I feel like I am in some sort of time-warp, or maybe that the concept of time doesn’t exist.
First of all, I have yet to have a normal week of teaching where one class isn’t canceled, not that I’m complaining about that because it gives me all the much appreciated extra free time. The first two weeks of teaching I just had to do a self introduction lesson, then the week after that was a 9 day holiday, which I spent on an island and in Busan (the second largest city)! I got a long holiday pretty much immediately after starting!
Busan was incredible. I spent it with two absolutely beautiful and like-minded girls. The time we spent in Busan was not wasted. The ride to Busan was the most troublesome part of the trip if I will be honest. The first half was miserable, as I had an aisle seat and the guy next to me shut the window curtain so I couldn’t even look out the damn window. Then I switched seats at a rest stop, which apparently is not allowed because I got yelled at by a crazy ajjumma for stealing her seat and the bus driver for ‘sneaking on the bus’ (their yells were all in korean, mind you) so as I was about to move to the back, another woman told me to just stay there and started feeding me little fried balls full of red bean paste. Super damn awkward, and I can’t explain how ready I was to get off that bus and run.
I took a bus to where my airbnb was located; next to Haeundae beach. An absolutely perfect location!
The following day we decided to hike Jangsan, a mountain with waterfalls, temples, and landmines. So ya know, live recklessly right? I mean, my risk of blowing up here is high anyway, with the Note 7 spontaneously exploding and North Korea being a constant threat, so I may as well hike near land mines, right? The hike was gorgeous, although we did get lost and I had to speak very broken korean with old korean ladies who were very helpful, I just wish I could understand more of what they were saying. Also, it was hot so I took off my shirt which is hella risque for the Korean culture so in an attempt to cover up a little in front of a group of guys my age, I dropped my BRAND NEW PHONE and chipped the screen. I mean its not a bad chip, but I just can’t believe how unfortunate that is! After our hike, we went on the lookout for food, but it was Korean thanksgiving so everything was closed and we ended up waiting an hour for god damn Subway. Worst thang ever. But whatever! It was good enough! We then people watched at a 3 story cafe nearby.The following day, they went hiking again, and I took a solo trip to a temple I had been dying to see called Haedong Yonggunsa; the only sea-side temple in Korea. It was extremely crowded, like how I would imagine the Great Wall would be. There was bridge overlooking the ocean and a little area where Buddha statues held jars in which people would throw coins for good luck. Many people made it into a game; trying to get their coins in the jars. I did see a little boy actually make it! So I turned to him and gave him a coin and he spoke to me in perfect english ‘are you sure its okay to give me your money?’ I was so shocked, as I hadn’t had Koreans speak to me in English at all for a long while! His family was very thankful, but I’m 99% sure he wished that I would fall because immediately after that, I slipped on a slimy rock and wrecked my elbow.. But nobody saw how terrible that fall was so its all good *just thankful I didn’t hurt my phone again*. SPEAKING OF PHONES, right after I fell I got up and walked over to these guys I had been talking to earlier and we heard a small crash. When we turned around we saw the sad remains of a shattered phone. The glass Iphone literally broke into hundreds of pieces because he dropped it from the top of a bridge, and we were down by the water at that point. So it was most likely a 50 foot drop. How can there be so much bad luck at a temple???
After that weird, but amazing experiences, went to a restaurant at the temple that overlooked the ocean and got an enormous amount of vegan food for 5,000 won (about $4.50) then I went to a huge ass mall nearby because why not destroy Buddha’s teachings of getting rid of belongings by becoming a massive consumer.. Sorry Buddha bro. Then I walked to the largest department store in the world, for not reason other than it sounded cool. And that was my Busan trip! I went to a cafe the following day with some of the people from my city and we got breakfast together before we left for our bus ride home. There is so much to see and do in Busan and I can’t wait to go back and explore some more!!
Busan was followed by the week of canceled classes; 5 to be exact, and wow that was great. I got so much done (and very little done at the same time).
The following weekend, because I can’t sit still I traveled some more. I left Saturday morning with a lovely couple in my city for a trip to Mokpo, but first stopping in Suncheon for a few hours of catching up with people that live there, then a stop in Gangjin to pick up a friend from orientation. Many hours later we arrived in Mokpo, and walked around the city before eating and meeting up with a friend of theirs. While we were at a bar, I started craving some coke Zero and I walked to a convenience store, which sounds terribly uninteresting but it gets better. There was a night club above the convenience store on floors 2-4, and a circuit blew and the building literally started blowing up. There were dozens of small explosions; enough to cause the convenience store to shake and lose power. I can officially say I survived an explosion. The blowing up thing is quite a running theme here isn’t it?
Anyway, after that crazy incident, we went back to the bar for a few hours until I was like, yoooo lets walk around I cant sit forever. So we walked to the beach and talked there. It was that spot that I realized how bad my fear of fishing hooks is. I kept freaking out whenever the fishermen would throw their hook backwards, and it only amplified when the hook got stuck on another man’s shirt. Like if it has been any close to him, he would have got a hook straight through his shoulder! God, fishing is scary. People continuously stopped to stare at us, since we were a large group of non-koreans, and foreigners are very rare in that part of town.
But yeah, I’m just going to end this mini rant with a little thought. I turn 23 on Saturday, and I had roughly 560 quarterlife crisis during my year of being 22, but right now I am actually excited or my birthday. I’m just thinking like, I am barely 23 years old, have traveled immensely and am an expat. Already! When I was young, I wanted so badly to be living abroad, and to have traveled and I did that. I would make 8 year old Megan so proud. I am making 22 year old Megan so proud. I’m not sure that Korea has changed me in the past 2 months, but I can feel a very strong and positive change occurring. My world view remains a positive one, and I too, will remain a positive individual.