With my free time winding down to the end of yet another weekend, I wanted to do something with my time that was new and exciting, lest I feel that I wasted it. Time to explore is at a premium when you’re a hagwon teacher in South Korea, so you need to use the time that you aren’t teaching, lesson planning, cooking, cleaning, and sleeping to the best uses possible.
As such, I decided to explore Hoseo, a university town at the end of a dead end road in a valley just south of my town, Baebang, as some colleagues of mine had said it was quite beautiful down that way. To get there, a bus needed to be taken, which I hadn’t done in Korea yet, so I was a little bit intimidated, but not deterred 😛
To get to the bus stop I needed to wait at, though, I had to walk for about 10-15 minutes through my community, which was looking rather fine on this late spring day, as you can see from the murals in the pictures above.
After attempting to mime a conversation with a Korean ajumma (old woman) for about ten minutes, I was finally on the bus, and after getting scolded by the bus driver for unwittingly shortchanging him, I was at the end of the line, at Hoseo University. Some sort of ceremony, was ongoing that day, maybe graduation day…? The crowd seemed to be a bit thin for such a momentous occasion, though.
In search of some refreshment on this baking hot day, I opted to forego my usual Coke and get a drink that was truly Korean. Have you ever had a grape coconut drink before? Neither had I, but as weird as it was, I can happily report that it was quite enjoyable, and it quenched my thirst to boot!
After wandering around the grounds of the university for awhile, searching for mountain trailheads, and generally trying to get a feel for Korean campus life, I headed back through the townsite to see what was on offer for the kids there. As per most Korean entertainment districts, there were many restaurants, hofs (Korean pubs), and games rooms. However, it was soon time to seek out the bus again, so I could return to town to begin my preparations again for the coming week (I so don’t miss Sunday evenings now that I’m working for myself now…!)
As I have mentioned before, no arable or buildable land is wasted in Korea. There are always growing something on land that isn’t built upon, in a feverish and admirable attempt to be as food secure as possible (something that we in the West could learn from). On this plot that I happened upon on my way to the bus stop, we witness the starting point of the Korean obsession with kimchi, as rows of cabbage extend out almost as far as the eye can see.
Overall, it was a rewarding day. Even if you don’t know why exactly you’re going somewhere, exploring somewhere you haven’t been is ultimately rewarding in itself. After all, it beats just randomly surfing the internet on a gorgeous Spring afternoon, with an ever-growing dread for the coming work week building with every passing second towards bedtime!
Ever explored an area for no reason, except for the fact that it was there? Tell us all about it below!