Seoul Sister, South Korea 2012

>> Sunday, July 22, 2012

Travel is my passion.  Nothing makes me happier than traveling with my family on a subway to someplace beautiful/exciting/new in some big city.  All the better if it includes a long plane ride, jet lag, and a new-to-me language.

This past month, our little family had the opportunity to go to Seoul, South Korea for 3.5 weeks.  Matt and I went there to prep students who will be attending our university. We taught in the mornings and then headed out to explore in the afternoon and evening.

We got lots of great pictures.  I think the favorite family photo this time is of all of us standing in the joint security area building of the North/South Korea demilitarized zone (DMZ). Technically we are in North Korea.  If we would have stepped out of the building, there was a good chance of us being shot.  We kept safely inside.

The soldier is real, even though he looked like wax and stood stark still.  We're technically in North Korea.

  Here's the thing, though.  Travel is exhausting and not-at-all-glamorous in reality.  What that cool picture doesn't say is that we woke up too early and left by 7:00 a.m. in the POURING rain so that we could travel an hour and fifteen minutes, so that we could catch a tour bus and ride another hour and fifteen minutes, so that we could arrive at the DMZ in what was now the partial rain alternating with the too-cold-air-conditioned bus. We were cautioned and warned of danger and told when we could and couldn't take pictures. Lots of the pictures didn't turn out because of the rain. We even questioned all the tight security because there were myriad tourists and the whole thing seemed like a little bit of a tourist trap at times.  Matt got yelled at by a South Korean soldier because when we were on the steps of the South Korean side, facing the North Korean side because he didn't hear the announcement to not take pictures of the South Korean side.  Then the quick entry into the JSA, the quick exit. We were in the actual cool part for maybe 5 minutes.

It was a long day, but I loved it. We were tired and dirty.  My makeup had run and my hair had frizzed out by the end of the day.  I wore dorky tennis shoes. But there is something about that 5 minutes that made the whole day, the whole journey worth it.  I would do it all again. On days like this I can't stop smiling. My world is complete.

So, here is the Simmons family Seoul travel log.  Lots of posts and pics coming up, all chronicling our journey. Some great pics, some not-so-great pics, all of them are pure joy for my heart.

Travel is bliss.


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