The day is here. I’m really leaving Korea and moving to Vietnam. I still felt like I was just taking a vacation, until I pulled my last piece of luggage out of my empty apartment. And then it hit me.
I’m sitting in Incheon airport, sipping on a too sweet lemonade from the Hello Kitty cafe, looking out of the huge windows as the planes taxi away. I definitely hit up duty free, and walked away with 2 tubes of the Sulwhasoo Overnight Revitalizing Mask (review coming soon, get your wallets out), a new bottle of perfume for summer, and some su:m37 sun cream. I could’ve done way worse, and part of me is debating going back just ONE more time…hahaha!
Korea has been wonderful to me for 2 amazing years. I’ve met some incredible friends, friendships I know will forever be in my heart. And can you believe I actually REALLY love kimchi? I never thought that it would happen. I’ll miss my Korean grandma, the woman who rode the bus with me and gave me candy every morning, and even gave me her homemade kimchi. I’ll miss the bus driver who used to wait an extra few minutes in the morning if I was running late. I’ll miss the saleswoman at Innisfree, who used to give me a million face masks every time I bought something. I’ll miss the adjumma at the kimbap restaurant who knew my order and would put it in as soon as I walked in the door. I’ll miss picnics by the Han river. I’ll miss the Jukjeon Shinsegae Department store, and specifically the super fabulous guy who worked at the MAC counter. I’ll miss my hilarious students. I’ll miss my co-teachers. I’ll miss the subway. I’ll miss the shopping. I’ll definitely miss all of the beauty stores.
I’ve thought long and hard about my favorite memory in Korea, because I have a ton. From exploring independent cafes, to my wonderful students, to making snow angels for the first time, I’m definitely leaving Korea with a ton of fond memories. But there’s one in particular that sticks out in my mind.
I don’t have any photographs of this day, but it’s just one of the times I’m grateful I didn’t take pictures and just allowed myself to be in the moment. When I first started working at my last school, my co-teachers and I had an English discussion group. Every week, someone would bring in an article, or a TED talk, or whatever sort of topic they wanted, and we’d have hour long discussions. It was amazing! We talked about our dreams, our goals, our families, our personal lives. I’m usually quite guarded in real life about my struggle with depression, but I found myself telling them everything: my weight gain, my therapy, finally quitting my job, etc. And they were nothing but supportive, kind, and warm.
During one of our discussions, my co-teacher (the one I actually taught 6th grade with last year), said that one of her dreams was to go to a trampoline place, sort of like a Discovery Zone type place where kids go and jump on trampolines. So right then and there, we all decided to go to a trampoline house and get dinner afterwards a few weeks later.
The day came, and right after school we all hopped in her car to go trampolining. The trampoline house was located on the 10th floor of a building in Dongbaek, and not only were there trampolines inside, but outside on the rooftop as well. We all went in and I’m 99.9% sure the clerks were like um why the hell are you grown ass women gonna jump on the trampolines, but we didn’t care. We went out to the roof, the view was gorgeous. I remember the sun was just starting to set, and the weather was warm and balmy. We started jumping on the trampolines, shrieking as we jumped higher and higher, trying to avoid falling on the random kids that were jumping as well. It was all so carefree, so fun, no worries. I remember jumping ridiculously high, looking out at the view over Dongbaek and just having an incredible feeling of happiness wash over me. Just typing about it now makes me happy.
I get the feeling that I won’t be away from Korea forever. It’s a part of my heart now. But I’m really looking forward to this next adventure in Vietnam. I’m already planning on having brunch on Sunday morning with Johnny, and a much needed mani/pedi. My nails are a hot ass mess from moving.
Thank you Korea for being awesome. Here’s to new adventures! Bring it on Vietnam!