after: the meaning of it all

months have gone by, and I think I left a chuck of my heart and my mind back at the trip.  at first, it almost felt like a reverse culture shock to come back home to the small city of golden and try to adjust back to normal life again. the convenience stores shelves are not filled with onigiri or kimchi stews that are quick to grab, actually good for you, and delicious like in seoul;  rather eating anything from the gas station aisles in the u.s might give you awful food poisoning. everything closes way earlier in golden compared to bangkok; after 8 pm it's a ghost town here. regardless, there are some things i was super excited for, like my deathly craving of chipotle (as mentioned in the last blog) and seeing my family of course. i still miss the new found independence and sense of adventure i experienced while traveling in asia, but by leaning into this project and sharing the stories of my travel, i have found small ways to relive those feelings and not forget them. which is wh

no.4: The bittersweet ending

  Hello from 11277 m in the sky! I‘m writing this blog on my flight from Hong Kong to Vancouver, the middle ground layovers for me to get home. By the time this is published, I will be on the western hemisphere again, leaving my amazing time in Asia. It is truly a bittersweet ending.   Regardless of my deep sadness that my trip is over, and the overwhelming urge to apply for engineering jobs and grad school in Asia (which I think I will), I have had an amazing time and am excited to return home to Colorado. I miss my family and friends, and I also really miss Chipotle, which will in fact be my first stop when I land. Although this blog will be talking about the last week I had on my trip, it is nowhere near the finale for this blog. I will be publishing more posts as I start to dissect my research, translate the vendor interviews and construct the cook book; but for the time being, I will talk about the final week I had in Thailand. Friday: Where I left you last week in suspense! What

no.3: switching timezones and learning lessons...the hard way

 Hello from Bangkok!  We swapped out our view of tall buildings and gloomy winter weather in the Gangnam neighborhood for a sunny view and greenery outside our Sathon apartment. One of the largest shocks we have had so far was how unfamiliar we were with Thai culture and the people here. Korea felt like a cheat code since Alysa is Korean and we both grew up around Korean culture which made us feel more comfortable in Seoul; in Bangkok however, we are as tourist confused as it gets. Regardless, we have still had an amazing time and cannot wait to do more. I will dive into the week's breakdown before going over some of our "memorable" moments here in Bangkok.  Friday: This is where we left off after our 5 am train ride from Busan and pure exhaustion. We finally tried Korean pizza which was so delicious! I got a half mushroom truffle and half cheesy potatoes pizza and it truly healed me after a long travel day. We decided to unwind from our trip by going to Itaewon where we

no.2: food is a language, and I speak it better than Korean

Time has felt unreal the past two weeks and I haven't exactly been keeping track of the dates, so it's hard to believe that writing this now, it is one of my last days in South Korea. The past two and a half weeks have created such a valuable experience for me, beyond just exploring my research of street food. By spreading out my trip to South Korea I've been able to experience this modern society in more than just a touristy sense, but also observe how Koreans go about their regular days. By following this research I have also met some amazing people and created some unforgettable experiences. I now have contacts from Korean friends I made struggling to order at a restaurant, or reaching for the same item in a clothing store who have said they would welcome me again with open arms on my next visit to Korea. Realistically it has not been all utopia either and I have definitely encountered some struggles as well with the language barrier, some foreigner discrimination and ba

no.1: first week in Seoul

Time goes by fast, and with that said, I have been in Seoul for a week.  Truthfully I thought I would have a hard time prioritizing my research in the first week due to all the interesting things to do in the city distracting me, yet it turns out I'm thinking about my research and finding concepts that relate to it in everything I have done. Going out in this past week and watching people interact with food in restaurants, cafes and street markets has provided valuable insight into the merit of food in the Korean culture.   Frankly when you plan an international trip without an itinerary, the days can look a little random. Alysa and I would wake up with one desired destination in mind, and the rest of the time walk around until something caught our eye. While struggling to figure out the subway system, this method was actually pretty helpful because whenever we took the wrong train, which was often, we would end up trying to figure out things to do in the accidental arrival area. W