Exploring My korean neighbourhood

In Fiji, at the end of a busy week of exams, we would often go to Chatime and enjoy some bubble tea or coffee smoothies and if we were hungry we would get a meal and share. In Korea, it’s not that different. After this week’s mock exam my friends and I went to a Japanese Ramen restaurant and had lunch. While here in Korea I have discovered that Japanese cuisine is much more than just sushi. There are various types of ramen and there is also Japanese curry. Japanese curry is a new favourite, especially since it comes with something along the lines of pork schnitzel. If you know me well enough, you know that schnitzels have a high ranking on ‘Bua’s favourite foods List’. After lunch, we decided to walk through the campus park on the way back to the dorms. The weather this week wasn’t too hot and we wanted to enjoy the outdoors because with the arrival of summer also comes the rainy season.
While walking through the park, we decided to try a new café that had recently opened. I ordered my new favourite smoothie, a plain yoghurt smoothie- very exciting. In Korea, some cafes aren’t really ‘sit-down’ cafes. This café was one of them, you ordered your coffee from a computer machine, sit on a bench and wait for your name to be called and then you leave. There aren’t any pretty windows to look out of or comfortable chairs to sit at. So when we all received our drinks we decided to walk around our neighbourhood and take a different route back to our dorms. This meant a lot more uphill walking but we were curious since we hadn’t explored what’s around our neighbourhood. We walked past some houses, a stationery shop, a small market, a primary school and an all-girls middle school. Walking past the two schools was like walking through an outdoor art gallery. The walls of the school were tiled and on the tiles were drawings done by the students at the school. As we walked higher up the hill the artistic skills also developed as we left the primary section and walked closer towards the middle school. A lot of the drawings also seemed to have lots of meaning behind them, some looked as if they were about the changing of seasons or re-creations of the street where the school was built; others were of dragons and eagles on pirate ships in the middle of a war. We spent about half an hour looking at all the drawings and as we kept walking up the hill we came towards the back entrance to our university.

Because we arrived in Korea at the peak of the pandemic we were never given a full tour of the university. So we had never actually explored this part of the campus before, we were surprised to find more dorms probably for the domestic students. While walking we came across some sort of mural that was a tree and each branch said ‘I love you’ in every language except Fijian. What I learnt from today is that there is no excuse for a plain concrete wall and there is always a way to decorate an empty wall either with paintings or words. We also walked past the university library, and explored outside the library as there was a large statue of ‘le penseur’ or the stature of a man contemplating about philosophical topics. There was also a beautiful view of the city; since we were so high up we could see a lot of the city from the library. We only explored the exterior as we weren’t brave enough to enter the library which sounds lame but there wasn’t anyone around. We knew that we had to get temperature checks and sign in before entering and we didn’t want to cause a fuss.

After the library, we walked past what looked like classrooms or more housing; this was probably my favourite part about the whole walk because there were trees everywhere and it was like we were walking through a forest. There wasn’t anyone else around so I decided to take off my mask because the smell of plants, trees and nature was so refreshing. I didn’t realise it was something that I missed but the leafy green smell that I was subconsciously used to was something I didn’t get from my little room on the 10th floor. As we kept walking, the forest seemed to get thicker and at some point, it felt like we weren’t on university campus anymore and more like in the middle of a forest. Slowly the footpath became a track and the concrete staircase became a stone-like staircase. It was really fun, it felt like my friends and I were going on an adventure through a bamboo forest in the middle of nowhere but we were only 5 minutes away from our dorm and 3 minutes away from the engineering faculty. Eventually, the forest started to clear up, the track smoothed out and we were back at the entrance of our dorms. Our small detour on the way back from lunch took about two hours and it felt like we had been all over the place but we were just exploring our university campus. It was really fun and I’m sure our summer holiday will be spent going back to the forest and exploring more.

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I’ve been doing a lot of research on fun places around Busan that I need to visit during my one year of language study. I’ve made a list of cool places to go and visit which include cafes, lookout spots and tourist attractions. Stay tuned to any updates by subscribing to my blog so you don’t miss out on any new posts!  forget to like and subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss out on any new posts.

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