its 4am here in south korea and i am wrapping up my affairs in this country of bibimbop, buddhas and bowling alleys. its 2pm at home now, i am trying to mess up my sleep cycle enough that i wont notice the difference so much. with a little dose of evening caffiene i think i am doing great.
i returned to Wonju today after my personal five-day excursion. it was, frankly, quite liberating. it was so nice to be in charge of my itinerary (and not have to deal with any americans). i was surprised at how easy it really is to navigate the railroad and subways in this country. i think its beneficial to know how to read hangeul letters, i found it a lot easier to get around being able to use the skill but one can get around pretty easily without if they are english speaking. travel here generally feels so safe, even for a single young white female, because the crime rate in this country is so low that i almost always feel comfortable and able to ask anyone for help. i love that.
i went to the DMZ on saturday morning after a ridiculously pleasing blueberry muffin and caramel latte. it was an amazing experiece. the DMZ, that is. i thought the north was more than a little bizarre prior to my visit – but now i am convinced that they are completely wacked. i have photos and intend to post them with a more substantial view on north korea in the near future.
the next day i hung out with my good korean-american friend who is staying here in seoul to study korean and eventually find his real parents. hopefully they dont live on Jeju-do and speak an entirely different dialect…
we had dinner and drinks together along with an extremely hot korean accomplice who was departing for a five-day galavant to california the next morning to visit his girlfriend. he bought about 5lbs of cookies at the market and asked me to bring them to various american friends. of course, i was going to be in seoul for another three days – i ended up renting a locker in the crazy subway station at Myong-dong market. it was actually pretty convenient, if a little spendy (only because i kept forgetting what i needed and having to open it again).
i spent some time with my roommates, shopping and dinner, then went So-youn’s (english-major aquaintance) house at Garrak-shidang where we gorged ourselves on her produce-dealings parents’ aquired varieties of fruits. simply scrumptious evening indeed. we attempted to wake up and watch the france vs korea game, but our attempt was far from the spirit of those 60,000 koreans dressed in red who cheered outside of the city hall from 4am to dawn, and then had to deal with a somewhat unsettling tie of 1 to 1 – we slept through it all.
in the morning we went to Tapgol park where Koreas’ declaration of independence was written and read. then Insadong, to a beautiful tea museum, and to aquire a few gifties for the fam.
our TM met up at Myong-dong for dinner and ice cream one last time, and a photo-shoot. it was sweet. afterwards we went to Yoido and biked along the Han river on tandems while watching the orange sun descend off of the end of the world… all i could think of was –
two. more. days.
i am so sad.
i cant believe it.
its all been a dream, and i just cant get enough. i wish i had woken up earlier, but the truth is that i had moments of awakening throughout. my heart is so heavy now!
Ji-min, andy and i took the train back this afternoon after a rushed visit to the national museum in Ichon. we spent three hours there, but ideally i would prefer about ten. it was fabulous and filled in a lot of blank spots in my understanding of korean history and culture.
returning to my empty dorm room really woke me up to the reality of leaving.
i started cleaning and pre-packing, then Eun-ju picked me up in a fancy new hyundai. her parents love new stuff. we went out for dinner downtown, then coffee, then beer (talk about stimulants) then to the DVDbang for a wholesome korean flick on highschool life. actually, it was far from wholesome and more like realistic and gruesome. it seems that there is more stress to korean high schools than the sheer mass of content and relentless studying, but also a huge violence problem.
so thats that. here i am. soon to be there, quite far far away. and things will never be the same ever again. they are changing every moment of our lives, the most difficult task just being to feel them happening as they do, simply by being in the moment, enjoying every crack and crevice of it to the fullest. i have done this here in korea, but not enough. i have been very absorbed in a new-found female existence that has prompted so many physical and philisophical struggles for me in the past months. but most importantly, i think i went from a close-minded belief that i had an open mind, to really knowing what an open mind is and learning about the steps of achieving it.
it rains every night lately.
i’m going to sleep now.