So I’ve decided to write a series of posts about my Korean experience since, it’s been something I haven’t really done and felt the need to do.
Okay I know I have said that like may be a hundred times before, but I really, really, really, like traveling. No, I mean It doesn’t even have to be traveling to another country, as long as I am moving, seeing new places, meeting new people. Life on move is my kind of life.
So yesterday, I went for a one day trip to Daegu, a city in the southern part of South Korea. The first time, I came to Korea, in 2014 as a tourist, I stayed in Daegu for almost 20 days. It was one of the very interesting and rewarding trips. After moving to Korea in 2015, I never really had the chance to go back to that beautiful city. So with a friend of mine, we decided to go there for the Sky Lantern Festival.
Now, Daegu is known for many things, one of the things is 찜닭 which means steamed chicken with noodles and vegetables, a kind of dish served with Korean rice and side dishes like Kimchi, and radish and it happens to be the first food I ever tried when I came to Korea.
It’s also known for holding many festivals and events and one of the most well known ones is celebrating Buddha’s birthday and holding Sky Lantern Festival. Daegu’s Sky Lantern festival happens to be one of the biggest festivals in the country. Thousands of people gather on that day, pray, light and float a wish lantern into the sky.
Now, I can jump ahead and tell you about the event itself, but that shouldn’t be the only purpose of this post, and since I like storytelling, I am going to tell you a little story about how we got there and what happened on the road, and then tell you more about the festival.
So I woke up early in the morning, skipped a class I was supposed to attend, and got ready to head over to the bus terminal. Getting on the Taxi, the taxi driver Ajusshi, asks me where I am from and I tell him about myself. He keeps silent for awhile, and then looks at me in the mirror smiling and tells me my Korean is really good, I laugh and disagree with him (my Korean is not that good). Then he asks me what I think of Korean people, now this is a tough question for me, and if you are my friend you will know why, so I tell him most of the times I get kind treatments and I think that’s because first, I am a girl, and second I am a 외국인 which means foreigner. He laughs out loud and agrees with me. Then I reach to the bus terminal say bye to the Ajusshi and meet my friend Sehrish. We go to the counter, and the lady tells us there are no bus tickets left and the earliest is around 1:00 pm which is going to be too late. We take another taxi quickly to Train station only to find out that there are no seats available on the train either. Then later, the lady tells us we can however get into the train but we have to stand all the way to Daegu, and so we take the offer.
The road to Daegu was about three hours and we had to stand (and sit a little bit on the floor of the train) all the way there. I have never really experienced that before and honestly it made my trip a lot more interesting because there were a lot of people also standing, and we laughed and joked and talked about our life stories on the railway to Daegu, that’s beside the beautiful scenery that we had the chance to see from the window of the slam-door in the passage between cars. So you can only imagine… Now, I am pretty sure, if we got the seats, we would probably just fall asleep in our seats and miss out all the beautiful and interesting conversations we had all the way.
Later we reach Daegu, and get on Taxi for the baseball stadium where the festival is taking place, of course, I have no idea where the stadium is, so we get into the taxi and the driver asks me where we are going, and I tell him just drive and he gets a little irritated and tells me how can he drive without knowing where to, my friend and I look at each other and we both laugh. We were both so excited and tired that we forgot to tell the driver about our destination, in fact all we wanted at that moment was to sit, and being in the taxi seemed like a good idea. Then I tell him about the location and we get there. We soon find out that there are no tickets left for entrance to the festival area, but one of the organizers tells us there is a free entrance ticket (more like a ribbon) but we need to line up to get that. So we go there and find out there is this a HUGE line. But, since we have came this far, we decide to take this in our hands and we line up. Daegu is known to be really hot during summer days and since it’s almost May, the daytime and being under the sun can be really painful. But, it was worth it. Thanks to Sehrish who prepared a box of lunch or we would die out of hunger, we eat a little bit of the food she prepared while waiting in the long line to get our tickets.
And we finally enter the stadium, and find a spot to sit after hours of standing and running. And what can I say about the Sky lantern? It was magical, it was beautiful, I mean what is more attractive than a sky full of lights? We watched those people as they were praying, making their wishes, and making those lit lanterns fly in the sky of Daegu. Like there were thousands of stars occupying the sky, shining with hope and assurance. I felt more like I was floating with the lights into the sky. And it brought happiness. Pure happiness.
Soon after the festival, we run out and to find a taxi to get back to the train station, that’s when they set off fireworks and soon the sky was lit with lights again.
Though we had the difficulty finding Taxi, but we managed to get to the train station and leave behind Daegu with its lights.
Last night, I did not only get the chance to experience Daegu lights, but it was a reminder for me, that no matter what, always chase after what calls your heart, even if that’s on impulse. That sometimes, when you really want something, you will have to go through a little bit of pain, but once you are out of it and on the other side, you will only look back and remember how adventurous your journey to your destination was. It will remain a beautiful memory and nothing more.
On the way to Daegu, I also had the chance to meet Sehrish. She is been my friend for over a year, but I never really met her. Met her in a sense to know her well. I never really had the chance to have a deep talk with her. To know the real Sehrish with all the stories she holds and how amazing she is. We meet people, and we become friends, but how well do we really know them? We really never know them, unless we have listened to them. Listen to how they got to this point where their journey intersect with yours and I am so glad my impulse trip to Daegu helped me know her a little more.
And here I am, at the end of the day, after the adventurous, exciting and tiring day, waiting for the train to come and go home.
Note: So the quality of the pics are really bad because they are taken with phone.