Work in Progress

“In the best travel, disconnection is a necessity. Concentrate on where you are; do no back-home business; take no assignments; remain incommunicado; be scarce. It is a good thing that people don’t know where you are or how to find you. Keep in mind the country you are in. That’s the theory.”
–Paul Theroux

A human who loves the world, finds beauty in the unknown, and can't keep her feet on the ground. I like finding unique (and cheap) ways of making my way around the globe. Interacting with people while living, learning, and loving the culture I'm surrounded by.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Another Ending

Well, that escalated quickly. The last 6 weeks of my time in Korea were a whirlwind of... everything. Now, here I am. With only one more day left of work. Only 4 more days in Korea. One more Monday, a hundred more goodbyes.

So, I had this list of practically a million things I wanted to do before I left Korea. Places I wanted to go, things I wanted to experience. At first, it was daunting. The pressure of time started creeping up on me. Then I realized, as I have time and time before, that I can't do everything. I did, however, try to squeeze in as much as possible. Having my friend here helped. I had to be a good host... which entails getting out of the house more than I would have otherwise.

We hiked mountains, went to jimjilbangs, and visited new places. I ate more than enough Korean food, and indulged in more soju than necessary. 

My last few weeks were colored beautifully by faces of friends and students. I made it a point to enjoy every last second of my job. To really appreciate how great I've had it the last two years. I was lucky enough to develop some really awesome relationships with my students. I'm currently involved in several group chats, where they keep me updated on their new classes and I keep them updated on my current position in the world. 

I was really thankful for my last evening in my neighborhood. The weekend prior was tough. I wasn't able to do half the things I wanted to; tying up loose ends. I was rushing to write "Thank You" cards, clean my apartment, and pack up a box to send home and my backpack to travel with. My last day of work was filled with snacks and photo shoots. I had to run home after to meet a friend, and to convince her to take all of the left over things that I wasn't able to sell. Then, as I was rushing to meet coworkers for a drink... I realized that it was the perfect time to pop into my yoga studio for the last time to extend my gratitude to my instructors for being so kind and accommodating. I missed my last class, and was worried that I wasn't going to have time to say goodbye. They were so excited that I stopped by, and even offered for me to stay for the next class. Which I think they realized I really could have used, considering my frazzled and stressed demeanor. 

Gamcheon Village, Busan

Magkeolli and Pajeon after hiking
I declined and continued my sprint to the coffee shop, until I noticed the lady who has been serving me food for 2 years standing on the side of the street. I was so excited for the chance to say thanks that I didn't even get nervous trying to speak to her in Korean. It was our best conversation yet. I really wanted to let her know that I was leaving, and to let her know much I've appreciated her. I was able to explain than I was not coming back to Korea and that her food was delicious. She asked me why, to which I replied, "I miss my parents." This was all my limited vocabulary would allow. She said, "Why don't they come here?" To which I had no choice but to say, "They don't like Korea." Which isn't entirely true, but I think it got the point across. 

Then, it was time to say goodbye to my coworkers, two of which I have seen almost everyday since arriving in Korea. It was a long and drawn out goodbye, as none of us wanted to get up and actually initiate it. Apparently I've become really good at controlling my emotional switchboard - because I didn't break out into tears during any of my goodbyes (those under the influence of alcohol do not count). I grabbed an overpriced bottle of wine from the market for the last time, only to get home and realized one of my friends had claimed my wine opener as their own. That didn't stop me. I spent the next 20 minutes watching YouTube videos, trying to find a clever way to open it. Instead I just resorted to pushing it through, which ended in a burgundy stained tank top. I stayed up late and enjoyed my last night in my apartment, organizing and packing and appreciating.

 Simple. Exactly the way I needed it to be. 

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