Winter in Korea! – Part 2

The second part of my journey took place in Cheonan, about two hours away from Seoul. In the summer I traveled alone, but this time I was with my whole family. Also, we took the subway instead of the express train, which cost us an extra hour (but was fun in its own way). It’s not often that the whole family on my dad’s side has the opportunity to get together, so this three-day trip was a special time for me.

The trip from Seoul to Cheonan was absolutely exhausting with all the waiting, walking, and standing in the train – and the freezing weather didn’t help. After the painstakingly long train ride, we tried to catch the bus to my grandma’s house only to find out that the buses that stop at the station were going the opposite way D: Eventually my aunt came to pick us up, and I could finally take some rest on the heated carseat, which felt like heaven at the time.

When we arrived, a feast was waiting for us – octopus, battered oysters, steamed pork (with all the fatty parts, mmm), water kimchi, vegetables and dip, and all sorts of side dishes that just filled me up right away.

My trips to Cheonan tend to consist of meals – not kidding. Our conversations usually go something like this: “So what do you want to eat for lunch?” “What do you want to eat for dinner?” “Do you want some more?” “Let’s get some dessert.” For a person like me who likes to enjoy a good, satisfying meal but can only keep up with doing that once a day – my family’s never-ending food trips are sometimes a bit overwhelming. Especially my grandmother…she is so preoccupied with keeping all of us full to the top of our throats. Hahaha. The only problem is that ALL THE FOOD WE EAT IS SO GOOD. If anyone wants to gain ten pounds in three days, you should all come to Cheonan with me next time.

Our lunch the next day was at a tofu house. We ordered what is called a “Bossam” – which is a dish where you wrap steamed pork, different vegetables, and some rice in a piece of lettuce (or cabbage). This restaurant offered their own version of bossam, which also included oysters and tofu.

Afterwards, we all drove to an area called Mediterranean Village, where the buildings are a reconstruction of Greek architecture. I can’t say much about the actual scenery, since the area was newly developed and a lot of cars were also parked around the place. I think this kind of killed the whole Mediterranean theme, but I appreciated the effort!

For dessert, we walked into a cafe called Zoo Coffee, where stuffed animals are placed throughout the entire cafΓ©. The coffee was way too expensive in my opinion, but their shaved ice was good πŸ™‚

Cheesing hard with my new friend Elephant!

Mango shaved ice and Green tea shaved ice

Of course, an arrangement for dinner was made, but I had not gotten a chance to walk or exercise at all – and this made me feel super guilty! Luckily, I got to go over to my aunt’s house and walk for a good half hour on her treadmill while watching Gravity (the movie).

I also got to play with her cats. The only one out of the three cats that would approach me was her new kitten Sarang! His name means ‘love’ in Korean, and since he was abandoned as a baby before he got adopted by my aunt, I think he really does deserve plenty of love.

He just fell asleep right on my lap! (Squealing and dying of cuteness inside)

This is what eventually happened.

After a good two or three hours of hanging out with the kittens, we headed out again to meet everyone for dinner. My grandma ordered red bean porridge, my cousin ordered seafood noodle soup, and the rest of us ordered sesame soup. All the food was delicious! One thing I notice though, was that a lot of Korean food has a soup or stew base, so if you don’t watch your diet, you might be taking in a lot of sodium.

These are the dumplings we ordered as a starter dish! They were perfect for my taste. I like dumplings that have a thin skin and a lot of vegetables in them because I find that they have much more flavor within than a dumpling with just pork or some other meat.

After dinner, we lounged around at the mall until the mall was about to close…I had to pinch myself not to be tempted by all the shoes that were on sale! I honestly have no idea how I’m going to pack all the stuff I’ve bought/received as a gift back into my two suitcases.

Anyway, that was the second part of my stay in Korea so far! I can’t believe that it’s already 2015 and four days of January have ALREADY PASSED. My mom and my sister are leaving Korea in a few days, so after they go back to Shanghai, it’ll just be my dad and me. I’ve still got a good two weeks left here! πŸ™‚

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