(Continued from here.)
Gains and Losses
As that popular song goes, “How do you measure a year?” For me, I measured 2013 with gains and losses.
As for gains, one of the best was Heechul’s undying love. Kidding of course! Hey, a girl can dream!
The truth is, one of the things I gained was weight! I can go on and on all day talking about (and of course, eating) Korean food, and I still wouldn’t be done.
I also gained a handful of friends from all over the world, not just Koreans, but people from other nationalities, and even other Filipinos as well.
Since some of them had been in Korea for months or even years, they helped us adjust to life in Korea. It was fun getting a glimpse of their own colorful cultures.
I lost a lot too— or should I say, I got lost. A lot!
There was a time my friends and I ended up walking a much longer route from a folk village to NSeoul tower, and we ended up walking around a jogging path in our dresses and heeled boots.
Once I also I rode the wrong train, and I was all alone! The train was bound for Seoul, where I am planning to go to anyway, but it had reserved seats and a much more expensive price. Good thing the conductor didn’t ask a ticket from me or I would have been embarrassed!
But it was all worth it as we were able to explore many places in and out of Seoul; UNESCO world heritage sites (Seokguram Grotto, Bulguksa Temple), traditional treasures (palaces and folk villages), Seoul staples (N Seoul Tower Myeongdong, Insadong, Hongdae), nature adventures (Nami Island, cheonggyecheon stream, parks), countryside charms (Yeosu, Boryeong), and many more.
I also lost many of my fears, like my fear of extreme rides. In theme parks Everland and Lotte World, there seems to be every variation of tossing, turning, dropping known to mankind.
I felt like my friends and I were like fruits put into a blender; put whole, and turned into unidentifiable mush. But it was so much fun!
I also lost my fear of the unknown. Daily, mundane tasks like buying something from the convenience store or riding the bus was a challenge when you can’t speak their native tongue well.
But the unknown became less daunting as long as I am armed with a ready apology and the ability to laugh at mishaps.
Suddenly, I stopped considering them as fears, but as adventures.
No matter how difficult something seems to be, it can be fun when you are with friends. But being alone isn’t so bad either; you gain more independence and self-love!
Love and Hate
I wasn’t able to make Heechul fall in love with me, but I did fall in love with South Korea even more.
The kind of love nurtured by spending memories together, through the harshest winter to the most blazing summer, the misunderstandings to connections that transcends words.
But there is one thing I did hate about South Korea: I hated saying goodbye.
But I am not too sad because the memories will remain. Anyway, I can always book a ticket and comeback!
If you haven’t done so yet, I wish you will have your own Korean adventure as well, whether as an exchange student, traveler, or whatever else.
You just might have the time of your life too!
Annyeong, Korea! Til the next Annyeong!