Tuesday 11 September 2012

Saying 안녕히계세요

 As I've made my way slowly towards home and away from the place I've called home for the last 2 years, travelling slowly across land by train I've had lots of time to think about all that I've left behind. At first my adventure was very new and exciting and there wasn't a lot of time or space between me and Korea. But after a week or so I began to reflect on everything (and everyone) I'd left behind. Leaving suddenly became very real. I looked back over my photos and realised this phase of my life is over and now another memory in my past. I messaged my friend and collegue Ji Hyun and she told me about the guy who'd replaced me - that classroom was no longer mine! I bet my UK map has gone and he's probably thrown out all the girly things I accumulated in my apartment. I bet he's not keen on the flowery duvet I bought either. I realised I wasn't going to get on the bus to school every again, or meet friends in a cute cafe. I wasn't going to chill out at hangang park or wander around my neighbourhood. 24 hour convenience store were now a thing of the past as was all you can eat gogi king, soju and days spend at work 'deskwarming' (ok so that one I won't miss too much). So how do you say goodbye to a place that has had such a large influence on you, somewhere that you've grown and changed and started so many new habits and met so many great people? Well.. this is what I did;

Met a few friends for dinner and took silly pictures

Watched Andy Murray finally beat Federer in the Olympics. Feeling very proud of his acheivement.

The story of the cat...

This cat greeted me on the first day back at camp after our week break. I had no idea how long she'd been sitting out there. The windows are in the basement and the distance up to the ground was too great for her to jump up to ground level. I was a bit scared to open the window in case the cat flew in and attacked me having been stuck out there without food for ages (obviously over dramatic but I have an active imagination.) So Ji Hyun and I scouted out the caretaker and got him to open the window and let the cat out through the classroom. The next day the cat was back (when this photo was taken.) I let her out again but I could hear miaowing in the classroom. It was bizarrely coming from the corner under the spare desk. I stood listening and miaowing back, and for a while it seemed to be coming from inside the wall. I got the caretaker again and he investigated. Firstly he found a kitten outside where the mother cat had been. But what about the miaowing inside?!? Well after about 15 minutes of searching he pulled the small fridge out and hiding at the back was a tiny kitten. We got the kitten outside, but it was clearly very scared. The mother cat came back a few times and I felt very guilty that we'd separated her from her baby. When we were leaving after class the familiar miaow started up again, this time outside the classroom door somewhere inside the A/C unit. I noticed the mother cat looking from a distance so shoo-ed my students away hoping they would eventually be reunited. Thankfully on the third day there was no cat waiting for me at the window so I hope they managed to find a better place the stay. As far as I know this is a cat story with a lovely happy ending, if you ignore the cat poo Ji Hyun and I had to clean up both days! >.<

 Ate lunch at an All-American diner with Alex

An embarrassing amount of clothes for the recycling. How did I accumulate so much stuff?

Yummy Indian take away (free - courtesy of Rahul's loyalty card)

A lovely lunch date with Ji Hyun
And then the last day of school finally came...

Cake for our camp party.

The last time I got this bus to school

These jokers and their cute leaving present

Leaving school for the last time

Goodbye kiddies
Our version of the last supper

Followed by cocktails on the 15th Floor overlooking my neighbourhood

Last view of my apartment. Yes, I did forget to take the family photos from beside my bed. Opps.

My life in two bags

The last decent subway for ages!

And then it was over. I'm now in Poland, nearer to home than to Korea. A lot of the people that I was friends with have left too, which makes leaving slightly easier as the life I knew there would have changed if I'd stayed anyway.

A new challenge lies ahead of my now, finding my new path back in familiar territory. But this one is surrounded by those I've known a long time, friendships that have lasted through years and multiple distances. A family spread about, but loving none-the-less. It's nice to look back and I look back with a smile, but it's also exciting to look forward. What's next?
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  1. leaving Korea was really hard for me too and I was only there for a year, sure it was much harder for you! I used to wait at that same bus stop :) I don't think we will ever stop missing our easy going lives in Korea... I still haven't!

  2. What's next? A reunion with your Mum and lots of treats to catch up on!! :-)