Like any good citizen would do in a city they’ve lived in, I attempted to take the bus today. Sounds pretty safe, right? Not too adventurous or risky. But wait, you don’t know me. One of the highlights of my life is that nothing can ever be simple, and today, taking the bus was not. I went through a series of realizations today on this adventure, and lucky for you I decided to document them on my little sticky notes.
First, I felt a certain sense of pride that I walked up to the busy bus stop, attempted to read (or at least falsely comprehend) a bus map that was written in hangul. I was able to recognize the subway lines that were written in English with the number line they were associated with. I saw Gwangnaru and called a friend to check and see if it was close to Gwanghamun, she seemed fairly confident that it was, so I hopped on! Taking a window seat that magically had the perfect combination of sunlight coming through and strong air-conditioning blowing down on me, I reflected on the ability to see so many more parts of the city I wouldn’t have had I not ventured off the subway. Thought: bus- a very peaceful way to travel on a Sunday. Felt slower paced somehow. Five stops down I noted a huge market (later on a map I believe I identified it as Seoul Folk Flea Market) which brought back a memory of walking into the market in St Louis, nearly 5 years ago. Another note on my handy dandy sticky note was anticipating find out how many more markets I can explore around the world.
Now, let me note that the plan (and reason for my sticky note) was to tally the number of stops- my end destination was 13 stops away, and knowing how distracted and lost in thought I can become, I thought this would be the best option. Turns out about 11 or 12 stops in I pass Grand Children’s Park entrance- which I know, because I’ve been to before. And I also know this park is on the exact opposite direction that I planned to go when I set out for the day. Chuckling to myself I think ‘I’ll go a little further, see if anything looks promising, and if not, nothing was loss and I was able to see more of the city- and know how to get to the park quicker than the 45 minute subway line!’
Not seeing much ahead, I ended up getting off 4 or 5 stops later and to my astonishment, ended up exactly where I intended! Unbeknownst to myself where I got off the bus was exactly where I had planned to exit the bus. Then I spent 30 minutes heading the opposite way on the subway back to where I wanted to go (and all for a silly notebook!).
[Photos show: my love for books continues (top says: You Must Read); many families playing in a fountain outside Gwanghamun, guarded by a King SeJong Statue; woman making poke/boke (long o sound) (the same snack we made with our kids in school this past week); the Cheonggyecheon little river, me being a cheese, a little war memorial with associated country’s flags (post about this soon to come); and last a couple views from city hall).