My younger brother surprised me and came to visit Korea. He had called me on a Friday morning and said “I just booked my flight. I’m landing tomorrow in Seoul!” Just AMAZING. Unreal amazing. I teared up on the phone and couldn’t believe it! We did so many amazing things so here’s a bit of our journey to share.
Days in Gwangju consisted of basically showing him the life I live everyday. From cafes to amazing restaurants, eating lots of Korean food (Gwangju is known for the best Korean food in the country), taking him to my school for the day to show him my life teaching, Norebang (singing rooms), eating chicken and beer 치맥and soju of course, and going to the movies. We spent around 4-5 days in Gwangju and then traveled to Seoul for the remainder of the week!
I brought him to my favorite Gamjatang restaurant. Gamjatang is spicy pork backbone stew with potatoes, onions, mushrooms, and lots of vegetables. It’s actually known as the Korean Hangover soup but people eat it whenever because it’s that good! I also brought him to my favorite Gimbap place near Chonnam University which has the best tuna gimbap, galbi mandu and tteopokki. I brought him to my favorite Korean BBQ…samkyeopsal..restaurant. The BEST. We took him to the best restaurant in Gwangju and we had samkyeopsal and bibimbap. Another night we had an amazing dinner at my co-teachers home which her and her husband prepared themselves. It was SO thoughtful and very special to both of us. Something I will never forget. She had said to me “maybe your brother would like to see a typical Korean home and have a special homemade dinner.” so on a two day notice, she prepared an amazing meal for us.
Korea is filled with arcade rooms, anime photo booths and norebang rooms (private singing rooms) and coin norebang so of course I had to bring him to some.
We went to Damyang for the day. It was one of my favorite days. I had never been to Damyang Bamboo forest before. It’s about 30 minutes outside of Gwangju but it’s very easy and you take a bus there for about 2 dollars. There’s a bamboo forest to walk through, a small village of cafes and restaurants, and delicious galbi meat (marinated beef short ribs) which Damyang is known for! There is also the famous Metasequoia Tree Lined Road which was beautiful. You can eat the famous bamboo ice cream there as well! We took a bike ride which I felt like a kid again and I was so happy. And took pics with pandas. The best day ever.
He came to my elementary school and met all of my students and teachers! To say they loved him is an understatement! He is still their idol and it’s adorable.
We took the speed train KTX to Seoul where we visited the hottest places…MyeongDong for shopping, Itaewon for great Mexican food, bowling, an escape room and clubs (I MISS MEXICAN FOOD), Gangnam for the 5th best club in the world, Namsan Tower and GyeongBokGung Palace!
I left out lots of details and things we did but that’s okay. This trip was one of the best I’ve ever had. Joseph and I have never traveled together so it was really special to me to be able to take a trip together and to show him my life here in Korea. I was lucky enough to show my sister Korea 1.5 years ago when I first moved here and truthfully I never thought anyone else was coming to visit so it was an incredible surprise. and an even better surprise is my parents are now coming to visit in June! I feel so fortunate to be able to share this amazing world with them! I hadn’t laughed that hard in a long time as I did when Joseph was here. Every single day we laughed and laughed and laughed and it was the best. Can’t wait for our next adventure!
Love from Gwangju,