(The Han River, Gwangnaru District, Southeast Seoul)
Let’s get one thing straight, I’m not making apologies for not updating in such a long time. I’m no longer making apologies, silent as they have usually been, for anything period.
I’ve been in South Korea for one year and one month to the day. A month ago I would have said, I can’t believe I’m saying longer, but now that I’m pretty much settled in my new one room apartment in Seoul, I can and do believe it.
I will say that so far, save for my new place, most of the basic things were better in Daegu. I realized that some of this has to do with the buildings. For example, my gym in Daegu was in a nice, new building, whereas the gyms I’ve looked at here have been in what seem to be fairly old buildings. Same goes with the building my new doctor is in. I also feel like my teaching situation was better at my first school, though it’s not terrible at my new one. I simply appreciate my old school and co-teachers a whole lot more. Let’s put it that way and leave it at that.
Speaking of my old school, the ending was a lot like the beginning: one big celebration, aka, my principal’s retirement ceremony/celebration. Except instead of trading a soju glass and taking shots with my principal, as is Korean custom, I was up on a stage in front of every teacher in my school dancing like a crazy fool (mind you, I had had nothing to drink except cola). My principal was right up front, a big dumb smile on his face, eyes glazed with glee, swaying with the song my co-teacher belted out. For my last night with the teachers at my first school, I went all out. It was a great night, and I wish it hadn’t ended.
I also gave my main co-teacher, the one who treated me like a son, a hug when saying goodbye. You won’t really realize how big a deal this was and how much this meant to her not having lived here. Hugging is not common. No one hugs in normal situations, no hug hello, no hug goodbye, not unless the situation is emotionally intense. But I hugged her. She put her hand out for a handshake, and I went for the hug. She almost cried.
And now here I am, living in one of the largest, densest cities in the world. I can’t say I love it here, not yet anyway. I miss the chillness of Daegu and I often wonder what it would be like to live way out in the country. I can see myself finding out — but that will come later. For now, I’ll take and enjoy the city at night, and the sound of rain right outside my window.