Manli’s Visit to South Korea

11 Oct

My wonderful friend, Manli, came to visit me for a week recently. It was very touching that someone cared so much to travel such a long way (her flight was something ridiculous like 30 hours counting the stopover in Abu Dhabi). Quite a few of mine and Lawson’s friends or family have said they would come but I never expected anyone to actually come. I don’t think I really believed she was coming until I actually saw her. And later I even had to squeeze her arm to make extra sure she was physically here, in South Korea. It was crazy but fantastic.

It was so surreal because after living in Korea for 5 months nearly I have definitely compartmentalised two very separate places, cultures, people; two separate me’s even? I’m only realising the most latter as I type it and so I’m still in doubt about it. Here, I’m uncomfortable and uneasy but back home, or at least how I have it in my mind, I was much more relaxed and confident. I was someone else entirely. I don’t know that I even like the ‘Me in Korea’. I feel socially awkward, unadventurous and less independent. So having her here was like having a bit of home. It was great to be the uncensored me with an old friend again.

Not only did she bring her lovely self but she also brought lots of lovely goodies too! Cadbury’s chocolate, green and blacks chocolate, Fry’s chocolate creams, some Whisper Gold’s for Lawson, Mcvities Jaffa Cakes, Mcvities milk and dark chocolate HobNobs,  some Marks and Spencer’s knickers courtesy of my grandma, a lovely bikini bought by another close friend from home and some Pataks curry paste and lime pickle. The latter I was especially grateful for. The Indian restaurants here are not bad but they really don’t touch what Pataks can offer in a jar. Normally I don’t rate food that isn’t made from scratch and I had all the means and ability to make my own curry from scratch when I was at home and did many times but nothing touches these babies. I mean it. I bloody love the stuff! I can eat it straight it’s so good.

Unfortunately, seven days was a very short time. I tried my best to show her the best of Korea; we spent time in Seoul, on Jeju-do Island, we went to a Noraebong, and had Korean BBQ but I felt she only got a glimpse of what Korea has to offer. It’s strange me saying this because I’ve been so homesick at times I forget that Korea is actually pretty good. Maybe having her here has made me appreciate Korea more, see it from a fresh perspective because I do tend to focus on what it doesn’t have, (my friends and family), rather than what it does.

So with this new found appreciation for Korea, (and a burning desire to go back to Jeju-do at some point), maybe as I reach the half-way point in my Korean 12 month’s contract I can start to enjoy it more. In the next few weeks I and Lawson are hoping to see more of the Korean countryside whilst the weather is good, before it gets too cold, and while the leaves are changing colour. We are starting this Saturday with a trip to Songnisan National Park so I’ll let you know how it goes.

P.S I’ll be posting plenty of pics from her trip soon too.


2 Responses to “Manli’s Visit to South Korea”

  1. Helene Lawson October 11, 2012 at 10:57 am #

    Glad you enjoyed your friend’s visit. Mark and I would love to visit, but Jonathan didn’t seem too enthusiastic as he said you would be at work. Also from what I’ve read September or March is the best time to visit as summer is hot and humid and winter bitterly cold. Mark was looking at fares and was keen to visit, but he said Jonathan said the weather would be too bad. It does take a while to settle into a new place and culture and I am sure you will enjoy the second part of your stay. We would love to see you as we miss you both and if there is any possibility you must let us know. I think it would be good to experience a different culture. Make the most of it while you can and see as much as you can, time is flying by. Please tell Jonathan to keep in touch

    • licensetoroam October 12, 2012 at 11:54 am #

      Hi! I’ve sent you an email rather than replying in full on here. x

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