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jnatchley
18 October 2011 @ 01:03 am
It's been a little over two months since I've returned from Korea.  I've got reverse homesickness disease. I call it a disease because it rather than the name "homesick" that it implies, I feel like my particular instance isn't something temporary.  When I was in Korea, I was never homesick for America.  I was able to chat with my parents and friends through the internet, even see their faces, so I felt plenty connected to them. 

When i returned though... I had no idea what I would go through.  It's to be expected that the first week was the worst.  I had never felt so bad in my entire life.  I felt so empty and completely depressed.  I was constantly on the verge of tears.  I had spent an entire month with a group of people and they were suddenly ripped out of my life.  It was a very different feeling than simply not seeing a friend for a certain amount of time.  We all lived together, ate every meal together, and basically spend every moment of every day together.  In America, I was always a loner. I had friends, but I saw them once a week if that, and our relationships were comfortable that way.  However, I realized how being part of a community felt, to really be involved in one another's lives.

We all became incredibly close to one another. We even had 'feelings' talks.  It was great, because we all opened up to one another.  I'd never been so open about my feelings before, even to my closest friends.  Even now I feel like we share some sort of bond with one another, that cannot be so easily severed. 

My first week back, I was a zombie.  I know the people around me blamed it on jetlag, but that wasn't the case.  I didn't know how to cope.  All of the support I had from my friends was suddenly not there anymore.  I was back to being alone in my room, spending hours surfing the internet or watching TV.  It didn't feel right. If felt as if I were in a constant state of panic.

I had no one to talk to.  If I tried to explain how I felt to my parents, they didn't understand.  How could they? They are in constant denial of my pursuits of Korea.  I tried speaking to my friends from home, but I could feel their resentment.  They love me, and listen to me, but I also know that there's a point where they are sick of hearing about Korea.  They are sick about hearing about my new friends.  Not wanting to annoy or make them feel jealous, I stopped talking about Korea.

My only outlet was the friends I made in Korea.  That's what got me through that first week.  We all talked constantly online.  I tried a method of rotating who I spoke to each day, as to not overwhelm anyone.  It worked great... for a while.

Then, everyone slowly started going back to their normal lives.  I think Korea was something different to them.  None of them have plans to go back at the moment, so I feel as if they didn't grow as attached as I did.  I made sure to cement all the bonds I made in Korea, which made separating from them so much harder. I know that I will be returning to Korea, but one of my greatest fears is that my Korean friends will not have the time for me.  I think... maybe when we are out of the 'summer school' setting high, that we will no longer be as close.

My homesickness lightened up once school and work started, if only because I had less time to think about Korea.  However, if never went away. Like a disease, I feel it slowly eating away.  I can take the medicene, but it is merely a placebo, something to make me temporarily feel better while my insides rot away. Korea felt like home. I had never had that sort of feeling before. I felt like I truly belonged there. I do not hold this feeling in the States. 

My restlessness continues, but the Lord is helping me go through it in little doses.  Last weekend Taehoon came to visit. Next week I will go to Washington DC and meet a Korean i've been tutoring online.  Next month, another Korean i'm tutoring will come in for thanksgiving. In December Taehoon may come into town again, and January I may go up to Chicago to see the same Korean who is visiting for thanksgiving.  Then, February I will finally be back in Korea, my home.

I realize that going back will not be the same as my study abroad. I will be living on my own and I will no longer have the constant support of all my friends living in a dorm with me.  I realize this. But I know very well that this is what I need to do.

I will close this blog on a happy note.

I passed the interview for EPIK for teaching in Korea! I will start a new blog for my travels while teaching in Korea.
 
 
jnatchley
31 July 2011 @ 06:01 am
Last night we had our farewell party at school.  It was really depressing, but we tried to make our best of it.

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jnatchley
31 July 2011 @ 05:20 am
I probably spelled that wrong, but Kaly Merry's is a restaurant right outside the university gate that we ate at countless times during our stay here.  Dung loved all the food there, but I loved the ramen and ate only it! It had just the right amount of spice and had shrimp in it.  It was cheap and great food. 

