Breath of Fresh Air

I’ve started to become accustomed to various aspects of city life. The Seoul metro subway is much easier to navigate than I would have imagined, the aromas of the street food roasting in dimly lit tents has become slightly more appetizing, and the constant staring of passersby is phasing me less. As this is my first time in Asia, I feel that I am adjusting quite well, and I have to admit, I am proud of myself. As the faster pace is beginning to feel more natural, I am finding comfort in city life.

As I had begun to adapt to the hustle and bustle of the endlessly winding streets and the buzzing neon of the evening, I subconsciously ignored the fact that I am not just living in a city, but one shrouded in natural beauty. Suyu, the neighborhood in which I reside, is in the northern part of Seoul and is set amid the Bukhansan National Park. I was invited by a few co-workers to join in on a afternoon hike, and though completely out of shape, I agreed to go. It was undoubtedly a trek of mountainous terrain (well, that’s my spin on it), but once we reached our destination, the view was well worth the exhaustion.

Apparently, I have arrived in Korea at the perfect time of year. The skies have been unusually clear and the crisp air was the perfect temperature to enjoy the hike. We stuck mostly to a trail, which winded through lush green forest (my mental image of Forks… sorry, had to throw that in there) and blossoming flowers. There were even a few temples along the way, which made the atmosphere even more wonderful.

After the hike, I felt particularly rejuvenated and refreshed. A few of us headed down to Suyu station to dine on do-it-youself barbecue, which is a very big tradition in Korea. From a buffet of raw meat, various vegetables, and multiple marinades and garnishes, you cook your meal at a grill on your table. You can eat as much as you’d like, for as long as your like for the equivalent of about $8. Yes, I am loving all that is Korean.