Transitions commence new adventures. Make 'em last…
The majority of the 4-day Korean New Year weekend was spent in Namyangju at Michelle’s parents house. Things were relatively relaxed as Michelle and I were just simply ‘house bums’ for a few days eating a ton of food her family and I cooked up, which isn’t necessarily the way I normally do things, but it was nice to chill and chow down for a bit. Then some distant family members arrived very early in the morning on Korean New Year in order to commemorate the new year by giving thanks to ancestors with a quick and casual ceremony, far more casual than what I had witnessed near my school in the countryside. I was assigned to help with serving, cleaning, preparing food, and washing, which is not at all common for men to do in Korean culture, but as I’m not Korean and I honestly find it a bit disrespectful to recline on the sofa while all the women slave away, I helped out with love and pleasure. Michelle’s uncle was a bit shocked at first, but soon became very appreciative.
Relaxing and being rather confined to the house for a few days, I noticed I was getting rather antsy and desired to get out of Namyangju in order to go somewhere and wander. The Korean New Year with distant family and later going hiking with Michelle’s parents fatigued me a little and I was ready to head into the distant countryside, Seoul, or simply head home to rest. When it came time to leave, Michelle’s parents accompanied us to Maseok Station, and right before Michelle and I were about to walk away to soon board a metro for Seoul, her dad prompted that we join them on a day-trip to Chuncheon. I was tired and ready to go home, but his whimsical proposition jump-started my heart. Michelle and I quickly concurred that we should join them and on to Chuncheon we went.
With no exact plan in mind, I suggested that we first visit “Chosen Coffee,” which was an eclectic, old-fashioned coffeeshop that Michelle and I had visited during our first trip to Chuncheon last summer. Michelle’s parents craved hot licorice-flavored tea with egg, something of which I had never heard of, and when we arrived they were quite pleased that this coffeeshop had such a drink available.
I was immediately filled with joy upon entering this coffeeshop amid beginning to snap photos. I felt the need to do something random and creative, and what was once frustration and fatigue became relief and joy. Michelle’s mother even commented on how my dejected countenance had quickly changed. I’ve discovered throughout my life that art, travel, and pure randomness are intrinsic axioms of my heart that need to be synchronized often. When I find that I have not tapped into this part of me for awhile, it begins takes a toll on my heart and regularly pulls on my conscience until I’m able to render a random outing or adventure. A short trip to Chuncheon gave me relief and was just what I needed.
The weather was not in our favor, and after relaxing in the coffeeshop we took a stroll to “Chuncheon’s Myeong-dong” and quickly ascertained that almost everything was closed because of Korean New Year. From here we went to a locally-famous Chuncheon Dakgalbi restaurant and had our fill of some of the best dakgalbi; it was scrumptious.
Amid our late lunch the icy rain had significantly worsened. With several more hours to kill before we’d head back to Seoul, we dug through the internet in attempt to discover something new to do that was feasible and perhaps open. Well, there were not many options. However, just about when we were to leave the restaurant, Michelle’s mom found an Italian themed hotel/resort up one of the nearby mountains that served real Italian-style ice cream, along with providing picturesque views of Chuncheon city. The views would not be salient because of the heavy rain, but italian ice cream sounded great, so I was totally game. On to Santorini we went.
Santorini made me reminisce of my time in Spain and Europe. I missed Europe a little while eating Italian-style ice cream, but I was immediately filled with joy sitting next to the most wonderful girl in the world, Michelle, and her awesome parents, whom I look forward to get to know more and more. We had a pleasant time relaxing at Santorini and we entertained ourselves roaming around the grounds and taking fun and interesting photos. The ice cream was also quite fantastic and totally worth the trip.
By the time we left for Seoul, I was exhausted. Michelle fell asleep on the train with her hand in mine and I made sure not to let go.