Three weeks ago today I left the states unsure as to what was to come. I will never forget the feeling I had in my stomach when the plane’s wheels tucked in after take off.
“So I’m actually doing this,” I thought.
I was in a daze the majority of the plane ride. Each time I went to the bathroom, the majority of the Korean passengers stared at me – something I’ve gotten used to happening on a daily basis. Not knowing how to fully communicate with the flight attendants was a small challenge, but was also something I knew was inevitable. Throughout the 13 hour flight, I slept, read and watched a number of movies. Do not waste your time seeing The Internship starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson – it was mediocre at best.
I dozed off for a bit shortly before the pilot announced that we were landing soon. The guy next to me put his window up, and I was in awe of the beauty I saw. The mountains were breathtaking. It finally hit me: holy shit, I’m in Korea. I found my way to the luggage terminal, made it through customs, and looked for my name on a sign. I located the man, who did not speak English, and we spent about an hour driving me to a motel my school reserved for me. I slept the majority of the way, but I remember looking around and still being amazed with myself that I actually did it.
My motel room wasn’t going to be available right away, so three of my coworkers met me for dinner. I had my first soondubu jjigae, also known as tofu soup, and got to know them a bit better. They’re so awesome! They’ve been so welcoming and helpful these past few weeks – it’s definitely made the adjustment easier. They showed me frequently visited spots that night (i.e. Grocery store, bank, work) but I was still very confused by my surroundings.
I’m happy to say that three weeks later I am quite familiar with this little neighborhood. Since I moved here right before a break, nearly all of my coworkers are spending the holidays in the Phillipines. While slightly jealous of their fruity cocktail consumption and beach lounging, I’ve used this time to get acclimated with my surroundings and do my own thing. I was able to spend time with three of my guy friends from my TEFL course recently, which was quite awesome! It was neat to see familiar faces halfway across the world.
Well, that’s it for now. I’m going to leave with a quote that has resonated with me the past week or so.
“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the most pleasantest sensations in the world.” ~ Freya Stark