Unfortuantely, I was EXHAUSTED. I had been traveling for the past 20 hours, and not slept at all (despite taking two OTC sleeping pills... ugh)! We slept in the next morning as late as possible, then had to get ready for church.
Ben spent 13 months in the same area as a missionary, so we were excited to visit that ward and check in on everyone.
The church is in the middle of the city, and used to have the only lawn in the whole area. We were met outside of the door by members Ben had known, and he was pretty shocked to go on a tour and see all that has been built up in the church's backyard since he lived here.
Everyone was so excited to see him again! They even announced from the podium that we would both share our testimonies. Yikes. I was shaking I was so nervous, but I was glad for the opportunity to thank them for their help with Ben. This area was so important to him, and I know I owe a lot of his testimony to them. Ben translated my testimony, which made them love him even more!
No matter where you go, the church is the same. It may be a strange looking building, the people may speak another language or where different clothes, and the culture may have a different protocol for praying, but the church is true, and people are rejoicing all over the world. That is what is important.
After walking back to our hotel after church we decided to spend the day sightseeing.
Old meets new, East meets West, Man-made meets Nature, city meets mountains, and art meets business in this bustling area of international development.
One of the first things we had to do was buy a copy of Ben's most memorable Korean Book: The Tale of the Mole; Who Knew it was None of His Business. (AKA "Did you do this on my head?")
Because Spring is coming and it was a Sunday, a city organization called "S-Day" organized some free activities for the people walking around the area. Balloons, stilts walkers, Korean magicians, dress- up outfits, and a free bus tour.
Another area we walked to was Isadong Market. It is best known for being full of handicrafts and local, cultural goods and foods.
Despite the blistery wind, it felt wonderful to peruse this city with local Koreans. We only saw a few foreigners, and even the locals carried DSLR cameras around their necks. We got to be ourselves, and even sort-of fit in (as much as two tall white people in odd clothing, one of whom speaks perfect Korean can fit in).
It seems as though the city would be confused, but this jumble of architectural, artistic, and natural elements combine perfectly to create a melodic chaos. It has a sort of flow... Be who you are, but fit in. Stand out, but be sincere. Be modern, but remember your heritage.
Ben asked if this city reminds me of any I'd visited before. No, I said. Seoul is a city unique in itself.