We were particularly excited to go on this trip, and why not? It is definitely one of the top places to visit. I was not a fan of Korean thingies but my friends Jing Lejano and Caths Deen like their cute K-Pop bands and dramatic Koreanovelas as well as their fun and wistful fashion.

But before we even got on the plane, there was a lot of planning and packing and organizing to be done. You see, when you’re going on a trip to a foreign country with four children, you want to avoid all possible sources of stress. And so, I have a plan for everything. I figured out how many items of clothing we’ll need from leggings and pants to shirts and jackets. I made sure that they were “going out” clothes, something we can wear whether we’re out walking on the park or eating at a fancy restaurant.

I also made a shopping list: bags and backpacks, clothes and candy, and gifts for friends and colleagues. Of course, what I wrote and what we actually bought are two different things. For starters, we ended up buying the newest version of PSP because it was really cheap! More on that later!

Because our flight was for 12 midnight, I was relaxed as we went to the check-in counter. Unfortunately, a very long line of travelers greeted us. In fact, it took a long time before we finally found the end of the line. Not the way to start our adventure, I thought.

What to do? I went to the counter, informed the staff of the very long line, and asked if it would be possible for them to open another counter? Miracle of miracles, they did. And so from being the 200th in a long line, we got to be the first in the new line. Hurray!

I was excited to see Seoul’s Incheon Airport, which is said to be the second most efficient airport in the world (It was actually the first for the past five years). I was also looking forward to visiting Yongsan, the largest electronic market in the world, and Seoul’s large malls, which are open 24 hours. What I didn’t expect was that Korea would have super nice parks and museums.

My Korean friends said that the Internet in Korea is lightning fast and this we experienced at Incheon Airport. Would you believe that we were able to get out of the airport in 15 minutes? That included exchanging my American dollars to Korean won. That was really efficient. For awhile there, I got to be a won millionaire. (1 US dollar equals 1000 won).

I read that Seoul, the capital of Korea, is the second largest metropolis area in the world. Korea’s official Web site says that there is much traffic and pollution in Seoul—after all, 25 million people live there. I expected the worst but the traffic and pollution there is just like that in Metro Manila, so we didn’t mind. In fact, my kids and I enjoyed walking their sidewalks; they were not only wide, they were also landscaped.

We arrived at Seoul at five in the morning. We thought that it would be best that we all get some sleep first, the better to explore this vibrant city! Sadly, we were not able to sleep a wink, we were too excited!

[To be continued]