Fifteen Hours In Seoul? 어떡해?

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In less than a month, my mom and I will be flying to the Philippines for my brother's college graduation.  Simply typing that out brings tears to my eyes.  Oh man, he's done it.  Despite being an ocean away from his immediate family (but in the good company of aunts and cousins), he did it.  And with flying colors.

And I am truly excited to see some of my friends again.  Last time, I had a blast meeting up with old friends; touched that some of them remembered even after close to ten years of not seeing each other, happy that we reconnected so easily.  I've kept closer in touch with them since then.  And I'm sincerely moved that my some of the friendships I managed in high school survived.  I didn't have an overly pleasant high school experience and I admit that up to this day, I can still be self-conscious about it.  Wounds heal and they scar.  I'm just so glad that my little circle of friends pulled through.  They're one of the reasons why taking that 17-hour flight is worth it.

Speaking of 17 hours, it's not the "going back home" bit that is exciting me the most.  It's the 15-hour layover in South Korea.  Yes... FIFTEEN hours in Seoul, South Korea.

Btw, happy 100 million views! (As of 3/27/14)

And guess what... We have another FIFTEEN HOURS on the way back!

I would have you know that this seemingly hellishly long layover is a deliberate move on our part.  I've read some travel blogs that prefer to get a long ass stopover, especially in another country, for a chance to travel.  Another Google search came up with several posts about "X Hours in [insert city here]" and the likes.  I found several for Seoul and it got me excited.

In the past, we went through Taiwan, Japan, and China as layover en route to the Philippines.  Only my brother went through South Korea once.  My mom and I decided it was our turn.  Aaaand we wanted to try being layover tourists.  ;)

We bought these tickets in late... August 2013, I believe?  A long time ago.  And we scored a DEAL.  Less than $1000 for each with that awesome 14-15 hours in Seoul.  We actually picked those travel times.  We could've chosen ones with 3 hours but we wanted to get the most out of what we paid for.  Counting the rest times and the time allowance going through immigration, it's really just 10-11 hours of sightseeing but a lot can happen in 10 hours.

Actually, my mom has started seriously planning.  What to do, where to go, how to go around, the best food places... planning out our tourist route.  I seriously just want to go to DMZ.  If we can't manage that this time around, maybe next time when we actually go to Seoul.  My mom even has the route to Gangnam all planned out!  XD  I told her that she's in charge of the planning bits while I take care of the language barrier.  I don't fancy myself as anything fluent but out of need, I might be able to order food and ask for directions at least.  (The problem with phrasebooks is that they tell you what to say but once the other person replies, you're still lost.)  Let's see if my Korean language classes are good for something other than a fan's overzealous obsession.

But really, I just want to get my hands on cute socks, tights, makeup, and K-pop CDs and DVDs.  I know I can get them here also but I heard it's waaay cheaper there and they have more selection.  I'm starting to - or at least, trying to - pinch pennies in preparation.  I even got myself a big-ish duffle bag as my carry-on so I can fit all my damages in there once I'm done.  (I blame Coach and their crazy outlet sales for my failure to further pinch those pennies.)  Of course, the food.  Back then, my mom told me that I might starve in Korea because I don't eat kimchi.  Well, neither does she but I think we'll subsist on bulgogi and desserts.  And yes, the International McDonald's Experience is in order.

Traveling always excites me.  Never mind the Non-Stops and disappearing flights, I love traveling.  Especially by plane, to far off places.  Maybe on my next long-distance flight I can score another 10-hour layover and explore what that city has to offer.

To my friends and family back home, I can't wait to see you again!  :)

PS:  Another thing that I miss the most back in the Philippines... the malls.  The "malls" here in the US are mere strip malls compared to the Ayala Malls, SM Malls, and sure why not, Robinson Malls back home.  Gimme some of that buko halo-halo shake and McDo McChicken meal!  <3