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  • Writer's pictureElisha Bae

Friendship Trip to Jeju

The sea with waves crashing into the shore

Jeju. I've come back again.

The last time I was here, I got my driver's license. Now, I'm back with my best friend on a relaxing trip with no worries, stressing out, or pressure to do anything. I was here to unwind with my best friend, Minseo.

We had been planning this trip to Jeju for a while. Ever since the end of the IB exams, we wanted to hang out for longer than just during the day or a one-day sleepover. We had too much to talk and laugh about -- we felt as if there just wasn't enough time! So we decided to go to Jeju for two nights and three days to compensate for all the time we missed by going to different colleges.

Since we're both avid planners, nothing we were doing was going to be spontaneous. From start to finish, we had to know exactly where we were going at around what time. We were actually holding back a lot because we didn't want this trip to become stressful if we couldn't do everything we wanted to do. So instead of minute-by-minute schedules, we decided just to figure out the places we would go to during the day and other activities.

The main thing was coming up with a theme for our trip. We wanted this to be a meaningful trip to remember. We wanted to make sure that we were experiencing everything to the fullest, with minimal technology use and other interruptions. In the end, Minseo came up with the phrase, 'Live in the Moment', which officially became our motto for the trip. This post would be endless if I talked about all the small details, so I've categorized some of the photos taken during the trip to help navigate what we did.

1. Our Lodging (Jeju Stay: Biuda)

When we got to the place we rented for this trip, we couldn't help but squeal in joy! The room was so gorgeous, and I knew that just staying here would count as a peaceful retreat. The lower floor was simple and clean, and the second floor (which was accessible through a ladder) held two beddings for us to sleep in.

When we opened the window covers, there was a small balcony that looked upon a beautiful view of the meadow in front of the lodging. We could hear birds chirping and trees swaying in the wind. It was such a quiet and private place to enjoy uninterrupted peace -- some hotels in Jeju are quite noisy because of how many guests there are. The owner of the place was so nice, too, offering us help in planning our day and answering any questions we had.

2. The Food at Chaeuda

Chaeuda was the name of the restaurant that was owned by the person in charge of the lodges. He recommended that we dine at least once here because he was sure that it would be a special experience. And boy, was he right!!

From the very first appetizer to the last bite of the dessert, Minseo and I were shouting compliments about how each dish tasted. It was a 7-course meal (with an additional dish as a bonus), but the portions were so well thought out that we didn't feel stuffed at the end of the meal. All the ingredients used to create these phenomenal plates were either handpicked directly from the garden or flown in from a market merely a few hours before dinner time.

And it really did matter that these ingredients were so fresh. I, for one, hate seafood. Especially octopuses and squids. So when I saw that there was a dish made of squids, I was not exactly thrilled. But I decided to take my chances, and I'm so glad I did! The squid practically melted in my mouth, and there was no fishy smell or taste whatsoever. I asked the chef how that was possible -- he said the restaurant got the squid 4 hours ago, right after it was caught. Also, there was so much effort that went into perfecting the taste of things, such as the tomato sauce for the past was made by boiling fresh tomatoes for more than 40 hours.

Minseo and I were so amazed by everything we tasted that day. Unfortunately, there were no spots available the next day for dinner (the restaurant only takes three reservations per dinner to ensure the quality of the food). I still remember how much I enjoyed them. It was better than any restaurant that I've been to my entire life.

3. Places We Visited

Bonte Museum: With five different galleries to explore, this museum presents different styles of artwork, such as Kusama Yayoi's Infinite Mirror Room, Andy Warhol's pop art, and Nam June Paik's digital art all inside a fascinating architecture by Ando Tadao. If you're interested in getting to see some artwork, this is the place for you!

Arte Museum: This place is Korea's biggest screen art museum. Once you step into the dimly lit building, you'll be greeted by beautiful, vibrant colors and images coming to life on large screens. These are projections that have been designed to mimic different aspects of nature and paintings. It's a pretty special experience to walk into waves that don't get you wet and go into a mirror room lit with a hundred paper lanterns.

Kairos (restaurant): they use organic ingredients only, and surrounding the restaurants are flowers and green meadows. Their bracken aglio olio pasta is my favorite, closely followed by their avocado kimchi fried rice.

4. Photos with Minseo

Okay, we took way more photos together, but I thought these were some of the cutest ones.

I've known Minseo for about five years now. We were in the same class for the two years of IGCSE and still hung out every day during the IB. Minseo is currently a proud student at one of the best universities in the whole of Korea! Although we don't get to see each other as often as we did before, when we meet, it feels as if we have been together all the time. It really helps that we're so similar in many ways -- our hobbies, preferences, and interests are practically the same. But even our differences make our relationship more dynamic.

We've been calling each other our 'soul sisters' because it feels like there's a sisterly connection even though we're not blood-related. It's quite funny when we start saying the same thing at the same time or when one person thinks of something and the other one ends up saying it. There's some telepathic connection going on here 😝 And through this trip, I was once again reminded that I feel so comfortable around her because when you're on a trip with someone, you get to see every unaltered part of them, and with Minseo, I realized that our characteristics harmonize well together.

5. Photos of Me (by Minseo)

Did I mention that Minseo is an amazing photographer?! The way she captures the moment on camera is amazing. I'm so grateful that I get to keep a part of our awesome trip in the great photos she took.

I don't have much to say about these, except for the fact that I look so happy and well-rested, thanks to this trip! It really was a great idea for us to do this.

Live in the moment, everyone!

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