Time indeed went very fast on this trip. A few weeks before returning to New Zealand, I visited Gyeongbokgung Palace with another friend from Auckland. Surprisingly, the tour took shorter than we expected. There were two exits, both near a different tourist attraction. One was right next to the National Folk Museum and the other was near Cheong Wa Dae, the former presidential palace. Although neither was part of our plans before, we decided to visit the National Folk Museum first and then Cheong Wa Dae if there was time.
To my surprise, the museum was much larger than what I expected. Despite only having one floor, there were a lot of different exhibitions that showed the lives of ordinary Korean people such as the life of a Korean person, what Korean people do in each season, and, most memorably, a bird fortune-telling simulator. I tried the simulator and the bird said that I will live a long and healthy life. Great!
The route to Cheong Wa Dae was slightly confusing and we ended up arriving at a side gate. We went in and found that there was a long way inside. After climbing up some stairs, we arrived at a platform. There was a way that would lead onto the hills, and another way that would lead to the palace itself. Arriving near the palace, we discovered that online reservations were required. Oh well, it wasn’t part of our plan anyways and surely I will come back again to visit it.
Afterwards, we went back to Korea University, which my friend was keen to have a look around. I was also keen to spend more time at the campus too as I was about to leave soon. I also pretended to be a KU law student in front of the Faculty of Law.
The final day of class at Korea University came soon after my visit to Gyeongbokgung. We got our results back right at the start and I was quite pleased to see my grades. Afterwards, we wrote farewell words to each other, played some fun little games and had our counselling session (discussion on how we did in the exam and our plans after completing this level) with our teacher. Since I was the second last person to do my speaking test, I became the second person to finish my counselling session. I could only quietly wave to my classmates to say bye as others were still having their counselling sessions. I then went to the unistore and bought some more souvenirs before going home.
The next day was the day to come home. I travelled with Wendy and Miki by taxi while others took the train. Despite getting stuck in a slight traffic jam, we arrived at the airport on time. Checking in was slightly confusing because unlike most airports, which combine checking in (getting the boarding pass) and luggage check in, Incheon Airport separated the two processes. Wendy and Miki checked in online and went straight to check in their luggages. I managed to check in on the machine but had to wait in a long line to get my boarding pass because there was only one counter nearby. But the great thing came later: I could self-check in my luggage because I only had one suitcase and the line for self-check in was much shorter than the service counters. So I managed to finish the process pretty much the same time as Wendy and Miki. The boarding gate was also not too hard to find and the flight was not delayed like the last one. The flight was again very comfortable with great food and great service. I watched four films, didn’t sleep much and arrived back in Auckland the next morning! Great to be back.