We ate there for the last time the other day, and it was pretty sad. The owners knew we were regulars and I tried to explain in my bad Korean that we were leaving, and they were sad too. 


 
 
jnatchley
31 July 2011 @ 05:16 am
A few days ago Taehoon planned a 'camping' trip for us.  It wasn't actual camping since we had school the next day, but we went to a camp ground and had a big tent as well as some grills.  We cooked our own meat and then played games afterwards.  It was a lot of fun and we were able to bond a lot as well.

The biggest part of the trip was the way there though! It really wasn't far from us, maybe 20 minutes away, however it was pouring rain like crazy.  We got a late start, then we couldn't get a taxi anywhere.  (and we needed 3 to all fit!) So, we stood in the rain for the longest time with all the groceries we had bought for the picnic.  They used boxes so the boxes kept getting soaked through and falling apart.  Finally, we had to call a taxi van to come and pick us up. It was hard to fit even with it being a van so me and Daehwi sat in the back and had our own adventures:



Jennifer, with Fifi in the background. My beloved Taiwanese friends~<3
Daehwi when we are in the back of the van. It was a long day so we were exhausted. 

These next pictures were because we were joking that we were being kidnapped, because that's what it felt like back there.  We were sitting around a lot of boxes, and there was a glass panel between us and the back seat that was sound proof! We couldn't hear anything the others were saying.

 
 
jnatchley
28 July 2011 @ 04:02 pm
The mud festival is a festival here in Korea that happens every year. It's a huge tourist attraction so there are a lot of foreigners there. I went there a little over a week ago and had a blast. I almost skipped it because so many people were dropping out. (The girls didn't want to get dirty)  However, I went and was so glad I did.

The mud festival is basically like a festival, except you are covered in mud the entire time.  You wear some old clothes or swimsuits when you go. This is where you can tell natives from tourists.  Koreans are very modest, so even the guys were wearing shirts instead of going topless like foreigners.  I thought my swimsuit was really modest, I had a once piece as well as shorts over it, but my back was showing and that's something they don't show in Korea.  Of course, no big deal as there were tons of foreign girls in bikinis.  

Anyway, you go there, change if needed, and then go to an area where there are mud stations with brushes. You paint yourself and friends with mud, so we played around in this for a while, giving each other designs and such.  Oh, it was Wade, Taehoon and I that went together, since the others dropped out. 

Unfortunately there are no pictures, since its unsafe for cameras to be anywhere near this festival!

There were a lot of blow up rides and we played on a few of them.  Also, whenever your mud dries or you wash some of it off, there is a fake prison in the middle you go to and they throw more mud on you!  It's supposed to actually be very good for your skin.  

The festival was right next to the beach, so after playing around we all went there and just swam around and played volley ball and keep away in the water. 

It was a lot of fun and a great experience, but I got horrible sunburn afterwards.  I had just recovered from my last one when I got this one, and its been well over a week and i'm still fighting the remains of it.  I've burned then tanned then peeled like crazy.  I haven't been tan in years...
 
 
 
jnatchley
27 July 2011 @ 04:31 pm
So we went on a four day trip to the southern cities of Korea.  It was so much fun! We had to choose between southern cities and China because the Japan trip was cancelled. It wasn't enough time for us to get our visas for china.  So, it was split, about 30 of us going to southern cities, and a whopping 100 going to china. We were really sad we couldn't go to china, but then something amazing happened. The China trip was terrible, haha! Yes, when we got back everyone told us how miserable they were there. They said it was crowded and disgusting. They couldn't stomach the food, the smog was horrible they couldn't see in front of their faces, and the schedule was so tightly packed they had like 20 minutes at each place, like the great wall.  I am so glad I didn't go! Our trip was amazing. We had plenty of time so if we wanted to stay some place longer, we could.

