Wednesday, June 8, 2011

An American in Korea for Memorial Day

We had a three day holiday weekend for Memorial Day. Ours was one week later than in the states. We decided to go to Busan for two nights, since we usually only stay for one and always leave early and feel like we are missing out on so many fun things.

We spent a lot of time on the beach. We soaked up a lot of sun, waded in the sea, played some volleyball, saw the sand festival, shot some fireworks, ate some amazing clams, climbed a sand mountain, and relaxed. All in all, an incredible weekend. The highlight of the weekend, for me, was the clam restaurant. It was an outdoor seating restaurant with blue and white striped beach tents for private dining and picnic tables along the balcony overlooking the water. We sat at a wooden picnic table with a large green umbrella. The sun was setting with the most amazingly bright colors of blue. We ordered the clams. Huge trays of clams of all sizes were brought out to our table. The "host" of the restaurant attended to us with great care and kindness and helped grill the clams and then spoon all of the buttery and saucy goodness into foil pans with long skinny mushrooms to saute. The entire meal was cooked on a small grill at the end of our table. There were amazing and plentiful free side dishes, as there always are in Korea. We feasted like kings! The scenery was amazing and the company was great. Friendly children were running around and playing in the restaurant. There was a forest to our right and a train that whizzed by every 20 minutes or so. The sea was to our left and created the most amazing blue backdrop. There is no better way to dine, in my opinion. It was one of those incredible moments that make me enjoy being here so much.

Lately I have been feeling homesick. At the four month mark the time spent away from home and the distance is pretty difficult. Time is going fast, but this is definitely the longest that I've ever been away from home and my family. My family has been cooking out and having fires in their backyard since summer has arrived. Sometimes I wish I could just hop on a plane and go home for one day. The other morning on our walk to the bus stop, I asked Steve what he would do if he could fly home for one day. My answer to that question was that I would love to just sit on my parent's deck with my family and cook food on the grill and just talk about everything and anything until the sun goes down and then have a campfire. I have realized that that is one of my favorite things in the whole world and something that I will really miss this summer. Also, one of my best friends got married two weekends ago and I couldn't be in the wedding because I am here. I called to talk to all of my friends while they were celebrating beachside. That was one of the hardest phone calls I've ever had in my entire life. I felt so far away and like I was missing so much. I would have done anything to hop on a plane and be on the beach with all of them at that moment, but I couldn't.  These are the tough things about living abroad. Sometimes I try to weigh these things against the amazing experiences, like the clam restaurant, I described above but it proves to be a stupid and impossible task.

 Steve and I joined a gym. It is a very nice gym. We even get to wear gym uniforms. It is nice to not have to wear or worry about "workout clothes".  It is on the 9th floor of a business building. There is a pretty nice view of Jinyeong (hey, it's all we've got). We get our own lockers. I like it so much more than the college gym that we have used over the past few years at home. It is really nice that everyone wears a uniform and that I don't have to see college students dressed in next to nothing working off the lettuce they ate for lunch. I feel like I am noticed less here, as the only foreigner, than there. It's strange really.

We are settling into a routine of life. Work is getting much easier and much more routine. Daily life is pretty ordinary. The excitement of living in another country has fizzled out a bit. This is a good and bad thing. I don't write as much as I used to and I don't take as many photographs. Sometimes we come home from an amazing weekend or a beautiful place and I realize I haven't really taken many photographs to document it. I find that experiences or memories are forgotten since I don't write them down. We have progressed into somewhat of a normal life here after four months. Everything is not the most amazing thing that we have ever seen anymore. Every experience is not the most amazing experience that we have ever had anymore. I feel sad about this sometimes. I think about our first month here. I took photos of EVERYTHING and journaled almost everyday. I don't think I can ever get that time back, but I appreciate it for what it was. But, I guess we can't be tourists here for an entire year. At some point we have to settle into a somewhat regular life. We still do have amazing experiences though.

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