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Thursday, 18 February 2016

Lunar New Year Surprises...

Seollal (Lunar New Year) is an annual event where the Korean government decides to give most of the population a well deserved 3 day holiday. It’s a time where families across the country get together to celebrate the start of a new year in accordance to the lunar calender, and it is one of the most significant traditional holidays in Korea. This year it fell on February 8th, 9th and 10th allowing for an extremely generous 5 day weekend. As you can imagine I was very excited for this, but even more excited to see my sister who would be visiting yours truly all the way from England. I had planned accordingly and spent hours scrolling through lonely planet guides and speaking to her about what it was she actually wanted to do, but nothing could really prepare me for the week I was about to have.
 
I barely know where to begin but I guess I’ll start where everything usually starts...nope, not the womb. The airport. As my sister came through the arrivals gate the tears started flowing. We hugged, cried and spent several seconds in complete shock, but little did I know that she had another surprise waiting for me just around the corner. I turned around and to my utter astonishment, I saw my lovely mum strutting towards me with a face full of glee.
 
Whaaat?! 
 
It was all very emotional, and I thought for sure Peaches and Herb were about to burst in at any moment bellowing their hit record 'Reunited'. My hands couldn't stop shaking for a good hour or two as her epic arrival in Korea, slowly started to become reality. It wasn’t that I never thought she’d come, I just never expected it, but yet there she and my sister stood after nearly a year of absence, both with suitcases in hand. Crazy. We hopped on the bus and started the first journey of many that week, and I couldn’t wait for it all to begin.

It was a totally bizarre experience to see these people that I've known for my entire life in Korea. When you have spent the last year surrounded by people who have only known you for a few months, it's sort of absurd. The amount that we have been through as a family is endless and having the opportunity to share this huge part of my life with them was pretty fantastic. That evening we skyped my Dad, which was even more surreal as I am so use to seeing both him and my mum on the same screen, and not, the other way around.   
 
The week went by extremely quickly and we managed to fit in just about everything you can imagine. From Palaces to Poop Cafe’s, Mountains to Towers and shopping in almost every top location in Seoul, it was hectic to say the least. We also visited a dog cafe, ate Dakgalbi in Myeongdong, and found that style really does exist in Gangnam. They absolutely loved Korea and I absolutely loved having them here.
 
 Gyeongbokgung Palace
 
Seoul Tower
 
 Shopping in Insadong
 
FOOD!
 
I'll go into more detail about each place we visited in a later post, as the list tends to go on a bit and I fear that if I start, I may never stop. So, for now let me just finish by saying a massive thank you to both of them for visiting my current home, and also a big shout out to the troops back home who made it all possible - looking after the kids, dogs and houses can't be easy so thank you. It was certainly a week to remember, and I am more excited then ever to be returning home for a little vacation come May, so until then folks...I'll be seeing ya!
 
POST SCRIPT: To anyone else who is thinking of visiting me too...what are you waiting for?! DO IT! DO IT NOOOW! SOLD?

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