Being quarantined for 14 days without anything serious things to do was a real struggle because of the isolation. I was freed on Aug.24th at noon after being informed that my second PCR result was negative. Since then I have been out and exploring the nearby areas a lot. Walking 20000+ steps every day has made my legs so sore, but I really enjoyed the time before the school officially begins on Aug.30th. Here are the 4 highlights of my post-quarantine life:
#1 KOREAN FOOOOOOD
I am a big fan of Korean food (though they can be too spicy for me or not healthy enough sometimes). The food from the online ordering app Shuttle we used during quarantine was pretty good, but there are more nice places out there in the city!
The first meal I had was at a BBQ restaurant owned by Paik Jong-won, the top 1 chef in South Korea. I had another amazing BBQ at the 401 Restaurant, whose manager is HAHA and Kim Jong-kook -- both are members of the Running Man show. The tteokbokki with bulgogi and animal organs (cow intestines and stuff) were also really tasty.
Seoul is just a city with so many good restaurants and a large range of food diversity. I tried the raw beef and octopus during my last trip here in 2019, so this time my "target" is the sea worms hehehe.
#2 EXPLORING THE GREEN CAMPUS
Yonsei's Sinchon Campus is the shooting site for many K-dramas. That's because it is really beautiful and full of green. During the campus tour with our SeoulMates, we saw a lot of graduating students take pictures with their friends and family in academic dress. And as explained by the SeoulMate, the banners hanging around the main street in the campus are created by the students, where they put photos of their closest friends and designed the layout. I went to the garden three times to finally have a photo without any people in the background lol.
I checked out the Central Library and the Underground stores with another international student from Mexico. The library is very modernized in terms of having many multi-media spaces, but also quiet that no one was making any noise in the study rooms. Later I went to the gift shop and bought a hoodie with the logo "YONSEI 1885" on it.
#3 NAVIGATING SEOUL: SCAVENGER HUNT
The final orientation activity organized by CIEE was a scavenger hunt aiming to let us get familiar with the public transportation in Seoul. I was put into a group of 3 with a friend I already know and a new friend. Following the guide the CIEE advisors gave us, we first took the bus to the National Assembly Building in Gangnam, and then a different bus to the Yeouido Park to see the famous "I SEOUL YOU" landmark, and finally the subway to the World Cup Stadium.
It took us almost 4 hours to complete all 8 tasks. The temperature was kinda high that day, so all of us were pretty exhausted after we went back to the dorm at 4pm. Personally, I feel if there are also some interesting/traditional Korean games planned at each stop, that would be more interesting!
#4 A CINEMA CAFÉ IN HONGDAE
I spent the first Friday night out from quarantine alone at a cinema café in the Hongdae area. The café is Wang-Kar-wai-themed: the owner exhibited a lot of posters of the director's movies and even iconic items in the movies such as the expired pineapple cans in Chungking Express.
Although the owner could barely speak English and it was difficult to communicate with him, I still found that place a real HEAVEN for Wang's fans. I enjoyed the vanilla latte and the movie In The Mood For Love by myself but didn't feel lonely at all. Instead, it was such a great time to find some inner peace.
By the time I finished this first CIEE blog, the school has already begun for 2 days. Gonna be a pretty chill first week in terms of classes. I am really looking forward to exploring the city and even the country even more in the coming days!