Eli, outbound to Korea

What we do isn’t easy. We leave so many people behind at home to come do something that can’t be anything but experienced. I am happy I chose to do it

 안녕하세요? 2주 동안 한국에 있었어요. 이 주는 세번째 주 여기에 있어요! 와! Hello! I basically said that I have been in Korea for two weeks and that I am now working on my third week. Well… the third week is half over. It’s insane to think I have been in South Korea for this long. I mean, it isn’t a very long time in the grand scheme of things, but I just… wow.

So. Do you want to hear about flights? How hectic they are? Well, I can’t tell you anything about that. I had every flight on time (the first time in my entire life that has ever happened). That was nice, but I had two layovers and one was 5 hours and the other was 7. I had a massive amount of time on my hands that I couldn’t do anything without wifi. Once I left the United States to head to Hong Kong, my Internet and cell data were gone and I had a boring and tough flight.

Don’t let anyone tell you that leaving for exchange was ‘easy’. It wasn’t. I had no doubts about leaving, this was all I wanted to do, but still there was this twinge of fear. “What if they don’t like me? What if I get homesick? What if no one talks to me? What if, what if, what if.” Those ‘what-if’s in life will be the things that stop you from accomplishing what you want. I have wanted to be an exchange student and live in another country since kindergarten. Yet, at that moment, my stomach was rolling and churning, and despite telling myself, “I am going no matter what”, I was anxious. What we do isn’t easy. We leave so many people behind at home to come do something that can’t be anything but experienced. I am happy that I reminded myself that I was going to love it here, that there was no way I wouldn’t make ANY friends, and that it was just first-day jitters.

I was right. My host family is wonderful, I have exchange friends and school friends, the food here is beyond belief, and I couldn’t be happier to be experiencing this exchange!

Want to hear about Korea? It’s more than I imagined. I tried to listen to songs and watch shows from Korea before I came, and they gave me certain expectations about Korea. I know that we shouldn’t head to a country with any expectation, but in reality, this is nearly impossible to ask. Every person would admit that they thought things might be this way, or the food that way, or the clothes this way. The difference is that one must be open to see the things they didn’t expect.

For example, the bathrooms here. Back in the United States, many showers are actually tubs or a separate shower, and they nearly always have glass or a shower curtain—something along those lines. Showers are also separated from the rest of the bathroom with the drain inside of the tub or shower floor. Not here. In South Korea, the entire bathroom is made to get soaked. No, not just wet—SOAKED! There is a high shelf I have to put my stuff on beforehand so that they don’t get wet. The sink is wet, the toilet is wet, the floor is wet, the walls are wet. Everything. Many bathrooms also have neither shower curtains nor a separator from floor of the shower to floor of the rest of the bathroom. In fact, the drain isn’t even under the shower; it’s under the sink. My first day, I didn’t understand why there were separate bathroom slippers from the around-the-house slippers. I now understand, and are they oh-so necessary.

Many things are different. Food, eating, habits, and much more. I will write more later. I have school and it is almost the big Korean holiday! I’ll tell you all about it soon enough! Seeya!