On this fine Sunday afternoon, I am getting ready to embark on my mountain of work I have to do before I leave this country. Five final presentations, three finals papers, and four final exams stand between me and Friday, June 21st, the day I leave Korea. Looking back to when I came here in mid-August, I never thought this day would come. The last couple weeks has consisted of me one day being excited to come home, and the next being painfully sad and nervous to leave the place I have called home for almost a year. I have no doubt that I will enjoy my last few weeks here, yet I know they will probably go by faster than any other period this year. With that being said, I still have lots of work to do before I can breathe my sigh of relief. This finals period is going to be a strain on me, but I am confident that I will do well and be satisfied with my work. I am starting to finalize my plans for senior year. First off I got my job back at Brownsworth this summer, so I will be able to make some much needed money. I also got my house finalized for my senior year. There will be eight of us (yes I know, 8 men in one house) but I like and respect every one of these guys and I have no doubt in my mind that it will be a smooth experience. Also I got an internship at the CICE office (the study abroad office) helping fellow students begin their study abroad experience and being able to help the International office. I am very excited for this opportunity and look forward to the rewarding memories in my future. Along with that, I am working in the history department (basically a teaching assistant) where I will be able to learn more about what being a history professor is all about and making some much needed cash. Basically my senior year will be very busy but I am super excited to get back on the hill and enjoy my last year of undergrad. Wow.
Quick update on the past two months since I last wrote. I guess the biggest thing that has happened to me was that I started talking to this cute Korean girl. Eventually I fell for her and we started dating for a little bit. It was very nice to not only learn more about a side of Korean culture that I never knew about but also to finally open up and like a girl again; something I have not done in a very long time. Unfortunately, out of nowhere, she dumped me. I still do not know the real reason why and probably never will, yet I am grateful for the time we had together and even if I knew the ending beforehand I still would have gone through with it. It was painful at first because I had started to really like this girl, but I know it was for the best because she must not have felt the same way and there was no reason to keep continuing if so. So I went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows within a matter of a day. Luckily, Kessler was coming the very next night and we had a very fun week planned. My school has a festival every year called “AKARAKA” which is basically a huge concert/cheering session. Tuesday and Wednesday consisted of booths and little concert sets around Yonsei campus and we participated in all the festivities. On Thursday night the actual concert happened. It included many different K-POP bands, most of the likes I do not know, and then ending with the actual Yonsei “AKARAKA” team singing the school songs. This was an amazing night and probably one of my favorite in my year abroad. I was quickly back to the top of my rollercoaster ride that is my current life.
The following morning we left for Busan. Originally the girl I was seeing was going to come with us, but obviously did not come and probably for the best as I would have been more preoccupied with making her happy rather than making myself happy (uhh relationship Sam…). We had a group of eight riding to Busan on a bus, on a national holiday, on a Friday, thinking we’d be there in the estimated five hours. Once five hours came, we were barely out of Seoul. Everybody seemed to be on the road heading south and in hindsight it was very dumb to think we would be there in five hours. To add insult to injury, the air conditioning was very bad making the ride hot and sweaty. We came up with the motto “The Busuana: Slow and bumpy, hot and sweaty” for our bus adventure to Busan. Eventually we made it and checked into our pension. We were located in a quieter place of Busan, but it was right next to the beach and located among other pensions that were being rented by other Korean college kids. The majority of the weekend was spent on the beach, cooking our own food, partying, and basically enjoying a small spring break. We had a blast meeting other Koreans, playing with fireworks (Roman Candles!) and making home cooked meals that actually turned out very very good. On Sunday we did a little sightseeing: going to the fish market, visiting the shopping district, and visiting the city temple and monuments. On Monday, we left our pension and played another epic game of beach volleyball before departing back to Seoul. It was an amazing trip and I am really glad Jack was able to come. He meshed very well with my friends and I know all of them really liked him as well. He came at the perfect opportunity and made me forget all about the low place I was earlier.
Jack eventually left and is now on his own little traveling adventure (jealous) while I am still stuck doing an immense amount of schoolwork. Still, we have been trying to take advantage of the little time we have left. A couple of buddies of mine and I attempted to go bungee jumping yesterday (Saturday). Unfortunately by the time we got there the place had closed (closed at 5, got there at 4:50…). All was not lost though and we ended up going to an amazing duck barbeque and had one of the best dinners of the semester. Also, the area of Seoul we were in was amazing. It seemed like we were in a different city, more spacious and less chaotic with an abundant amount of trees and parks. It was the first time that I truly considered coming back to Seoul and living here. The place I currently live is fun and all, but it’s very chaotic and I could not live here again unless I was a student. This area of Seoul, however, was much more tranquil and definitely someplace I could come back to live (perhaps teach English…).
The next couple weeks will include lots of school work. Fortunately, I still have a couple fun activities for the weekends to make the next couple weeks not so boring. This upcoming weekend we are going to a Korean-league soccer game. I have gone to a couple baseball games now and they were super fun so I am hoping this will also be just as fun. A week from today I am (tentatively) getting another tattoo. I have wanted to get a tattoo in Korea for a while now, symbolizing my trip for me. Right now I am planning to get a Koi fish, the Asian symbol for courage, on my chest/shoulder area with the words 용기 (courage). However I am not too positive if I am going to get it based on the $$$$ and if he will draw it up the way I want it to look. I will know next Sunday if I like it or not and potentially might be getting it done! The following week we have Thursday, the 6th, for Korean Memorial Day. We are planning to rent a beach volleyball court near the Han River for the day and enjoy the river and competitive volleyball. That weekend will be the last “free” weekend before finals weekend and we will probably being going out a couple of nights to enjoy the amazing Seoul nightlife. The weekend before finals we are planning to give bungee jumping another try and have another great duck barbeque for my last Saturday in Seoul. The last week is finals week and bam, back on a flight to Minnesota. I am getting in around 9 PM CST on Friday, June 21st and my first American meal will be the wonderful establishment of Chipotle! I miss you and I am excited to see all of you guys soon! Enjoy the first couple weeks of summer and I will be back soon. I am planning right now to write a final blog before leaving, but if I get too caught up with school work I will probably skip that. I hope you guys have enjoyed reading about my travels and I will try my best to not be that guy that starts every conversation with “In Korea….” because I know how old that can quickly get. If you have any questions related to Korea or study abroad or traveling in Asia in general, do not hesitate to ask and I will give you my opinion. With that being said, of course I will have some interesting stories for you guys to hear about ;). More than anything I am excited to hear all about how your guy’s lives have been the past year and catch up.
Miss you and talk to you soon!