Jeju - My Family Travels

As a Korean-American, I have never truly appreciated my Korean heritage but during my trip to South Korea I discovered myself through the experiences and sceneries that helped me shape who I am today. Beginning as any other vacation, my trip was thought to just be a fun experience then it changed as soon as I left the airport. From there on my trip shifted from a vacation to a journey of finding about myself and my about heritage. The journey began when I laid my eyes on Seoul. Although it was four years ago the picturesque scene still remains in my memories; the water, the road, and the buildings all amazed me. This was just the outside, the inside was what left me giddy with curiosity and amazement. 

Thinking that my pajamas could pass as street clothes, I walked through the city, going to underground stores and malls that did not stretch out but up. Although my pajamas did not actually pass as street clothes the embarrassment was replaced with new discoveries each second. In Seoul I tasted food emperors ate and continued to learn more and more about the country my ancestors grew up in. Although I learned much at Seoul the discoveries did not just end there. The discoveries continued from Busan to Incheon with me asking questions, in broken Korean, to know more and more. With each new destination I fell in love with Korea and the peak of my adoration was with Jeju-do, an island  southwest of Jeollanam-do Province. 

Just thinking about Jeju-do fills me with nostalgia and makes me want to go back and experience everything over again. Jeju-do was where I began to see nature not as a background but as a full picture.One beautiful picture of nature I experienced was on the beaches of Jeju-do where I spent three hours on the beach which I look back now as too short of time. On the beach the water was so clear that you could see your toes and the tropical fish that passed by. Little did I know the Beach was just the tip of the iceberg. With the beach there was also Hallasan. Hallasan is the highest mountain in Korea and the hours of hiking are more than worth it to see the green grass and to smell the crisp air. On the top my senses were overwhelmed and my eyes were glued to the scene. 

In Korea not only did I learn to appreciate nature but I also leaned more about my heritage as a Korean. After the trip I was filled with pride and my heart was filled with new found love with Korea. When I left for Korea I left as a Korean-American, Korean with only my blood. When I returned to the U.S. I returned not only as a Korean in blood but as also a Korean in my heart and my mind.


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