Goodbye Korea, Hello New Adventures

A lot has changed since my last blog post, including my hair. It went from red to platinum blonde to light brown. And then the cut changed from an equal length around the head, to one shaved side to a mohawk to buzzed.
But more importantly, I have wrapped up my time in Korea and am currently traveling Southeast Asia. It’s incredible to think that my two years in Korea have come to a close. It was a life-changing experience, and I am so grateful for the relationships I established in the ROK. Friends became family, and I fell deeper (and back) in love with God. I am so thankful for His relentless love and unconditional mercy and grace.
I’ve had many wonderful experiences in Korea since my last post. Too many to make an exhaustive list. So some highlights:
-chatting with my amazing friends over several delicious cups of tea at the Happy Tea Shop
-my 25th birthday
-eating live octopus and silkworm pupae
-salmon sushi at Sushi Last
-AIA Real Life : Now Music Festival
-Shanna’s wedding and hanging with the family

It was difficult to leave Korea. I was sad to say goodbye to so many fantastic friends and a country I really enjoyed. But I am thankful to have an experience and people worth missing. And the world is so accessible that I know I will be able to see my dear friends again (plus we always have Heaven if we don’t meet again on Earth).
During my time in Korea I learned so much about myself. What makes me tick; what frustrates me; what makes me happiest; what I truly consider important. And the list could go on. But I think the most important lesson I learned was that home isn’t a location or a building; it’s the people you come to love. I’m so blessed to have so many homes in so many parts of the world.

I’m currently waiting in a cafe, which I have practically made a new home at, in Hanoi, Vietnam to catch my overnight train to Lao Cai. I have been here for about four and a half, and I have another one more to go until I head back to the train station to catch my train. It has been a great journey thus far:
5:30 a.m. woke up
6:35 a.m. goodbye apartment, rode the subway to Dongdaegu Bus Station
7:40 a.m. rode the bus to Gimhae Airport in Busan, South Korea
9:00 a.m. arrived and checked in for my flight (ate my favorite Korean snacks)
11:05 a.m. departed from Busan
1:10 p.m. landed in Hanoi (four hour flight- two hour time difference)
2:10 p.m. left the airport after going through customs and such
2:25 p.m. found local bus 17 just in time to catch a ride to the main part of the city (9,000 VND/ $.42)
3:40 p.m. rode bus 1 to Hanoi Train Station (7,000 VND/ $.33)
3:55 p.m. got my overnight train ticket to Lao Cai
4 p.m. onward, chilling at this cafe

Everything has been going really smoothly-hopefully I’m not jinxing myself!-and I’ve met a lot of helpful people.
Some notes:
Bus 17 is way out away from the doors of the airport. You have to walk past the crew pick up area, and cross over to an area somewhat shielded by trees. Just keep asking people where local bus 17 is (don’t be fooled by the minibus driver with a bus numbered 17 as almost happened to me unless you want to pay 40,000 VND) and trust your instinct to go a bit farther. It is really in an area of it’s own. The ride took about an hour and 15 minutes. Ride until the final stop.
Bus 1’s platform is across from where bus 17 drops you off. It is as the front most station. The bus came about 5 minutes after bus 17 dropped me off. There will be several motorcyclists asking you if you want a ride in to town. Up to you, but if you have time, I suggest waiting for the bus. That ride was about 10 or 15 minutes to the train station, which is stop Ga Ha Noi (means Hanoi Train Station).
Also, two people are working on the bus. One drives and the other comes and collects the fee. You can sit down first and pay when he comes to you.
And when you get to the train station, be sure to get a number to buy a ticket. Otherwise you will be waiting in line to no avail. The queue number is available at a machine on your right hand side just before entering the ticket area. There are three choices, all written in English. The first to buy a ticket, the second for a function I forgot, and the third to return tickets.
I’ve got a soft sleeper for my epic journey on train SP3 21:50-06:25. We’ll see how it goes.

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