After an exhausting week, the 12-13 Scholars have left Seoul. In typical Luce style, the week combined access to extremely successful speakers and impressive locations/facilities with a lot of hanging out. On Thursday afternoon, after language, I met the scholars at their hotel to walk to the Blue House, where we met with Kim Hyoung-zhin, Secretary to the President for Foreign Affairs. We capped off the evening with dinner at Ding Tai Feng, the pick of the China scholars (and Ling). Delicious - so many soup dumplings.
Thursday night started off at Dongdaemun market, where my bilingual friends drove hard bargains and I smiled and nodded. Then, food: one of the top 10 hamburgers I've had. Bulgogi, mayo, chipotle, etc... Followed of course by karaoke, where I channeled my inner old man and sang "old white people music" as Christine put it.
(everyone needs a nap now and then)
Friday, Jess and I were both up early to head to the Young Professionals Roundtable at Yonsei Luce Chapel. There, from a panel of mostly women, we heard about the challenges and opportunities of Korean professional life. Afterwards, we trekked to the restaurant on Yonsei campus, followed for me by a much needed nap. Friday night was another big night - I travelled by bus with the Luce crew to Samcheonggak, this beautiful resort/restaurant up in the mountains nearby. It was an experience I'm very glad I had, being part of such a sentimental and reflective night so early in my Luce year.
From there, we went to a makgeolli bar in Hongdae, with Daisy leading the charge. Then more karaoke.
Saturday morning, I was up at the crack of dawn to meet Phil, Jess, and Christine for the Boryeong mud festival, a messy, wild mud extravaganza. Put on by a cosmetics company that uses said mud in their products, the whole thing turns into tourist heaven (although a lot of Koreans still go as well). Actually, the dominant presence in terms of size and noise were American military... After surviving the 3 hour bus ride, we packed everything important away in a locker and got full-body painted with colored mud, cause, why not. Next stop? Water cannon + beach dance party. In a desperate attempt to scrub off the mud before heading home, we all went in the ocean, which is warm, very salty, and actually one of my favorite beaches so far, possibly cause the mud finally came off! Except for Jess, who had a very awkward trip home by subway from the bus station with red face, orange hair, and yellow ears.
On Sunday, I showed Ling and James my place and we walked to SNU. Then, we cabbed to Gwanghwamun and met Andrew and his friend for coffee. Plan was, after going home to nap, I'd meet the scholars. I napped for 12 hours... Time to start the next week!