June 19, 2009 § 1 Comment
I cried today.
I actually had a pretty good morning/afternoon. I met a friend from Berkeley (she was an exchange student from Korea when we met) for lunch and we went to the trendy college down area (Sinchon) and had some yummy shabu shabu. My favorite thing about shabu shabu here is that after you are done eating they put in some flour noodles and then later on, also make a porridge out of the broth.
After lunch I went to get my stuff at my cousin’s apartment to leave for my brother’s apartment. I had been staying at my aunt/cousin’s respective apartments (they are very close by) for the last week because my mom was in town but now that she is gone, I was supposed to go back to my brother’s apartment. Everything was fine until I went to go say good-bye to my aunt and uncle. As I started to say thank you, I started tearing up and eventually could not stop crying for the next thirty minutes. I was so grateful to them for being so hospitable to me and my mom the last week. Even though family is supposed to care and be nice, I can’t say that I have experienced such unbridled and genuine love and affection prior to the last few weeks. The thought of not being able to see them again for a few years made my heart ache terribly. I can’t even imagine how much I will cry when I actually leave Korea and have to think about not seeing my brother and Jungwoo oppa anymore.
Just the other day I was bragging to Jungwoo oppa that I wouldn’t cry this time when I leave Korea. The last time I came (five years ago), I cried for hours after the flight took off because I already missed my brother so much. I thought that since I am older now and have the knowledge and resources to come back, that it wouldn’t hurt as much. But how wrong I was. The stakes are much higher this time. When I leave in 9 days, I leave not only my brother but a cousin who has become another older brother, and so many aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, and nieces that I love dearly.
I was thinking about why I couldn’t stop crying during the taxi ride from my cousin’s place to my brother’s apartment and I think that the reason I was crying was because my experience had been so wonderful and I didn’t want anything to change. I was afraid that the next time I come to Korea, things wouldn’t be the same and somehow they wouldn’t remember me or love me anymore. Strange and childish, I know, but those were the thoughts going through my head. I’m trying not to tap into those emotions too much right now though because I don’t want to start crying again. I always wanted a close extended family and now that I have it, I don’t want to leave them. I’ve been tempted to cancel the rest of my Asia trip and just stay in Korea for another month (or more) but my desire to explore the world is slightly stronger. But just by a little.
Ah, I already miss the random funny moments Jungwoo oppa and I had while living together. We teased each other mercilessly but also laughed nonstop for the last week. He is so nice and good looking enough so that I can make fun of him for not being good looking and not feel guilty about it. Hehehe. He told me today that he always wanted a younger sister and that he thought that he would have been a good older brother (he is the youngest of three children, like me). Right after saying that he added, “A good younger sister, not a wicked child like you.” lol. The English translation just doesn’t do that phrase justice. Anyway, I’m so glad I was able to get to know him better during this trip because I know that next time will not be the same. He will most likely be married and working and not have time to go to the market with me and be mistaken for my boyfriend (freaking gross, right?!). I need to learn to disguise my disgusted reactions better when people say things like that though because I think he gets slightly offended. In my defense, I have a strong reaction whenever something is not true. I’ve always disliked it when people thought I was dating someone that I wasn’t, even if it was a very good looking friend.
Anyway, even though I was really sad to say goodbye to my relatives, I am happy to be with my brother again. We only have about a week left together so I want to make the most of it. I also plan to make the most of this week in terms of sightseeing and go to many of the places I have not yet visited. I don’t mind if I don’t end up checking off everything on my list though because coming to Korea was really about the people, not the tourist sites. Even though I can’t say that I’ve visited the DMZ or gone up Namsan Tower, I don’t regret one moment of the last three weeks.