Friday, July 18, 2014

au revoir, Séoul

Sadly, I'll be leaving Seoul in two hours. I had a good time while I was here; this trip just fuels the desire to move back to the city I consider my second home. Happily, I'll be back here next weekend to teach an all-day class for KMA; that's extra income I can use.

I think I accomplished most of my agenda while here. I did my major errands on the first day I arrived, visiting Sookmyung Women's University, obtaining an employment-history voucher, and zipping over to Dongguk University to drop the voucher off and complete my application. That same evening, I sat down for dinner and a meaningful talk with another potential employer. Got positive vibes, but nothing definite. Here's hoping that Dongguk calls me back for an interview, and here's hoping I have the money to get back to Seoul a third time so I can knock 'em dead. I also got most of my KMA-related to-do list done; there's only one list item left, and I'll finish that over the next few days.

Life was entertaining, too, during my stay. I made the discovery of Gwangjang Market, which is quite a little palace of wonders, a midget version of the much larger, more freewheeling Namdaemun Market just up the street a ways. Got myself some much-needed deodorant as well as a large bag that will be useful when the time comes for me to move back up north. Saw my old buddy Tom, ate dinner with him twice, and laughed along with him as we watched a big, bearded white guy get accosted by police in Jongno for singing Bruno Mars covers while playing guitar. The busker, busted.

Enjoyed my yeogwan, too, with much thanks to a DCU colleague of mine who had recommended it. Sorry for the lack of pictures; you'll just have to imagine the place, which was light years better than the pube-riddled dive I'd been staying in previously. The new yeogwan was W5000/night more expensive, but the expense was worth it: the digs were cleaner, roomier, and better furnished. Every night's sleep was a good night's sleep. I couldn't have asked for more (except maybe for decent Wi-Fi).

And the people of Seoul! Friendlier. More open. My Korean was complimented by several taxi drivers, and some of the market ajummas greeted me with sunny smiles and said, "Come back again!" Seoul really felt like home. It's been good to be back, and it's sad to have to leave.

On my next visit, I might drop by and see my relatives, whom I haven't seen in years—not since before Mom's death. Such a visit might be a bit awkward, but it needs to be done, and it's about time I did it. They live in Karak-dong, in the southeast part of Seoul, not far from all the Olympic facilities in Jamshil and the huge Olympic Park. Much to do, much to see, much to relearn. As always, the future beckons.

For now, though... it's back to humble Hayang.


1 comment:

Nathan B. said...

Your comments about Seoul make me rather homesick for it. I love Seoul more than any other city in the world, perhaps, except for Toronto and where I live now on the very edge of metro-Vancouver. Seoul is a great city in all meanings of the word.