by Maddy Taub
Whenever I am with the other black belts who went on the trip to South Korea, we always end up referencing Korea at some point in our conversation. Frankly even when I’m not with other people who went on the trip to South Korea I usually end up referencing it at some point. Whether it’s the awesome food (chicken wraps are really great), Jehaan falling while doing a side kick, Mr. H being chosen to be in a play, or everybody following Mr. Kim around in a straight line by height; there is always something we can look back at and laugh about.
I still am not quite sure what made Mr. Kim want to bring us to Korea with him, seeing as in the studio we just follow him around. But I am very glad he decided to bring us because my two trips to Korea with Mr. Kim have taught me so much and allowed me to experience many new things with a group of people who I cannot imagine not knowing now.
Both of my trips to Korea were amazing in their own ways, but I am going to focus on the second one in spring 2014.
We arrive and right away Mr. Kim’s Uncle picks us up and brings us to a cabin where Mr. Kim’s uncle and cousin kindly made us dinner. It was a very nice welcome and one of the perks of being able to travel with Mr. Kim, we get a much more personalized tour. That night we slept on the floor (which was heated), it is now my favorite way to sleep I’ve decided. Too bad that’s not an option in college dorm rooms.
So the next day, after a nice morning hike and some crazy ropes course business, Mr. Kim’s uncle drove us back to Seoul to our hostel where we stayed the rest of the trip (it was an awesome hostel). We also had a great meal that day where most of us tried fish liver. Only Andrew tried fish guts though, which he absolutely loved. That night we went to Namsan tower. I’d been before but seeing Seoul from up so high is always cool.
The next day was pretty touristy, but no less fun. In the morning we went to a park near our hostel, which was awesome, the park was huge and probably the coolest park I’ve been too. We all went there multiple times to just hang out and enjoyed it every time. During this day we visited all the main tourist sides, such as Cheongwadae or the Blue House where the president lives, gyeongbokgung palace, and the yushin statue (where Jehaan fell while still managing to do an excellent side kick). That night we went to a play where Mr. H was chosen to act in, that was a good ending to that day.
The next day was mostly just walking around, shopping, and enjoying Korea. We took a lot of pictures that day. Of course we were all doing Tae Kwon Do in the pictures, another perk of traveling with the amazing group of people we did.
The next day was DMZ day. It was an awesome day (although everyday was an awesome day). I had been before but the DMZ is always interesting. We went in the tunnel, which is great because two of us were the perfect height to fit while everyone else had to duck. Some of us also raced up the ramp at the end of the tunnel. Andrew may have won that race but it wasn’t about winning or losing anyway. That night we went to a night market, Namdemun. Which was really cool because it was another way to experience Korean culture.
The next day was another touristy day, but of course it was still awesome because the whole trip was. We went to the Olympic park and walked around outside which was really pretty and really nice because on my previous trip to Korea we had not been able to walk around the Olympic park. After that we went to Bongeunsa Temple where among other things, we got put onto a blog. We also got to go to the Kukkiwon that day, or the tae kwon do headquarters. I’d been before but it was fun to see again. I also had a spicy chicken wrap that day which really wrapped up that day besides our dinner and hanging out after which is always fun with the mix of people on the trip.
The next day was another relaxed day where we could just take in Seoul. Some of the other black belts and I were able to take the metro by ourselves to Insadong, a nice shopping center. Mr. Kim met us a little later and we all walked around and just let ourselves enjoy Seoul on our second to last day there.
The next day was good byes and the drive to the airport. It was an amazing trip that gave me many new experiences and some of my best memories. Yong Studios is full of some of the most incredible people and I am so lucky to have been to able to have these two trips to Korea in order to both learn more about Korean culture that surrounds Tae Kwon Do and get closer to the amazing people at Yong Studios.