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My Dream Trip to Seoul – The Prep Phase

Dream Tour


One of the most anticipated trips for me is my dream trip to Seoul in South Korea. I have already gone through endless blogs, vlogs and checklists collecting information. I even came to know of this group in Facebook called “Indians in Korea” who are a really helpful group of Indians answering all your doubts about Korea. I immediately joined it to have all my curiosity quenched. All this hard work is just for one reason … my love for Korean Dramas and EXO.

We haven’t travelled for a while and my husband Akash is about to complete his MBA in the second week of March so he readily agreed to take me to Seoul for a vacation.According to my husband’s schedule, we decided March last week (23rd – 31st Match)will be the best time for us to travel to Seoul.Now you can’t just decide going to Seoul just like that. South Korea needs Indians to have visa before entering their country. When I called up the Consulate General of Korea in Mumbai, they kindly gave me this url to let me know all that I need to have my visa for South Korea.

http://ind-mumbai.mofat.go.kr/english/as/ind-mumbai/main/index.jsp

The primary things you would need for tourist visa according to this website are

  1. Your Passport
  2. Your Visa Application Form.
  3. 3.5 cm * 4.5 cm photograph of yours with a white background to be pasted in the form. (Don’t wear white clothes while taking the photo).
  4. Your Tour Itinerary.
  5. Ticket Itinerary.
  6. Cover letter explaining the purpose, duration and
  7. Your local address proof (Since I stay in Mumbai but my passport is from Kolkata they needed something to prove that I live in Mumbai. I had luckily taken the photo copy of my rent agreement with me which I submitted as proof.)
  8. Your 6 months bank statement with bank seal.
  9. Your last one year Income tax return form.
  10. Your leave letter from your organisation (if you are working like me. )

Tickets


Having read all this we decided to book our tickets first. After so much deliberation about the route and a lot of help from my friend Ankit from Korea, Akash and I decided to go to Incheon Seoul via Singapore from Mumbai. This route off course takes a lot of time and I was not particularly happy about it for the fact that it was non refundable. This was enough to give me nightmares for a few nights until Ankit convinced me to take this route as flights from China were cheap but very unreliable and Singapore airport is one of the best airports in the world.I was even contemplating of going to Delhi and take a direct flight to Incheon. Yes there is one which belongs to Air India. But again I don’t have full faith on Air India in terms of punctuality. There is also a direct flight from Mumbai which is run by the Korean Air but it’s pretty expensive.  Since we were getting late and prices were shooting up, I finally gave in to my husband Akash’s decision to fly via Singapore.

AirBnb


Having booked our flights we then spent or I would say wasted again weeks deciding on whether we would be staying in AirBnB or hotel.I knew for a fact that I wanted to stay in Myeongdong which is at the heart of seoul and everything is about half an hour away from this place. Obviously the long line of streets bedazzled with lots of lights and street food wouldn’t let me choose any other place in Seoul. Initially I wanted to visit Jeju as well for 1 & 1/2 days but again Gimpo to Jeju flights were getting expensive and I being alone in making all the itinerary I finally dropped the plan. But Jeju is really beautiful and I would love to go to Jeju one day. Coming back to the topic again while I was dillydallying booking hotel or AirBnb most of the pretty rooms were booked. Finally in Chungmuro which is just 10 mins away from the main shopping street of Myeongdong, I found the cozy Sienna’s Place which Akash booked right away without giving me more time to waste contemplating.

This is the first time we will be trying AirBnb  and we will be staying here https://www.airbnb.co.in/rooms/2063297 . Our host Sienna is very cordial and she had immediately sent us detailed information about how to reach her apartment from Incheon Airport through airport limousine bus or Seoul Subway.

Visa


After getting our tickets and airbnb done we next moved to getting the Korean Visa. As I already mentioned the list of things you would need to apply for the visa of the Republic of Korea. I got 6 months printed out and went to bank to get a seal. You can get the print out from bank itself. Then last one year’s ITR. Also one thing important is your employment letter or leave letter.I chose the latter which I got from my company’s internal site.You must check whether the letter has your office address and also the Company letter head.

I also have written down a rough itinerary which I will link here. Though I plan to visit many places related to my favourite kDramas I refrained from mentioning them in my itinerary that submitted in the Consulate lest they may laugh at me.

Now that I have completed all my formalities, I am eagerly waiting for my trip to Seoul , South Korea. Wish me luck.

My Happily Ever After

When you grow up reading lots of fairy tale chances are high that you will turn out to be a hopeless romantic. So here am I, eternally smitten by the love bug and constantly waiting for my “Happily Ever After”. So now how do you attain your “Happily Ever After”?

