In fall of 2016, I started the Disney College Program(DCP) at Walt DisneyWorld in Orlando, Florida. During that fall, I lived with five amazing girls: Raquel from the Boston area, Helle from Denmark, and Soyeon, Sumin, and Eunju from South Korea. Living with these girls at WDW was some of the best times of my life, and I will cherish our memories forever.
I always told these ladies that if I ever got to visit where they lived, I would go see them in their home cities/countries. This is partly the reason I chose South Korea when initially deciding to teach overseas. So I chose my first trip to Seoul to see my beautiful Korean friends, and we had so many great adventures together!
Eunju and I met Soyeon at her place in Seoul. We got to meet her family, and then the three of us walked to a brunch cafe right down the street. (Fun fact: Soyeon lives on “Cafe Street” in Seoul – I’m not kidding!) It was creatively called “The Page: Brunch & Coffee,” and it had a very chill atmosphere. I had yet another caffe latte (this has become my favorite coffee drink), and I ordered a mushroom popover for breakfast. After I explained what a popover was, Soyeon and Eunju shared a meal between the two of them – since I am vegetarian and they are not.
Once we ate (and took an ample amount of selfies), we started our journey towards the city center. We met Sumin in front of Gyeongbokgung Palace. They decided to show me around this historic site. This palace is often called the Northern Palace because of its relation to the other neighboring palaces. It is the largest, as well. I found it to be remarkably beautiful. I have always been interested in and intrigued by the history of other cultures and countries, so these are the types of things I love to see. Now, this particular palace may also be considered a common tourist attraction because of its location; but its “tourism” aspect is of no interest to me. I just love the history and beauty in it, especially since this kind of history is beyond anything that the USA has to offer. I mean, our country isn’t even 300 years old yet. I took A LOT of pictures here.
Near the palace is a National History museum. We didn’t get to go inside ad explore because there was a special event happening. But we did get to see some special performances!
Leaving the palace, we walked across the street to Gwanghwamun Square, a major community park in Seoul. This weekend just happened to be the memorial weekend for the Sewol ferry disaster that happened on April 16, 2014. Because of this, there were many festivities and memorials set up around the square. To sum it up, the Sewol ferry was en route to Jeju from school, carrying 476 passengers. The ship took a sharp turn and began to sink. Instead of warning the passengers to abandon the ship, the captain advised them to remain calm and stay where they were while he and other crew members fled. 304 people died that day; 250 of them were high school students on a school trip. This is considered the deadliest ferry disaster in South Korea and one of the worst tragedies in Korean history.
At this time, we were all a little hungry – Sumin hadn’t eaten all day. So we took a stroll to a shopping area nearby, hoping to find some restaurants. We found a pizza place that looked good and had options for all of us – veggie lovers and carnivores alike – but it was a small place and did not have enough chairs for the four of us. So we decided to walk a bit more. We took an escalator to the third floor above H&M and found a few more food options with a lot more seating. It was called Power Plant Beer Brunch & Bar, and it was actually a pretty cool place. The coolest part was the walkway from the front to the seating area in back. These walls were made from beer bottles with different colored lights. It was uniquely beautiful.
There were several restaurants with a bar in the middle and a seating area in back. The idea was you went to the restaurant you want to get your food, and then you take it to your seat to eat. Eunju, Soyeon, and I got pizza, while Sumin got a burger. I had the Mascarpone pizza – mascarpone, mozzarella, and pesto sauce – and a Goose IPA from the bar. It was absolutely delicious, and we all enjoyed it! After our late lunch, it was time to go back to Soyeon’s place to grab my stuff – but not before taking a few selfies!
I had so much fun seeing these beautiful girls in their amazing country, and I cannot wait for more adventures with them in the future! Have you ever gotten to experience the Disney College Program? Did you make lifelong friends in the process, and have you seen them since? I would love to know your stories!