Last weekend, I decided to visit a good friend and fellow GEF, Sara Fisher, in Daegu. She is also doing an academic year aboard but in a different city. She has visited me a couple of times in Seoul, and so I thought I should go see her too.
After a three and a half hour bus ride, I arrived at her university, Kyungpook National University. I was here during the summer for the KNU Global Summer School program and I remembered the campus very well. I met her outside her dorm, and we greeted each other like long lost sisters. There was jumping and a little screaming. (It’s a good thing no one saw us…) Because I was feeling a little hungry, we decided to get coffee and bread at a place fittingly named ‘Coffee and Bread’. Afterwards, we chilled in her dorm room until we went for a quick round of karaoke before dinner. We had Korean barbecue, which is never bad. After walking around a little, we decided that we should both get some rest.
The next day we met for lunch. We had one of my favorite foods, ddeokbbokki which is spicy Korean rice cakes, After lunch, we had to go for coffee, and she took me to one of the cutest coffee shops. Although the interior was small, the coffee was amazing! I got a Strawberry Blooming Creme Latte, which to this day is the best latte I’ve ever had. It was very aesthetically pleasing and very delicious.
The rest of my visit flew by with more walking, talking, and eating. We told each other everything that had happened to us while we were apart and also shared many laughs. I had a great time visiting Sara, and I definitely will be back to Daegu to see her again!
Before coming to Korea, I thought I would never get tired of being in a new country and being able to explore my surroundings. However, I found myself missing home a lot more than I thought I would. So, during winter break (which I have to add is two and a half months long here in Korea) I decided it would be best to go back to the States. Although I knew I could have spent that time traveling or meeting new people, I felt that it would be good for me to have a break from the loneliness of living abroad.
The one thing I missed more than my family was my mom’s cooking. Growing up with a mother who cooked not only every day but also amazingly tasty food has definitely spoiled me. During break, I ate my weight’s worth of Vietnamese food, and it felt great!
I also decided to go back to work as I knew I would be bored without anything to do. If you know me, you know that I always complained about work. The long hours were rough, but dealing with hungry people is even worse. However, this time around, I found myself really enjoying work. A semester aboard made me miss not only my family but the people I work with. And so, I made an effort to engage with the other employees. We would joke around and laugh at even the smallest things. I found myself building stronger friendships in those two months than in the three years that I had been working there. I was a little sad when I had to say goodbye to them.
At the end of February, I packed up my things again for Korea. This time I brought less clothes and more food. I realized that I missed American food too, and so I packed myself a big jar of peanut butter and oatmeal, both of which are expensive and hard to find in Korea. (However as I’m writing this, my oatmeal stash has run low which means I must hunt for more soon.)
This semester, I am staying in the school dorms. It is a lot cheaper than the previous place I lived at but it is also more lonely. I have Korean roommates, but they are so busy with their lives and plans that I rarely see them. Also, I think the language difference makes them scared to talk to me, and so we only exchange greetings and then go about our lives. However, this semester I have made more international friends than I did last semester. I’ve met some very same-minded people who are in Korea to learn about the culture and experience the unique Korean lifestyle. I am excited to hang out with them and do some crazy things! Although last semester, I enjoyed my time in Korea, I hope this semester brings me some more new and unforgettable experiences!