lesson to teach on her so-called day of rest, she'll feel a little bitter.  If she feels a little bitter, she'll probably procrastinate actually preparing it.  If she procrastinates, she'll need something to do instead.  She might think about putting her laundry away.  If she looks in her closet, she will probably realize that she HASN'T EVEN STARTED PACKING TO GO TO SEOUL ON FRIDAY!!!*  That, of course, will make her realize she hasn't really thought too much about what she's going to do there (besides catching up with Belynda, her Dark Lord and Master, and shopping at the Dongdaemun Fabric Market).  She'll need to check out Atlas Obscura, since she lived in Seoul for three years already.  This will get her thinking about all the things she did when she lived in Seoul, that she didn't blog about because she didn't have a computer back then.  Knowing she didn't have a computer back then will make her feel lucky to have one now.  And if an art teacher feels lucky, she will probably sit down at her computer and procrastinate planning the primary lesson she's supposed to be teaching.

So a couple of weeks ago, when I, you know, had job prospects, I felt like there was a very real chance that I might be out of Asia next year.  (Now?  Who knows.)  This prompted me to crunch some numbers and decide that I should spend my last Tsagaan Sar not in Mongolia, but in Seoul, so I booked a flight for Friday.  I have waxed poetic on numerous occasions about how much I love Korea, but not actually written about most of the things I enjoyed there.  To get me in shape for the upcoming blog-a-thon, I'm writing about a few of those things this week.
Korea has some great hiking.  I was just about as lazy then as I am now, but the weather was nicer for more of the year, so I actually went on a few more hikes.  Smack dab in the middle of Seoul is a hill called Namsan, and one weekend my friend Anika and I decided we'd meet in Myeongdong and hike it.  Neither of us actually knew what the route was, but we figured if we kept heading uphill we'd get there by and by, and we did. 
It was a bright spring day, and we enjoyed the view at the top of the city.  After some cotton candy in the park around Seoul Tower, we decided to start hiking down the other side.  I loved being able to rely on chance like that when I lived there...just choosing a path and wandering along.  On this particular auspicious day, we ended up at the bottom of the hill where Noksapyeong Station sits, walking past a place called Chili Chili Taco, which stopped us in our tracks.  After our hike, we decided it was a perfect time for some food, and since neither of us had had Mexican in a long time, we stopped in and discovered their burritos, which I still consider to be one of my top five finds during all my years in Korea.
I loved this experience so much that when my mom came to visit me, right before I left Korea for the last time, I decided I would take her up Namsan.  Gracie is NOT much of a hiker, but when Anika and I hiked Namsan, I noticed the cable car, and decided it would be just fine. 

My mom did not agree with my assessment.  See, first you have to walk uphill a little ways to get to the cable car.  Then, of course, you have to ride the cable car up the hill.  Maybe this probably shows the self-centeredness of youth, but I wasn't actually aware that my mom was afraid of heights until she got panicky on the ride.  Oops.  But eventually we made it...to the exit.  Which was not, apparently, on the peak of the hill, so I heard a lot of complaining as we huffed and puffed our way up the last of the steps.  But we finally made it, and Gracie agreed that the view was very nice.

She hasn't visited me overseas since.  I wonder why...

*I've actually given more thought to the perfect wardrobe for me and Five's nerdy-nerdy Japan holiday than packing for Seoul.  It's how I roll.

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