For the past 10 days, I had the good fortune to be on vacation. I returned to Seoul, South Korea, for the first time since my job teaching english there ended 5 five years ago. My husband, who hadn’t been back in 10 years, has family there, so we spent time visiting his relatives and generally exploring Seoul and the surrounding areas.
On our second day in Korea, we headed to the coast and visited what we were told was a factory (and thus, perplexing us as to why it would be tourist destination), but in reality was a charming herb farm where lotions and candles are also made.
We stayed at a “pension” on the little isle of Taean on the western coast of Korea. Apparently, lots of retirees own homes in which they rent out rooms for their income, hence calling the homes “pensions.”
Eventually we made it to Seoul, which has experienced lots of growth since I saw it last, but still was very familiar. It’s a crazy, busy, energetic city, which I love. I don’t think Seoul is the most beautiful or clean city in the world, but it’s a city for which I have lots of affection.
We spent our last couple days of vacation in Tokyo, which was a first for both of us. Tokyo was immaculately clean and you can tell the people there pay tons of attention to detail where aesthetics are concerned. This applies both to the architecture, curation of shops, as well as the personal style. I could have spent days just sitting in a coffee shop and people watching. We spent time in Ginza, Shibuya, Shinjuku and Tsukiji and fell in love with the city, but not the exorbitant prices.
Now we are home and feeling jetlagged as can be and slightly sick. To combat the post-vacation blues and overall rundown feeling we both have, I made a big pot of minestrone soup and paired it with pesto bread and am now relaxing on the couch and cuddling with our dogs, who are the best part of coming home.