“Do you want more coffee?”

The time was 3AM, and Bri Robertson was with a lab mate at one of the several 24-hour cafes located by Seoul National University. It was only week two, but time had become just a concept when the reality of her project cemented in her mind. However, the laughs shared at those late-night cafes are part of the wonder that Seoul creates.

On Bri’s third weekend in Seoul, to escape from the university, she boarded two subways and a bus to arrive north of Seoul at the foot of the Bukhansan mountain range. Determined to climb the highest peak in Seoul, Bri began her ascent along the busy cemented path. Periodically, the chance to see a temple would arise, and she would break from the trampled path to behold the establishments. From the fog surrounding the temples, cats glared as she investigated the ancient traditions of the Bukhansan temples. After a four-hour ascent, through a climb that felt much like the way Frodo and Sam appeared climbing Mount Doom, Bri arrived at Baegundae: the highest peak in Seoul. With nearly perfect air quality, she could vaguely see the dark storm clouds that hovered over the covert mountains of North Korea.

This began her “Bilbo Baggins”-like quest to conquer the peaks of South Korea, searching for the adventure that lies outside of the mission she is on in the lab. With a fresh determination, Bri spent the following week tirelessly working on the code, successfully completing my first model of the data, which brought about a change in lab attitude as her fellow lab mates started to ask if she could help model their data as well. The lines of code began to read like Iambic Pentameter, and Bri slowly immersed herself in a machine world in which she never anticipated to feel welcomed.