Forgive my late update, i have been away.
I was fortunate enough to join my mom in her recent trip to Korea, where she presented a paper at a conference. While the opening ceremony was held in downtown Seoul, we were hosted in a lovely teaching facility in Gwacheon City in the Gyeonggi-do Province, an hour’s ride from the capital city. It was great to see the contrasts between the city and its nearby suburbs. The conference itself was an event to see and experience, as many leaders and public officers from different countries came together to talk, discuss and learn from each other throughout the week.
While i enjoyed checking out the sessions, i was also fortunate enough to check out the various places in and nearby Seoul. We were able to view the famous landmarks of Korea (like the N. Tower), try out authentic Korean food, and even had the chance to watch some of their traditional dances/acts! We also had a chance to explore Seoul on our own, walking through the busy streets of Namdaemun market and Myeondong.
Korea is an amazing place. It’s a dynamic synergy of modern progress, rich traditions and an ever-changing landscape. Its downtown feel is pulsing with energy, as the city never seemed to sleep! The streets were constantly filled with activity and things to look at. From street food to korean fashion, music mavens to k-pop fandom, it is a constant assault to your sense, perking you to sit up and listen, look around and observe. I had an awesome time watching the activity through a tourist’s perspective.
Like many Asian countries, Korea is unique in its culture, tradition and lifestyle. It was hardly a surprise to me that like its neighbor Japan, Korea has progressed quite quickly in its technology — the city was a testament to that! Its bustling streets, wifi-accessible spaces and dazzling lights bear witness to the active and dynamic culture it holds. Yet alongside it is the amazing hold of the Koreans with their traditions, all uniquely aligned and melded together with the modernity of their present.
Our amazing hosts proved to us that in spite of the language challenge, generous hospitality and kindness can speak volumes. They took very good care of us, from providing our every need to organizing the event to the last detail with precision and dedication. I am truly thankful and grateful for their sincere helpfulness and generosity — throughout the conference they have been a constant help, and were very nice to us. Each detail was paid attention to and every one was alert.
I truly was amazed on how they managed to turn around their economy and growth as a country in such short a span. Perhaps it is their national pride that gives them strength to move forward as progressively as they have. Their obvious pride when talking about their products (most people use a Korean product, be it a cellphone, tv or a car) as well as their country only reinforces that theory. I can only wish that we too would have that instilled in us. Perhaps that would be our cue and motivation to work hard and excel as well!
As we were sitting at the airport waiting for our flight, my mom and i agreed — it was too short a time to explore Korea! Perhaps there will be a next time 🙂 It was indeed an exhilarating and eye-opening experience!