It was so cool to speak at Youtheca’s Global Youth Extracurricular Fair in Seoul, South Korea on August 3rd! It was so exciting to see so many young kids doing incredible things, and it was so great to spread the message of following of your passion! Big shout outs to Victor Choi and Minae (our guide) and everyone with Youtheca for making this incredible trip happen.
Otherwise, we went to the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea yesterday! We went to Imjingak, where we saw the Freedom Bridge and the Peace Bell, where POWs were given back after the armistice was signed separating the North and the South. We then went to the Third Tunnel, which was tunnel discovered by the South that was being built by North Korea to launch an attack on Seoul. We were able to go down and walk through the tunnel and see through the barricades to the North Korean side of the tunnel. Afterwards, we went up to the Dora Observatory, where I took a picture with a busy looking guard and saw a beautiful sprawling view of the border to North Korea. In two border cities, there had been a competition in raising each of their own flags higher than the other, and North Korea won at a height of 60 m. It was so cool to scan the landscape and see the two flags, with the North Korean flag just a little higher than the South Korean. We weren’t allowed to take pictures from the observatory though, because the flash may be interpreted as an act of aggression and possibly trigger shootings or violence. We wrapped up our trip by visiting the Amethyst Center, where we were able to purchase some Korean amethyst, which is one of the strongest kind in the world, before we were dropped at the Seoul City Hall. There was a K-pop concert going on, so we were able to stand and watch for a while before we headed home. We grabbed dinner with Minae and her wonderful mother, Sophie, at a modern Korean restaurant in Gangnam, where my mom got miso soup and I got a dish with dried, cured fish from a certain province of South Korea mixed with green tea, rice, and kimchi.
Yesterday, we traveled on our own around Seoul on the public subway system, and managed to not get lost! Our first stop was Namsan Tower, a communication and observation tower with beautiful panoramas of all of Seoul. After walking up part of the mountain from the train station and then taking a cable car up the rest of the way, we enjoyed lunch with a beautiful view of the sprawling city before heading all the way up where we could see all the modern buildings of Seoul with small clearings of traditional architecture of palaces and Korean Folk Villages. We headed down at around 2 PM, and headed to Gyeongbokung Palace, where we grabbed a quick tour about the Josean dynasty and their history in the palace. After that, we headed over to the Presidential Blue House (where the South Korean President resides) and the Korean Folk Museum before heading back.
It’s been such a wonderful trip! I can’t yet believe that we head back today, but I’m excited to head home, finish up this summer at the National Institutes of Health, and then move myself into Dunster House with my amazing roommates!! Thank you again to Youtheca, and everyone who made such an incredible trip possible!