My last days in Korea (AKA: the rollcall)

1370850115487Spoiler pic from upcoming post~

So, evidently I’m going to work from the last post backwards until I’m all caught up again.  We’ve already talked about my landing; it’s time to talk about my final days in Korea!

The Posty Song for this post is one of the last songs I heard before leaving Korea.  It is SG Wannabe’s ‘Lalala’.  The chorus of this song just makes my day and makes me want to bounce around.

Leaving Korea was a devastatingly hard thing to do.  Saying good-bye is never easy, especially with all the great friends I made in Korea.  My last week was essentially a blur of meeting up with people and getting in my final hang outs.  I don’t think I ate a meal at home (save breakfast) a single time in the last 2 weeks.

296171_672772716081570_315937252_nPicture courtesy of my friend Karin (the pretty girl with the hearts over her face ^^)

1370615685146Sam and I…’Sam x 2′ if you will ^^

I had a goodbye supper on 7th where many of my foreigner friends came (Andrea, Raquel, Patricia, Kris, Doa, Karin, Angelica, and Sheetal…with Samuel showing up later).  We spent time in 홍대 (Hongdae), ate some chicken, watched the live performances in the “Hongdae Park”, and spent some time in a roof top lounge before we all walked back home.

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1370993443250Saying ‘Good-bye’ to my supper friends.

I was lucky enough to get one last supper in with 지희 (Ji-hee) and 희연 (Hee-yeon).  Ji-hee also went with me after to the 반포대교 (banpo daekyo – Banpo Bridge); which I had been trying to get to ever since the weather got nicer!  I’m afraid I got a bit teary saying goodbye.

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My friend Xuan Rong from my first semester at 서강 대학교 (sogang daehakgyo – Sogang University) had recently moved back to Seoul from Singapore with his wife and I was so happy that they were able to make some time to meet up with me.  We went to a 갈비식당 (kalbi shikdang – beef ribs restaurant) in 인사동 (Insadong) and after to the Osulluc(DC) Tea House which specializes in tea from 저주도섬 (jejudo seom – Jeju Island).  Xuan Rong was a great friend and his wife was an absolute sweetheart.  One of his coworkers Nathaniel had just arrived in Korea as well so he joined us I got to meet another wonderful person from Singapore.

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재우 (Jae-woo) and I met one last time for 냉면 (naengmyeon – ice-cold noodles) and 빙수 (bingsu – shaved milk ice), which was wonderful because that was yet another one of those dreadful +35 days of weather.  We tried walking around a bit, but it ended up getting too hot and we would duck into every shop along the way.  I’ll never understand how the Koreans were still walking around in long pants and long shirts while I was dying in my airy dress!

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On my second last day in the city, 형전 (Hyeong-jeon) and I got to meet again before I left, which was quite lucky!  She had been very busy the weeks previously and I was afraid I would leave without getting to say good-bye.  We went to a coffee shop in 이대 (Edae) where I had a blueberry ginger ice tea and we shared a banana caramel waffle.    I feel now that the more I write this post, the more it is a diary of what I ate the last week of my time 😀

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1370953444650From left to right: Doa, Sayaka, me, Yuka, and Patricia

Later the same day, I met some of my classmates for one last lunch.  Patricia, Jean-François, Doa, Sayaka, and Yuka were all able to come and meet me.  We darted off to one of my favourite restaurants in the city… for 순두부찌개!!! (sundubu jjigae – soft tofu stew).  I knew the guy who used to recognize me and know my order wasn’t going to be there, but I still wanted to make the wonderful soup that you crack a raw egg into, one of my my last meals ^^  After lunch Patricia and I got our nails done and watched an episode of ‘Shut Up Flower Boy Band’.

2013-06-11 21.08.14One last picture on Sogang Campus. I stole a very similar picture on the second post I ever wrote~

After that I was off again to add to my busy day.  I met 현진 (Hyeon-jin) at the gates of Sogang and we walked off to the Megabox in between 신촌 (Shinchon) and EdaeHyeon-jin bought the tickets and I bought us the popcorn and drinks (I didn’t think it would bother me, but I recently went to the movies here in Canada and I was actually sad to see that caramel popcorn wasn’t an option!).  What movie were we going to?  Why none other than: ‘은밀하게 위대하게’ (eunmilhagae euidaehagae – Covertly and Greatly).  A movie I had been looking forward to seeing ever since I had first heard about it.  It stars my future husband (he just doesn’t know it yet 😉  ), 김수현 (Kim Su-hyeon).
…..Not to give any spoilers away, but this night marked the end of a very emotional day for me…and by the end of the movie I was a sniffley mess on the way to the elevators.  Hyeon-jin and I reminisced as we walked towards her bus stop and she would gently chide me “울지마” (uljima – Don’t cry.)

2013-06-11 21.28.00It was kind of rainy that night so the place was deserted.  Normally there is always couples walking, people running, and other sorts of people around at any hour of the day.

I ended my day by walking a few laps in the small park/pathway in 대흥 (Daeheung) and double checking that I had everything packed away and ready for tomorrow.

