I knew we were nearing our destination as I felt the other passengers stir slowly in their seats. I kept my eyes closed but I couldn’t help but take a peek. I opened one eye and saw that the others were dashing to the lavatories for a quick respite before the buzz of deplaning officially started. The captain was already speaking to the cabin crew about getting ready for our arrival. It was dawn when our plane arrived in Incheon International Airport after a dreamy four hour flight from Manila. When I looked at the window, I couldn’t see anything. It was still dark then. But a heavy feeling at the pit of my stomach confirmed that we were already breathing Korea’s cool air.
After sometime, our plane landed smoothly (the pilot was really good) and chugged quietly along the runway. From afar, I can see how vast that airport was (and silently cursed at how poor our very own was). I watched as the sun’s first rays tried to flee from the still darkened horizon. The sun soon slowly rose. It was time for us to come down to the terminal.
My friend and I groggily stood from our seats and squeezed our way through the throng of sleepy passengers. After securing our luggages, we proceeded to the immigration and instantly felt the cold breeze. I thought to myself why would they turn on the air-conditioning at such a high temperature when it was almost winter. But the Korean guy we met on board said that it was not the air-conditioning system. So yeah, I discovered right then and there how cold winter can be.
We spent a total of ten days in the country. Long enough to fall in love but still too short to fully discover all of its beauty. No one told me how romantic autumn in Korea can get. As we explored the city, my eyes couldn’t stop absorbing the jumble of lights. Its trees were bursting with different shades of yellow, orange and red. It reminded me of love. Fiery and passionate yet soulful and kind. Those slowly falling leaves. The cool minty air. It was cold. And the thought of holding someones else’s hand never failed to pop up in my head every now and then.
Around 30 years ago, just like any young girl my age, I dreamed of becoming a real life princess. Growing up watching Disney movies and reading up on fairy tales gave me this beautiful picture of pretty princesses living in castles. However, I’ve always dreamed of realizing that aspiration in Europe but that is still a faraway dream.
But Korea, once again, surprised me with her enormous, wide palaces. I donned on the cheapest Hanbok for rent and lightly felt the silky fabric with my fingers. I was smiling silly when my friend and I entered the palace gates. I was happy. And felt like a kid. I twirled round and round and swirled while I watched my skirt ballooned. I felt beautiful. That wasn’t too much right?
Autumn in Korea awakened the romantic in me. That passionate and soulful girl. There’s something about this season that can not be compared with the others. Summer can be too hot. Winter can be cold and harsh while Spring is on the ends. But Autumn, for me, is just perfect. It has this calming effect, almost spiritual and has its way of gently touching my heart.
I have always been a fan of flowers. I remember blushing when someone gave me red roses years ago. And I believe that women should always be given these beautiful mementos of nature even when there’s no special occasion. Women, I believe, are special. And they grow more beautiful when loved and treated the right way. Just like flowers, they bloom and spread their beauty when taken care of correctly.
Visiting Garden of the Morning Calm gave me the opportunity to see vast fields of different kinds of flowers. I was tempted to pick one but didn’t have the heart to disturb their perfect existence. But I just let myself be content on admiring them from afar.
I am not a super fan of Korean Dramas. But my friend who traveled with me was. We searched for this place where she said the Goblin and the character of the lead actress first met. I haven’t watched the series yet but looking up its quotable quotes was more than enough to pique my curiosity.
I promised myself to travel again to Korea in Autumn. Or perhaps in early Winter. It may be with someone but I prefer going solo this time. I will never forget this travel. This awesome country. Its delicious food and kind people.