I've spent the better part of this month saying and preparing to say goodbye to many friends. My final year as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant is coming to an end in just one month, and although I won't be leaving Korea, there are many friends who are.
So, in the midst of the goodbye parties and Fulbright cohort commemorative group photos, it was nice to spend part of my weekend saying hello to a good friend from university who I haven't seen in quite a while. Sophie was back in Korea for the summer, so we met up in Seoul to walk around Gyeongbukgung and try some fancy food in Apgujung, including a scrumptious banana cream filled brownie.
We met up Saturday morning and drove to the mountains near Jeonju where we had an excellent bibimbap lunch, and went hiking to a nice temple. Bibimbap is a Korean dish of rice, vegetables, egg, and sometimes meat mixed together. Each region has different special variants on the dish, and Jeonju is especially known for their bibimbap. We also had makeoli (Korean rice wine), pajeon (vegetables and seafood that are combined in a pancake-like batter and fried), and an almond jelly salad. We ate our bibimbap on an outside patio with a view of the mountain; a great atmosphere for eating bibimbap!
After our lunch, we went on our hike, enjoying the scenery along the way. At the top of the trail, we came to a temple and we toured the grounds before going back down the mountain and driving to the home of one our members. There, us ladies prepared the table and vegetables for our samgyeopsal dinner, while the gents cooked the meat. We ate outside again, and, because it was now summer, had to also burn a few bug repellents to keep mosquitoes at bay (although several of us still ended up with a few bites, myself included).
After eating, we spent the rest of the evening doing what we do best - swing dancing and enjoying each others' company. We had a grand old time, and stayed up far too late.
The following morning, we cleaned up after ourselves, took a couple group pictures outside, and drove our tired selves back to Cheongju.
After completing my undergraduate studies, I accepted a chance to teach in Korea through the Fulbright Scholarship. Originally intending to stay just one year, it soon turned into three. I taught in Cheongju as an ETA from 2012 - 2015.