My friend Deanna blogged about the trip so I'm just going to quote her instead:

"I haven’t updated in a couple of days because I was on a four

day field trip to the southern part of Korea. Before I upload

the billions of pics and videos I am going to explain what we

did. It was so! fun! We left Seoul on Wednesday and drove

about 4-5 hours south to Gyeongju. Our bus driver was the man!

He was like Korean McGiver he had everything! Also our tour

guide was so nice and knew a lot! They stayed with us the

whole trip. Our tour guide set up everything and we had a

great schedule. When we would get to a restaurant out table

was always prepared for us! We had lunch when we arrived,

Korean style. I like Korean food but after a while I kind of

got sick of the fish and side dishes so I kind of didn’t like

the food. Then we went to two Buddhist temple it was

interesting but you see one buddha you’ve seen ‘em all. It was

cool though to see them carved into mountains. Then we had

dinner (wasn’t that good) then we saw some tombs of dead

kings. At this point I was cold (it got cold cause we were

near the coast) and tired and I was bored..lol.. Then we went

to Anapji lake which was gorgeous but I was so tired and cold

I couldn’t enjoy it that much. My camera died but I took some

pics with my iphone but the lake was breathtaking.  Finally I

went back to the hotel and slept!

The next day we went to Golgulsa temple. At first I was like

“Another freaking temple!” but we got there and it was

amazing. It is in the mountains and we climbed up to a

platform on the edge of the mountain.  While there we got to

do Seonmudo, which is a Monk martial arts and yoga type thing.

It was beautiful and the mountain breeze was great! Then we

practically climbed up the side of the mountain to see some

carvings in the walls! It was so cool!!! Then they did a

Seonmudo performance for us, it was amazing! (I have video) We

then ate lunch went to a boring museum and then went into the

pool at the hotel. I pool was cool, it was called Aqua world.

There were slides and a wave pool and lazy river.. But mainly

for kids so we hung out in the  hot tubs and hydro massage

area. Then we ate dinner and our Professor bought us beer.

Then we went to Karaoke (Neorae Bang) and sang the night away.

The next day we drove to Andong and went to some Confucious

schools. But after we went River rafting!!!!!!! This was the

highlight of the trip! Each boat had a guide around our age

and we rafted a while. Then we came to this cliff and my guide

pointed and said “Jump off” and I was like “Oh you jump off

that, cool!” and he was like “No, You Jump Off” and I was like

“NO WAY!” and then they all forced me to jump.. All of us did!

It wasn’t too high but I did it twice it was so fun! I can’t

believe I jumped off a cliff!!!! Then we rowed to a small

beach and flipped two boats over and tied them together nose

to nose. They then had us play a game where we have two teams

and we stand on the boats and try to knock each other off! I

always seemed to be the target and got thrown in the water

multiple times! But it was soooo fun.. We played a bunch in

the water and then rafted back to the camp. We then had a

Korean style BBQ which is right up my ally! Its my favorite

type of Korean food!!! After we went to a traditional Korean

house (Hanoak) and had a camp fire and slept there! It was

fun! Around the camp fire each of us sang our nat’l anthems

cause there were so many countries represented.

The next day we went to the mask museum, made masks, saw a

boring mask show and village and left. We were all soooooo

tired but really had a great time.
"


That's the trip in a nutshell.  I took pictures but my camera then died and I didn't have a charger with me! So very few!

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Oh, at the hotel we came across a field trip of kids dancing! So we watched and some people joined in.



Then the following are videos i took from the monk's temple. It was on a balcony over a cliff in the mountains!



 
 
jnatchley
26 July 2011 @ 12:24 pm

Parking spot for ladies

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jnatchley
25 July 2011 @ 02:25 pm

The water fountains here! Hot and cold water for your bottles or ramen!

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jnatchley
25 July 2011 @ 03:16 am
We decided to film a drama, here's the teaser.


 
 
jnatchley
24 July 2011 @ 12:23 pm
Here are the videos again, but with sound! Oops!