Disclaimer: Originally posted on the SUNY New Paltz Study Abroad Student Blog Posts – a few edits may have been made.
United Airlines. Newark International Airport. Looking like a Korean. Why I came back. This year.
This time around I had no trouble getting on the plane, unlike last year because of the lack of a Russian Visa. The thing worrying me this year is being away from my family, my friends, my usual language, my culture, and my surroundings for 6 months. Starting June 18, 2015 I will be away from home till December. Despite being in the country I love and came back to, I can’t help but fear home sickness.
United Airlines. They do not give you a T.V. on the back of the seats, however, they do offer free WiFi. TIP: Download the United App beforehand if you want to be able to stream most things on your small devices (such as phone, and tablet). This also means, bring your charger with you on flight. Of course, me being me, I forgot her phone charger at home (or so I thought, but I actually had it!). Luckily for me, I was given a free phone charger because the sales people there remembered my friend, who picked me up at the airport and kindly let me stay at her home, had bought her phone at the store. YASSS.
EWR, Newark Liberty International Airport – AMAZING and NICE staff. I remember having to check in at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City and they were not the nicest people. Now, it may be because I was at the airport this year at 4AM (transfer flight at San Francisco was at 5:45AM) and that they have not had to deal with many people yet, but whatever the case, the staff at Newark Liberty International Airport were smiling, none were frowning, and all wishing me a good time at my destination.
Prior to this I did not sleep the night before because I knew sleeping/napping would only make me more disoriented. But I recovered by sleeping 2 hours on the flight to San Francisco.
Funny story, on the line of the flight to San Francisco, there were 2 aunties, ahjumma (아줌마) standing behind me in line. One of them tapped me and asked me in Korean if I was a Korean. In which I replied, “Ani,” (아니) which means no in Korean. I forgot to add the -yo at the end, to be polite, but that was because I thought I should have just said no. But hey, that was my first Korean-ish experience since last year. And of course, I should have just plainly replied back “No,” in English to not confused them but … yeah. I was trying to practice my Korean!
I decided to come back to Korea because I had a great time last summer. I learned about a culture in the perspective of Korean citizens, and not just through watching their television programs, and listening to music. I learned more of their language – so now I can walk around Korea feeling more confident. I met amazing people, who I still keep in contact with today – I actually came to Korea a few days early and crashed at one of my student from last summer’s place. I also learned that I like that awkward, I don’t know much about your culture and you don’t know mine so I’m not sure what to say or how to interact with you but lets do it anyways, feeling.
This year I wish to go to places I was not able to last year. This year I hope I have a good bunch of students as I had last summer. This year I hope to improve my Korean. This year I plan on making more awesome memories in the place I love.