In my case there are many potential instances when I believed I had reached my “happily ever after” only to realise that I am still on my way. Was it when my the then boyfriend (currently my husband) Akash said he has fallen in love with me ? It was exactly what I wanted to hear having myself fallen head over heels in love with him. In fairy tales this was exactly where the story ended and I was fooled in to believing “That’s it … I have got my happy ending as well.” But it seemed fate had some other plans for me and we ended up breaking up just a week before we could celebrate our first anniversary.

I cried buckets and hated everything romantic around me. I became a sorry figure and realised I hadn’t yet reached my “Happily Ever After”. Now after a few months Akash came back to me again and thus started our second innings. Now this time around I became cautious and though I was on cloud 9, I didn’t think it was my “Happily Ever After” yet. This is how we spent 9 long years together secretly waiting for my “Happily Ever After”. In between we fought bitterly , stopped talking to each other then again came back.

In the whole process I carefully nurtured my dream of achieving “Happily Ever After”. I would often eat up Akash’s head saying how long will it take for us to be there? Our parents finally met and decided on our wedding date. Was I close to my happy ending? I waited with bated breath when I signed my marriage registry papers. Finally we became ours legally on this date 3 years ago. 5 months later we got got married socially. But we were far from our “Happily Ever After”.

For one whole year we stayed apart as Akash wasn’t able to get a transfer to Mumbai and I couldn’t go to Jamnagar leaving everything behind. While I waited for Akash’s transfer my dream of our happy ending seemed bleak as we were not getting any ray of light. Finally Akash got his transfer and so did I. While I was on my flight to Mumbai from Kolkata I finally thought I have attained my “Happily Ever After”. I stepped into Mumbai to begin a new chapter of my life and thus ended my story.

But wait a minute was it really my “Happily Ever After”? Actually our story just started. The little guy with twinkle in the eyes who managed to steal my heart without doing anything is now my husband and that we were staying together under one roof was actually unreal for me. It took me a couple of early mornings when I would wake up and find him sleeping beside me to realise that we were really together now. The feeling of happy ending was finally sinking in.  Gone were those days when I would just be content by holding his hands and taking a stroll on those bustling roads. Now we lived together and not only lived but we shared a life together helping each other in household chores , handling crazy office schedules to take out some time for each other, having dinner together after making it together.

Our late night food cravings , constant struggle to keep the house liveable, my weird recipes, his constructive criticism – Life couldn’t be happier. It was utter relief when your husband made Khichdi  after you had come home dog tired both emotionally and physically drained. Those weekends seemed to be the happiest times when I could simply toss and turn in the bed doing absolutely nothing and having takeout biriyani in lunch thereafter realising the huge calorie content and making dinner in the evenings.

While all this happened my husband expressed his desire to study further and started preparing for his GMAT exam. To study is one thing and to see somebody studying with their heart and soul to fulfil their dream is another thing. As I witnessed my husband studying I could sense the outcome as well. He was preparing for one year MBA which meant we would again be separated for another year.

Now where did my “Happily Ever After” go ? As I saw my husband coming back from his MBA interview I was torn apart between what to pray to God? Should I pray that he succeed and follow his dream or should he just stay with me happily just like the way we did ? I decided not to pray at all leaving it to God to decide.

So God decided that I need to renew my quest for attaining my “Happily Ever After “. While I was bidding good bye to my husband I felt like my heart would explode. But my heart didn’t explode as my tears defused the bomb.

Now that I am waiting for my husband to come back I find solace in the memories that we created together. The late night movies , our constant bickering , our rented apartment , his pillow , his side of the bed , his shirts and t-shirts everything just reminds me of him.

I understood that “Happily Ever After” is not one thing. Its actually those times when he would come running to meet me after a long time, his taking a stand for me when I desperately needed someone by my side. It was when he would console me that its just a matter of time that we again found our marital bliss. It was when he would let me sleep endlessly in the weekends not just for me but so that I don’t nag him to clean the house. It was when his face would light up seeing me after a long day. It was when he would give me a reassuring hug that everything would fall into places. It is when despite of hating him so much I would hopelessly fall in love with him  again.

Wasn’t it happiness that I felt when my husband ran to catch my office bus so that I wouldn’t miss it or when his egg curry tasted better than mine after learning how to cook from me?

I know when he reads it there will be more grammatical mistakes to discuss than wishful thinking. But isn’t it why I love him so much ? He is fussily fuss free if you know what I mean.

So Mr Basu , here’s Cheers to our 3 years of being legally bound to each other. Don’t think I won’t complain any more. I plan to enjoy my journey to the “Happily Ever After” while eating your head on the way.