Lunch today was at Shanti #1, a somewhat pricey Indo-Nepalese chain restaurant in the Hongdae part of Seoul (Shanti #2, the sister branch, is located within walking distance of #1). I met two of my former Sookmyung students there—Yeon-ji and Da-jeong, whom I had taught during the latter part of my three years at Sookmyung. Both ladies seemed to have lost their English, alas, as they forced me to speak in Korean pretty much the entire time, except for a few scattered phrases. I had the chance to catch up with my ex-students a bit, to find out what's been going on in their lives since college. I, in turn, told them about my three jobs and about my life inside a shoebox of a yeogwan. Neither young lady had aged, it seemed to me.
The meal itself was quite tasty. Portions were too modest and a bit overpriced, but there was no shortage of flavor. I wouldn't mind going back to Shanti and ordering a bit more next time around, but I'd need to be feeling pretty spendy. As the girls mentioned today, the Hongdae area is overpriced in general, which is somewhat ironic given that it's a university district: such districts are often cheaper than other parts of town so as to attract the large college crowds. But Hongdae has become known as the nightclub/party area, and it's also acquired a rep (justified or not) as something of a foodie district, which is probably why prices are high.
We three promised to meet again soon; the girls said they'd be willing to join me on a Namsan hike. Speaking of which: I'm still sick, so I doubt I'll be going up the mountain today, but I'll do my best to get my steps in on flat ground.