Last month, for Eid Al-Adha, I traveled to Taiwan, the Philippines and Korea without Jose. He told me he wanted to stay here to work. I didn’t want to stay so I decided I was going to be brave and travel with Jasmine on my own.
I only had a little over two weeks but I had important reasons for planning to go to 3 countries.
Taiwan-see family and friends, do paperwork.
Philippines-comfort my best friend whose mom had just passed away and help her celebrate her birthday.
Korea-I wanted to take my mom somewhere while she was still (relatively) healthy. Seeing the parents of those close to me pass away made me realize that the clock is ticking. I wanted to take my mom somewhere she’d never been before so I thought Korea was a good choice. That and I wanted to eat LOTS of Korean food.
I made sure to fit everything into one suitcase so that I would only need to bring that and a stroller. It was alright going to Taiwan because I had a lot of energy and excitement at the start of my holiday. Towards the end though I was telling myself (and anyone who would listen) that this was a crazy idea. To make things worse Jasmine got really sick while we were in Korea. She lost her voice and she couldn’t sleep from all her coughing. It kind of destroyed our vacation as I was too anxious and worried to really enjoy the rest of the trip.
Now that we are back in KAUST, I really appreciate the fact that everything is slow-paced and predictable and not a flurry of activity like in my holiday. To be honest, I needed a holiday from my holiday.
It wasn’t all bad though. I was so happy to see family and friends. I was really touched by all the help, the visits and the gifts that we received. I have the best family and friends in the world!
It was also nice to visit a different country. Someone had told me that in Korea you can survive on just speaking Chinese and English. It was pretty much true. Oh and Conan inspired me to go to a jimjilbang (Korean spa) because of his hilarious video. I found one near our hotel which was quite convenient. You can soak in the hot pools, sit in a hot sauna and then lay on a pink massage table to get a full body scrub and facial by an old lady in a bikini. My mom and I got to enjoy the jimjilbang on different days as I went on the first night when Jasmine was sleeping and my mom stayed in the hotel with her. The second night I stayed and she went. It’s not easy traveling with a little kid!
It’s worth noting that all the Airbnbs I asked in the Insadong area could not provide me with a cot for Jasmine so it was a big problem for me. It made me feel like Airbnbs in Seoul are not family friendly (although to be honest I only inquired in that particular area because I wanted to be central). In the end we went with a hotel that had a cot but lights out for her meant lights out for us too