I can barely contain my excitement. This is apparent, because I have elevated myself to a “fully capable Korean,” and have decided that I should travel to Korea alone. Once there I am going to meet a friend from school who is going to take me to a bus to meet up with my best friend Rob and his mom.
Now, keeping in mind I had only been to Korea once two years previous, I was not as sure of myself as I was putting on. But as this was the beginning of my epic journey, and with the same arrogance of the prodigal son, I gave my parents a quick hug, grabbed my money and bags, and jumped on the plane to Korea. This was my final roll; my final card, I was all in or all out.
It is a real eye opening experience when you get off the plane in an Asian country, particular a city as large as Seoul, South Korea, and all you see is Asians. This is especially true if you are from the United States. This might sound strange coming from a Korean, but I don’t particularly like to be surrounded by tons of people like me. I also don’t like to be touched, which poses a particularly frustrating problem when I am in a club, at a ballgame, or in this case in an Airport. Somehow I made it through the airport and to the exit, I have no clue how I did that considering I read but do NOT understand the Korean language. My Korean oral vocabulary is at about a two year old level. I do know how to order multiple beers, however.
I am on the bus to meet Rob, it is night time and I have been traveling for God knows how many hours. I am not tired; I am amped up like a junkie actually. It is amazing how excitement can make you ignore such human needs like sleep. I get off the bus in a small town outside of Seoul; I am the only one to get off. That was a bit strange to me, now that I recall, because the bus had been pretty full. As I sit anxiously waiting for the inevitable ninja attack, an old man approaches me and immediately lets loose with a storm of Korean sentences. I of course tell the old man that I am OK, in English, and to please back off as I know for a fact that old people can be crazy too. Luckily things do not escalate, I am tired and have no idea what the guy is saying, because Rob shows up and I get in the car quickly.
Relief, I remember feeling a huge sense of relief once I was in the car with Rob. It finally felt like the road was ahead, so to speak. Rob let me know that we would be staying with his grandparents in the country, but that his mom would be taking me to Pusan in a couple days. Everything finally felt like it was coming together and I could not have been happier at the moment.
Jason C. Cushman