That Time We Went Back to South Korea After 5 Years!

Cute Korea
Cute Korea

As many people know, Justin and I originally met in South Korea. I talked about this in my short post on our anniversary. We lived in Korea twice and we have always thought of it as our second home (probably should be third home at least by now). Last September (yes, 2013!) we had the chance to return to South Korea for the first time since 2008. Justin was going for work so I decided to fly out to Seoul on the Friday night and join him for the weekend.

Even though we left 5 years previously, we still had friends living in Korea. Friends who have been there forever or friends who had recently returned for various reasons. Many of whom we’d seen since when they visited us in London. We were excited about returning, but also a little apprehensive. Would the trip live up to our expectations and memories?

We needn’t have worried. It was the perfect  Seoul weekend. In fact, I wrote to my friends on Facebook something along the lines of Seoul being even more amazing, cool, modern, cute (and expensive) than I remember. Whilst prices had noticeably risen, so had the amount of amazing cafes and shops!

Namdaemun gate- It was actually attacked my arson when we lived there in 2008. Now restored.
Namdaemun gate- It was actually attacked my arson when we lived there in 2008. Now restored.

I flew in on Friday evening after work. It was just a 1.5 hour flight from Beijing (2 hours on the return journey). Justin and I had a fun time re-exploring little streets, eating our favourite food  (bi bim bap) and seeing how much Korean we could remember (not that much for me)! On Saturday we woke up early (I also found I had an amazing blood shot, itchy eye that lasted the whole weekend. Beautiful! Thanks after work plane flight!) and headed down to an area close to Insadong that we used to call ‘waffle district’ (Don’t ask me the real name of the street as I can’t remember, unfortunately.). Waffle district was no more but it was now ‘coffee district’. Home to a fantastic collection of cafes ranging from super cute to uber cool. One place actually charged about $15 for a coffee!

After taking in the (not $15!) coffee and the atmosphere, we headed over to our old haunt Hongdae to meet two of our friends. We caught up, shopped (thank you old favourite The Body Shop although, seriously, how expensive are you now?) and ate noodles. It was soon time to meet another friend. The location of our rendezvous: Hongdae park- the place we drank soju on my very first and very last (until now) nights in Seoul.

Justin and I with three of our friends we met years ago in Korea. We are still good friends with many people we met back then.
Justin and I with three of the friends we met years ago in Korea. We are still  friends with many people we met back then.

After a few drinks and a catch up we all parted ways to get ready for the evening. The evening could not have been a better ‘Korea night’. After meeting up again and being joined by more old friends we ate (Ok, we ate Mexican not Korean, but whatever..) then headed for a few drinks. Later it was onto Club FF, where we’d enjoyed many a night out years ago. This time we finally got to see our friend Patrick’s band play. It was slightly strange seeing signs up warning the US military that the club owners would call the military police if they caused any trouble (this area seemed a bit more wholesome back in my day..:-)..) but otherwise, plenty of fun! Later, it was off to a norae bang (which translates as singing room- a private karaoke room) where we sang our hearts out until the small hours!

It was everything I hoped for from a quick weekend (which was really only one full day) in my old home of Korea. I can’t wait to visit again (which will be happening in just a few weeks, actually!).

Other than the photos above (and some photos that a Korean girl I have never met before took) there are almost no pictures from this weekend. We were all too busy having fun! So as a special treat, here are are a couple of photos of old school Justin and Joella when we lived in Korea. Such baby faces 🙂

Hongdae Park 007
The night before we left Korea in 2008
Bukhansan (April 08) 011
Throwback to when we lived there and would hike all the mountains
Seoul- palace
One of the last weekends we lived in Korea in 2008

Have you ever been back to a town or country you used to live in years ago? What did it feel like?

4 thoughts on “That Time We Went Back to South Korea After 5 Years!

  1. I actually used to visit Berlin quite regularly when I was living in Milan and loved it every time. Then, I moved back and it felt weird… Things weren’t quite the same and I expected them to so it was a shock! Things had naturally moved on when I had last lives there and I had to get used to a new life instead of falling into an old one. Does that make sense?

    Enjoyed reading about your weekend 🙂

  2. I would kill for a real bi bim bap! Take pics for me please when you visit again. 😉 Sounds like a super fun weekend, and I loved the old school pictures! I’m also really looking forward to your Bali posts!!

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