My First Day in South Korea

On Friday 1st September, I was thrumming with both excitement and an uncontrollable nervousness that had me awake way before I was supposed to be. It was finally the day I would be packing my bags and leaving for South Korea to teach English as a foreign language for a year. I had woken up at 6:00AM sharp, half an hour before my family would make their way out of their own respective rooms. I hadn’t been tired at this point, instead, I was fully anticipating the days that would soon appear before me. The trip to the airport was full of my dad making silly jokes, my sister falling asleep next to me, and my mum making little comments every so often. From the time we arrived at the airport, to the point where I had to leave, I realised just how much I loved my family. Up until this point, I hadn’t thought so much about leaving, or that it was for a whole year. So when my mum started crying when we were saying goodbye, it had sent all four of us into tears. Even my sister started tearing up and I don’t even remember the last time I saw her cry!

The trip through security was tough, I was blinking back tears, wishing for this process to go by quickly so that I could find the bathroom as soon as possible and breathe. As I travelled through the airport towards my gate, I was fighting back the urge to cry every few minutes. Soon enough, this pressing feeling absolved, and the reality that I was soon boarding a plane to go to a country far from the one I had been brought up in began to dawn on me. I think, since being here for the last two weeks, it was at this moment I really felt homesick, despite the fact that I hadn’t left the UK yet as I hadn’t even got on the plane. I was lucky, though, as the people around me on my flight were so lovely and caring, that any doubts or fears were forgotten temporarily. The woman sitting on the same row as me really helped alleviate any tension within me. We talked a few times about the UK and Korea, and she told me that her daughter was currently living in Seoul. Near the end of the flight, she provided me with her phone number in case I ever happened to be in Seoul. At the moment, I don’t yet have a SIM so I cannot contact this person to say how nice it was to have someone like her on such a long flight, but I hope I will be able to soon.

Once I arrived at Incheon International Airport, I was already exceedingly tired. It was 6:00am in Korea, although in the UK it was 10:00pm. I had been up so early, and I was already craving a bed and some sleep. However, I had to wait five hours until my next flight from Gimpo (another airport in Seoul) to Busan. During this time, I had to navigate my way from one airport to another, bruising my legs thanks to the ridiculously heavy bag I had to drag behind me. Getting from Incheon to Gimpo was easy enough, and I got to see my first sight of Korea. I hadn’t realised how mountainous it was! The planes even have to navigate past the mountains when landing! It was already an interesting sight and I had only been there for a short time. Gimpo Airport, however, I was not fond of. I might have liked it if I hadn’t been so tired, but there were points where I almost got lost and other times where I had to pause and gather my bearings until someone came over and gestured me in the right direction (thank goodness for those kind people)! However, all of this was forgotten once I had found a seat and bought a bottle of water to drink. I finally had the chance to relax before my flight departed in a few hours time.

Except, there wasn’t much time to relax when a stream of girls with big cameras came towards me, following a group with a bodyguard. I soon learned that these girls were most likely fans of one man in particular, who I later discovered was a member of a K-POP group called CNBLUE. I’m into K-POP but I don’t know every single group, so it took me a while to figure out who exactly all of these girls were going gaga over. Yet, it was strange to be in the midst of all this, with this K-POP idol sitting a couple rows behind me. One of the fangirls even decided to practically sit on my lap in order to take pictures. I would have been more irritated in other circumstances, but I was mostly just in awe at this whole strange sequence of events. Soon, the group left with the bodyguard to possibly board a plane, and the group of fangirls dispersed. It was a strange mix of things to happen all in a couple of hours, and by this point, I was ready to board my plane.

The flight to Busan was only an hour long and finding my luggage and leaving the airport was simple enough. My boss came to pick me up with her husband, both who appeared to be really nice already (and after two weeks, I think I judged well!) They were telling me about the area and such on the ride to the place I would be living in, but honestly, I think at this point my brain was fried. It was now 2PM in Korea, and in UK time, it was actually 6:00am in the morning, and I hadn’t slept at all. However, there was no bed to greet me once I did arrive at my apartment, which did disappoint me a little. But I think it didn’t matter too much because I slept like a baby with the bedding and pillow they gave me!

The apartment I’m staying in is very modern and perfect for one person. There was a TV included too. I will take photos later!

Well, this was my first post about my journey to South Korea. I’m sure I will write more about my adventures here. Only two weeks have passed and so much has happened already, so stay tuned for more ~~~

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