I have been home now for a couple of weeks and it has been a weird, yet nice time.  I definitely got behind on finishing wrapping up this blog and my year working in South Korea.

So I got together with some friends on my last weekend in Korea for drinks and darts and just spending some quality time together for the last time.  It was a really fun night and I really do miss the people already. Of course we were at Metropolis, which became my MacLaren’s if you watch How I Met Your Mother. I love every person that works there. They treated us so well and became great friends of mine.  They always bought dinner or made sure we made it home safely.  Saying goodbye to them wasn’t easy, but we had a few laughs that definitely made it more bearable.

3 pf my favorite, favorite Koreans.  I loved working with Eileen and Joanne. They are funny, kind, and just really awesome people.  It was fun overcoming barriers of language and culture and I am grateful that with all of the things I dealt with throughout the year at work that having co-workers wasn’t one of them.  Then Jun Soo was always super helpful and willing to do pretty much anything we asked of him.  He made sure we made it home and helped me get awesomely cheap contacts. yay!

It was Jun Soo’s idea to tear up the napkins to make them look like tears because it totally resembles what it looks like when someone is crying in a particular Korean kid’s cartoon.  It was really funny to take these pictures while everyone was watching us.

These people plus the missing Jun-Soo and the already returned Rachel and Sara made up the core of my friendships and system during my time in Korea.

and then finally one of me and Andy.  I am so glad that Andy had this place that we could go to that was a really constant mix of Koreans and foreigners and then made it so awesome that we went back time after time.

The next set of goodbyes were so hard for me to make.  It is not uncommon for foreign teachers to pick up private students they teach on the side for extra money.  Technically most of the time it can be used for termination of your contract, but everyone does it.  So I hopped on this train and taught a couple myself.  I first began teaching these two little 5 year old girls.  They were great. I played with them and we sang songs and read books, and I just really enjoyed their eagerness to learn.  One of the girls had an older cousin that I also began to teach.  Her English was really good and she loves learning.  She is an overall great student, but even more so at English.  Her name is Grace.  I loved spending time with Grace’s family.  They always treated me so well and constantly went above and beyond what they paid me every week.  When I was sunburned her mom cut up her aloe plant and made me lay for hours covered in aloe.  She constantly would take flowers from her own vase and send them home with me.   They took me to lunch many times.  I also spent a day just playing in the park with Grace and her little cousin Min Seo.  It was really appreciated and I loved the relationship I built with their family.  I let Eileen take over the lessons and I am glad that Grace will be taken care of.  During my last lesson we had lunch and chatted for awhile.  It was just really nice to feel like I had moments where I got to be this almost natural part of someone’s family even though I clearly wasn’t.

This was our last meeting together.  We went to my favorite Chinese place and I had this delicious spicy seafood soup called jjambbong.  Min Seo the smaller girl really was my favorite person.  She is so funny and smart and just a really well behaved child.  I told her parents that any time they wanted to send her to America I would be more than glad to take her.  She was so cute and loving.  and then of course the same with Grace.  She was such a good student and so easy to chat with and I always looked forward to our lessons.

I really like this picture of Grace and I.

Leaving Korea was easy in some ways because I was ready, but there were definitely things that kind of hit me at the last minute and caused me to just feel this deep sadness about returning home.

I am grateful for the people that I was able to meet and make connections with during my year there.  I am even more grateful for the technology that allows me to keep in contact and to keep building relationships with people like Eileen that I hold so dear.