For years, I've passed through Seoul on my way to Cambodia. I've enjoyed the excellent food and hot showers at the Seoul-Incheon airport, but I've never ventured any further into the country.
For this trip, however, I decided to extend my layover from a couple of hours to a couple of days. I figured it'd be a great way for my son Pak to connect with his Korean heritage, and for us both to get a head start on working past our jetlag before we start the "work" portion of our trip.
Well, we've had an amazing time. Seoul is just an enormous city -- 25 million if you include the surrounding areas. As I joked yesterday, "There are a lot of Koreans in this town." Lots of Korean restaurants, too, and we've tried to sample all of the classics -- bibimbap, kimbap, bulgoki, galbi, mandoo and lots and lots of kimchee. I even found a cool little coffee shop that roasts its own beans. (It's late, and I want to sleep, so I've decided to schedule our remainign few hours in Seoul tomorrow morning around grabbing a cup or two when it opens at 10am).
As much as we've enjoyed our time here, both Pak and I are restless. At dinner tonight, Pak seemed to be distracted. He's a voracious eater, but he wasn't going after the food with as much vigor as usual. I asked him what was on his mind, and he said, "I just can't wait to see the kids."
I'm with you, buddy.
I logged onto Dropbox (free and fast wifi is almost always just a click away in Seoul) and pulled up some of the bios of the kids from the Prek Eng 2 home, sponsored by our church in Columbus: Sitha, Sreyka, Vilaiy, Soktol, Sokthoun... so many famliar faces we miss and love.
And suddenly Seoul seems like a layover again. A nice place to grab a bite to eat, but not what we came here for.
Tomorrow, we head to Cambodia via Guangzhou, China, a city we haven't seen since we adopted our daughter Xiu Dan in 2009. But this time, we're not leaving the airport. After that, Cambodia, which has now become a home away from home. This promises to be one of our most exciting trips ever. I hope you'll follow along.