Yea, I know. I’m extremely late with this post. But when we got back, things were a bit hectic at work.
As we approach our holiday vacation this weekend (for 3 WEEKS!!!), I’m reflecting on Thanksgiving. Moreso, trying not to have a repeat of what a disaster it was.
I know, according to my Facebook and Instagram feeds, you would never know. But the first 24 hours in Seoul were a bit crazy.
Let me fill you in:
First let me say, I’m used to American banks and the conveinece of letting them know when you will be out of the country, and your bank card working when you are abroad. Rarely do I withdraw large sums of money before leaving, so I didn’t think that my Japanese debit card connected to my Japanese bank account wouldn’t work. But. The next morning when I got up bright and early in freezing weather to take money out of the ATM, it didn’t.
So, here I am, stranded in Seoul, South Korea until Monday (it was only Friday) with only about $30 to my name in South Korean won, scrambling to figure out a way to get cash. I did have my CapitalOne 360 card on me, but someone intentionally forgot the PIN to keep her from taking too much money out. But that same someone forgot to write the pin down some place in case of emergency. So I stood at the ATM trying to guess the code until the ATM would no longer allow me to guess. I’m just glad they didn’t decide to keep the card.
Long story short, I created a PIN on my Barclays card and withdrew enough money to get us through the weekend (at an extremely high interest rate) and we made it work.
Now. I do take full responsibility for this mishap. While in Haneda Airport, I exchanged the yen I had in my wallet for the taxi to the hotel. Looking at the ATM, I wondered to myself if I should take more out before boarding. I chose not to and stayed seated in my semi-comfortable seat at the gate until they called us to board.
No, really. I looked at it and thought about walking the 50 feet to it to take more money out. But I was tired and had a really hard week at work and I was rushing to the airport because my boss tried to have a meeting at 4:20 when I needed to be out of the building to catch my 7:10 flight. Anywhoo…it was my fault. I own it. But I didn’t like it.
Money issues aside, the trip wasn’t the best of the best. First of all, it was FREEZING! We weren’t ready. We bought hats and gloves and thankfully, I had the forethought to pack a scarf. While it was 60 degrees in Tokyo, it was 30 in Seoul. Not funny.
The one day we thought about heading to see Gyongbokgung Palace, it snowed. So we opted to visit the Trick Eye Museum and stuff our faces with street food on the way home. For me, this was the highlight of the trip. This was the day we were able to relax and I wasn’t nearly as stressed about the money issues. The food was amazing and we could just be the goof balls we naturally are. It was nice.
All in all, it was a good weekend. Not the best, but it was good to get away from Tokyo for a bit.
I will say, it was a tad bittersweet, our first holiday away from the states. We don’t ever make it home for Thanksgiving, but something about being so far away made me want to be home even more. Althought it was great to eat bulgogi, udon, and hotteok that weekend, nothing beats turkey and cornbread dressing on the last Thursday in November.
One thing that weekend taught me is that I have to learn how to make new traditions with the boy. We won’t make it home for Christmas or New Years either, so we will be spending that time in Thailand. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with him during that time. And finding a beach.
The other thing that weekend taught me was to make sure I have my money right before leaving. I need to get better with managing my money anyway, but this trip forced me to plan and prepare more than I usually do. This next trip will be for three weeks and I can’t risk being stranded in another country for that long with no money. Lesson learned.
Now, off to daydream about that beautiful saltwater breeze.