THE BIG DAY!

I started off my final day  by meeting up with my friend Samuel for a cup of tea at Choloris Coffee (he had cinnamon carrot and I had rose lichee…both of which got a positive review on our parts).  It is times like these that I remember that there is very little to do in 서울 (Seoul) in the morning hours.  We met around 9:40am and were not able to find anything opened until at least 10am.  We walked around after our teas and simply chatted until 11:30am when I had to leave and meet Hyeon-jin for the very last time.  If you’re reading this Sam: Next time when it’s less wet, you’re definitely going to have to show me that lookout point in Hongdae!

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Sam and I parted ways outside of the UPLEX where I immediately joined up with Hyeon-jin.  Hyeon-jin and I had made plans for my very last meal in Korea to be with her.  We headed off towards my #1 favourite restaurant that I had eaten at in all of Seoul (and was overjoyed to see that it was open!): 공불 (Kongbul).

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We got what we always did when we went to this restaurant: 오삼공불 (osamkongbul – essentially it’s thinly shaved meat, beansprouts, and a whole delicious raw squid with 고추장 [gochujang – red pepper paste] and they grill it up in front of you 닭갈비-style [dalk galbi – chicken and vegetables with gochujang]).

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It was in the restaurant that Hyeon-jin gave me a going away present.  It held a necklace with the shape of a traditional mask (called a 탈 – tal) that she had bought in 안동 (Andong), a few packages of sweets for the airplane, and notes in Korean from both her and her younger sister 혜진 (Hye-jin).  She told me that her whole family was sad to see me go.  They were all such lovely people.  I’m glad I got to spend so much time with Hyeon-jin and Hye-jin as I did.

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After lunch it was back home for the very last time.  I had the manager of the 고시텔 (goshitel  – guest house) do the one over for my room for the check out, and then my friend Patricia showed up as soon as classes were done to help me move my bags.

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I will forever be eternally grateful to Patricia for not only taking the time to help me move my outrageously heavy bags down the many stairs of both 대흥역 (daeheung yeok – Daehung Station) and 공덕역 (gongdeok yeok – Gongdeok Station), but for also getting on the Airport line and coming with me all the way to the Airport!!  정말 감사합니다!! (jeongmal kamsahabnida – Thank you very much!)  It was the perfect way to end my last few hours.

2013-06-12 14.48.30On the way out…

So….if any of my friends from Seoul stubble across this post, send me a kakao message and say hi! ^^  Missing you guys, hope you’re all doing fantastically!

Till next time!~

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9 thoughts on “My last days in Korea (AKA: the rollcall)

  1. Oh my, leaving… I’m done on Christmas this year and I’m feeling the time shorten. 0.0 I hope your time away has been okay and you’ve adjusted well!

      • Yep! It’ll be a total of 18 months studying Korean, all by myself, since I’m in a rural area. It’s been a trip, to say the least! 🙂

        Did you study Korean? Were you happy with your level when you left?

      • I have to confess to stalking through your blog after I wrote you back. Your area looks incredible! I’m looking for Korean jobs right now. How did you go about finding yours?
        I was studying Korean full time at Sogang University, and I had a hard time with it. It was the first language I’d ever attempted to learn. I came out of it with good ‘baby-level’ Korean understanding, but now that I’ve been back in Canada I feel it slipping away. I try hard to keep using it, but it can be difficult in an area with very few Koreans. I honestly wish I had come home with stronger Korean skills because I’m not a very good solo-studier. I work much better in a structured environment.
        So, what’s next for you? You’ve lived a number of places as well! Going to spend some time back in the USA, or is there a new country on your list? 🙂

      • I went the riskiest route, through ESL job boards and a recruiter haha. But it worked out really well! And that’s what happened to my Spanish when I learned it and then ended up back home, and now it’s in pieces somewhere in the back of my mind. Maybe you could find a Korean friend from the area and hope that she’s really cool too? Haha.

        Oh my, what’s next. Person #2 to ask me that today. I wrote a post about vague plans, and even since then things have changed (I nixed grad school)… so the answer is WHO KNOWS! But definitely Christmas in Pittsburgh, and then somewhere in February. Maybe Mexico. Maybe Germany. Dust hasn’t fallen from recent family changes, so I’m waiting for news from them mostly. We will see!! 🙂

      • Haha, oh trust me! I’ve been slowly, but surely infiltrating the community of ~200 Koreans in my city. They like to hide, but I’m finding them! 😉 My initial plan when I first arrived home was to go to the university and start posting signs that said ‘Are you Korea? Let’s be friends!’. Sadly, that idea was vetoed by everyone with a sane mind ^^ Instead I made a language exchange request via kijiji (kind of like craigstlist) and have managed to meet some non-terrifying people ^^

        Going via an ESL board is terrifying. You never know what you’re going to get. The thought of working in a rural location is so intriguing for me! I very rarely got to leave Seoul. It would be such a different experience.

  2. It’s a shame I never met you in Korea.
    I just stumbled upon your blog – how wonderful you are!

    I’d also like to ask you out on a date, if you ever did return 😀

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