Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Annyoung Korea!

Getting back to Incheon Airport in Seoul, things felt so familiar and yet it was strange to be back after my time in Australia. I was back to being stared at all the time, and having the volume set way too loud on the bus audio system. On the plus side I went out to dinner the night I got back and was really happy about grilled meat with mushrooms and garlic, and all the side dishes of soup, kimchi, pickled radish, marinated veggies, and wilted greens.

When I got back to Korea, quite a bit had changed in a couple weeks. One friend got married (Congrats Michael!) and two got engaged (Congrats James and Jen!), plus we had new foreign teachers already at my school. It was a busy last week interviewing new Korean teachers, having meetings, cleaning out my desk and computer files, making goodbye gifts, and going to our last staff dinner. Predictably, just like every staff dinner, we had to give speeches. I don't know if this is typical for Korea or just the Headmaster of my school. Between the incoming and outgoing teachers, the office staff, and a few members of the Gunsan City Council present at this dinner, we had almost 30 people, and many speeches had to be translated... so I was worried we would be there for hours and hours. Luckily it was the best mix of concise and heartfelt. Of course, it's saying goodbye to people that was hard, not necessarily leaving Gunsan or the school. A few tears were shed, and I feel truly grateful to have worked with such fun, awesome, and helpful coworkers this year, both the foreign and Korean teachers.

I also had to pack up my apartment which was a little harder than anticipated. I tried to not acquire much, but invariably I needed things for the apartment that I can't or don't need to take home with me. So basically I spent the last week giving things away- household items, kitchen implements, food, etc. I was a little stressed out and flustered that whole last week, and I have to give a big thank you to my friend Aaron who was my calm voice of reason during it all. He helped me make decisions about post-Korea travel plans, as well as helped me move things out of my apartment and get rid of things, all the while never getting caught up in my self-induced franticness. Kahamsamnida Aaron!

And thanks Korea for the great year... I might be back, I might not. But first- a trip around SE Asia then a very excited return back to the PNW in April.

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