New Chapter

About 8 months ago, I made a decision that took my life to a (kinda) new direction.  I quit my job (which was one of the bittersweet things that I did by the way), left Seattle, moved back home to Jakarta, spent some time with family & relatives, reconnecting with old friends, and traveled to a couple South East Asian countries. Having living in the States for a good amount of years, back to living in Asia certainly feels very different and definitely took some time to adjust to. Although I miss the comfort that I have when I was living in the States, I do enjoyed being home with all its imperfections — the hot humid weather, the horrible traffic, and super slow internet connection to name a few.

I spent my first part of the year basically doing a great deal of packing and unpacking — for my move and for my travels. My daily routine significantly changed and it's a good change. It's kinda nice having a break from the usual routine, really. Also, I got to see a different side of my family and friends that I haven't seen for a while and also a different part of the world when I was traveling.

Time really does changes everything. People grew, changed, and matured (some special cases, they don't :p ). They started a family, having kids, built their own business, changed careers, relationships broken...and mended, engagements, weddings, graduations, mistakes made, successes achieved, etc and it was very interesting to listened to their stories. Despite of all the changes, meeting some of them felt like we've never been apart. We just picked up where we left off. Almost like we just went away to different places for a long weekend and came back on Monday and shared our stories :)

And now, after having spent half a year back home, I moved (again) to Seoul, South Korea. It's been around two months since I got here and I have to say I'm have a great time so far. Seoul is definitely a charming city. Living in a country that I can't speak the local language is a first for me and I have to say I'm getting better and better at 'playing Charades' with other people around me who doesn't speaks English (combined with my limited Korean knowledge). 

With that said, I'll try to catch up on posts about my travels as well as the daily living here in Seoul. I'll probably alternate between posts, depending on how it goes. We'll see. For now, I'm going to end my random thoughts here. 

6 Days in South Korea

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’m back from South Korea. Life feels a little mundane here in Seattle compared to the 6 days I spent in South Korea. It was too short of a trip, but it was a sweet short trip that I think I needed, a nice change of pace from my ordinary daily routine.

During those 6 days, I was blessed with good companies, good food, and lots of laughter. I believe having a good company(ies) on a trip is a crucial factor in making or breaking your travel experience. In this case, I’m lucky enough to get to travel with my sister and a couple of my close friends who are pretty laid back and have similar interests, activities and places that we want to do or visit. It really made planning and travelling so much easier and less stressful.

We went to a good number of places (considering our short stay), ate various local Korean foods, shopping in different districts of Seoul, and got lost a couple of times. But hey, what is travel without getting a little lost right? I think that’s the charm of exploring a new city :)

Finding good food is hardly a problem in Seoul. Food stalls and restaurants that open ’til late are everywhere. Everything that we ate taste pretty much delicious to me. They have a good range of selections of dishes. The only thing is, most of the menu is in Korean, so knowing how to read Hangul comes a little handy in this kind of situations. One thing I love about South Korea’s sweet food is that they are not overtly sweet. It’s just the right amount not to make you feel that you just ate a spoonful of sugar like most American sweet foods are.

During my stay, I did things that I haven’t done for a long time. Take walking everywhere around the city and taking subways for example. I once reminded once again that there are so much more to see when you slow down in life. Even though everything is pretty much fast paced in Seoul, walking is still slower than driving around the city, which is what I pretty much do everyday here in Seattle. I saw so many interesting and intriguing things around me and become more aware of my surroundings. It almost feels like all my senses are woken up from a deep sleep. That week could well be the most I walk on foot in the past 2 years :p

Anyways, I’m going to start posting my travel stories from my South Korea trip in the next couple of days. Since there were quite a bit that we did and saw, I’m going to break it down into a couple of different posts. Plus, it’ll give me time to sort through my images too (there LOTS of pictures from my camera that I need to go through still).

South Korea is a place that I definitely want to go back to. I think most of us have ‘Korea Withdrawal’ after we got back from Seoul. There are still plenty too see and do in Seoul and outside Seoul. I feel like I just crossed out one item from my bucket list but then adding another one :)

Backpacking through Europe

At happy hour today, my co-worker and I were discussing about traveling and the Europe backpacking topic came out. Taking a gap year after high school before college seems to be more common in the Western culture compared to the Asian culture. I, unfortunately, didn’t have the opportunity to experience that. Although living abroad in different places since I finished my 8th grade probably gave me a somewhat similar experience, only minus the 24-hour travel time. Instead, I probably did 80% of studying and 20% of traveling. But I guess it gave me more time to experience the culture more in-depth compared to a short couple-of-days visit to a new city.

Nevertheless, thanks to all the people out there who are willing enough to share their adventure with the rest of the world online, my interest about travels seems to have grown these past couple of months. Reading and watching the things people posted online about their travel experience seem really fascinating to me. It also made me feel like I haven’t seen or experienced anything close to what they went through in their journeys.

In terms of traveling abroad, I feel a little envious to those who are an American passport holder. American passport holders don’t have to deal with the fuss of applying for visas when they want to visit other countries. You know those scenes that you see in the movies where the character spontaneously bought a ticket to fly somewhere overseas in the next couple hours? I don’t think those scenes would ever happened to, say, an Indonesian passport holder like me since there’s no way we would be able to get visas in less than 24-hours. Or I guess it’s possible if you have applied for a bunch of other countries’ visas in advanced—just in case something like this happens. Just saying :P

Traveling to Europe is something that I’ve had on my bucket list for a while now and hopefully, sometimes soon, I’ll be able to visit all the places and see all the paintings and architectures that I’ve read about when I was in college. One of these days. One of these days.